Hair Challenge!


I have been in a hair rut for a while now. It all started when I rekindled my relationship with my long-lost love, the ugly 90’s scrunchy. I did so unironically and unapologetically. Like ” I’m a grown-ass woman and I want to feel like I’m wearing cozy sweatpants on my head.” I bought a ton of soft black fabric scrunchies and fell into the not-cute hair abyss. Every day. Even if I was going to work out in the world (and not my home office) It’s a little embarrassing, actually.

When the challenge to do something new presented itself I nervously jumped in. I have very fine, low-maintenance hair and I basically cut new layers and bangs quarterly and call it a day. I realized that my hair is about five inches longer than it was this time last year, quite by accident. I wasn’t trying to “grow my hair out” but that might also have contributed to my hair apathy. I just didn’t want to deal with it, I guess.


I buy good hair products and use holistic shampoo, but aside from that I’ve been at a loss. I work from home about half of the time and I have to get up super early to take my boys to school, so I got into the habit of rolling out of bed and grabbing a scrunchie from my bedside table (I have those suckers everywhere: dresser, car, work bag, purse, sweater pocket, bathroom…) and smooshing my hair into it. I can’t even call it a “messy bun” because that sounds effortless, breezy and cute: everything this abomonation is NOT.

I told my challenge partner that I was happy with my cut (I got a really good cut recently-ish) but that I was over the “messy bun” in a scrunchie situation. I had no idea what she would come up with, but what she suggested was:

1. Side pony via topsy tail plus bonus updo with a clip and topsy tail

2. Bun filler

3. Banana clip

I was nervous. I have never used a topsy tail although I have tried to flip my hair over into a topsy tail-ish configuration. I have a bun filler, but I was convinced I didn’t have enough hair to cover it so it has sat in my Drawer of Beauty Misfits for months and months.  Bananna clip: whaaaaaat?! That’s taking it even further back than my scrunchie days. I loved me a banana clip. I also loved this thing: (wtf were those things even called?) I didn’t buy one, even though they were super cheap because I already feel old and suburban enough lately.


I went off in search of my new tools. This is what I used:


The Goodie mini-spin things were not part of my challenge, but I’ve been curious about them so I thought I’d add them to the mix. I had no idea where to even buy a banana clip–like, do I need a time machine? But NO! They are very widely available come to find out. Are they making a comeback? Who knows, maybe it will just be me and my old-school hair accessories. That’s fine too. I already had the top right bun filler but I bought a bun-rolling tool thing meant for little girls because I figured that’s all I had enough hair for.

I had the topsy tail in my hand at Target and just…couldn’t pull the trigger. It’s just a dumb piece of plastic. I knew there had to be another way. I made the innocent decision to google DIY topsy tail and fell into a strange and alarming YouTube hair tutorial rabbit hole. Holy cow! I haven’t been to that particular corner of the internet before. It’s fascinating and awesome and a little scary. Anyway, I learned that a zip tie could very easily be converted into a topsy tail knockoff. And if I wanted I could spray paint it to give it “swagger.” Um, no thanks. I’m good. No one will ever see this thing on my counter. But–here’s what it looks like:


I had to watch like three videos, but then–


Whoa! It worked!!! I was stunned at how snug and awesome it was. It looks cutest a bit off to the side I think. I also tried the topsy tail/clip updo which was a style that was part of the challenge from my partner. I thought that was cute too:


I was nervous about the bun filler donut thing since I had tried and failed. This time, though I actually looked up instructions on how to use it and realized I had been doing it totally wrong. So um…it turns out I DO have enough hair for it and guess what?! I LOVE it! It looks cute and polished and it quick to put in. The only downside is I can’t put my head flush against my car seat when I’m driving so it gives me weird driving posture. Maybe for days I’ll be in the car a lot I will put it a bit to the side. I tried the little-girl bun roller thing too, but it gave me a wimpy bun that looked like my regular buns because it used my existing hair. The donut thing really does seem to give the illusion that my actual hair is capable of a “real” bun, which is exciting!


Next up: banana clip! I bought a three pack at CVS. They were on sale PLUS I apparently had racked up a few dollars credit from accruing points so I paid 24 cents for them! I was shocked because I never shop there. I put in the black one and to my suprise it was super cute in front and back (all the messing with my hair had given it some root volume that is usually absent) and it was really comfortable to have in. It made my hair look super long and flowy back there, which I loved:


I also bought some cute ribbon elastic things to use in lieu of my beloved scrunchie. I was amazed to find that if I ACTUALLY COMB MY HAIR and throw one of those in there, it looks cute and polished and is just as comfortable.


It really  hasn’t been my poor hair’s fault that I’m in a rut: it’s totally me. I have always had this internal narrative that I have crappy hair so I don’t pay attention to it. But if I actually spend more than three minutes blow drying and smoothing my bangs it looks so much better and gives me a much better foundation for second-day styles.


I have spent so much time on my brows, my makeup, my skin but have completely ignored my hair for years. I would never have tried to change that on my own accord, but this challenge pushed me to try a few things that I would have dismissed otherwise.

I am happy to report that I have spent more time on my hair lately and have worn the bun and the topsy tail a few times. I haven’t worn the banana clip outside the house yet, but I am not avoiding it and will definitely add it to the rotation. I tried the Goodie mini spin pins and although I think I need more practice, I was able to do a half up thing that I didn’t hate:


I also reminded myself that even if my bangs are being weird, I do not have to resort to the scrunchie:


I have to admit, on days when I am going to work from home or on weekends I do still tend to fall into the scrunchie trap, but I am so happy to have some different options to look more polished and cute when I am out in the world.

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