Hats are big news this season, which makes half-arsed hair really simple: wear a hat. Unfortunately, this merely serves to open up the minefield of buying a hat. No truly half-arsed girl would dare to step onto such complicated terrain.
So, with hats firmly out of the equation, how is one to achieve good hair with minimal effort?
Lay your cards on the table straight away: ask for a style that is “low maintenance”. If that doesn’t seem to work, point to the blow dryer with wide eyes and ask: “what is that?”
The scariest sort of hairdresser is the one with a crazed creative glint in their eye. They run their fingers through your hair with artistic flourish and talk about “movement”. Before you know it, you have a hell-fringe that would make Jimmy Krankie weep.
There is no way to escape these situations, sorry. Even the most formidable customer is rendered powerless once sat in the salon chair. Tough it out and repeat the mantra “hair grows, hair grows, hair grows”.
Washing and Blow Drying
Dirty hair has its perks – it holds styles better and works well with the whole “gap yah grunge” vibe. Dry shampoo has made it possible for some to go for up to a week between washes! Thank you, science!
There comes a point though when dirty becomes downright gross, when oily roots become deep fat fryer roots and the patina of dry shampoo begins to flake away in unappealing manner.
The actual act of washing hair isn’t all that bad, a simple lather, rinse repeat procedure followed by a smear on, leave for a minute then rinse process. It is what comes before and after that are the problems.
First up is the act of buying shampoo and conditioner. Sounds simple until noting that Boots currently stocks 240 shampoos and 247 conditioners. As Nora Ephron once wrote on the matter: “good luck to you”. Top tip: buy whatever is on special offer.
Then there’s the blow-drying, that wicked magic that hairdressers manage to make look so straightforward. Having attempted to recreate this at home, I can confirm that turning my head upside down and cranking the hairdryer up to mega-heat has the same effects as me spending 30 minutes with sectioning clips and a barrel brush.
Thankfully, “dishevelled” is a Good Hair Word. Whilst "no effort" make up tends to mean loads of effort, no effort hair is exactly that. Hair that is “undone” tends to look way better than agonisingly precise and polished styles. Ponytails always look better when created without the aid of a mirror.
Build a basic repertoire of fuss-free styles and invest in some time saving styling tools. Straighteners are all well and good, but there are hundreds of more exciting appliances and effects to be achieved. Heated rollers are a good investment for medium to long hair – making 1940s curls possible in 25 minutes. Backcombing may well be low-tech but it is the quickest way to go from blah to ta-dah.
If you want a subtle change, simply move your parting. It can make a big difference but, be warned, it can also go completely unnoticed.
There is one simple up-do that works on most hair lengths, styles and types: The Gibson Roll/Tuck (pictured top). It is ridiculously straightforward yet somehow manages to look something special.
Products and Accessories
Bobby pins, snag free elastics, hair spray (Elnett all the way) and some jazzy clips are the basics here.
Beyond the basics, the key words are cheating and distraction. Products and accessories enable us to achieve great things with minimal effort. Take Umberto Giannini’s Back Comb in a Bottle – a few spritzes of that stuff and hair is elevated to Tim Minchin proportions (that’s a good thing, right?). If all other styling attempts have failed, why not rock the oversized bird’s nest? Stick a few shiny clips here and there and you’ll be making a bold statement.
There are hundreds of excellent hair cheat gadgets and gizmos available. Bun dougnuts make bouffy buns a cinch, whilst padded quiff combs put mini-beehives within the reach of even the most cag-handed wannabe stylist. Children of the early nineties will be thrilled to hear that the Topsy Tail Hairstyler is still going strong, I vote that we make it this winter’s major hair trend story.