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What I Learned About Beauty During the Pandemic

Something unexpected happened last spring during the pandemic salon closures… I saw my natural hair color for the first time in 15 years. 

About sometime in the middle of May, two months into lockdown, with four months worth of roots, I started to get really antsy to change my hair. Hair has always signified something much deeper to me than just aesthetics. I’m not an emotional eater, I’m an emotional hair cutter. Life is going well, a new job, a vacation coming up? Get your hair done. Life is in the pits, going through a break up, having a falling out with your sister? Get your hair done. Changing my look gave me the sense that I had control over at least one thing in my life.

But on that day in May, I couldn’t get my hair done, everything was closed, and I desperately needed to feel like things were under control. Here in California we were facing the threat of the virus peaking, we were being told to shelter in place, people were fighting at Costco over the last roll of toilet paper, we were afraid to meet with family and friends, and kids were staying home and doing distance learning online. I decided to do something extreme. I decided to lean in to the craziness of 2020, and do a diy quarantine haircut at home!

It started with a  series of google searches. I read about other people who had taken the scissors into their own hands, and then I landed upon an idea I couldn’t get out of my head. Apparently women were shaving their heads during the quarantine! It makes sense…if you don’t really know how to cut hair, merely shaving all of it off is pretty simple to execute. And these women felt strong! They felt empowered! They felt the breeze on their heads! That was exactly the feeling I was seeking, and I had nothing to lose. My hair was looking so shabby that pretty much any change would be an improvement, at least psychologically. I went to bed dreaming about my new bald head, and when I woke up the next morning I turned to Francesco and told him I needed his help. 

We drank a cup of coffee, and then got the scissors. As Francesco started to snip away at my hair, I nervously looked on watching the mirror. I felt a mix of exhilaration and panic, but it was too late to turn back. At the end we settled on a short pixie cut, less extreme than the shaved head look, but still strong, fierce, and the perfect way to take my power back. 

Now in November, I am still rocking short hair. As my roots grew in more and more, I slowly transitioned from being a blonde, to my natural brown. And when I saw my natural color after 15 years of always dying my hair, I was honestly shocked to find that I really liked it. Embracing short hair in my natural color feels very authentic and powerful to me. For years I battled internally, liking short hair, but feeling societal pressure to conform to beauty standards. Aren’t we all supposed to look like mermaids with long flowing locks? With short hair could I still be pretty? Could I still be feminine? Covid gave me the courage to push myself and find out. With no social events on the calendar, it was the perfect time to experiment. And I’m so happy that I did. I’m sure that one day soon I will be back in the salon. I’ll probably want to play with color again, and enjoy different styles, but I’m happy that I had this experience. It changed the way I see myself and how I feel about beauty. I found the confidence to listen to my own internal voice about what makes me feel beautiful, and there’s nothing more powerful than that. 💕

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Vanessa Davis

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