Hair, body and soul

“A Woman who changes her hair is about to change her life” – Coco Chanel.

Hey Girls,

As an only child, I’ve been fortunate that my parents have always allowed me to spread my wings and fly. I think of my Dad who put his trust in me that I would always return back to the safety of the nest, he would tell me that I could go where ever I wanted to go, date whoever I wanted to date, dress however I wanted but he did have one rule though… I was Never allowed to cut my Hair! And so, ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had long hair. I remember being about 17 years old going to the salon for a trim and I added some blonde highlights. When my dad arrived to pick me up, he took one look at my hair, handed me some money and ordered me to go back and make my hair dark again.

It’s kind of cute because my Mom and Dad actually met at my Mom’s family-owned business which was, in fact, a hair salon. My mom had long, flowing hair down to her waist and she too was forbidden to ever cut or change her hair. And true to the words of Coco Chanel when my parents separated, my Mom decided to revamp herself and to change her hair and when she did, she cut it all off! Like Pixie style. I think we’ve all been there.

After my break up as well and after what felt like the rug had been pulled from beneath my feet, I too needed change. I didn’t go as drastic as my Mom did but from going from waist-long hair to a shoulder-length bob felt pretty wild and exhilarating to me! I just needed a change. I needed to look different and most of all, I needed to feel different about myself. Breakups are tough, it makes you question your self-worth and it shakes your confidence. It’s like the “old you” somehow wasn’t good enough for him and now the New You with your fabulous new hair is able to take on the challenges that the old you was not ready to face. It felt like the long hair was tying me down, attaching me to my old life, one which I desperately needed to let go off (as well as an outgrown Ombre). But still, a simple hair cut did more for me than anti-depressant ever could. It felt like shedding off that excess weight and baggage and it made me feel fabulous!

This got me thinking though… What is it about long hair in particular that men find so attractive? Is that the reason why women find it so difficult to let go of? Male attraction? And why do we have to go through some life-changing saga before are able to get the snip?

You often hear that a Woman’s hair is her Beauty.And so, it makes sense that we see our hair as a reflection of our identity because it is both personal and public. Perhaps that is why we are so attached and feel defined by our hair.When a woman’s hair is too fine, too frizzy, too dry, turning grey or falling out, her self-esteem is seriously affected. How often have you had a bad hair day which ends up just making it an overall bad day? Why do we continue to modify our crowning glory? Cut, Colour, Blowouts, Extensions? More importantly, why the fuck do we continue to cut our own bangs? Either way, there is a deep and personal relationship between a woman’s hair and her self-esteem. This is evident throughout history and is deeply embedded in all of us.

After almost 3 years of rocking the short hair look, I decided it was time for a change again and the Leo in me wanted to get my long hair back (also because it’s winter). Long hair has always made me feel confident and sexy. It’s the look that I am best known for. Again, it is my Identity. I love that Victoria Secret, messy, bed head look and I often refer to my perfect hair cut as The Shag. Lots of Volume. Lots of Movement. Lots of Body.

However, now that I am in my 30’s I found growing my hair out again to be rather challenging. Years of battling with endometriosis, stress, hormone changes, the pressures of the lockdown, all factors which contributed to my hair falling out! Like in scary amounts! I was sweeping up heaps of hair on the floor each day, showering was a nightmare, and the sight of my hairbrushes made me want to burst into tears. This resulted in me having less volume, less movement, less body and ultimately, less confidence. It was then that one of my besties, another August Lioness with gorgeous, long hair introduced me to Gabeeba at Keratin Lab. The name Keratin Lab made me a little sceptical I won’t lie because I always affiliated it with Mycro Keratin and Brazilian blowouts. I know these treatments are used to straighten hair and therefore it surely wouldn’t work for me because I like body and volume. But curiosity and the fact that stress during the Lockdown had made my hair fall frighteningly worse, I was desperate for help.

Of course in true Dhesha style, on my first trip to Keratin Lab, I got extremely lost, not even Google Maps can help save my ass! I found myself in a very Industrial area in Maitland and I thought, surely there is nobody doing hair around here. But sure enough, I was safely guided and directed to Keratin Lab and stepped into what was a pleasant, delightful setting. Bright Pink, girlie paint on the walls, a beautiful leafy backdrop at the basins, quirky ornaments on the shelves and some dope, ass House Music that made me feel right at home.

On our first meet and greet we had to sit on opposite ends of her studio table as per the Lockdown regulations, masked and guarded but I got to share my concerns with Gabeeba expressing my absolute panic in my thinning hair. I also told her of my intention to grow my hair long again and that I was playing with the idea of going lighter especially closer to summertime. Very careful and almost Holistic in her approach, Gabeeba put a treatment plan together and suggested I start using the Olapex Shampoo and Conditioner in order to strengthen and protect my already distressed hair in preparation for all the bleaching that was going to follow. She also advised that this would strengthen the hair shaft and help with hair fall so, say no more! I was all on board for that! While I did see a slight improvement in the hair fall it wasn’t as drastic as I had hoped for. That being said I was only using the Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner for like 2 weeks before my appointment date so perhaps I should have given it more time. I think it is that Eager, little Beaver gene in all of women and the love for instant gratification.  When we want results, we want to see them now!! But, alas… What I did really like about the Olaplex combo was that I saw a vast improvement in the texture of my hair. It definitely felt softer and smoother. Everyone who knows me knows that I am always touching and playing with my hair! Obsessively. And previous to using the Olaplex combo, running my hands from root to tip felt like I may just give myself a paper cut!

Finally, the day came when I was getting my hair done! I was so excited I literally counted down the days that whole week. But on that day Saturday, 27 June, the heavens opened and it poured down with rain! It was that sidewards, in your face kinda rain notorious to Cape Town. I was so bleak because I was sure that my perfect salon blow out would get ruined in the storm but I was not letting that stop me or, rain on my parade. Walking into the Salon was weird. Hair salons are usually a place full of leisurely ladies, having a chat and a giggle and enjoying the girl time of pamper time. However, during the Lockdown we had to be sanitized and scanned and we sat in front of the hairdressers mirror a full 2m away from each other. It was certainly a new and unique experience, another “New Normal” to get used to I suppose. But as you know, come rain or sunshine there ain’t no dampening a woman’s spirit when she’s getting her hair done. Everyone was so vibrant and positive, I didn’t even mind the rain.

I’m going to skip all the salon talk and technical jargon because I won’t lie when Gabeeba was explaining the chemical processes and the intricacies of how the treatments work all that sort of info just kinda flew over my head. I’m sure you’ve noticed that hair professionals get super excited and technical when explaining the works of products that they love and my girl Gabeeba, is no different. Truthfully though, when sitting in the salon chair all I wanna know is: Will it work, will it damage my hair, will I look as fabulous as this Pinterest photo and how much will it cost to look this fabulous?

Since I want to go lighter, we decided on the slow lift with low peroxide to just go one or 2 shades lighter than my natural hair colour, to ease my tired ends into transition and to protect my hair. We contoured with bleach, we toned, we treated and 4 hours later, we were done. They say good things come to those who wait and I could not have been more pleased with my new hair. Shinier, healthier, bouncier. Gabeeba is also a whizz with the scissors, she added a lot of texture and body to my cut which I love. She also knows what I mean by a trim, unlike other stylists who get too snipper happy with the scissors and remove to much length.

My take-home products were from a new, Vegan hair care line called O&M – Original Mineral. I always use sulphate free products but I’ve never really used Salon products on my hair before. I’m usually happy to use whatever Clicks or Dischem has on special. But with O&M, the word Vegan instantly sparked my interest because I have always been a fan of natural products. I mean, if it’s good for the environment surely it’s good for me right? Am I not nature in the flesh? So, why treat Me any different to how I treat my Mother Earth? Vegan doesn’t only mean environmentally friendly but animal cruelty-free too.

The range I am currently using is called Maintain the Mane so the Leo in me was all for it. Shampoo that smells like papaya, conditioner that smells like oatmeal cookies and a treatment that smells like vanilla milk? Delicious! I noticed after my first wash that due to all the bleach and the colour service my hair didn’t feel as soft and as luxurious as it did when I left Keratin Lab. It was then that I realised how important the at-home treatment really is, especially after lightening and chemically treating my hair. After all, if you want to have the work done you have to do the homework as well in order to look as good as the picture on Pinterest. That’s the only way to Maintain the Mane and good, lasting colour. And if you’re going to be investing and spending money on your hair and you want to show off that salon look every day, it’s definitely worth investing in good product too.

So, back to my question, What is it about long hair in particular that men find so attractive? To be honest, I don’t even care. A woman’s hair symbolises HER femininity, HER health and HER personality. And she should wear it, however, the fuck she wants. After all, our hair is the crown that we never take off. It is our identity and what sets us apart. Your hair is your daily boost of confidence, a way to accessorise any outfit and an expression of who you are. And after all those life-altering moments like a break-up, a new job, a promotion or just needing a fresh start, what do you do? You shed the old, revamp the new, you educate and give yourself a killer upgrade. Hair, Body and Soul. 

Yours in Maintaining the Mane,

Dhesha x



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