simplicity & self-acceptance
I believe there is a crucial connection between simplicity and self-acceptance, for simplicity/minimalism is not just about decluttering physical belongings. It is about facing the mirror head on and questioning our attachment to thoughts and habits. The process demands utmost honesty. If we accept traits about ourselves we can move further towards lightness and not be waylaid by the tugs of consumerism to create an alternate identity.
The desire to simplify my hair routine has arisen often over the past years of pursuing minimalism. But it couldn’t be done without first accepting it in its natural state and it was here that I kept hitting my roadblock. My hair has always been an important aspect of taking pride in my appearance and feeling feminine. From the age of 16-29 it was uncoloured for only a couple of years. I always wanted to cover up the underlying hue of warmth and swung between a few foils to dramatic changes from full brunette to full blonde. Each time I left the hairdresser I felt shiny and bright, but with a nagging uneasiness beneath the surface – the unrealised dream to be satisfied with my natural colour and texture. If I could just get around the next corner of self-acceptance. This is not to say that colouring hair is wrong, but for me this was a yearning to feel beautiful in my own shade. Besides, my mum always told me it was beautiful and mums are
always often right about these things! I stopped colouring my hair 4 years ago. I watched it slowly emerge from a shell of artificial colour into its own. Each time more of the old remnants of dye and bleach were cut off I felt closer to my goal of finding out more about me, superficially and internally. As the old feelings of dislike simmered again I changed my self-talk in the mirror, researched what colours would complement it and studied photos of myself with different looks.
The only times I’ve adored my hair all these years was fresh after a blow dry. While I sometimes enjoyed this primping as a form of relaxation, it could also be a chore and weight on my time and spontaneity. I couldn’t get unshackled from the heating instruments at home or in our travels. I experimented for a long time to find what works for me. Dry shampoos irritated my scalp; moose made my hair sticky and using more products was not desirable anyway. I stopped using a hairdryer and straightening iron 5 months ago. Finally, I cracked my formula – a hair cut for my natural texture, a leave-in treatment and air-drying in buns. I travelled to South Africa without any heating tools and did not miss them. (However, when travelling during cold months I will still take a hairdryer to use as needed so as to not get the chills with wet hair.)
At my last appointment the hairdresser was amazed at how healthy it is. And me? I am now in love with my hair. I say that not with ego, but with self-acceptance, with reward for being patient, for letting go of a polished ideal image, and for the relief the simplicity brings me. I literally smile each time I pull my hair out of a bun and let it fall as it wishes.
Ahhh, the freedom and contentment.
Let’s cheer each other on. Is there a way you want to simplify your beauty routine but are held back by a roadblock of self-acceptance?