Photo by Savanna Ruedy
Hayden Manders, staff writer at NYLON
My relationship with my hair is heated. Quite literally, in fact. I’ve been flat ironing my curls every single day for nearly a decade. No matter how many strangers, friends, lovers, and hair stylists gush over the thick curls that reveal themselves post-wash and/or cut, I obsess over making sure they’re as straight as possible. (Do I carry a travel-sized straightener with me wherever I go? Yes, I do.) “I would kill to have curly hair like yours,” I hear all the time. Well, I’d kill to have hair as straight as yours.
Thanks to John Warren
, I don’t have to kill. Warren and his keratin treatment magic at FourteenJay
smoothed my hair out in ways I’ve only dreamed about. We opted for the strongest option, which meant I couldn’t wash my hair or get it wet for three days post-treatment. This was no problem, really, because I wash my hair once a week, and even though Warren said not to obsess over tiny bouts of moisture, like sweat from exercise, I did because my hair was finally moving in a way I never thought possible and I wanted to keep it so. I was also told to avoid wearing hats or putting my hair up—something I’ve come to love doing with its new length—because the keratin had to set straight and any sort of band, tie, or hat would leave a dent. It’s a good thing I learned to embrace my face sans hat a few months ago.
For the next two weeks (the time Warren suggested I go between seeing him and my colorist), I felt prettier and more confident than ever. Honestly, I was nervous to reintroduce color to my hair, for the keratin easily validated me growing my hair out longer than it ever has been before. But, I needed something else. I needed something even more drastic because I hate the areas between extremes.
So, I turned to my old friend bleach and said hello to the one color I’ve never had on top of my head: orange. Shaun Surething
, the lead stylist at and co-owner of Seagull
, is a true wizard of color and painted my Olaplex-infused bleached hair with five different colors: coral on the sides; orange on the roots; mixtures of pinks and reds and oranges all over the top. He took a darker shade and defined each color section with a balayage technique, which added depth and texture. I’m particularly obsessed with the “natural” section he left that may or may not be inspired by a particular hair style Hayley Williams rocked in a certain Zedd music video
that I showed during my consultation. (It totally is.)
I left Seagull thanking Shaun for bringing my queerness back. For, really, he and Warren have. A makeover is supposed to help bring out a new side of yourself, something fresh. For me, this has been more about exploring my younger self—a self I enviously look back on because of his fearlessness—with grown-up products and treatments. (No more DIY bleach jobs, cheap hair dye, and constant flat ironing for this head of hair.) Perhaps, one day, I’ll learn to love my curls. (I do happen to think they look nice in that before photo.) But it’s time to fall back into that fearless self I know is still alive and well. He just needed to be bleached out.