The Inspiration Behind My Hair Journey

This post is sponsored by Pantene.

I have thin, fine tresses that masquerade as big, voluminous hair, with a little extra effort. So when Pantene sent me their Nutrient Blends Bamboo Collection — which was specifically made to add fullness to hair like mine — I felt seen. They asked me to share the story behind my “hairitage” and so today, I’m going to tell you about how my grandma, soda cans, and a lot of backcombing paved the way for my hair journey.

The Hair Volume Multiplier with Bamboo shampoo and conditioner volumizes, nourishes and strengthens hair, protecting it against damage…but the extra magic is in the Hair Thickness Multiplier Leave-In Treatment. It can be used on wet or dry hair, but I like to spray it on while it’s still damp, so it gives my roots a little lift while I blow it out. 

I look nothing like my grandma. When side by side, it’s difficult to see a resemblance — she has a chic blonde bob and dresses in a classic style; I am all messy updos and whimsy. It might even surprise her to know how influential she’s been in my beauty philosophy and go-to hairstyles. 

As long as I’ve known my grandma, she has had pretty much the same hairstyle: a chic blonde bob with bangs. My mom used to tease her about never changing her hair, but it’s a classic look that has never gone out of style. I have always loved the idea of having a signature look that persists beyond trends, as you can probably tell from my daily winged liner and rosy or red lip colors. A signature style makes getting ready so much easier, because it becomes second nature. She never has a hair out of place. I once saw her hair wet and messy after we went zip lining a couple years ago, and I had to take a picture to remember the day my grandma’s hair wasn’t perfect. But her present perfection isn’t what inspired my look. It was her old photos from back in the 60s, when my grandma still had her naturally red hair, piled up high in beehives and teased out bouffants . That was the look I wanted. Tousled, imperfect, voluminous.

My grandma always thought it was so funny that I loved her hairstyles from the 60s; the sky high ‘dos that enamored me seemed silly to her in retrospect. But I was obsessed. When I was younger and newly enthralled with old TV and movies and the styles within, I asked her how she got so much volume in her hair back then, since her hair is about as fine as mine. I was always a wash and go (literally every day) kind of kid, so the idea of an actual hairstyle was both foreign and fascinating. She told me they would use soda cans as rollers and tease their hair as tall as it would go — the first I’d ever heard of teasing or backcombing. “The higher the hair, the closer to God” was the running joke, and I decided I wanted my hair stacked to the heavens. 

I never did figure out how the soda cans thing worked. I actually tried and could not figure it out, and when I was about 18 I got giant rollers and still couldn’t make my limp hair as giant as I wanted it. Once I figured out the proper technique, a teasing comb and volumizing products became my best friend. With my thin hair, there was little negotiation around teasing if I wanted big hair (until I incorporated a new trick…just wait!), but I did find that washing my hair less, using products tailored to fine hair — like Pantene’s Nutrient Blends collection that adds volume and strengthens — and always using protectants helped curb damage. I’m generally more of an updo kinda gal. Whether it’s a messy bun or a beehive, I prefer it off my neck and on top of my head. In order to reduce the need for backcombing, I sometimes use a new twist on an old trick that my friend Erica taught me: instead of a hair ratt (hair, real or fake, collected and stored in a hair net to add volume), I have a hair donut covered in clip in extensions, to add volume without having to tease it so much.

I try to limit the amount of teasing I do these days, to keep my hair as healthy as possible, and I use my washing days to give my tresses a little extra love with masks or treatments, like the Hair Thickness Multiplier Leave-In Treatment. And when the time comes to put it up in a big updo like this one, I just pin the donut in, lay my hair over the top, and voila! A little bit 60s and a lot of volume…just the way I like it.

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