“Stuck in a rut”

It’s a complaint I hear on the hair circuit a lot. I have been there a couple of times myself too. But the truth is; it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
First of all, people should stop beating themselves up over feeling “stuck in a rut”. Naturally you can’t be 100% interested in something 100% of the time. If you could, that would cross over in crazy obsession. Not a healthy state of mind!

Second, there is a reason that “benign neglect” is preached so much. It’s simply the healthiest thing you can do for your hair!

Everything you do to your hair from the second it leaves the follicle will damage it: Combing, exposing it to sun, rubbing against your clothes and twisting it up in up do’s etc will do some damage to it. Of course we can combat some of the damage with hair treatments and protecting up dos, but the healthiest thing for hair is to not handle it more than absolutely necessary!

Do the washes to keep it from turning into a total grease-ball. Do the detangling necessary to keep it from getting matted. Do your up dos to keep it protected and out of harms way.

Other than that; stop beating yourself up for “having lost interest”. You haven’t, you are just practising benign neglect and there is nothing wrong with that!  Some of the most breath-taking heads of hair belongs to people who have the most “boring” and simple routines there are. Benign neglect simply works.

As long as you don’t fall for the temptation of thinking a cute, shorter cut will spark your interest in hair again, you are not doing anything that can cause regret later. If you feel the need for something new and exciting, try with fake bangs, a crazy coloured clip in or maybe take the creative urge out on your nails.

Leave it be and let your hair interest stay on the back burner for a while. Once it returns again, your hair will have grown, not been damaged while you ignored it and be ready to enjoy your renewed attention again.

Repeat after me: It’s not a rut, it’s a routine!

One thing I try to advertise is to make a habit out of your hair-handling and up dos. If it’s something you just “do” without having to think about it, the handling is much easier for you and less damaging for your hair.

Try to think of when you tie your shoelaces or eat a sandwich. If you just do it without thinking, there is no problem. But if you first start thinking about every step or analyse the motions you do, you end up unable to remember how you tie the knot or with tomatoes on the floor.

One of the steps towards making a habit out of handling and putting your hair up is to stick with a routine.

For example, since I’m dominant right handed I start detangling the left side first. When detangling the right side, I always feel like my right hand “gets in its own way”, so with the easier left side done I’m left to focus on the right. When I braid, I always start on the right side, which gets the right side done first so I can use my right hand to help on the left side if necessary.

Another thing I always try to advertise is to pick an up do and practise it until you can do it in your sleep so you can always get your hair up and look presentable even if your child is screaming, your hubby yelling you have to go now, the dog is barking, the doorbell is chiming and you hear something shattering and breaking somewhere in the background and it most definitely sounds expensive….

So if you ever find yourself in a “rut”:
  • The first rule is: Do no harm.
  • Second rule: Practise benign neglect and don’t feel guilty for it. Not even a little bit.
  • Third rule: Decide on your routines and practise them until you no longer have to think about them. Pick an up do and keep practising. You will thank yourself for your work later.