What My Hair Can Tell You About Me

Hair is such a weird thing.

In high school, I was very into making sure my hair looked 100% 24/7, but this meant either flat-ironing it to a crisp, spending an hour making careful ringlets with my trusty Conair wand, or box dying it.

Each time, I was trying to “look like ______”. I either wanted curls like my favorite dancer on SYTYCD Season 9, Tiffany Maher, or I wanted that perfectly glossy, dark mane like Demi Lovato.

I don’t think I even knew what my hair was supposed to look like.

My hair identity crisis came to a peak when I spontaneously chopped most of it off one afternoon at the salon. And I went from having caramel “Blair Waldorf Season 2” highlights to hair as jet black as Veronica Lodge. Why? Well, for one, I had just quit dance after 15 years and was never allowed to cut my hair past the length that allowed it to go into a ponytail for competition season, but really…I had just followed this girl on Instagram who had a cute bob. Didn’t know her. Just liked her hair. Wasn’t happy/confident in myself as I was, so I just wanted to copy someone.

But with my new hair, I didn’t get 400 likes on all my Instagram pictures like she did, I didn’t suddenly have 10 new close friends, and I wasn’t valedictorian. I was still me – and don’t get me wrong, I’ll still possessed all the great, God-given things about me like me ability to write, my singing voice, and, though it didn’t seem like much at the time, my couple close friends who really loved me. I just had a new haircut. That I hated.

I think eventually we all find what works for us. What is totally us.

We learn the way we like our coffee. Maybe the cool kids drink it black, but we love caramel flavored creamer swirled into our mugs. We learn what we like to do to move our bodies. Maybe everyone seems to be on the Soul Cycle train, but we just love walking our pups around the block. We learn what type of clothes we feel comfortable in. Maybe that JCrew scalloped skirt was cute for class, but…have you ever worn comfy leggings? They rock.

It was probably around my freshman year of college that I embraced my natural hair. I quit dying it in an attempt for it to grow out and be healthier and I stayed away from hot tools for this reason, too.

To my surprise, I liked my hair. It had this natural wave to it and a rich, brown color that wasn’t exactly like any other brunette I came across. I was able to wake up in the morning and just shake my fingers through it and call it a day, and this became one of my favorite features about myself. Not manipulating my hair to look like someone else’s gave me more time for the things that actually filled me with joy. Like a morning devotional, grabbing breakfast bagels with a friend, or a mug filled to the brim with coffee.

I recently cut my hair because it had gotten too long. (Something I never thought I’d say.) I had idolized long mermaid hair for a while because I just thought it looked totally insta-worthy and gave you Pretty Girl Points, much like owning a good bronzer and cute Nike tennis shoes. But for me, it was just a pain. I live in the hot and humid weather most months out of the year and it kept getting caught in the strap of my tote bag.

I had my friend and hair stylist, Kate, cut off about 5 inches and boy did I feel free. It just felt good to have a hairstyle that was…me.

And even though I’ve talked a lot about not copying someone else’s “do” in an attempt to be a more authentic you, if you think my cut would be perfect for ya, I tell Kate that I want long layers, specifically around my face, and I have it cut right to my chest.

Now that I’ve found my hair-do, medium length with layers and all-natural color, my main goal is just to keep it healthy, but really – you don’t need a lot of fancy products to do this. In fact, it’s more of just giving your hair some love each time you step into the shower. I just love a shampoo that keeps me flake-free (I started getting a bit of dandruff within the last year) and doesn’t leave my hair too dry, as it has a tendency to look frizzy if it’s lacking moisture.

MapleHolistics asked if they could send me this shampoo and I said heck yes please!

I wash my hair about every other day (I used to go longer in between washes, but I’ve been getting pretty gross working out between classes and then walking around the sun-scorched campus to my classes) and I have been using their tea tree shampoo. My favorite conditioner at the moment is the OGX Gravity-Defying & Hydration. And that’s it for me. I let it air dry and just part my hair in the middle and I am good to go.

I love the ingredients in this shampoo, and I absolutely love the aromatherapy that the tea tree provides. Total spa vibes every time I wash my hair! And it’s super soft and flake free after, so that’s an added bonus.

You can get a free sample here! 

I encourage you to find your best “you” do. Maybe for you it is a jet black bob, or heck – maybe it’s long purple mermaid locks! You’ll know when you know because it will be something for you that is effortless to live with, and leaves you all the time in the world for your favorite joy-filling activities.

By the way, I have to shoutout my hair stylist, Kate, again because she is just the sweetest human and her new studio is SO CUTE. Fall candles, a jar full of pink-starbursts, and the CUTEST decor ever. Last time I was there, I just wanted to move in! Haha. She’s a good 45 minutes away from my house, but I still go to her because I wouldn’t dream of anyone else doing my hair. I look forward to my appointments just to chit chat with her, but the soft, shiny, healthy hair when I leave is an added bonus.

What hair-style makes you feel like the most authentic version of yourself? Any fun plans for fall-inspired hair?

X,

Cristina

  • I try to keep my hot styling tool use to a minimum, as well! Embracing your hair can be such a tricky thing. Yours is beautiful! I use MoroccanOil shampoo & conditioner now, but might have to look into Maple Holistics. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Cristina Mandujano

      Thank you so much, Samantha! I love that shampoo and conditioner…I used it for a while! Maple Holistics is really great if you are struggling with dandruff, or if you are just interested in switching to an affordable natural brand 🙂 It’s seriously on MEGA sale right now!

  • Ariana

    I relate to your hair story so much! My hair is thick and heavy, curly or wavy (depending on the day) and I remember in middle school and early high school the “thing” to do was straighten your hair! I tried so hard but the heat on our dinky old straightener could hardly touch the thickness of my hair (see also: all my middle school yearbook photos). In high school, I would wake up and straighten my hair (taking nearly 45 minutes) just to tame it because it was just so much hair! Now, I embrace my natural curls/waves and try to find ways to enhance it! I sometimes straighten or curl it but who has the time in college honestly! I love this post, I wasn’t the only one who struggled with hair identity!