Jul 11, 2015

How to make your 1980's hair 2015 bendy

Not to brag or anything, but in the 1980s I had perfect hair.

My hair is brown and wavy/curly and thick, and it just wants to grow OUT rather than down, so in its natural state it is like a messy, bouffy oval that reaches its widest point a few centimetres out from each ear, and sits just below shoulder-length.

As a child in the 70s, I wished I could replace my Shirley Temple curls with long straight hair and a fringe, but in the 80s my hair was excellent. I cut it short a couple of times, but mostly I wore it thick and shoulder-length, brushed to make it as soft and fuzzy as possible (like the novels I remember from that time that described the heroine's hair as like a 'soft cloud around her head' - that was a good thing. No anxiety over frizzy hair back then).

The hair goal of all teenage girls back then was this:

Rachel Hunter, 1985

The epitome of female beauty to me was Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Who I loved because she had hair just like mine. (And also my sunburned red nose, but that's where the similarity ended).

Alas, by the late nineties the tide had turned against thick curly hair. Even Julia Roberts and Cindy Crawford started straightening their hair.

My hair has always been difficult to straighten. Even when a hairdresser straightens it, it will start to kink by the time I get home, and by the next morning it's back to its messy, wavy self.

I came late to hair-straightening and never fully committed. Unless I wanted to stand in front of the bathroom mirror for an hour and a half with aching forearms, my hair sizzling and steaming under the irons in small sections at a time, and repeat this process every single morning, I was never going to achieve straight hair. I came to a compromise of running the straightening iron through sections around the front and the top and leaving the rest as is, which worked well enough.

But once I had kids and discovered the preciousness and rarity of free time, I lost all interest in spending even twenty minutes of it straightening my hair. It was the mid-2000s and my hair was definitely not correct.

That was a difficult decade for me, obviously.

Now, in my mid-forties in the mid-2010s, I am back to (mostly) loving my hair.  The aspirational hair texture these days is "bendy".  Bendy hair is shoulder-length or longer, often brown, and is supposed to look like soft, natural kink as if your hair does this naturally (but of course it doesn't)

You are supposed to secretly spend lots of time and dollars on conditioner and bendy rollers and curling irons to create this look, but here is how you can achieve it with next to no effort if you have my hair:

How to get 2015 bendy hair when your hair is from 1985:

  1. Get regular haircuts (8 weeks max) so your hairdresser will at least somewhat remember what s/he did last time. This is important for curly-haired people as our hair quickly obliterates haircut shapes.
  2. Colour your hair regularly to cover grey, obvs, but with the pleasant side effect that your wiry frizzy hair is rendered softer and glossier.
  3. Wash your hair every two to three days. 
  4. If you want massive, curly sticky-up hair, by all means wash it the night before work. But for better results, wash it in the morning and follow the rest of the steps below.
    Step 6
  5. Shampoo and condition in the shower as normal. 
  6. Blow-dry your hair until almost dry. It should look like you're a member of an 80s stadium rock band at this point.
  7. Brush your hair out to remove tangles and curls.
  8. Tie your hair behind your head into a pony-tail-bun thingy. A pony-tail-bun thingy is when you pull your hair through the first and second loop of a hair elastic as if you are going to do a pony tail, but then don't pull the hair all the way through on the last loop so that it looks a bit like a bun.
  9. Spray your hair with just a bit of hairspray (not too much or you'll have to wash your hair every day).
  10. Leave house for work or wherever.
  11. As you walk into work/reach your destination, reach back and pull out the hair tie, and casually run your hands through your smooth, bendy hair.
  12. The next day, brush your hair when you get up and repeat steps 8-12.
  13. Enjoy your ongoing success!

Selfie. I somewhat resemble Rose Byrne


  1. Jackie, I know hair is important for us women. Your are lucky because you have a great hairstyle..

    1. I've found what works with the minimum effort possible :)

  2. Sigh. You are right about curly hair losing the definition of a cut quickly. Very quickly. Which is good and bad.
    My major requirement of a cut is that it is a wash and wear style. No product or blowdrying required.
    Which is my laziness showing. Like my gray hair.

    1. My "advice" was really just a list of what I do. And I do less than that half the time!
      I have no interest in complicated personal grooming routines.

  3. I have always liked the big curly hair 70's look.

    1. I liked smooth wavy hair with flicks in the 70s - Jaclyn Smith was my ideal hair poster girl then.

  4. Will my comment go into spam folder if I say 'useful information'. While I now have a lack of hair, I was once plagued by curly hair. I seem to recall my contemporary youthful lasses ironing their hair straight.

    1. Even when curly hair is (always very briefly) in fashion, those of us who have it, curse it.
      When I was a little kid in the first years of primary school I remember being really admiring and envious of the girls who had long straight hair and a fringe.

  5. My hair is dark blonde and grey, hangs just below my shoulders, finely textured, but can't make up its mind about curls, waves etc.
    On shampoo day, I was, condition and comb, leaving it to dry itself into long ringlets. Next day I'll comb it and it falls into curly waves for a day or two. After that it hangs any way it wants to until shampoo day again.
    I never colour it anymore and don't have a hairdryer.
    I was always envious of anyone who was able to grow really long hair, I see women around town now, with thick long hair in a single plait long enough to sit on. Mostly they're Indian and a couple have knee length hair.

    1. I don't think my hair grows much beyond shoulder length either. Your hair sounds nice. Funny thing, isn't it, how different everyone's hair is?

  6. "I was"?? that's I wash (*~*)



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