Open Thread: How Do You Create, Keep & Care for an Alternative Lifestyle Haircut?

There are entire feature articles on how to properly apply foundation, but I’ve never read a single one on how to rock the Rachel Maddow-meets-La Roux haircut that your best friend gave you on the roof of her apartment building. And there’s only so many slouchy knit hats you can wear, you know?

For some of us – especially those considering the transition to a haircut that will be less popular at Thanksgiving dinner – this can be intimidating. Gay women, as well as anyone else who ascribes to a queerer sense of style, don’t have an entire industry built around providing us with incredibly detailed instructions on the most minute details of our appearance.

Therefore, kind of sort of in the spirit of Jezebel’s Beauty 101 posts, we bring you an open forum for the things you’ve always wanted to know but have been afraid to ask:

+ What’s texturizer?
+ Can you use a beard trimmer on your head?
+ How can you describe an undercut to a hairdresser who doesn’t understand?
+ And if you’re feeling particularly confident about your ‘do, this is your chance to tell the world your routine: products, styling tools, mantras, whatever. For best results, include your hair type/style/ethnicity.

Need some references to talk about your feelings more accurately? Maybe you need to check out Fuck Yeah Lesbian Haircuts for endless androgynous lesbohawk scrolling. Here, I’ll get you started:

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

Rachel has written 752 articles for us.

125 Comments

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    due to my own special brand of neurosis/i cry every time someone else cuts my hair, i cut my own hair and this involves many mirrors and subsequently uneven backs. i used a razor [like the kind of razor you use to shave your legs [if you're into that kind of patriarchal thing, which i am]] to shape up the part of my hair that’s on my neck two weeks ago and i don’t know why i didn’t do this before!

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    Ooh, timely! I need everyone’s advice, all of it. Because I am cheap/poor, I pretty much never go pay someone to cut my hair; luckily my sister is a budding hairdresser and will do it for free, but she is very very straight and we have pretty different tastes/styles in everything, so it only ever sort of works. And I only see her a couple times a year, so in the interim things get crazy and I just sort of hack away at it when it gets in my way. Which it does all the time because I have TONS OF HAIR, like the thickest in the world, which is mildly wavy and so never lies like I want it to.

    Add to this my refusal to buy any “products,” “use a blow dryer,” or perform any “styling” that involves anything more complicated than a brush — and my habit of plopping a bicycle helmet on my head before it’s dry, and I end up with some weirrrrd hair by the time I get to work. I don’t know, I’m probably hopeless, but if anyone has any ideas/pictures about their awesome short ‘dos I want them!

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      If you’re more into the fauxhawk/sidecut side of things rather than the girlmullets, you can definitely still pull it off. a friend of mine had a “frohawk” for a while – it was pretty damn awesome looking.

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    I have very straight hair that will do nothing so I keep it super short. I get it cut every 4 weeks without fail. I use the Bed Head styling stick to give it a bit of texture and to make it stand up.

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    This is sooo frustrating. I LOVE alternative haircuts but why is there never any alternative haircut for girls with ridiculously curly hair? LIKE ME!

    Back when I was 9 I was sporting the good-BOY haircut – which was great -but when I hit my teens, my hair decided to curl up so all I could ever do was keep it long and…well… boring.

    Is there NO hairdresser in Montreal who will cut my hair!? I pay them and they refuse to cut it more than 2 inches.

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      oH! I wish I had curly hair… I love the style where its sorta short and curly and then you straighten some of the pieces. its really quirky and precious. I just looked for a picture, but when you google “hair” and “pieces” together the results are not what I had in mind. I’ve seen it in lots of salon books though.

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      I have curly hair as well… it’s been hard to do anything ‘alternative’ with it but I wouldn’t change my curls for anything. I never have to brush it, just put in some Frizz Ease Dream Curls to manage the strays and I’m good to go.

      The closest thing my stylist could do ‘edgy’ wise was super short in the back and chin length in the front. I haven’t been able to come up with anything crazier than that. This was after years of long, curly hair.

      I think you have to find a stylist you know and convince them “look I will not get mad or freak out, I want my hair short” and show a sample. Cause my new stylist flat out said “I usually never cut it this short for a first time client but your sister told me you’re up for anything.”

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      I have super curly, very thick hair. I aaaaaaalso have an alternative lifestyle haircut. all I used was scissors for normal cutting, and then different razor blade lengths to cut layers into and under the top layers of hair that normal puff up or form that silly pyramid when hair is chin length. basically thinning out the hair ALOT. in the back it’s super super short with a tail (that isn’t long enough to curl yet).

      Before this haircut, I hadn’t done any hair cutting other than the occasional layering, for about….10 years. NO JOKES. I am still skeptical of any hair stylist saying they can handle my hair. Thank goodness for moms who are willing to wield electric razors, despite not knowing what it does for me alternative lifestyle life! ha!

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      GIRL!! I battled with this problem for the longest time! For years and years and years I had super curly hair, like, all the way down to my butt. Then I chopped it all off. For me, turns out that when it’s short it’s SO MUCH MORE MANAGEABLE! Right now I’ve got a sort of super short sides (no. 3 clippers) with a longer top hawk thing, which is also blue. I just hit it with some Morrocanoil (google it) when I get out of the shower, sort of finger-comb it all together towards the middle, and I’m done. Super alternative, super low maintenace!

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    Anyone know if sidecuts will still work with fine, thin hair? I’d like to leave most of mine long (I’m experimenting, somewhat unsuccesfully, with femme), but get a little bit of a sidecut around my temples/ears.

    I have wavy, thin, v. fine hair…I know the last thing I need is to lose some of it, but sidecuts make me go *________*

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        I was thinking more: shaved, but only to about 2″ above my ear on both sides. If I had it cut/shaved all the way up to the temple, I would be left with…a few wispy locks falling onto my forehead, and somehow I can’t imagine that being particularly attractive.

        I just started using Desert Essence’s Green Apple & Ginger Volumizing Shampoo, which is the second shampoo I’ve ever found that actually *works* on my hair. The other is Lush’s Seanik shampoo bar. Finding the Desert Essence stuff was a fucking miracle, though – it’s cheap, it smells delicious, when I use it my hair actually keeps its volume the whole day! That’s never happened before! No longer am I stuck headbanging surreptitiously in bathrooms or poofing up my hair with my hands every few minutes to prevent it from devolving into lanky, awkwardly limp strands that mark me for the pathetic little nerdling I am. I’d like to be a little nerdling *with nice hair*, thanks.

        The Lush stuff is pretty great if there’s one near you, those bars last forever.

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          Ooh I think it would look nice! You should defs try it out. Whats the worst that could happen right? If anything, winter is around the corner and you could hide the hair with a hat until it grows out.

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      I think you will be fine (!) with the sidecuts. I too have superfine wavy hair and imo its all in how you care for it. I use aveda’s pure abundance line and their phomolient, volumizing tonic, and potion powder to style it. I know that all of that shit is insanely expensive, but it changed my life. this is not an exaggeration. My hair used to look fuzzy and sad and I hated it, but now I know that fine hair is versatile and awesome. I sound like an advertisement.

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      I have fine, thin hair and I used to have the sides shaved and the top long. It worked. I would (or have a stylist do it) cut some layers in the longer part using a razor just so you get some texture and body

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    I fail at keeping and caring for my haircuts. My solution: get a reaally short haircut every 6 months or so, then style it differently as it grows out. When it starts covering my whole face and being all annoying, I get a new haircut. Yes, I’m lazy.

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      I do this same thing. I cut all my hair off when it’s gets too long and I get sick of it. Then I spend the next year or so growing it back, and I always learn something new or DO something new as it’s growing. It saves me money on haircuts mostly. Holler.

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    I am very particular about my mo/fauxhawk (to the point where I know what blade # to use on the back/sides). I just moved due to a new job, and am having the hardest time finding a hairdresser I like. The last two I went to kept trying to get me to grow my hair out, because “you would look so cute with long hair!” Um.. no thanks. All I need to do is whip out my high school senior picture to see just how NOT cute that would be.

    On the flip side, I found that Got2B’s line of hair glue keeps my mo/fauxhawk up and that shit does NOT move. I could stab someone to death with my hair…

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    What about girls with roundish faces? I keep trying to cut my hair short but remain mildly traumatized by a really horrifying bob in seventh grade that made my face look reallly round…

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      I was really worried about this the first time I cut my hair short, too — but actually I find that my face looks a lot less round and has more definition now that it’s not encircled by hair. I also think some amount of assymmetry is helpful — for instance, I have bangs that descend at a slight angle from one side to the other. Probably you should just avoid the plain ol’ bob and you’ll be fine.

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      If you have superfine flat hair, don’t do it! I have a round-square face and cut my hair off to donate it in 2009 … it looked horrible until it had reached my shoulders, and I was so traumatized that I haven’t cut it since. French braids are your friend.

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    I recently found an awesome woman, Donna, who completely understood how I wanted my hair cut… and it didn’t cost me an arm & a leg. Before her, I’d go to random expensive “trendy” stylists, bringing with me various pictures of Sara Quin (pre-new bangs). I’d always tell them “cut it like this in the back and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT cut my bangs…” And then they’d cut my bangs, which is why I kept going to new stylists. Donna, however, knows to leave the bangs alone because she is, as she tells me, “the bomb”.

    Anyway… I get the back cut every 3-4 weeks now since I keep it super short and unlike Intern Hot Laura, I am unable to cut my own hair with any degree of talent!

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      I’ve cut my hair for the past six months and I think it takes more patience/mirrors than talent. Having two or more mirrors helps too–that way you can check the back of your head.Also, using good scissors [intended for hair] helps more than anything else. Definitely worth the $10-20 investment. The first time I cut my hair I used nail scissors. Granted, it was just for bangs, but yeah…they kind of looked like I had gotten a haircut from a teething baby.

      But the best thing about cutting your hair is that you know your head better than anyone else. If you mess up, you can always blame the cat/dog/ferret.

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          LOL… I could never get safety scissors to cut paper, so I reeeally doubt they’d cut my hair!

          I might try to do that back. I have clippers here that I could use… would save me some money. & you’re right – if I do mess it up, my cat totally looks shifty – I could definitely blame it on her!

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    I have the same problem. My face is super round, and I feel like short hair would not be all that flattering. Once, in kindergarten, my mom cut all of my hair off, and sometimes, I still wake up from horrifying nightmares of the day.

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    Top feelings:

    1. I am paralyzed with indecision re: my hair appt. on 9/23.
    2. I am alone in my repudiation of undercuts (except Judy Minx, hers is adorable).
    3. I also CANNOT BELIEVE there is no:

    undercut/s.tumblr.com
    lesbianundercut/s.tumblr.com

    Or even maybe like a:

    undersluts.tumblr.com

    What can I say? I am an old-fashioned femme, I suppose, but I also bossed Ivan Coyote into signing my book with MY very own pink pen, so I win at life at least a little.

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    Could someone please explain what all these alternative lifestyle haircuts are with names + pictures?
    Cause like, I’ve seen all of them! But I have no idea what you people mean when you say “undercuts” etc.

    Also, my fondest wish in life would be to have an epic swoopy ‘hawkthing a la La Roux, but alas my hair is UBER CURLY. :( And I don’t do straightening. I need advice on curly (yes, CURLY, not mildly wavy) alternative haircuts and how to get them/style them/keep them.

    God hair is so complicated. I use about 6794920 hair products including really expensive conditioner daily just to keep my hair non frizzyicky. (Anyone know a good moisturizing conditioner that doesn’t also promise to volumize? More volume is the last thing I need in my life, but smooth and non-frizzed for reals. The one I have is great but expensive, and I am about to be a poor college student.)

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    I cut off all my hair because I’m in college and I’m too busy to worry too much about my hair.
    Shampoo, Conditioner. Comb it dry. No hairdyer unless its freezing in the winter. No product. My life changed, I swear, in a haircut. I like girls. I like hair. I like this post.

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    my hair’s so fucking straight (I guess it makes up for me being so fucking gay…) that when I was in 5th grade I got 2 perms IN ONE WEEK and it didn’t stay.

    When I was in middle school, my math teacher told me I looked like Hanson (specifically, Taylor Hanson). Life ruiner. Ex: http://on.vh1.com/blgM2F

    I’ve since chopped my long locks and have worn my hair short and embraced its stubbornness and it looks so much better.

    When I go to my salon, my buddy Dustin makes me look really good and the texture wax/paste stuff he uses holds SUPER well, but I’m a college student on a tight budget. I’ve been very happy with various Garnier Fructis products and have used most from their styling line, but always come back to their “Surf Hair” matte texture cream.

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    My hair is super thick and curly but I have a need to have a shag hair cut. So I get my hairs cut every few months by a professional because the last time I cut my own hair I ended up shaving my entire head and had to answer questions about it at work where I answer the door and scare people daily.

    For my hairs I use a blow dryer then once the hair is dry I straighten. After that I normally use a bit of texture which I can’t recall the name of but it smells good. Then I use a bit of hairspray to hold it. Literally just one spray so it doesn’t get crunchy. And after all this work I just mess it up a bit.

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    So I got my hair cut off last month and it makes me feel so awesome, like I could dropkick a building.

    My hair’s pretty fine, but I use the Big shampoo from Lush and it is pretty much magic. Also I use this Sumotech shit from Bumble and Bumble for volume/to keep my bangs pushed forward.

    Now I just have to get my hair cut more than twice a year which is difficult considering my fear of people/spending lots of money all at once.

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    I have one of those things where it’s long and side-swoopy on the top, very short all around and contains a tiny little tail at the back. You know, like in the 90’s. I don’t know, my girlfriend did it.

    Typically I let it air dry with a little bit of leave-in in it (cause it is naturally curly and will puff and wave like crazy if i don’t) and then just finish with some glosser and a shot of hairspray. However, this offers varying results. Some days I feel very confident other days I feel like ‘how did my bangs develop this finger-wave look? I wanted the opposite of this.’

    Additionally, I recommend not using the Axe brand of styling products. While they have cute instructions, commercials and smell good, they all make your hair sticky. And no one wants sticky hair. Ew.

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    I used to have curly Jew hair, but then I donated it and got an alt-lifestyle haircut–kind of a pixie with longer stuff on top.

    I was hoping to pull off a La Roux-do, but soon discovered that curly hair, bike helmets, and fauxhawks do not mix. Whoops.

    So for now, I mostly stick with trying to flatten it and avoid the worst case scenario: Einstein x Poodle.
    And I wear a black felt hat of +10 Gayness.

    What do you other curly girlies do?

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        You have to embrace your curl, and find the right product. Look for shampoo without sulfate. This dries your hair out. Most shampoo found in stores have sulfate in them. I use green tea shampoo from Trader Joe’s, FC5 shampoo/conditioner from Arbonne and when I’m being cheap I use Tresemme Ultra Moisturizer for Curly Hair and John Freida Frizz Ease Dream Curls spray. Do not comb out your hair ever. Never use a comb or brush it will frizz out and ruin the curls. Just run fingers through it after a shower. To set the curls if I’m going to be out for awhile I have Frizz Ease hair spray. I really spend about 4 minutes on my hair. Tops.

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          @ Nikki99: My hair started curling sometime around high school but I thought it/I was straight until I got to college, and had several epiphanies. I embrace the day my hair curled, although it’s definitely been a journey. My hair gets curlier the longer it gets, so it’s basically a Short Bieber right now, but ‘ll probably get ringlets back around April if I can hide my scissors for that long.

          @Jules: I’m currently using Real Solutions Frizz Free shampoo and some Brazilian leave-in conditioner because they were both cheap [and sulfate/silicone free] at Big Lots. I currently have 5 bottles, because I know I’ll never be able to find it anywhere ever again. Isn’t product hunting for curly hair an absolute nightmare/adventure?

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          re: nightmare/adventure, TRUTH. Most products I like end up being discontinued after about a year.

          I use matrix shampoo and conditioner (SO expensive, SO worth it) although I am looking for a cheaper alternative. I’ve found that use hair oils actually works quite well, like John Freida hair serum (something like that, comes in a small purple bottle, is basically for putting oil back in your hurrs). Also garnier smoothing milk is nice for not-frizzing, and I like either their curl scrunching cream or herbal essences’ lavender one.

          Also my hair did not become curly til I was about 13 too! I like to blame puberty.

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          I used to use one of the Garnier Fructis hair serums and I was in love with their smoothing milk, but their “fruit micro-waxes” make me break out, and I’m trying to avoid looking entirely like a teenaged boy, so…yeah.

          But I LOVE having soft, touchable hair because Fact: ladies pretty much can’t keep their hands off a girl with shiny soft hair. THAT’s the best thing about hair serums/oilz. ^_^

          So since I’m a skint hippie, I usually fake it with a little of whatever cruelty-and-petroleum-byproduct-free lotion I can find at Big Lots or in the clearance bin at Good Earth. In my hair. Applied too much hand lotion? Just rub your hands all over your head. Works great for bed-head. Last year I had great results with a cardamom mint foot lotion…but it got discontinued. Alas.

          This probably breaks about a million rules of cosmetology, but whatever. I can misuse cosmetics because I took O=CHem in college. 3:D

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          I agree that it’s all about the embracing instead of fighting the curl. I’m half Greek (from mom) yet blonde (from dad) so it was a bit of a shocker to I think everyone when my hair decided to go suuuuper wavy in jr. high (before that I looked like every other wasp on the block). I spent all of high school with awkward poofy blow dried hair, then got to college and discovered straightening irons, then ruined my hair for a few years doing that.

          My jr year the girl I was secretly in love with (in my sorority, no less) introduced me to scrunching my hair w mousse/gel and I’ve never looked back. For someone like me who has NO hair styling skills whatsoever, just scrunching it when it is wet and letting it air dry is amazing because it looks styled while remaining the most low-maintenance look EVAR.

          And my hair is super long right now because I can’t afford a cut (not to mention I think I’d look horrendous w short hair), and the longer it gets the nicer the waves look because they fall out and get softer instead of Annie-like high curls. All in all broke + lack of skill = a look that works for me! (oh and I’m “femme” I suppose…even though I don’t call myself that, to most of the world I appear straight which’s funny cuz i’m so so GHEY)

          So love your wavy hair…put some gel/mousse/cream whatever in it, then maybe a little shine serum to tame the frizzies.

          Bonus: if you scrunch it while wet then put it up into a loose bun and pull some tendrils down, it really looks styled. I do that when I’m going to nice events or wearing a dress/heels and it fools everyone.

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          @Petra: Ooh so I was thinking if I did cut it short it’s not like it would be difficult to maintain straightening it cause I’d just put a bit of product and there wouldn’t be a whole lot to straighten anyways right? I was thinking of some fauxhawk thing OR do a total Jenny cut (you know in the episode where Shane cut off all her hair – Could I potentially pull it off…potentially?
          You seem to be the hair expert therefore I’m asking you

          @radiogirl: Blame puberty for everything! Not only the destraightening of you hair but of your sexuality =P

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          @Nikki99: I think it kind of depends how your curls react to being cut short. For people with hair like mine,it usually gets curlier as it gets longer. Mine waves to my ears, then starts to spiral and the curls get tighter towards the end. With me at least, I haven’t had too many problems with short hair, but it’s taken me a couple months to find a cut that works welldone a lot of thinning because otherwise I have Wolverine hair. Short choppy layers are great!

          I loved Jenny’s short haircut–it was so lovely and severe.

          I think you could definitely pull off a short cut. Definitely think it through though…growing hair back is a lengthy business!

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          It’s sooo nerve-wracking! If I dye you hair it’s okay because worse comes to worse you can dye it back. If you cut it, ya it’ll grow back, but it’ll take forever! If I manage to do it, I sure will put up a picture!

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          NIKKI GUESS WHAT. I am also getting my hair cut tomorrow, in exactly… 16 hours? I can’t count. But I’m excited, and glad we can share this special moment together. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone but you.

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    So I love these cuts…on other girls. I am a little too femme to pull off such a short do as those fauxhawks/I did that short of hair in 7th grade and still haven’t recovered from, as Jenny Schecter would say, that monstrosity, although I think these cuts are awesomely hot. Suggestions for a little bit longer hair (hovering a little above or below shoulder length), but still with alternative lifestyle style?

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    I love my hair buzzed. It’s SO EASY! I wash it (axe shampoo) and use aloe instead of conditioner. No product, no maintainence, and best of all? Girls can’t resist rubbing my head … which can lead to rubbing other things :)

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    All I do with my hair is shampoo then blowdry. I’ll push my fringe out off the way if it gets in my eyes. Thats it. I’ve got the Bieber/Sara Quin. It’s the first style that works for me so whatever. Get it cut once a month depending on if I’ve the money- I’m actually due a cut now. Its poker straight but I long for wavy hair. My sister has wavy hair and I’m filled with envy most times I look at her.

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    My most recent haircut was not what I had expected. I had been growing my hair out for 3 years and I was going to chop it off and donate it. The skinny bitch hairdresser started cutting the back of my hair so I couldn’t donate what had been more than enough to donate.

    Before I almost knocked into next week, I made her stop and comb all the long hair into a ponytail and chop it off. I was going to donate something. I end up with that Joan Jett / Kristen Stewart like shag and a small ponytail to donate. Lucky for the hairdresser.

    I hate getting my hair cut. It’s like a traumatic experience and bad hairdressers just make it worse. That was a nice vent.

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      You can use just about anything on your head, but it might not work so well as a tool intended for haircutting. I’ve used a lady topiary trimmer to buzz the back of my neck before, but that was kind of a last-ditch-effort.

      For using a beard trimmer like a hair-cutting razor, I think it would depend on the thickness of your hair and the quality/sharpness of the razor. Plus, most beard trimmers cost about the same as an actual hair-cutting razor, so if you’re looking to buy, I’d say just go for the hair razor.

      Unless you already own a beard trimmer for…other purposes?

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    “For some of us – especially those considering the transition to a haircut that will be less popular at Thanksgiving dinner – this can be intimidating.”

    Somehow no matter what I do to my hair, someone at Thanksgiving absolutely loves it. Maybe I just have a cool grandma?

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    I got my hair cut short about four months ago. I had just moved to a new place and was wandering around downtown and found a cool looking salon so I stopped and talked with the guy. I told him I basically wanted a professional dyke cut that looked like his haircut and he understood what I meant, so then I brought a picture I got from tumblr that I really liked to the appointment and it worked brilliantly and I can rock the fauxhawk now.

    I have thick curly hair, I get it trimmed every 4-6 weeks now and use some paste stuff from garnier to style it.

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      I realize I’m about four months late to this game… but do you happen to have the link for the tumblr picture that worked for you? I have thick, curly hair as well and can’t find a way to explain the type of fauxhawk I want to stylists.

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        That tumblr has since been taken down and I don’t remember if the picture showed up on any other tumblrs. But if you troll some of the lesbian tumblr’s you should be able to find something you like and just take a picture of it in with you so the stylist knows what you’re looking for.

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    Omg! I’m so excited about this thread! I love hair, I love my hair, and I love talking about hair. I especially love letting people (girls) touch my hair, but that’s a different thing that we all understand here.
    Ever since the age of 18 when I discovered how wonderfully light my head feels and how sexy I feel when I cut and thin my hair, I haven’t been able to stop. For the past 6 or 8 months I’ve been sporting the Sara Quin short cut, and it’s been good to me, that’s what everyone says, at least. But I’ve been letting my hair grow out, I’m getting back into the long hair thing. With the right product and style, long hair can look as good as the alternative lifestyle cut. I’m gonna rock the hell out of it! I’ll even show you guys later :)
    I LOVE shine and softness. Having soft hair makes it difficult for girls to resist touching your hair. Any girl. Seriously. Trust me. And the best product for shine and softness is most definitely Bed Head – After Party. Fo sho! It even smells so good. Yeah, it’s like 17 to 20 bucks, but it’s the best 17 to 20 bucks I spend every 2 months or so.
    Unfortunately that’s the only product that I can recommend to use 100%. Shampoos and conditioners, I dunno. What I’ve learned is that it’s not really the shampoo or conditioner, but the water. Soft water makes your hair look and feel better than hard water does.
    If you’re going for texture, I would say to go for Bed Head – Hard to Get.
    I’m not all about Bed Head, I don’t work for the company or anything, but I have tried a lot of products and their products tend to do what they say they’ll do without any nastiness. The problem with most texture products is that they leave your hair feeling…not appealing.

    Can anyone recommend any leave in conditioners? I’ve never tried any before but I’m curious about them.
    Oh yeah, my hair type. I’m half hispanic so I naturally have a me-fro (mexican fro) and I have to tame it every morning, but I do have natural wave and it’s very thick. Thinning scissors are my best friends, but I don’t trust anyone with my hair other than my stylist, Candice :)

    See? I told you I can talk a lot when it comes to hair.

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    i’m digging the shaved sides thing, but i have the longest, narrowest face known to humankind so i gotta keep the sides longish. or move to england where my ancestors are from so i don’t look like such an alien.

    right now i’m rocking the justin bieber aka the overgrown pixie.

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    Oh hello, this is my favorite topic! I have had alternative lifestyle hair for a decade now and I have learned many things!

    1. My hair is naturally curly and I have to accept that.
    2. In the winter I can flatiron it and it’ll be fine but OH MY GOD NOT IN THE SUMMER. No sir.
    3. I have to get it cut every 5-6 weeks to maintain its delightful shortness.

    This summer I finally embraced my crazy hair and have been sporting some sort of weird asymmetrical curly awesome thing on top of my head, keeping the back and sides short, and that’s been working out well. I try to wash it every other day and I’m obsessed with Bumble & Bumble’s curl conscious defining creme and also their Surf Spray for texture. I use different B&B stuff in the winter when I want to straighten it.

    I’m lucky though, I have had the same stylist for years and she’s not only just generally a hair genius whom I trust implicitly but she also just knows my hair really well. So if you live in NYC you should definitely go to Kristin at the Parlour Brooklyn, located in Greenpoint.

    I LOVE TALKING ABOUT HAAAAIRRR! I am actually getting it cut tomorrow night, very exciting.

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    I went the alterna-doo route about two months ago and I LA LA LOVE IT! I have really thick, curly, course hair and it was impossible to tame long. There was definite possibility that my Sara Quin hair would turn into a cute little afro but it didn’t really. The trick is to not wash it, I know it sounds gross, but the course haired ladies need the natural oils to keep their hair healthy. I seriously haven’t washed my hair in over two weeks and you would never know. Hair kinda gets used to it and looks awesome all the time. Srs, the best hair product there is..

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      I second this completely. I am new to the area and need serious help, considering that the last haircut I got before moving out here is not only grown out, the hairdresser who did it was very perplexed and overcautious when he figured out that I WANTED him to use the clippers.

      So yes, recommendations, please!

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      update! i gave in to my desperate need for a haircut this week and eeny-meeny-miney-moe’d between a couple of yelp-sourced options. i can now safely recommend Rachel at Fusion for all your LA-based alternative lifestyle haircutting needs. she was awesome and receptive and actually listened to me!

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    I love having short hair for the alternative factor, but keeping it up is frustrating. I know my face is better suited with long hair, and I am getting tons of positive feedback as it grows. Is there a way to “alternative up” long hair? As anyone who watched and loved Battlestar Galatica knows, Starbuck in long or short hair could butch up anything, anytime, anywhere. I’m told I look a little like Katee Sackhoff, so I am curious to grow my wavy, blond, crazy-thick hair out and be luxe. I cut my hair off in the first place to rebel from an abusive ex-boyfriend who used to drag me by my hair when he got pissed, and I feel I’ve finally broken free of all that damage. I want to reclaim my long, beautiful hair for me, but I don’t know how.

    Help?

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    To all the girls above with the curly hair.

    I have extremely thick and curly hair with a kind of awkward texture. I’ve had a hairdresser tell me my hair was somewhat a texture you’d see on Indian women.

    I couldn’t ever do anything with it and took the chance of hacking it all off to see what the result was. I was kind of afraid of having to deal with Fro issues. So I had a stylist chop it off into a T&S hairstyle and It wasn’t bad at all. The thing is you need someone who is good at texturing and shaping the hair. And once I started using the straighter everyday on it my hair just became trained or something to be a bit more straighter because it takes me five minute tops to do my hair in the morning before it was a good hour and a half.

    Best product Ive used and only styling product is Redken Rough Paste. It’s a lifesaver.

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    dammit, what if you can’t decide between having longer hair and having real short hair (a la alternative lifestyle )? what’s the answer to that? i’ve thought of just shaving the sides of my head but keeping the rest of it long. i’d let it even grow past my shoulders… but my parents/relatives who i see on almost a daily basis will give me shit for it. (yes, yes, i should suck it up, i know…)

    anyone recommend any good haircut places in the san francisco bay area?

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    i have super thick dark that’s curly/wavy and well, likes to do its own thang. instead of polishing and prepping, i discovered that bedhead was the best solution.

    must-have? brilliantine styling creme by bumble and bumble. no matter how long/short/straight/curly your hair is!

    it’s not very cheap but i buy the little bottles for $12 and keep them in my bag or car as a fix-all.

    besides that, most of their products are pretty magical and they issue refunds for anything you order and don’t like. plus the website’s got awesome inspiration!

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    Hah this thread is epic! I just got my hair done (am I allowed to post a pic? http://imgur.com/ziZ6b if thats ok), I’m femme but I also wanted something to flag (though I still drift riiiiiight under everyones gaydar sigh). Ergo, not sure how useful my contribution is . . . but I have it all in a short, layered bob type thing and add body with hair gel and add texture with wax before spraying some hairspray for hold. It’s cut shorter at the back and longer at the front, so I spike it up a bit at the back. I got it done at Salon Express :D

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    I have a “cycle of hair” that’s been going since I was … about eleven years old. First, I get sick of my hair and cut it really short. Then I forget about it for a couple of months and let it do its thing. Then I get jealous of girls with pretty long braids and decide to grow it out, for reals this time. It gets to maybe a little past shoulder length before the weather gets hot, I get sick of it, and I chop it all off. Shampoo, rinse, and repeat, with maybe some blue dye in between steps.

    But I seriously want to avoid the cycle this time, and actually grow it out. However, I’ve just reached the horrible in-between stage, and I’m itching to do something Super Alternative and Cool with it. It’s about to the nape of my neck now, SLIGHTLY layered so that it’s a bit thicker at the top than at the ends, and I have straight-across bangs. It’s boring me to death here.

    I’ve got really dark hair, fairly thick, wavy, and kind of coarse. What should I do with it at this stage that won’t cost me much progress in growing it out?

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    If the person who’s cutting your hair doesn’t know what undercut is don’t try to explain to them. Find someone who does know or bring a picture.
    Always always always bring a picture of what you want when you’re getting your hair cut. Unless you’re the “number 3 all over” type which looks bad anyways. This is the easiest way for not only your stylist to figure out what you want, but for you to figure out what you really want and know whaty ou’re getting yourself into.

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    I’ve had more than my share of ALHs, including mohawks, undercuts, and when I’m too lazy to cut it and it grows out, mullets.

    How I create mine: haircutting scissors bought on the cheap, lots of finger-crossing that my back comes out even, any kind of trimmer I can get my hands on that tolerates my mega-thick hair, and lots of obnoxious unnatural dyejobs.

    How I keep it: I just trim it whenever I have time, which is like, never. Also, I’m a poor person who doesn’t want/need to go to a hairdresser. Also, I am averse to washing it as it’s thick, dry, colored, and gets all uncooperative post-fresh wash.

    How I care for it: I don’t, except to use pomade or some kind of waxy texturizer post-wash to make it feel dirty again. Which entirely defeats the purpose, ahahaha. I also like to use products intended for ladies of color, as they’re incredibly nourishing for my coarse, dry hair. Also, when I want to look femme, I just throw in some extensions and call it a day.

    Hairtype/style/ethnicity: Thick, straight, dark/short undercut/relatively close to Hispanic.

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    Hey Everyone!! If you have any questions about hair please feel free to stop by at my shop in Williamsburg,, BK -MANETAMED. I specialize in short hairstyles, cut tons of lesbians and gay boys, and am always willing to spice up something hot. Call or stop by w hair questions, i would be glad to answer any! Also I do a lot of bands so i you’re looking for new looks ,,, im all yours! xo

    M

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    My hair is sort of an ongoing experiment; whenever it starts bothering me, I hand someone girl a pair of scissors and tell her it’s okay if she messes it up, as long as it gets shorter. My really straight friend was afraid of cutting my hair, so I grabbed those boy hair trimmer things, in a setting A LOT SHORTER THAN I THOUGHT THEY WERE, and cut off all the hair on the left side of my head. Undercuts actually look great as they grow back, and they grow back really quickly, so don’t be afraid of them.
    I’ve currently got a choppy “this was literally cut by a lesbian I just met in the dorm kitchen at midnight” look, and it is perfect and I love it and don’t have to style it at all.

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    So glad I found this it is a lifesaver. If anyone is reading this (please be reading this) I’m getting my hair chopped off tomorrow for the first time and I’m really nervous. What if it doesn’t work on me? What if I end up wanting to grow it out again? What if people think it looks stupid or crack jokes about it over the aforementioned Thanksgiving dinner? What do I do with it once I have it? I’ve been wanting a really short alternative lifestyle haircut for a while now, but now I have all these questions. Is it normal to be nervous? I’m also wondering what haircuts would look best with strawberry blond thick not-quite-straight-but-not-wavy-either hair. I have a few in mind but I haven’t really settled on a particular one yet. Any suggestions or consolations of how it’ll be fine, everyone gets nervous would be much appreciated.

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