Experimenting with your hair is one of the only ways you’re able to truly ~express~ yourself as a teen. When you’re stuck in a bright blue school uniform, forced to learn the wonders of trigonometry, your hair-do is your stark, frizzy message to the world explaining who exactly you are.
However, because teens lack the logic and reason that generally develops into adulthood, a lot of these choices probably wreaked a heck-tonne of damage on our precious locks. The stress-induced trauma from years of OTT-hair straightener usage, botched home-bleach jobs and hacking away at our locks with kitchen scissors is honestly something that keeps me up at night.
There is a shred of comfort in remembering this one constant – hair grows back. And because it grows back, we get endless do-overs to treat it with the TLC it deserves (with the help of natural products, luxe scrunchies, and you know, not using box-dye from the chemist) to help restore it to its natural, glowing form.
So, if I’ve sent you into enough of a high school nostalgia-induced dissociation, here’s a look at a few ~questionable~ styling choices from yesteryear that’ll have you thanking yourself for that deep hydrating conditioner mask you did last night.
The Scene Queen
“So at the peak of my teen emo career, I decided to cut my hair with the kitchen scissors, to achieve that iconic Scene Queen look, because I knew deep in my soul that no hairdresser in my tiny coastal town would be brave enough to do it (this was before all the hairdressers started doing wild colours and stuff, what a time). So armed with the kitchen shears and Alexisonfire blaring on my laptop speakers, I did this.” – Courtney
“This is me in Year 9, which would have been 2003. The go-to hairstyle for young blokes back then was the whole ‘spiked at the front’ thing, which is what I was trying to pull off here.”
“I went through an unholy amount of gel for the few years I sported this “look” and had absolutely no clue I looked like the goddamn Sherminator from American Pie. Thank god I grew into those ears.” – Matt
The Scene King
“This is also me circa 2008, the height of my scene phase. I used to use mum’s straightener to really get the fringe pumping. What a time.” – Matt
“4ever was HUGE when I was doing my VCE, so naturally I wanted to emulate The Veronicas‘ look. The rat-chewed mullet/ chunky foil look was literally on every girl’s head at the time, so you bet I took a photo into the salon (an actual Kodak photo, phone tech was not up to scratch back in 2006)” – Shannon
“My friends and I had just started a band and I wanted to fully embrace being an edgy punk boy, so I decided to shave my hair into a mohawk, lol. I was sent to the hairdressers to get it fixed within seconds of showing up to school.” – Max
The Manic Pixie Bob
“I don’t regret this haircut from my teens, but I admit it’s not a fashionable look. I liked having a fringe, and I think I wanted a pixie cut as well but was afraid to go all out and cut my hair off. So I had my hair cut into a bob, with bangs.”
“I think I wanted to differentiate myself from the rest of the senior school, where the approved look was dead-straight long hair, including hair extensions. I was edgy and liked books and music (I was just arrogant) because I got a pixie dream girl bob. Yikes.”
“My best friend Jess and I went through a strong manic panic phase. I dare only speak for myself here, but I can safely say I sorely missed the seapunk mark and landed on Christmas tree instead, complete with bauble buns here.” – Mina
Hairdressers, if you’re reading this, I apologise. Although these hair-dos are probably second-hand cringeworthy, it’s easy to forget how good they made us feel at the time.
Trying out new vibes with your hair is always fun, but, keeping it healthy and giving it a good old detox after severe wear and tear is a must. We often forget to include haircare in our self care routines, but seriously, after the years of chemical stress we’ve put it under it’s probably a good time to start.