NEVER HIT SKIP: The Albums That Are Too Good To Skip Through…Yes, Even That One Song.

It’s diary time! I wasn’t sure what to write about for a while; I have, however, recently made a playlist of some of my favorite albums: albums that I cannot bear to hit “skip” on. Do I not like singles? Or just one song? No, of course I do! But – liking a whole album in its entirety is a special thing, I think. I’m a big fan of albums that I can listen to from bottom to top, backwards & forwards, through & through & through. To me, it’s the ultimate sign that I will never stop listening to ___ album; that I’ll associate it with important events or people. These albums, in their entirety, provide a rush of emotion & color.

Some other contributing factors? Well, I have synesthesia, though it’s not crazy powerful. I can’t see colors in front of my eyes when I hear a single note, but I associate colors & textures with certain songs, pieces, or albums. If I hear a song, piece, or album & immediately start strongly associating it with various colors, moods, textures, color scales, etc., I know that I’ve found an album that speaks very strongly to me. Same goes with crying, believe it or not – oftentimes, I think one of the best signs that an album is a good one is that it prompts emotion. I’m all about music being an emotional outlet, & I listen to all types. They all provide me with relief, joy, happiness, melancholy…anything that I am feeling, I can find some music that helps me put a soundtrack to my life, no matter how happy or sad it is in that moment.

I listen to all types of music – a lot of classical, really. Makes sense, given my music background, but if I shared a top ten list of classical albums that I like & told you why, you’d be still reading, 12 hours later. It would take forever, & that’s what I use my musicology classes for. However – if you’re interested in getting some classical recs, don’t be afraid to hit me up on my socials! (Instagram, Twitter

Here I present: The Top Ten Albums I Can’t Hit Skip On (& Why) ***in no particular order. Also: here’s my Spotify. Feel free to follow me, check out my playlists, or do both! Or…do none. ALSO: I’ll be putting a few personal photos after each mini review of each album. Some will be photos of me listening to ____ album while doing something; some will be photos of things I associate with ___ album. Enjoy!!!!!!!

Some Nights – fun. 

fun-some-nights-album-cover-art-640x640.jpg

I was quite young when this album came out. I remember being at Interlochen Arts Academy Summer Music Camp as a violin student & going to “mixers” (you know the deal) & hearing the song “We Are Young (ft. Janelle Monae.” That’s when I first started associating it with positive events in my life. I continued on to hear the whole album. When I left Interlochen, heartbroken, (as one is after summer camp) the sadder songs served as emotional outlets. The fast-paced ones let me go on long bike rides. It was one of the first pop albums I listened to through & through – & I cried more than once. Okay, maybe I still do…but remember: tears while listening to or playing music are okay!

My favorites? Well…”We Are Young” of course. I adore the “Some Nights – Intro,” & how it seamlessly melds into Some Nights, the song itself. There’s an incredible amount of emotion bottled up in both those songs – both extraordinary opposites when it comes to style, but lyrically, almost identical. “Out On The Town – Bonus Track” is another favorite. One of those melancholy breakup songs you can cry to.

As a whole, this album incorporates a lot of different instruments & sounds, as well as featuring other artists. It works as an album, & all the songs work by themselves, too. It’s emotional, exposed, & I fondly think back to my 15 year old self when I turn it up loud once & a while.

FullSizeRender.jpg-31.jpeg
15-year-old Sofia was a strange bird.

808s & Heartbreak – Kanye West 

680ca00f36d13c7d08fee5d3e882a5fb.1000x1000x1.jpg
Obsessed with everything surrounding 808s & Heartbreak – did you know that the cover art was designed by Virgil Abloh (designer, DJ, & founder of fashion label Off-White), Willo Perron (a disciplinary director & designer)  & drawn by pop artist Kaws? The album also heavily features the Roland-TR 808 drum machine – hence the inclusion of “808s.” What Kanye didn’t know until he’d already figured out the album’s name, however, was that Hawaii’s area code is 808 – & the Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii is where Kanye recorded the majority of this album.

Everyone fights me on this – but I truly do think that 808s is Kanye’s best album. Again – lots of raw, pent-up emotion. Kanye, for the first time, actually sang…but used auto-tune. This provides a somewhat distant, robotic effect while contrasting with the emotional lyrics & melancholy background music. It’s eerie in the best way possible. My favorites are…all of them, really. “Say You Will” & “Paranoid” are almost complete opposites, but I love the lyrics & drive behind both of them. My favorite, of course, is “RoboCop” – I don’t know what it is about this song, but it speaks to me. It’s very colorful – lots of neon lights, blue lights, disco balls…that kind of a mood. “Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live)” is also a great one: it truly is a live performance; there are cracks & dips in Kanye’s voice, & screaming fans sometimes make the lyrics hard to hear. Some are annoyed by it. I, however, love it. It reminds me of the sensation of performing; what it’s like to perform at your most raw in front of huge crowds. It’s an adrenaline rush, & it’s bitter-sweet.

I hadn’t heard this album until around November of last year (2016). I was going through a rough emotional time & there were a lot of lonesome listening sessions with this album in my ears. It brings back a lot of bitter memories, with a tang of sweetness. It’s funny how sometimes, frightening & overwhelming things can happen to you…but they turn into an elaborate memory, reflecting feelings, smells, foods, & so many more things that you thought of or consumed or felt at that time. So: I’ll say it once, & I will say it twice – I’ll say it 100 times if I must. 808s & Heartbreak is Kanye West’s greatest album.

Pure Heroine – Lorde 

815U3MK2jrL._SL1500_.jpg

Okay. My obession with Lorde started when I heard her first song on the radio, late sophomore year of high school. That song, of course, was “Royals” – I looked up the music vidoe & was struck by this tiny, intense, curly-haired girl with a stare that could kill. The super minimalistic visuals of the video intrigued me, too. Lorde was mysterious, & so was her album – Pure Heroine is a teenager’s album, filled with an assurance, a sense of command, confidence, & times of freedom – & frustration. Her lyrics are rich. There is so much to dive in when looking at Pure Heroine. I dove in, alright. People started telling me I looked like Lorde: greeny-blue eyes, fair skiny, bushy, long hair…I embraced it & started putting on purple lipstick (the cheapest one I could find; a dark violet Revlon lipstick from my grocery shop’s cosmetic aisle), fluffing up my hair by letting it air-dry, wearing black, & developing a resting bitch face. I owe it to Lorde for people telling me I seem scary – I also owe her for helping me win my music school auditions. Songs like “Bravado,” “Tennis Court,” & “Swingin Party” helped me remember that I was worth something – they also allowed me to let my stress & emotions wash through me, rather than consume me. It was the soundtrack on airplanes, car rides – everywhere I went. I had finally found someone who was a “pop star” that I could identify with. She was human, she was odd, she danced weird. She didn’t care – & people loved her for that. Lorde was one of the best musical discoveries of my teenage years – no two ways about it.

FullSizeRender.jpg-27.jpeg
Yup – I dressed as Lorde for Halloween when I was 16. My proudest high school accomplishment? Winning “best celebrity lookalike” & being compared to Lorde. An exciting Moment In History.

Harry Styles – Harry Styles

Harry-Styles-album-art-2017-billboard-1240.jpg

Need I say more? I am what they’d call “a Harrie” – meaning, Harry Styles was my favorite One Direction member. I followed 1D’s every move when they were touring & recording – when I got sick, I asked to meet them through Make A Wish…& when I (most luckily) got the chance to do so, I ran straight to Harry. I have a tattoo on me that he drew for me. His fashion is something that truly inspires & encourages me to develop my own style. His kindness & love for the LGBT community is something I hold close to my heart, too.

As you might be able to tell: I’m a big fan, yes. Yes – of course I went to see Dunkirk! (It was good just as a film, too. Don’t worry) Of course I bought his album. Of course I’ll be seeing him on tour next year! 

But, seriously. I was extraordinarily excited for Harry’s solo album. I wanted to hear more of his individual vocals & lyricism – & oh boy, did I get both! Some of the album sounds like classic British pop or rock. Others, like “Carolina” (which is about me, by the way…I’m Townes), are a bit of a tongue-in-cheek country song; “Woman” is an odd yet satisfying experience. Nothing can beat that quack noise in the background (but really, it’s a lovely song). I especially feel close to “From The Dining Table.” The lyrics are simple, but it feels like Harry is very up close to the mic – I almost get ASMR tingles when I listen to the song with the volume up. The subtle harmonies that actually do reach a climax contribute both to the delicacy & the power the song has. As for “Kiwi,” well…need I say it? HAVING YOUR BABY!!! NONE OF YOUR BUSINES-

FullSizeRender.jpg-29.jpeg
Taken while listening to “Two Ghosts.”
FullSizeRender.jpg-28.jpeg
Taken while playing “Woman” – look! I have hair!
FullSizeRender.jpg-30.jpeg
On my IG: taken while listening to “From The Dining Table”

Depression Cherry – Beach House 

beachhouse-depressioncherry-900.jpg

Now…who doesn’t love some Beach House? Yes, some of their songs kind of do sound the same after a while (with some excellent exceptions), but the focus on background music playing just as large (if not larger) a role as the vocalists is extremely striking. Definitely a great album to listen to when crying. The lyrics can be hard to hear at times; the music can really get that loud & sometimes words are slurred for effect. If you really want the real deal, look up the lyrics before bed, then turn off your lights & have some melancholy me time.

This sounds like I’m bashing the album – I swear I’m not! Each of these songs is special to me. Another great album I was listening to through my tough time in November. “Space Song” is on every aesthetic Instgram video ever, but that doesn’t make it not good – I’m still not annoyed! I would say that my two favorites are “Levitation” & “10:37.” In “Levitation,” strings give texture & urgency to the line, while the gentle vocals allow the listener to lay back. The lyrcis are beautiful, but can be hard to hear, like I said. In “10:37,” the gentle but steady drum beat(s) provide comfort & safety; the vocals contribute to it. It’s a warm, gentle song – a beautiful experience.

IMG_8418
Back at home for Christmas break was my prime time for Depression Cherry… 
IMG_8407
….& even before I left, the dark days & oddly glowing sunsets of winter, coupled with my blue mood…made Depression Cherry a soundtrack of my life at that moment in time.

Blonde – Frank Ocean

ccc0894094b9a3cbb47a45ec0c69b1f0.1000x1000x1.jpg
The album that made me want to die my hair this color (I’m only kidding a tiny, tiny bit)

Well – of course! I was first sucked into the Frank Ocean hype when “Super Rich Kids” was everywhere – but it’s been years, & we’d all been clamoring for the next album. It even became a meme. The wait was worth it, though: all of these songs boast a variety of styles & effects. In “Nikes,” for example, Frank’s voice is sped up. It heavily contrasts with “Futura Free,” in which Frank sings in his natural voice about how lucky he has been – but also about how hard he has worked, & how he & his family deserve what he’s gotten thanks to the talent he possesses. “Be Yourself,” a track simply consisting of a recorded voicemail message from someone’s mother, calling her child at a university. The mother is telling her child not to “do that cocaine” or marijuana, & warns the child about “weedheads” & the danger of alcohol. Of course – substance abuse is always going to be a “thing” for parents talking to their children…& yes, you should be careful with what you put in your body. In this context, however, the 1:29 track is simply a humorous interlude to some more intense tracks.

Overall, Blonde was worth the wait – truly! It combines angst with humor; rapid sequences of lyrics along with one or two words repeated for a single track. There’s something for everyone in this album – & all of it is for me.

IMG_4983.jpg
September 2016 – last year, basically. I even played Blonde in my elevator.

IMG_4744.JPG

ANTI – Rihanna 

56b248be1800006f0080b36e.jpeg
Oooh. Yes.

I’ll admit – it took me a full year to really get into ANTI. I didn’t understand the flow of the tracks at first…still, I kept coming back to it. In the end, Rih did not disappoint – when does she ever? Famous features like SZA & Drake pique the interest of other fan bases – & yes, the songs with those two are great. In fact, it’s how I found out about SZA. Songs like “Desperado,” “Needed Me,” “Pose,” & “Sex With Me” are some real anthems of empowerment; of the beauty of independence; of the marvel of self love. Meanwhile, tracks like “Love On The Brain” are for the tenderest of moments; it feels much older than it actually is. Then – what better song to listen to than “Kiss It Better” with your crush, just to give you that extra boost of confidence….? Try it.

It’s a good album. I’m very sorry it took me that long to appreciate. But now, I appreciate it with all my heart. That counts, right?

IMG_7936.JPG
The real hours of ANTI – adequately expressed in this sign in a restaurant.

Yeezus – Kanye West 

1371303187954-cached-e1407533523360.jpg

I only knew about Kanye West from the Katy Perry song more than a few years back: “E.T.” Oh – I knew about & liked “Mercy,” but he only had a few verses in it; it was more of a collaboration type of deal.

I heard about the Yeezus album on – believe it or not – NPR. Yup! Fresh Air (an NPR show) didn’t interview Kanye, but they did play one song: “Bound 2.” That was the first song that I truly ever heard Kanye as a solo artist, not a collaborator. I was intrigued by the mixing of retro tracks with new verses by Kanye himself. I loved the cover art. I was…taken aback by the music video Kanye made with Kim Kardashian (I was still young…okay?). But most of all, I was intrigued. That’s when I really started getting into listening to beats of songs. Yeezus flows exquisitely well, in my opinion. There are some intense – almost horrifically intense – songs like “On Sight,” or “Black Skinhead.” There are others like “Hold My Liquor” – this song combines some of the melancholy heard on 808s with a heavy, sometimes screeching beat, along with aggressive yet emotionally expressive lyrics. I was intrigued at how “Bound 2” seemed to be a goodbye to the world; a hello to his wife (wait, were they married then?) & the children they would soon be having. I like to think of it as a great depiction of how meeting someone you truly end up loving makes you feel – normal things are beautiful. “Red cups on the lawn,” not telling your mom, speaking about infidelity as well as loyalty. It depicts a faulty yet loving relationship, in my opinion – sure, told from the standpoint of a man, but nevertheless, Kanye’s right – sometimes you don’t remember the day you first met; that’s okay. It’s also okay to write a song about it being okay.

IMG_3608.JPG
The days of Yeezus – especially “Bound 2” were in the Adirondack mountains, summer of 2015.

Mind of Mine – Zayn Malik 

R-8237510-1457716367-8945.jpeg.jpg

Zayn Malik has not been…the most politically correct these past few years, let us say. He was the rogue – left One Direction, broke all our hearts, & went out & got cozy with Gigi Hadid, reinvented the importance of Twitter celebrity feuds – & released an album that knocked me speechless.

No, I’m not a fan of all Zayn has said & done. But his album is objectively good – “Pillowtalk” was a great single – both visually & musically appealing. His track organization was meticulous; each song flows into the next – literally. Each song ends with the beginning of the next song. Like I’ve already said – I have a weakness for that kind of album style. Each & every song from the album is pleasant to listen to, but all together they are a journey.

“Pillowtalk” will always be iconic for me…but “dRuNk” (thank you, quirky type style), “INTERMISSION: fLoWer,” “BLUE,” “BRIGHT,” & “SHE DON’T LOVE ME” all touch me in different ways. It’s a good album to listen to when you’re in your feelings. Zayn’s been flying quite low since he dropped his album & did a promo tour…who knows what he’s up to? I certainly don’t – but I do know that Mind of Mine is an excellent album with a great flow.

IMG_6935.jpg

At arcades, blasting Mind of Mine.

Melodrama – Lorde 

00-square-lorde-album-art.jpg

Okayyyyy. Another album I waited for as eagerly as I did Frank Ocean’s. No…that’s a lie. I waited even more eagerly for this one. Like I said – Lorde is someone I really identified with – I still do. I wondered if she would be able to capture the sensation of late teens & early adulthood. That was the night before she released “Green Light” as her first single. The next morning, I woke up feeling like I should go dance on top of a car, or a roof…a strange bathroom. It was different, it was new, but it was undoubtedly Lorde. It speaks volumes when an artist’s sound changes subtly yet powerfully. There was no major “rebranding” here – no new lifestyle, no drastic changes. Lorde – or Ella – grew up. She cut her hair, she didn’t wear purple lipstick as much. She went through a big breakup. She vomited outside house parties. She was living & dying – every night. I could identify with that – big time. Melodrama was this year’s summer album, & it’s an album I’ll associate with this specific time for the rest of my life.

As for favorites? When people ask me, I have no idea what to say. They’re all uniquely appealing, & at the end, it depends on what I feel like that day. Sometimes, “Hard Feelings/Loveless” is all my soul needs. Other days, I need to cry to “Liability.” Some days, I want to dance on a rock in the middle of a creek to “Green Light” – & yes, I did that the other day…all by myself. It’s what she would do, isn’t it?

Lorde gave me some real material here – coming-of-age, romanticizing normalities, being more open & vulnurable with those around you. Making closer friends, not trying to increase the volume of friends. Realizing that loneliness can be beautiful, & sometimes a walk (or dance) down your beach/sidewalk/street/nearby mountains all by yourself is exactly what you need.

Lorde cut her hair – so did I. We both experienced crushing life events over the past few years. So did all of you. Lorde’s writing is now infinitely approachable – who doesn’t feel like a liability at least once in a while? What college student can’t relate to “Perfect Places” even in a small way? Why wouldn’t you want to feel dangerous & beautiful by turning up “Sober?” Don’t forget about Supercut – it’s raw, it’s real, it is infinitely emotional.

I was lucky enough to have the money to buy tickets to see Lorde – or should I say…one ticket? That’s right! I’m going by myself, I’m sitting in the nosebleeds, & I wil dance my heart out. It has long been a dream to attend a Lorde concert; I was sad I didn’t have my shit together to do it last time she came around. This time, however, will be better. More songs…more to talk about. I can’t wait. & I love Melodrama. Did I say I love Melodrama?

That’s it for the diary – for now! Let me know via social – or the comments! – what kinds of personal entries you’d enjoy seeing. I love being inspired by you, & I love feedback! Also: tell me your top 10 “never hit skip” albums – or just one album. I’m always looking for new ones.

IMG_9294
5:30 a.m…..
IMG_8567
…9:30 p.m.
IMG_8018.JPG
A “Supercut”

Love,

Sof ❤

Whoops, I Did It Again! Why I Shaved My Head (Again): Diary

Here we are again. I’m bald! History truly does repeat itself.

“Why’d you do it again?” Okay. Well…I had another post all ready to go about shaving my head & how the experience was & how I did it. I didn’t really plan on doing it again so soon (though I knew I would again sometime in the future).

Here’s some backstory on why I shaved my head in the first place (about a year ago: late June of 2016): I really, really wanted a tattoo. I wanted a tattoo so badly!! (side not: stay tuned for a post about my tattoo experience) Thanks to my medications that suppressed my immune system, however (making it difficult to fight off infections), my doctor & my mother (especially my mother) told me to wait. Tattoos don’t have to come now, I was told. Tattoos could wait.

It’s not like I didn’t understand why it would have been unsafe to get a tattoo at that time – I “got it.” But…I was angry that my illness was making it harder for me to do things that I wanted to do. This is just one of many things that is a constant annoyance for me. Yeah, not being able to get a tattoo at that time was super frustrating & I was very mad & sad about it…but it was also the perfect reminder that my illness was stopping me from doing things that others could go about doing without even blinking. Yes, it was just a tattoo…but it was also symbolizing all the other things I couldn’t do without first checking in with my doctor to make sure it was safe. Mostly, the answers to these questions would be “no” or “not yet.” I was a teenager who lived in the moment…so, I did not want to wait.

I kept griping about the tattoo, kept getting blood draws to check my white blood cell count…but nothing. I continued to be grumpy. I was sad about it. Worst of all, I felt helpless & out of control. Like I mentioned before, my illness so often dictates my behavior. That makes me crave (positive!) control when I’m able to get it.

So, June of last year, I was scrolling through my Instagram discover page & started seeing a lot of models – even high fashion ones! – with shaved heads. It immediately clicked for me: this was something I could do to show myself & others that this was still my body & that I still had some control. Plus…it looked really, really, really cool.

Not long after, I grabbed $15, headed to the closest Supercuts, & told the girl to “take it all off.” I got a lot of adrenaline. I got a bit nervous. But did I have second thoughts? Nope!!! As soon as I felt clippers on my head I felt lighter; more carefree. It was amazing.

A few months later, I checked my blood results & saw that…my counts were high enough to get my tattoo! Of course, I did it ASAP – also something I have no buyer’s remorse over. I started to just let my hair grow (without trimming it or stressing over it) & even got one more tattoo.

In terms of health, I’ve been in quite a bad condition since March – even before. In addition, I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis related to my Crohn’s Disease – something that took away my first & foremost dream: to finish a degree in violin performance & go on to be a professional musician.

That dream was yanked from my hands (read my piece about it here if you have further interest!), & I was heartbroken about it. It is probably the largest, most important thing that my illness has taken away from me. I stopped playing in April, once my semester was over, & slowly but surely began to feel lost, unlike myself, unsure of my future, & a whole lot of other things. None of them were good.

A straw broke the camel’s back this past week. I had 3 appointments with 3 different doctors – & I got some very frightening news from one. I was reminded by this doctor that “Crohn’s has taken everything from you” (no shit!) & that she, the doctor, would make it better if I would listen to the frightening & overwhelming advice she hit me with.

I cried all the way home; I got into a screaming match with my mother. I was in quite a state. I felt like yet again, I’d had my own life & body yanked from my hands…by both my illness & by the way my doctor presented me with options. I felt empty again. I felt sad. I felt scared. Sounds familiar.

So, once more, I grabbed $15, went to my local Supercuts, & shaved my almost-bob-length hair down to a 2”. It was like I could feel stress, worry, & sadness melting away from me – dropping to the ground like my strands of hair. I left feeling worlds better. Did I forget the stress of the previous days? Of course not. I did, however, feel less stressed about the previous days.

IMG_8014.JPG
A post-buzz (this time around) selfie immediately after – so, right on the curb outside Supercuts

Again – it was like I was telling the world: “Hey!!!! This is me! This is my body, my hair, & my illness. I can do what I like.”

That seems unrealistic, but honestly, it’s true. I could stop taking medications tomorrow. I could get a tattoo whenever I wanted. I could eat the foods that aren’t healthy for my digestion. I could do all of that. I might become more ill because of that behavior, but I could do it if I wanted to.

Knowing that, & rubbing my hand over my velvety-soft head, I started to feel calmer. I could think with clarity. I started approaching my situation with a more objective, rational mindset. All in all, the feeling of control I got from buzzing my head reminded me that, no matter what, I hold the reins.

That’s some pretty heavy stuff! However, shaving my head isn’t entirely because of my health situation. Although I did it because I felt frustrated by the lack of control I possessed, once I shaved my head, I also started to enjoy how it made me feel, how it encouraged me to stop stressing over the way I choose to label myself (I just say I’m LGBT!), & how it allowed me to play around with makeup & clothing in new, experimental ways. It changed my style, & it even changed my demeanor. I loved it. I feel the same way this time around.

FullSizeRender.jpg-13.jpeg
Hospital glamming it up in a surgeon’s office. No hair, lots of confidence

So: I’ll always feel helpless in some situations, thanks to my illness…but I’ll also always have the option to express my frustration, my anger, my sadness, my joy – any emotion! – with my hair. Because it’s hair. It doesn’t hurt or help me. It’s just hair.

You might ask if people judged me, called me ugly, or something along those lines. The answer? I was asked a couple times: “did you do a Britney?”

…Maybe? Britney Spears shaved her head when she was in a bad mental place. I would guess she craved control, too. I don’t really have the answer to that – but I can say that both times that I’ve shaved my head, I, too, was in a stressful mental (& physical) situation. I did it to release, & I have had no regret over how my release turned out.

My family was a little confused, but they came to understand. I got some rude anons in my inbox (who doesn’t), I got some double takes from people I passed on the street, & I was called “sir” a few times. None of that bothered me. I felt free, I felt like myself – & I had some control.

It’s just hair, & it also is more than hair. My hair, or lack thereof, is a reminder that ultimately, this is my body, my choice. I call the shots. Whether the result of the shots I call are harmful is my business, & no one else’s.

I have a lot of decisions to make in the next few weeks (even days). Right now, though, I’m living in the moment, content with the fact that I could go out & do something dramatic, expressive, & liberating without having to worry about how my body would react to it.

Bald Sof is Sof at her most vulnerable, most emotional, most confident. “But you looked so pretty with all that hair!” Guess what: I did! I also look very pretty without “all that hair.” Hair isn’t what defines my beauty – it’s how I express myself, how I behave towards others, how I can lift up & support my friends & family, & so much more. Buzzing my head makes me feel most like myself. It even makes me feel like no matter what, I will always have my body, my emotions, & my mind. If it takes me being bald (& beautiful!) to feel this way…I’ll do it until the day I die.

Oh! & I made a YouTube video about this topic that sort of goes with this post – it also talks about why I shaved my head, & how it makes me feel. Perfect for all you lovely people who like to snack while watching YouTube & going 1000 feet deep at 3 a.m. You know. Check it out here!

Sof ❤

 

I Love__…June Favorites!

Hello friends! I’m back, hitting you with my June favorites post. This is going to include some skin care, some makeup, & a nail polish & a bag!!! I’m truly branching out. Amazing! I hope you enjoy these mini reviews. I love all o these & am not faking (as always!! Why would I!).

The Ouai’s Morning After Kit

I jumped on the bandwagon! It’s the one everyone’s been on for a while, but my ears perked up once I saw Ouai’s Rose Hair & Body Oil all over my friends’ Instagram feeds, as well as my own discover feed.

Okayyyy…I get it! I shaved my head again (you all know this…& stay tuned on a post about that) but I used these before I shaved it & will still be using a few even now that I have. I bought the Morning After Kit because it had three products that I was super interested in trying:

  • Rose Hair & Body Oil – it’s an oil…for hair & body! It is super Instagram-able. I get why it’s all over my feed…it’s truly gorgeous. I love anything & everything rose-scented, so I was excited to give this a go. Also…the color of the product looks like rosé. Very elegant, very summery. This is not a greasy-feeling, overwhelmingly sticky or slimy oil! Very lightweight, I only needed two small pumps for my whole head (now just one!) & the smell is absolutely gorgeous. I know people have reservations about rose scented products because of the whole “that’s my grandma’s potpourrie bowl” thing but it’s 2017, people! I promise this won’t give you potpourrie hair. Also…super shiny effect. It feels healthy on my scalp & hair. I really like this & even though I have no hair now, I’ll be getting full-size once I run out of this mini (also, stay tuned for a post on what i do to my hair/how i take care of it when it’s shaved down to almost nothing!)
  • Dry Shampoo Foam – okay, this stuff kind of blew my mind. I’d never liked dry shampoo; it always felt too sticky or cruncy or stiff. This one is in an aerosol can, so it comes out like shaving cream. “Foam” is right – this stuff is like meringue! It smells gorgeous. Everyone describes it as “gardenia florals” & I’d have to agree! It’s definitely not overpowering, but it’s more scented than the Rose Hair & Body Oil. Regardless, it really got rid of dirt/oil, made some real volume in my hair, & is fun to use (I like foamy products if you haven’t noticed!).
  • Finishing Crème – again, another love! There wasn’t a product in this kit I didn’t love. This has a very subtle scent; it’s a lightweight hair lotion that gives hair shine – also makes hair look healthier! Easy to apply on damp hair.

Biossance 100% Squalene Oil 

cannot rave enough about this product. It’s meant for face, body & hair – it’s organically sourced, cruelty free, has no scent (so if you’re sensitive to scents, this one is for you!) & makes everything better…not to be dramatic. Seriously, though! I put it on my hair (again…coming soon on how hair cair is still necessary even when it’s super short), my body, & recently, my face. I was worried it would break my face out, since the skin on one’s face & one’s body are different (the face is 100% more sensitive). Never fear. This oil hasn’t let me down, ever. It’s good on my face, my hair, & my body. It has 4 & 3/4 stars on Sephora, too…I’m not the only one.

IMG_8228.JPG
Hair products galore!
FOREO LUNA Mini 2 

This is a cleansing device sent to me by FOREO (thank you so much!!). It really changed my cleansing game, as I’d been using a charcoal sponge to cleanse previously. I recieved it in the beginning of June, fully charged it, & it still is going strong! It’s meant to be used once a day, & I use it in the evening. My skin is even clearer than when I was using the charcoal sponge, which I appreciate – since it’s a device that’s significantly more expensive! I like playing around with the different settings, depending on how my skin feels that day – & it stops every 15 seconds to let you know you should move to another area to cleanse. Very meticulously done, very well thought-out. I really love this! Oh…& now I can shower & wash my face at the same time. I didn’t like bringing my sponge in the shower. Loves it. (Read my review of FOREO products here!)

Glossier Birthday Balm Dotcom

Truly the product of the month. One of my favorite Glossier products is their Balm Dotcom. This flavor/shade (??) was a game-changer. Holographic packaging, a shimmery balm that can be used on the lips, lids, or high points of the face as a highlight. Created in collaboration with Milk Bar (the famous bakery in NYC renowned for their special birthday cake), the balm smells & tastes (!!) like birthday cake. You get a special sticker (pink, with silver glitter, & balloon-shaped) – but only for the summer. The balm is here to stay; the sticker is a summer collaboration with Milk Bar – & a summer collaboration only! Get the sticker while you can (looks amazing on a phone) & if you want a full review of the Birthday BDC, click here!

CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Air Cushion

Sheer coverage. SPF FIFTY. FIFTY!!!!! FOR A FACE MAKEUP PRODUCT! No greasiness, comes in various shades (unlike most K-Beauty brands), doesn’t leave a line, thanks to the cushion applicator, & gives a dewy glow – it’s like Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, except in a cushion. & with SPF 50. Yupppp. Also…stay tuned for some special CLĒ stuff I’ll be doing soon 🌚

IMG_8230.JPG
Glossier’s Birthday Balm Dotcom, CLĒ’s Essence Air Cushion, Essie’s Perfect Posture 
Saturday Skin Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream

Saturday Skin keeps doing it! This is an airtight moisturizer, so nothing can get to it. Contamination risk? Zero. It feels velvety smooth & soft; the texture is so nice that I can wear it during the day (under makeup or just by itself) or as a night cream. It’s hard to find a moisturizer that can do day & night. This one does day & night…& it does it beautifully. Also: the cream has a light, fresh, citrus scent that is infinitely relaxing.

Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask

I absolutely love Herbivore, their products, their aesthetic, & their standards – they’re vegan & cruelty free, so for any of my readers/followers who are looking for skin care/makeup that’s vegan/cruelty-free, this is the brand for you!

I’d had my eye on this Herbivore Blue Tansy mask for a while, but restrained myself…since god knows I have enough face masks. However, about a week ago, Herbivore had their 6th birthday, & to celebrate that, had 15% off any purchase – & included a deluxe sample of the Blue Tansy mask in each order. I couldn’t resist! I ordered their Pink Clay Cleansing Bar (stay tuned for a post on solid facial cleansers), & eagerly awaited my package.

I was NOT let down. This is an amazing mask, I’ve used it quite a few times already, & I can really see an improvement in the brightness & clarity of my skin. It’s super lightweight – described as a “natural clarifying and cooling gel mask that gently exfoliates, smooths, and resurfaces skin.” “Gel” is absolutely correct. Although the mask is a deep, ocean-blue in the jar, it gives only the slightest blue cast to your skin when applied. It tingles, which is normal for any product containing AHAs, but is not unpleasant or uncomfortable. I love using this in the evening: I cleanse my face, apply the mask, brush my teeth, hop in the shower, come out, & rinse off the mask. This is the perfect window, since it takes me 15-20 minutes to do all that, & Herbivore recommends you leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes! If you’re new to AHAs, you should start with 5-10 minutes – just so you don’t risk a burn or a bad reaction! AHAs are great for the skin, but if you’re sensitive, it’s better to start slow.

Damn you, Herbivore – you really got me hooked, & I know I will be purchasing the full size once I’ve used up my sample. However, it’s a generous sample. I’m not too worried about running out that quickly! (For 25% off ANY Herbivore purchase, click here.)

Milk Makeup Matcha Cleanser / Milk Makeup Matcha Toner 

Okay. I haven’t done these enough justice (I don’t believe you’d find a photo of these babies on my Instagram) but they’re really amazing. I love both! I love the toner more, since it’s 1) super soothing, cooling, & reduces redness (like a Milk Cooling Water Stick – but actually intended to be a toner) 2) the world’s first solid toner, which is pretty amazing 3) is TSA-friendly – something I’m always on the lookout for! I love the cleanser, too – just not as much as the toner. Don’t get me wrong – I really like it. It smells amaaazing (the toner is scent-free) & I always know I’ll wake up with clear, fresh skin after using  it. I just am speaking out of paranoia here, since I’ve had no issues with it…but the cleanser does have some sort of micro-beads in it, so I’d be nervous to use it every single day in fear of breaking open my skin. Still, this is a suspicion that hasn’t occurred – I’m just voicing why I don’t use it every single day. I’d definitely take the cleanser & toner if I were to fly somewhere. It’s easy, it’s clean, & saves you a lot of extra little bottles & containers. Milk’s been putting out some very neat products lately (aka Glitter Stick for Pride Month!!) & I think this falls into the “neat” category.

IMG_8229.JPG
Milk Matcha Duo, Saturday Skin’s cream, Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Mask, my FOREO in the background (as well as some hair product!) & Essie’s Perfect Posture in the foreground

Essie Gel-Couture Color: Perfect Posture 

I love this color so much! Essie calls it a periwinkle poweder blue – I prefer baby blue. Whatever you want to call this shade, it’s amazing – delicate yet unique. It makes your nails stand out, but doesn’t make them look streaky, like so many white nail polishes might do. Basically, it stands out in the best way, stays on forever (part of Essie’s gel collection) & the name is adorable.

Pop & Suki Camera Bag

I finally did it! My very own Pop & Suki Camera bag. I got it in Noir, didn’t choose to customize it, but got a luggage tag (also in Noir) with the pink letter “S” on it. Simple, minimalistic, so easy to carry around – &, despite its small size, it really does fit a surprising amount of things. At the same time, the bag’s small size encourages you not to overpack, which, as a serial overpacker, I truly appreciate. Did I mention that they’re the cutest brand ever? I want a P&S/Glossier collab now, please! They’re the brand queens of #millennialpink (they also have makeup cases, if you’re interested).

I wouldn’t have bought this bag myself, but I got birthday money – & I am glad I used it on this baby. Let me know in the comments if you’d like a “What’s In My Bag” post!

That’s it, everyone! My favorites for the month of June. As always, I’m being completely, 100% honest. I’d never post about a product I didn’t like – especially not for a monthly favorites type of post. Then there’s no point!

Let me know in the comments what your June favs were!

Love,

Sof ❤

 

 

Shampoo Is History…Or…HairStory

*Roaring applause because of my witty puns*

Okay. Down to business. First thing: foaming shampoo is bad for your hair. Bam.

This itself isn’t exactly news – at least, not in the hair community, or the hair stylist community (that’s why your hairdresser, if you have one, may caution you not to wash your hair too often). However, if you’re kind of “just chilling” with your hair (which is how I like to describe my hair routine), you may not know – or just not care.

I mean…I’ve been told for a while that shampoo is bad for my hair, by multiple people. I just shrugged my shoulders, made sure not to wash my hair too often, & continued using drugstore brands. Shampoo foams, conditioner…conditions. I used some hair oil, didn’t use heat on my hair, & just went on with life.

I came across Hairstory a few weeks ago. Founded by Bumble & Bumble (!!!) Co-Founder Michael Gordon, Hairstory has a pretty ground-breaking message: How many products do professional hairstylists (aka, the people that should know the most about your hair & what’s best for it) use? Only about 6. Is shampoo bad for your hair? Absolutely. Should you (anyone) be using it? No.

And so, Gordon & friends came up with New Wash, described as “an exceptional, revolutionary cleanser that works on ALL types of hair versus hundreds of traditional, specialized shampoos – and transforms hair that has been ritually abused by detergent, styling, and bleach (and makes conditioners – essentially fabric softeners – obsolete).” Basically: it’s a shampoo & a conditioner in one. Except there’s no foaming involved, no “soapiness” involved. One product to rule them all, if you want to look at it that way.

I wasn’t at all skeptical of Hairstory’s message when we started contacting one another. I’ve known for a while that shampoo isn’t good for my hair – I’ve just chosen to ignore it. But when I started reading more about Hairstory’s message, their products, & seeing more & more people – of various hair types – rave about how good New Wash is, I became enthusiastic, not just “not skeptical”!

I was, of course, sent a bottle of New Wash, along with the other products Hairstory has. Here’s information about all of the products – however, the product that you’d really need from Hairstory, if you want to follow their philosophy, is the New Wash. It’s the essential product behind the line, it’s what the brand is founded on. The other products are for styling – not for cleansing.

So, without further ado – here are Hairstory’s products – & how to use them! (& here’s where to shop Hairstory – I’ll link it again at the bottom when you’ve finished reading & are over your skepticism.)

New Wash

FullSizeRender.jpg-8.jpeg
What the brand is built on: New Wash
What inspired Hairstory’s launch! New Wash is a hair cleanser that’s not a shampoo; not a conditioner. It’s made with naturally derived saturated cleansers & a proprietary blend of essential oils – cleansing hair without detergents or synthetic compounds. Because of the essential oils & non-foaming texture (similar to that of conditioner!), it (yes) simultaneously conditions hair, leaving it tangle-free. If your hair is wrecked by bleach, heat, or detergents, it’ll help revive that over time! Even more – if you have colored hair, your color will lat much longer. Itchy scalp? New Wash also claims to “calm troubled scalps.”

After using this only a few times, I have to say that I’m already on board. My hair feels fluffier, bouncier, & it looks shinier. The product itself has a slightly minty scent, but it doesn’t tingle on the scalp (like a lot of other minty washes do). I’ve been using the other Hairstory products as well, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, how does one use this baby? Simple:

  • Get hair wet (like always)
  • Coat all hair with New Wash (like conditioner)
  • Massage scalp vigorously with fingertips (like crazy!)
  • Do your shower routine…(for me, that entails body wash, shaving – sometimes – singing, washing my face, & sometimes even brushing my teeth)
  • Rinse, rinse, rinse! Use your hands (like squeegees)

FullSizeRender.jpg-9
New Wash comes with an instruction card – just in case you’re unsure how to use it
That’s it! You’re done. Gently towel-dry, like I do (I don’t blow dry my hair – EVER) or blow dry it! That leads us to Hairstory’s next product.

Hair Balm

FullSizeRender.jpg-7

Hair Balm is described as “skin care for hair.” I love skin care, so I was already behind this the moment I read the product description. Like New Wash, it has a conditioner-like texture (or a balm texture) & is meant to be used on damp hair after washing. Its moisture revives dry or over-processed hair, “makes curls perfectly imperfect,” &, if you have big, thick hair, weighs it down for a leaner, sleeker look. According to Hairstory’s site: “Work through damp hair with fingers or comb, and let it air dry.” Or: “Use on dry hair to touch up frizz or flyaways.” I’ve seen people with kinkier/curlier hair types absolutely rave about this product. I myself don’t have kinky or curly hair (I don’t have straight hair either – it’s more of a wave, depending on the weather) but have used this after New Wash on my damp hair. Currently, it’s hot & humid where I’m at. That always makes my hair super frizzy. I can’t say Hair Balm completely eradicates my frizz if I use it on my damp hair, but if I touch up before going out someplace, my frizz will be gone for at least several hours, if not more. The scent is very pleasant! It’s definitely not minty; I’d describe it more as a fresh, botanical, green scent (if that makes any sense). It’s not “too much”, & wouldn’t overpower a fragrance if you were to wear one.

Dressed Up

FullSizeRender.jpg-17

First words you see when going to Dressed Up’s page on the Hairstory site: “Safe blow-drying.” Now, like I said, I don’t blow-dry my hair, but that’s okay! Dressed Up can be used on your hair whether or not you blow-dry it. According to Hairstory’s site, “this lightweight lotion is the key to stylish hair.” It controls unruly hair, but doesn’t take away the body of your natural hair – whether or not you choose to blow-dry it. It also gives texture – great for my hair, since I often like to pin it back, Bella Hadid style. This added texture helps keep hair in place. Lightweight, provides heat & UV (!!) protection, a lightweight finish, & a natural, fresh fragrance, I really, really like Dressed Up. It works even better on fly-aways for me than Hair Balm – though both work really nicely. Also…I can’t lie: the pale pink lettering on the white bottle really gets me. I’m a sucker for millennial pink – but all of you know that already!

Déshabillé (Undressed)

FullSizeRender.jpg-18

If you like that “beachy, sexy look,” this is the product for you. This is a salt/surf spray without the stickiness, crunchiness, or dryness that so many other salt sprays have. I absolutely love the scent of this product – probably my favorite scent out of all of Hairstory’s products – & I love the way it feels even more. I get a wave, some body, & fluff, but I never feel like I’ve put hairspray in my hair. I hate that about a lot of salt sprays – by the end of the day, you’ve just felt like there’s just a dry coat of something gross on top of your hair. That feeling isn’t healthy, & it doesn’t do your hair any favors – that’s for sure. Like Hairstory says: “Undressed creates texture without torture.” I have to agree with them on this one.

So…final verdict? I’m in love with Hairstory! Favorite products? Probably New Wash & Dressed Up…but it’s hard to pick. They all go together extraordinarily well. &…yes! $40 for hair wash might seem expensive…but remember, you’re not paying for shampoo and conditioner. This is an all-in-one product, so in my opinion, it’s worth the money. If you have to get one product, get New Wash – & if you end up loving New Wash, Hairstory started something called “The New Wash Club” – essentially, you sign up to recieve New Wash automatically. You can choose (& change) the frequency, & your account will be charged for a delivery of a 20-ounce pouch of New Wash – to refill your complimentary aluminum dispenser included (empty) with your first shipment. Basically – if you try New Wash, love it, can’t live without it, & want to keep using it, Hairstory has your back with a cheaper long-term price – & has the environment’s back by taking advantage of reusable packaging. Win/win, if you’re a fan of New Wash (I think I’ll be joining this subscription, once my first bottle runs out).

Sorry – that was a bit of a ramble. But for real: I do love Hairstory, & I especially love the ease (& effectiveness) of New Wash. I think it’s something that has already made a difference to my hair – & hopefully will make a difference to yours, too!

Hairstory created a challenge:

FullSizeRender.jpg-19
Hairstory’s challenge: “We Dare You”
I’m not sure about posting a photo after every wash (I’ve already been using it for a bit, & I haven’t remembered to take photos after every time) but I’m definitely on board with quitting my other products cold-turkey. So far, Hairstory’s done nothing but good for my hair. I have super soft, super fluffy hair – & yes, it really does feel healthier.

Let me know if you give Hairstory a try, shop it here, & if you do, tell me your thoughts on it!

Love,

Sof ❤

P.S. Yes, this is affiliate – but I never sign on to anything that I don’t enjoy myself. My hair feels healthier, bouncier, & when I find other products that make it feel the same way, I’ll share them with you as well – affiliate or not! xoxxoox

 

How To: Bella Hadid Slicked Back Hair (Easy)

You know! This hairdo:

 

I started doing this last year, when I still had my long bob. It was super easy, I could do anything in it without worrying about messing it up, & all eyes were on my face (& my makeup, if I chose to wear any).

Basically, it’s for people who want to look glam but don’t want to mess around with curls, waves, or loose hair in general. Which I get…I mean, I shaved my head to a 2″ because I was so done with patting my hair.

It seems kind of complicated, looking at it. & let’s be real – Bella’s version of the slick back (as I like to call it) is truly perfect. She has a stylist & unlimited amounts of expensive product at her disposal. So, yeah: every time Bella steps out to get papped, her slick back will truly look perfect.

Not to brag, but I’ve gotten pretty good at doing this – even though my hair is still short, it’s really not a hard thing to do once you know what to do, & what kind of products to use. At this point, I’d even say my hair almost as good as Bella’s. So: without further ado, here’s how to do a Bella Hadid-style slick back, feat. me, my hair, & a lot of bobby pins.

IMG_2543

  • Bobby pins – yeah, you’re going to need a lot of these babies, especially if you’re new to this. Pro tip: put the bobby pin on the “wrong” way – that is, the bumpy stick-up part goes UNDER your hair, not over it. Turns out that’s actually the right way to do it, & I was being fooled for 18.5 years.
  • Some kind of hair balm – I’ve been using Hairstory’s “Dressed Up” hair lotion for a bit now, & it works really, really well. It’s super light, but gives some texture, which is key if you want to pin your hair back. Also: The Ouai (started by Jen Atkin, who actually does the Hadid’s & Kardashian’s hair) has a really nice Matte Pomade that I have my eye on – & it’s not too expensive, either. I also have a mini of The Ouai’s Finishing Créme – it’s “a lightweight cream that protects from heat styling, smooths dry ends, and gives fine to medium hair that lived-in look with a light-reflective shine” according to the Sephora site. Since I have it, I feel like I might as well give it a go for this type of hair style that I like so much!
  • Hair oil – Bella’s do is sleek for a reason: it’s because she uses hair oil to get that super shine. My absolute favorite, favorite favorite is Biossance’s 100% Squalane Oil: I use it for pretty much everything (I love massaging it into my damp hair after a shower) but I especially love putting some on top of my ‘do when I’m done fixing it. It adds shine, but no grease, which is exactly what I’m trying to achieve. Plus: it doesn’t have a scent, so if you’re worried about your hair overpowering your fragrance, it won’t be an issue if you give this one a go. Use whichever one works best for you – but know that hair oil is a must if you want your hair to look shiny & sleek for this kind of style.
  • Hair tie – just your average run-of the-mill hair tie
  • Scrunchie (if you wanna be extra, like me) – just whichever scrunchie speaks to you! I like scrunchies because my hair’s short, so even low buns can have pieces of hair stick out. Scrunchies gather up that extra hair & hide pieces that stick out. I have scrunchies from American Apparel (rest in peace), Urban Outfitters, Free People, & whichever little farmer’s market or boutique I see one at that I really like! Scrunchies also double as a cute little accessory – I love wearing them on my wrists!

Now for the video: (not sure why the quality is bad; bear with me!)

 

IMG_4479.JPG
The finished look on the day I made this video! Couple flyaways, yes – could be better, but here was the final result!

In this particular video, I didn’t use Hairstory’s Dressed Up lotion; I used the Aromatica Damask Rose Gel – not meant to be a hair product, but I explain pretty clearly why I used it! This was two-day hair, so I already had a good bit of texture in it.

I hope that gives all of you some tips for how to get hair like this! If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend you give it a go. It can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll take you less than 5 minutes to have a hair style that will last you the whole day (maybe even night – once I slept in this & woke up unbothered!)

Love,

Sof ❤

Why’d I Shave My Head? Diary

Why did I shave my head? It’s becoming more common these days to see a girl on the street or the runway rocking an almost-bald head. Baldies are trending! That makes me super happy, because shaving my head was one of the best experiences I had – an experience that, looking back on it, had a lot of meaning behind it.

So: why did I shave my head? I mentioned it on the offhand a few times to friends, family, & even my S/O. All I got (for the most part) was a confused, a little head shake, or just a blank stare. But that didn’t bother me. I knew why I wanted to do this. It was because I was sick!

Okay, but what does a shaved head have to do with a chronic illness – one that doesn’t make your hair fall out on its own? Why get rid of “all that beautiful hair?”

Simple. Control. I wanted control, &, at the time, couldn’t get what I truly wanted: a tattoo (a special tattoo, by the way). My immune system was quite low at that point in time, thanks to my chemo pills, & after countless fights with my doctor & pleading with my mother, I gave up for the time being. Everyone told me I’d be pushing it to irritate my skin – it was an easy way to get an infection.

Maybe they were right, maybe they were wrong! Maybe I’d have been hospitalized for ink poisoning or gone on with life without so much as a blink. It’s impossible to know, because I respected my mama’s request, my doctor’s advice, & my own gut. I really, really didn’t want to end up in a hospital bed for two weeks becuase I got a tattoo at the wrong time.

I was flicking through Twitter one night & saw a periscope of someone shaving their long bob down to a buzzcut. I was immediately intrigued. This, I thought, was what I needed. To have control, to be able to tell someone “just take it all off!” without worrying about an infection. It was a way for me to own my body, when it so often felt like someone else’s, it helped me blur my own gender identity, & it was super, super, super cute.

I gave this about 5-7 days of thought. Then, one day, I drove up to Supercuts, slapped down $15 & left with a 3″ shaved head.

The woman buzzing me looked scared – probably because she thought I wouldn’t like it. She was wrong. I got into my car unable to stop smiling as I drove home.

IMG_0817.JPG
Ecstasy!!!!
I took a walk that night. I felt super free, super powerful, super me. Even though it’s just hair, it gave me this heady sense of control, reminded me who’s the real boss here – no matter what meds I’m on or what illnesses I have.

Also, if we’re being completely honest…it was around the time I became quite sad & depressed that I shaved my head. I joke & say I “did a Britney” but it’s only half a joke. Mental illness, frustration with certain situations, & body dysmorphia are just a few reasons why many women choose to shave their heads. Some do it for the fun & the power. Others do it for control. Some do it for a little bit of both. I was the latter!

I started playing around with makeup more. I felt more assertive – again, I felt freer. I was rid of something. It was a great concept to know that I was starting fresh, in a way.

What did other people think of it? Some were not huge fans. Even some people very close to me were not huge fans. Some were even upset. I was never angry about that. People have their reasons & sometimes it really is more than “just a haircut” to some. But I didn’t really…care. This was something I did for me, for me only – & I was loving it.

 

IMG_1173
“Touch my head!”
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
Feeling dangerous, feeling myself
So…yes, I was starting to spiral down a path of depression & increased anxiety. That haircut didn’t make that better. But it was a way for me to express myself during a time when I couldn’t do much like that. Tattoos? Piercings? Not over my parents’ dead bodies (at the time).

Yeah! It made me angry that I couldn’t do these things. But I experienced so many amazing things with my bald head. Showering? Two minutes. Haircare? Who? Taking a walk & feeling the wind run through my bristles? Amazing. Rubbing the top of my own head? Velvety-soft, calming, relaxing. Best of all, it gave me a sense of confidence that I previously hadn’t had. It showed me that I could be beautiful no matter what – that I could always find some form of self-expression. I became the “cool girl.” No matter what I wore, it was edgy. That was amazing. It gave me the realization that androgyny…felt super cool. I found out I could wear no makeup, a baseball cap, & jeans, or, I could put on a full face, a body suit, & heels, & feel feminine – but with another force behind that. Feminine, yes – but powerful. I think I’ll always call myself a woman. But this gave me an idea of what androgny ws

IMG_2242
The day I felt like Halsey
Processed with VSCO with b1 preset
Even though I was sad a lot last summer, again – something about my hair made me feel carefree & fearless.
You might ask, do I regret how I looked when I was bald, or when my hair was growing in “awkwardly?” Do I look at pictures of myself from last summer & cringe?

IMG_4070.JPG
What I call my “fluffy duckling phase”
Absolutely not. I regret no part of this experience. I loved the way I looked every single step of the way. Awkward length? Yes, sometimes! But that just gave me more encouragement to be myself, gave me the realization that yes, I can dress up nicely & put on a full face when I want to – but that I can also go bare-faced & bald. Both feel really, really good.

Do I plan on shaving again? Maybe! Right now, I love my hair. It’s been almost a year since I shaved it all off & I am almost at a bob now. I want to keep it this way for a bit.

So: why did I shave my head?

For control, for confidence, for a life lesson in being myself no matter how weird it may be, for self-expression through whichever mediums suited me best – & yes, so I could be that Cool Girl. But, you know – also experiencing a heady rush of “you can do whatever you want.” That feeling was amazing; it was liberating. I hope to experience it again one day.

So – to all the girls/femme people out there who’re considering shaving your head – go for it! It was one of the best “beauty” experiences I’ve ever had. It was low-maintenance, it was cool, & it made me love some part of myself during a time that I didn’t love most of myself.

Will you regret it? Maybe. But I don’t think you will. I think you’ll have an amazing journey, no matter what your reasons for taking all your hair off are.

Life sucks a lot of the time. Do some spontaneous things. Shave your head. See how you like it.

I’ve found that some of the worst times I’ve had have also, in retrospect, been the best. A tattoo, a drastic haircut, a concert – those are memories you’ll have with you for the rest of your life. They’ll help you look at past negative situations in a more positive manner.

& remember…hair always grows back.

Love,

Sof ❤