No, she did not chuck a Britney.
Recently I shaved my head. Yes, I’ve officially joined the legion of celebrities now sporting different variations on bald.
Admittedly, I already had a short haircut, but a number three all over is a big change no matter which way you cut it. After Kristen Stewart debuted the buzz last year, Cara Delevingne soon followed suit as did Zoë Kravitz, Katy Perry and most recently, Kate Hudson, proving that you don’t need to be a certain ‘type’ (read: gay) of woman to rock a clipped ’do.
So what made me decide to shave it all off? Well, because I wanted to. I had no Britney Spears circa 2008 freak out. No bad break-up to heal from. I just wanted to give it a whirl. Plus, I don’t like being told what to do.
When I floated the idea (originally sparked by Natalie Portman in Closer), I experienced a startling amount of pushback from friends and family. With our social media feeds flooded with the ideal image of what we ‘should’ look like, I wanted to see what would happen when I went against the grain.
If you’re clipper curious, here’s what I’ve learnt about joining the buzzcut brigade.
It’s liberating AF
Over the years my hair has gone from waist-length to shoulder length to lob to bob, but even with the gradual transition, nothing prepared me for bald. As I sat down in front of the mirror of Sydney’s RAW Anthony Nader salon and Anthony took out the clippers, I was taken aback by just how much hair hit the floor. Afterwards when I walked out of the salon, I literally strutted out the door and down the street like it was a movie montage and Beyonce was playing in the background.
As Rose McGowan put it, “It makes you stand up a little taller, and your shoulders are a little more squared, because you’re not hiding anything from anybody, and you don’t actually care.”
You get really cold
I know, I know. Why didn’t I think of that? Even though it’s August, I wasn’t prepared for how cold my head would get. So much so, the day after I got the chop, I woke up with a dose of the flu. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but after dodging it for two consecutive winters prior, I think not.
People will touch your head
Now I understand the ire pregnant women feel when strangers reach out and grab for their bellies. Even in 2017, a female with a shaved head is still visually jarring and people seem unable to resist it. Most ask for permission beforehand, but some just go straight in for the full scratch. I just think of it as a free head massage, but it’s still surprising the number of people who give zeroes about personal boundaries.
You still need to wash it
As a beauty editor, it’s my job to trial products, so I assumed shaving my head would pose a logistical problem when it came to work. Not so. Nader informed me that I still need to wash it to maintain my scalp’s health. Sure, the masks and treatments littering my bathroom cupboards are now redundant, but it still requires maintenance to keep it looking clean and tidy.
Your eyebrows really matter
Without a mop of hair to hide behind, there’s a lot of face on show. Actually, it’s pretty much all face. I soon learnt there’s no way around stretching out those eyebrow appointments; they really do take centre stage. I also began to notice all the little imperfections that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen – namely my forehead lines. So did I rush off and book a Botox appointment? Nope. I’ve explored the shape of my head, the contours of my scalp. When I look in the mirror, the only thing I see is my face, unobstructed (and pretty damn cute.)
It’s sexy as hell
Surprise! Being a woman with a shaved head does not make you less sexually attractive. In fact, I’ve found it to be quite the opposite. Real human men still want to take their clothes off with me. I now feel confident and exude a certain empowerment that I never really felt with longer locks. Also, without all that hair my other features are instantly accentuated – eyes, lips, decolletage – and it has been a good push to switch up my look to be a little more daring.
Everyone has an opinion on it
Female femininity, sexuality and desirability are all too often tied up in how long our hair is. Even if you don’t think about your hair that way (although many of us do, consciously or not), society as a whole sure does. For ions, our hair has had a sizeable social currency attached to it. I’ve had some very sweet compliments from both friends and strangers alike, but I’ve also had to field some awkward – and downright rude – questions.
Most people rattle off the usual comments like “you’re so brave” or “I could never do that,” which admittedly is often said with good intentions. It’s also complete bullshit. Hair grows back. A buzzcut isn’t forever (unlike that frangipani tattoo you got, awkward) but it sure is exhilarating. After crossing over to the other side I can’t recommend it enough. Really, what’s the worst that could happen?
by Ashleigh Austen for whimn.com.au