Rita Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rita Howell

‘Unkempt’ look in, new hair grooming accessory purchased

I just bought a new grooming aid: a hair flattener. After all those years of curling, spraying and plumping up my ‘do, I have become a slave to the current “straight” trend. I have paid money and will now spend time attempting to make uniform that which nature’s cow licked.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Taking into consideration my hectic morning schedule and short attention span, I paid extra to get the kind of straightening device that turns itself off after an hour.

My haircare routine has evolved from the Saturday night shampoo when I was a little girl. Then it was an assembly line procedure, with my sister and me seated in front of the Lawrence Welk Show while Mama rolled our wet hair into pin curls. She covered our heads with hairnets. How did we ever sleep with a head full of bobby pins? But the shiny Sunday morning curls were apparently worth the effort to Mama.

Thank goodness the ‘70s brought the advent of the blow dryer and electrically-heated rollers. No more sleeping in rollers. And it became fairly quick and easy to wash your hair every day. It really became unacceptable to be seen in public with flat, dull, unfluffed hair.

Until now.

Would you believe that dirty hair is “in.”


Barbara Bradley’s Sense of Style column in the Commercial Appeal recently described the new trend that was “all over the runways” at recent high-fashion shows.

Models were appearing “with hair slicked flat on the sides and teased into a pompadour on the top or trailing into a cloud of frizz,” Bradley wrote.

The desired look is “beachy:” hair that hasn’t been shampooed lately, but instead appears slept in, sweated on and whipped by salty ocean air.

There are even products like a “mattifying powder” that you put on tidy hair to take away that fresh, clean look, according to a hairdresser interviewed by Bradley.

All this flies in the face of my long-held grooming standards.

Let me get this straight. Wilted, stringy hair is attractive?

Mama was wrong? It’s actually desirable to walk around with dirty hair when soap is cheap and water’s free?