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Mom Hair Styles: Advice

By Amalah

This may very well be the most important Advice Smackdown column I have ever written.
Because it’s all about me. And my hair.
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I need you to tell me what to do with it.
See, after months and months of procrastination, I finally made an appointment for highlights AND a haircut. The appointment is tomorrow, and people, I’m getting that dangerous desire for “something different.” I’m bored — beyond bored — of my hair. It’s long and layered, natural dirty blond with blond highlights, and…blah. Bored.
But you know what happens when you just wander into the salon and start asking for something different without specifics? Other than a vague desire for “shorter, wash-and-wear, you know, easy“?
YOU LEAVE WITH A MOM CUT. OH YES YOU DO.
So tell me. What should I do? Short? Short-short? Shoulder-length? Keep as-is? Grow out? Less layers? More? Bangs?
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I’m thinking bangs. Or some kind of side-sweppy thing? (Look at that fivehead! Am blind!) God, I always end up hating bangs.
(Just for the record, I snapped these photos [with a cameraphone, yikes] last night while getting ready for dinner out with a girlfriend, so these are by no means an accurate representation of what my hair looks like on a regular basis. This is washed and hot-rollered and all product-ed up. This is about as good as it gets, which obviously isn’t saying much.)
And then there’s the color question. My hair usually gets really, REALLY blond in the summer, but this year? Not so much. I duller than dishwater.
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Should I try going like, platinum? Or keep it natural? Oooh, what about red? Should I try some red?
Help. Tell me what I should do, or God knows I’ll leave the salon looking like the unholy lovechild of June Cleaver and Britney Spears.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Secha
Guest

I say keep it long. Long suits you.
But I like the red idea!
And bangs… I tried ’em once (I have a huge forehead), and where as it broke up the forehead, and it looked OK… hated ’em. When I wanted to pull my hair back, it just sucked.
Maybe try growing out the layers?

tiaisha
Guest

I agree, keep it long. You have unbelievable hair. I’d go with a color change. Red(ish) would compliment you I think. Or you do a drastic change to brunette?

Tone
Guest

I agree with the two above comments…I think the long hair really suits you. I would even consider letting it grow a little longer. But a strawberry blond color would be gorgeous! I also think a drastic color change would add a lovely drama to your hair.

Marnie
Guest
Marnie

Love the red idea – maybe strawberry? I do like the long hair on you, but just to be different, what about a bob? But, not just a regular mom-bob – more like an angled-forward bob. Then you can really play with product, making it bigger, flatter, more angled, pink, whatever. And totally agree about the bangs – I have a pretty high forehead, but have given up on the bangs. Too many days of fighting cow-licks and bangs plastered to my forehead. Have fun!

Alli
Guest
Alli

On bangs… I had them chopped a couple of months ago. And they are cute. Cute in pictures, cute in the mirror, and oh dear heavens annoying! I mean, really, how often do I have my picture taken. It can’t be worth this annoying in-my-eyes crap! But… then I see the pictures, and they make my face look softer, instantly more “done” with sideswept bangs, and pretty. I like pretty. So I got one cute-ish headband and one of those Goody elastic headbands and I wear those when they’re driving me crazy at home. I just had them trimmed again.… Read more »

BridehoodRevisited
Guest

I think you need to play with that clairol hair site thing where you can try different hair on your head. And I vote for shoulder length. It will always grow out and you’ll at least have a taste of something different. Also check thehairstyler.com

Madz Jones
Guest
Madz Jones

I used to be blond and then I went crazy red. Mainly due to the fact that I was in that funny mood just before a hair appointment one day and I say go for the dramatic change!
Also? Side sweepy bangs (hee hee I’m British, so that sounds weird – it’s a fringe goddammit) would look awesome on you. Keep that longer so you can tuck behind your ear, esp when tied up.
If you went brunette, go a lovely deep chestnut colour – would look gorgeous!
Looking forward to seeing the results!! 🙂

Geeky Girl
Guest

I love the strawberry blonde idea! Just becareful about going go too dark because red doesn’t wash out, it grows out. Even if you put really dark brown over it, it’ll have a red tint. (lesson learned). Then again I’m kind of a red addict and even after spending like 4 hours in the salon getting it stripped re-colored and treated I’m thinking about going back to it. (lesson ignored).

new rustic
Guest

Hands down – totally The Most Important Column Ever! I have taken into consideration the gravity of this advice and I think you should go shorter! Your long hair is beautiful (and oh-so-handy for technique demonstrations) but I really think you could pull off a short Victoria Beckham. Did you see her TV show? I don’t normally like short hair but at the risk of embarrassing myself I thought it was “major”. Go blonder, edgier. You’re a rockstar!

ikate
Guest
ikate

“washed and hot-rollered and all product-ed up” – OMG! mom or not a mom, who wants to deal with that if the end product does not make you happy?
I say short (as in above the shoulder, below the ear), red-ish with platinum highlights. I did that coloring once and LOOOOOVED it and so did everyone else. But, I am way to lazy to have kept it up beyond a few months. Punk up the coloring a bit and the cut could never be considerd “mom”.

ikate
Guest
ikate

Oh and I also totally agree with new rustic about super-short a’la Posh Spice. That would rock on you, too. Plus, give your hair to locks of love and you will feel a bit better about the cut even if it takes you a few days to get used to it (I just chopped of 11 inches of hair and gave it away – and I am so happy with my new ‘do)

Stephanie
Guest

I have a rather large forehead and I think the bangs work for me. It’s kind of annoying b/c I actually have to “do” my hair in the morning now, but really “doing” my hair just involves me wrapping my bangs around a giant round brush and blasting the hairdryer on them for a couple seconds so they don’t lie flat and stringy, and I can deal with it. It did take me a month or so to train my bangs to actually go across my forehead though, which was very annoying. During that time I had to spend a… Read more »

MrsHaley
Guest
MrsHaley

I’m with the “shorter” contingent. All the girls whose hair I like wear it short … The “Rapunzel” tends to look juvenile (ponytail) and messy if you don’t product / blow dry / hot roller it every other day. Who has time for that? We are not runway models, you know? Ponytails are easy, but I see “more” for you, Amalah. Whack it off. Hair grows. As for color, I’m gonna say STAY WAY FROM RED. Unless you’re going whole-head pumpkin, strawberry blonde is THE HARDEST color to duplicate artificially. You will end up with peach colored hair. DON’T DO… Read more »

Dashrashi
Guest
Dashrashi

I’d go with a shorter, angled bob, maybe a little choppier at the bottom, with a very long sideswept bang. For color, I think some caramel-y lowlights would add drama and contrast.
Of course, I’m living vicariously through your awesome straight hair; my hair will never accept a bob or a long sideswept bang. But you should totally work with your natural texture and coloring.

jen
Guest

my vote – you are petite with very delicate features, so I think you’d be able to pull off shorter hair. I’m not a fan of the Posh bob because I think your fine, wavy hair would look prettier with some soft layers/texture instead of the severe thing she has going on. I also love the idea of strawberry blond color with your brown eyes and a paler complexion – very fresh and pretty. dark brown might wash you out? so to sum up – maybe a shorter length (shoulders?) + some color with layers and oh yeah, I definitely… Read more »

Isabel
Guest

Oh, this is fun!!
I just got the best cut I’ve had in years.
I got good layers and some “long bangs”. I have had a love/hate relationship with bangs for years. But these longs ones are awesome. I can tuck them (if I pull my hair back) but they still help me with my 6-head issues.
Oh, and red highlights are always fun. But not just red…we’re talking RED RED!

Mary Watkins
Guest
Mary Watkins

You have beautiful hair but I can understand the itching for a change. I’d do a lot of serious contemplating before making a major color switch – it could be fun but it could also be a lot of maintenance and if you decide you hate the new color it can be difficult (and expensive) getting back to your roots (heh). Personally, I think you’d look adorable with the long layery bob that Nicole Richie used to have, side-swept bangs included. So chic and not a mom cut at all.
Good luck – can’t wait to read about the results!

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Be VERY careful with the red. My hair is a similar shade, perhaps a bit darker, and I did red hilights once. They were rockin’ and fun and great…… for a week. Then they faded to a lovely hot pink (and yes, I use a color protecting shampoo and they were good hilights), and eventually faded out entirely. Red is tricky on us blondes. I’d go shorter (around shoulders) with kicky layers. I’m not a fan of the bangs, because I have the same fine, lank hair and they never, ever look good for more than 5min. Lowlights are fun,… Read more »

the ass editor
Guest
the ass editor

Amy, I read all of your sites every single day but am lazy and shy and never ever comment. However, I’m going to delurk for this since the topic is so important and I’m afraid your other commentors might not give you the tough love I feel morally obligated to deliver (my morals being dictated by the sacred values of makeup and hair). I consider myself much more of a make-up maven than hair pro and have lots of problems with my own hair, so please take this advice with many, many grains of salt…but. Knowing that you use expensive,… Read more »

Notsogirly
Guest
Notsogirly

I just hacked mine off from mid-back to above shoulders. I say do it. It feels so good in the summer. I got a side-parted, layered bob with “wispy” ends. It flips up a bit on the ends if I don’t flat-iron it, but it looks pretty summery and cute that way. If I do straighten it a bit then it looks pretty sophisticated. And it still goes up in a (teeny-tiny) ponytail or back in a barrette. My hair is thicker than yours, but has about the same amount of wave. So…just a suggestion!

Dapbim
Guest

I really like Katie Homes current ‘do, as it looks relatively easy to style, and yet still funky. Don’t know how it would suit you though, I’m rubbish at picturing things like that.

psumommy
Guest

Oooh….I’d go with a short bob that’s stacked in the back and angled down toward your face (maybe even as short as to your chin)- you have the pefect face/head shape for a cut like that! And straight hair…I’d LOVE a cut like that, but I look like a poodle when I try it! As for color…if you want to go nuts, I’d say some hue of red or brown, ask for a demi-color or something that washes out if you hate it (and if you *love* it you can go back and have it done permanently!). that’s just my… Read more »

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

Hi! I have mair that is a tad darker than yours naturally, more of a light brown (maybe the way yours is without highlights?). The most fun thing I have ever done with my hair is dye it dark brownish red (I bought in a picture of Angelina Jolie’s hair from Mr. and Mrs. Smith). We have similar fair complexions and the dark color made my skin look radiant! I was afraid of being washed out but the darker color did the opposite. In conclusion, I think you would look amazing with dark hair and you can totally rock the… Read more »

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

actually I don’t have “mair,” I have HAIR.

AmyM
Guest

I love the length of your hair now, so I’m not much help in that department! But, I’m going to agree with The Red Highlights! My hair is dark brown, so I go with a deep copperish color highlights. And OMG I LOVE THEM! I never thought I’d like red in my hair but I LOVE IT! You will probably want to go with a little different shade of red. But…red does fade quicker than everything else. My highlights go from the beautiful deep copper to a brownish-red color. It doesn’t look bad when it fades, but it’s not nearly… Read more »

jodifur
Guest

I think you would look adorable with a bob! And not at all mom haircutty.

kdw
Guest
kdw

i agree with the ass editor (hee hee) that all your effort doesn’t yield that big of a payoff. in these pictures, your hair is kind of flat to your actual head, but volumey on the ends, and i think you need more overall volume/height at the crown & around your face. what could be really cute: an above-the-shoulder razor cut with longish layers and some chipping (which is a cutting technique that creates volume. the stylist will hold a chunk of hair straight up and take her scissors and make tiny cuts into the underside of it near the… Read more »

Beeeee
Guest
Beeeee

So here’s my $0.02….you probably want something funky, but not crazy like – so for color, I would keep it blond on the top, but do something different on the bottom – like a really rich brown or maybe a reddish-brown…on the underside of your hair. But keep the blond on top, since you’re a blond at heart and all. Maybe mixing it up with a few highlights/lowlights in the blond. Oh, and I would keep it longer and do some long side swept layers in the front – in lieu of bangs 🙂 Good Luck! Can’t wait to see… Read more »

Kimmy
Guest
Kimmy

I have had red hair for yeaarrrrs and years. My only word of warning is that most hair does not hold red well. Meaning, you’ll have this brilliant colour for the first week… but after only a few washes, it will have faded out a lot. Often to a very undesirable tone. I’m super lucky, I have tons and tons of hair… which sucks up the red dye and holds it. BUT even I still get the fade-out, albeit more slowly than most; it’s taken my stylist about a year of trying different formulas to get a shade of red… Read more »

leahkay
Guest

Two things:
1. Beware ye of the red. It seems to be the color that goes horribly awry most often.
2. I have never had bangs that were low-maintenance.

Erin
Guest
Erin

Red doesn’t work very well in dishwater blonde hair. At least not a relatively natural looking read. I have similar color hair to you, as well as texture, it appears, and any attempt at strawberry blonde looks fake and fades very quickly.
I know it is Nicole Richie of last year, but I think something like this would look fabulous on you.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/features/img/Entertainmentblog/2006/may/20060505nicole.jpg

BaltimoreGal
Guest
BaltimoreGal

OK, so here’s my piece. 1. If you have a stylist you REALLY trust- get their opinion. VERY important- especially when it comes to color. Mine convinced me that red would be bad for me- something others have since confirmed. 2- Longish sideswept bangs are an excellent idea, whether you go long or short. I once had a stylist for a wedding refer to my forehead as “alien-like” so I can relate to the fivehead deal. When I’ve had the longish sideswept bangs that I can tuck behind my ear or pin back when needed, fine. Any shorter- annoying. 3-… Read more »

wilddreemer
Guest

No short NO RED! I vote keep it long with layers cuz its hot. maybe even put some dark low lights in it or something!

wilddreemer
Guest

oh yeah GO BANGS!

wilddreemer
Guest

oh yeah GO BANGS! Also, I like Jenny Mccarthys color and cut right now, its a bob, but all straight and choppy, you guys have the same face I think it might be kinda cute on you. BUT NO RED!

TasterSpoon
Guest

I think it’s really pretty in back, with the layers. But I do always envy people with trendy, choppy do’s. I could never be cool enough to carry one off. You would.
I agree with the brunette votes – a la Mandy Moore. I’m picturing a dark, warm brown, by trying to imagine that the shadowed hair around your face is its actual color. Really pretty, and would make your brown eyes pop.
I think color also beefs up your hair a little.
What if you tried 1-week temporary color to try it out?

Kathryn
Guest
Kathryn

I was SO going to suggest red! You have the type of fair skin that would be able to pull it off. I do worry about dyed red hair, but I think a professional job on blond hair would work beautifully. I have a hair problem for you, and in fact, I emailed you about it back before you cleared out the Smackdown archives, and just was too lazy to email it to you again. I have short hair currently (crazy short, like shorter than my husband’s), and I flirt with the idea of growing it out like once a… Read more »

Danell
Guest
Danell

I vote for one similar to this because it looks like something fun and different for you, yet something that would be easy for your hair to do, so it wouldn’t be a disaster to maintain:
http://www.imdb.com/gallery/granitz/5175/Events/5175/KateBoswor_Kambo_10313273_400.jpg.html?hint=group

Cari
Guest
Cari

I think you should go a little shorter, too. I’m liking Katie Holmes’s new length or the pic of Nicole Richie linked to above. (Anything between your ears and collarbones would be fantastic.) With sweepy bangs, of course. Also, maybe a little darker. Us pale-faced girls can pull off something in a chestnut or maybe an auburn, if you like the red idea.
I can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

*Otter *
Guest

I’m a pale-ish dirty dishwater blonde with highlights and a fivehead too and I can say with absolute certainty…I have no idea what to do with this shit. Bangs…no. You’ll stab yourself in the eye with a fork later. Color…Not to suggest that you go pink again, but when you did go pink, it really drew attention to your pretty face. So, red, maybe? If you hate it, you can have it stripped and they are much more gentle with that these days (I went dark gothy brown a couple of years ago and had to have professional help to… Read more »

AJMICK
Guest
AJMICK

I’m with Otter; I, too, have similar hair, fine, blonde, lifeless, mine is about shoulder length and I don’t know what to do with it either. I actually do wear bangs – they are my security blanket what with the fivehead and all. And? They drive me insane. I mean on days when they behave and go where they’re supposed to, I LOVE them, but those days are few and far between and generally require copious amounts of hairspray, so, yuck. I just went in for a haircut this week and was seriously considering doing something dramatic but decided otherwise.… Read more »