Hair is an integral part of who we are. As a transgender woman, my hair is an important signifier of my femininity. It’s been one of the key factors when transitioning that allows society (largely other people) to recognise that I identify as a woman.
More importantly, my hair has allowed me to shape and realise my female self gradually and playfully. You see, I’ve always thought of my hair as an extension of my personality – colourful, sassy and well-maintained. Not to mention, if I’m winning and having a fabulous hair day – I feel invincible.
It’s been 7 years since I began my transition, and during that time my hair has taken quite the beating in the process of working towards my ideal style. I’ve pushed my hair to its limits (and then some). I’ve experimented with colours, length, layers and fringes, I even had a weave.
Full disclosure: a lot of time goes into maintaining fabulous hair. This was one of the first things I realised when I began my transition and something that I wasn’t prepared for. In much the same way as replenishing my wardrobe with female clothes, I also had to figure out a new hairstyle and routine that suited my burgeoning female identity. Whether you’re trans or not, I want to share several hair hacks, including some tricks of the trade, because I believe everyone has the potential for fabulous hair.
Get a fringe
For some transgender women, a receding hairline and enlarged brow bones can be an indicator of masculinity, and something which you might want to hide. If you can’t afford or don’t want to opt for facial surgery, I have a solution – get a fringe!
I can honestly say I’ve never regretted my decision and I would encourage anyone to switch up their style by cutting in a fringe – they’re so versatile and there’s a shape and style for everyone. Now I switch between curly and straight and use a strong hairspray to keep it in place.
Product recommendation: VO5 Invisible Ultimate Hold Hairspray – Pride Edition
This ultra-fine, fast drying hairspray will help keep your fringe in place. It also smells like coconut, so you’ll look and smell fantastic.
Embrace your hair texture
If like me you have wavy or curly hair, you’ll know the upkeep required to maintain this style. If I’m feeling like my curls lack bounce or are lying flat from sleeping, I’ll spritz them with a leave-in conditioner in the mornings, preferably one which contains coconut or argan oil. This ensures the curls stay hydrated which encourages bounce and shine!
Product recommendation: TRESemmé Botanique Air Dry Curl Cream
Use this leave-in to control frizz and define your curls. Just apply to damp hair and leave your hair to air dry. It’s as easy as that.
Find a hair colour that complements your look
Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Instagram and I’ll see a picture of a girl with amazing violet hair and think ‘Wow- I need that hair!” I tried and failed several times to embrace a pastel hue, for me, cooler colours don’t complement my skin tone or hazel eyes.
For the past few years I’ve consistently stayed copper, occasionally adding honey blonde highlights to lift the brightness – it’s punchy, unusual and a lot easier to maintain. To make sure I keep that glorious vibrancy, I use products formulated especially for coloured hair.
Product recommendation: TRESemmé Colour Shineplex Cleansing Conditioner
This sulphate-free cleanser gently cleans while retaining moisture and helps you keep your colour vibrant for up to 12 weeks.
Hydration is key
I dramatically over-processed my hair in a bid to become platinum blonde, and with that came breakage and dryness. I realised that much in the same way as applying moisturiser to my body every day, my hair also needs the same TLC.
My top tip is to apply a hydrating mask twice a month (or more if you have time) to ensure the mid-lengths and ends stay shiny and healthy looking.
Product recommendation: TONI&GUY Damage Repair Mask
This mask works as an intense treatment for damaged hair, deeply penetrating the fibres for a softer, smoother finish. Just leave the mask on clean hair for 3-5 minutes before rinsing for a bit of TLC.
Switch up your pillowcase
This hack has halved my morning routine! I’d heard that swapping your cotton pillowcase for a silk pillowcase was much better for your hair. My solution was to buy a couple of cheap satin blouses and cover my pillow with them.
The result means my hair has less breakage and is easy to manage in the mornings. Now, all I need to do is gather my hair, give it a quick blast of dry shampoo around the crown and I’m good to go!
Product recommendation: Love Beauty And Planet Volume & Bounty Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo can be a life (or should we say hair?) saver. Give your hair lots of volume and bounce with this 100% Vegan, citrusy dry shampoo.