My hair is exhausted. It’s been scrunched, tangled around a brush, and fried. It’s been doused with product, tussled with, and misted like a houseplant. But it wasn’t until my husband said he smelled something burning that I decided to call in the big guns. I had to. My ponytail and I have been hibernating for months; suddenly I’m faced with social commitments. I didn’t want to look as if I tried too hard, but I wanted my friends to admire it and my frenemies to be jealous. That said, only one kind of hair would fit the bill: beach hair, or what is fast becoming known as Kate Moss hair.
This is not ’90s bed head, mind you. Back in the post-grunge era, bed head was inspired by, well, the bed. You rolled out of your ratty futon and there you were, dirty uncombed hair and all. More hygienic types achieved it with now-iconic texturizing products like Tigi Bed Head’s waxy roll-on, Hair Stick for Cool People, or Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray. The 2011 version — beach hair — is clean, shiny, red-carpet-ready. It’s styled, but subtly so.
Bronwen Melvin, a hairstylist who helped coif the windswept looks on the Vera Wang runway, explains: “It’s unintentionally sexy — like, ‘I can’t help that I’m this fabulous. It just happened.'”
The style seems to have “happened” everywhere I look: on Gisele, toting her baby to the pediatrician; on Kate Moss, always; on Scarlett Johansson’s bob; on Sienna Miller’s messy updo. I suppose it’s the right look for these economically uncertain times: glamorous but not ostentatiously so. I wanted it to happen to me, too.
The fact that all the aforementioned girls are blessed with undulating golden locks — while my hair is straight, fine, and the color of coal — didn’t stop me. If I managed Farrah Fawcett wings in grade school, then I certainly can attain effortless waves as a grown-up. The gurus I queried agreed. But it was going to take work.