Your article on cultural appropriation convinced me to grow out my mohawk, but I need some styling advice for the awkward phases. I like hats, but I can’t wear them at school.
After my ill-fated attempt at a Chelsea hawk, I learned how hard it is to grow out a dramatic haircut, but let me assure you, it is possible! First off, I recommend that you trim the hair at the nape of your neck throughout the process, unless you’re going for a mullet, in which case, good for you for moving from one bold choice to another.
Otherwise, you have a couple of options. You could transition to a pixie cut, like the one Mia Farrow rocked in Rosemary’s Baby. If the sides of your head are completely shaved, you’ll have to wait for the hair to grow in a little bit—long enough that you’re comfortable cutting the rest of your hair to a uniform length. I would go to a professional stylist for this, and pick up some Murray’s Beeswax at your local drugstore. It’s great for shaping, and it’s light, cheap, and all-natural.
Now if you don’t want to go that short and you like the shape of the mohawk, you can pin your hair up with bobby pins for a messy, slightly spiky look. It’s easy: moving from front to back, take sections of your hair, twist them, and pin them in place (Scarlett Johansson did a fancy version of this here). This got me through a few awkward months of hair growth. You can also go glam by teasing your mohawk into a soft pompadour, like Miley Cyrus. Start by washing and blow-drying your hair, and comb it up from the roots with a fine-toothed comb. Spray the roots, but avoid the ends so as not to weigh them down. I recommend L’Oréal EverStyle Strong Hold Styling Spray. Blow-dry your hair one more time to give it some fluff before shaping it with your comb.
Does your school let you wear scarves or bandanas? You could always try a rockabilly-inspired look by wrapping a bandana or scarf around your head and tying it into a neat little bow at the top (or nape, whichever you prefer). If you can’t pull it off at school, there’s always the weekend, so check out my favorite scarves from Oh Honey Hush on Etsy.
If you’d rather grow the mohawk out without cutting it all off or transforming it into an updo, proceed as follows, being diligent about trimming the longer parts through the whole process. Again, I suggest seeing a professional, as they will be able to give you those jagged, razored ends that help an uneven haircut look intentional. Stage one: Start with a comb-over, à la Miley or Robyn. Brush your hair forward and add the Beeswax or another styling product for a slicker look. Just make sure you’re diligent about trimming. Stage two: After some time, you can turn it into an asymmetrical bob, like Rihanna’s. (3) If the asymmetry doesn’t look right or starts to bug you, you can always cut it so that you have a classic chin-length bob, like Katie Holmes’s. It’s going to be something of a journey, but I’m rooting for you! —Suzy
I’ve played shot put for years and I love it, but it’s given me a bit of a linebacker body: wide shoulders and sizable delts. Add to that a large chest, thick calves, and a wide butt. Any idea what clothing shapes I should be running toward or away from?
How cool is it that you play shot put?! I once threw a dart over my shoulder using my left hand without looking at the dartboard and hit the bullseye. Does that count as a feat of athleticism? ANYWAY, my point is: be proud of your powerful bod. I believe that everyone looks best in whatever they’re most comfortable in, so don’t be afraid to try anything. There’s nothing wrong or unattractive about width, so if you like the way you feel in something that emphasizes your wide build, go for it. That said, if you’d rather not put your shoulders on display, I have a few options for you. For a casual look, try pairing jeans with cute V-necks, like this one, and accessorizing with a long scarf. The idea is to emphasize the length, rather than the width, of your bod. Raglan-sleeved tops (like baseball tees) are also a good choice—the diagonal seam that runs from the armpit to the collar will de-emphasize the broadness of your shoulders. I especially like this cardigan.
Now, if you want to show off those shoulders (I would if I had ’em!), halter-neck dresses, like this super-cute polka-dot number, are great. If you’re trying to achieve balance between the upper and lower halves of your bod, look for dresses with a full skirt. I personally think fit-and-flare dresses are awesome, because they accentuate the waist. I love the little V-neck on this color-blocked dress, and this one is perfect for day or night—it comes in black if you want something truly versatile, and red or green if you’re looking for something a little more fun. If you want to show off your bodacious bosom—and why not?—this dress is lovely, and the cutout detail is sexy and sophisticated. I hope this helps! —Marie
I have very hairy arms. It’s presenting a real problem, because I have to wear long sleeves all the time. Is there any way to remedy this? I’ve been considering waxing, but I’m still a minor and I don’t think that would fly with my parents.
I come from Arabs and Armenians—two famously hairy peoples—and since puberty my arms have been covered with long, soft, medium-brown hair. I used to be really self-conscious about it (and about my unibrow and my faint mustache), especially when I was a teenager, but to tell you the truth, I don’t think anyone really cared about those things but me. When I look at old pictures now, I’m all God, what were you worried about? You were fine! Even cute! and I wish I could go back and tell Muppet Baby Anaheed that.
But I can’t. And I can’t tell you to love your hairy arms, either, though I hope that you will find a way to do so someday. So I’m gonna tell you a few things you can do about that hair—all but one of which, full disclosure, I’ve never tried.
For ALL of this stuff, PLEASE be careful—find a reputable place/person to do it, or, if you’re doing it at home, take every precaution possible. Do, or insist on, a spot test, and if anything starts to hurt/burn, STOP IT and/or REMOVE IT right away.
1. Waxing: You mentioned that you don’t think your parents would approve this, but depending on your age, where you live, and what spa/salon you go to, you might not need their permission. The laws vary from state to state and country to country, but in much of the U.S., it’s up to each salon to set their own minimum-age requirements. I looked up a bunch of places in New York, California, and Florida, and the rules varied from none at all to requiring a parent’s consent for any kind of service if you’re under 16. (Almost none of them would do a bikini/Brazilian wax on anyone under 18.) Beware, though, of those “no rules” places: the ones I looked at were much cheaper, and less reputable, than the ones that require a parent’s signature. And since your skin is, relatively speaking, BABY SKIN, and therefore much more delicate than an adult’s, and a botched wax can cause permanent scars, this is not the place to be scrimping or settling. (A full-arm wax will probably run you between $20 and $45, but you have to get it done every three to six weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.) There are also waxing kits you can use yourself at home, and they’re probably fine, but I’m kind of overprotective of you Rooks and I don’t want you to burn yourself! (Sugaring is similar to waxing, but it uses a sugar gel instead of wax, and tends to cost a bit more.) I probably don’t have to mention that ripping all the hair out of your arms sounds really painful?
2. Shaving: This seems safe and easy but also like a huge pain because of how fast your hair grows back when you shave it. (But please DON’T believe people when they say that shaving makes your hair grow back thicker or faster: that is some BS!)
3. Electrolysis: This has the advantage and the disadvantage of being a permanent hair-removal method: while you won’t need to do it every few weeks forever, what if one day you want your arm hair back? I know that sounds crazy, but back in the ’90s everyone was tweezing their eyebrows into pencil-thin lines or shaving them off altogether, and I know people who regret that today. The other con with this one is that apparently it hurts like a mof, and that it is $$$: it’s about $60 for one session, but you need 15-30 sessions to get rid of all the hair! So I’m guessing this, and the next option, are out for you.
4. Laser hair removal: This is also expensive—about $150 per treatment, and most people need five or six of them. Plus, the success rate varies wildly: for some people it gets rid of all their unwanted hair; for others it never does the job 100%. And it doesn’t work so well if you don’t have dark hair and light skin.
5. Depilatory creams (like Nair): I don’t know anyone who has ever used one of these; all I know is that they are easy to use, but they smell terrible, they can be super irritating to your skin, and the results last only a few days.
6. Bleaching: This is the only method I have ever used on my arm hair, and I have only done it twice in my life: for one of my proms, and for my wedding day. I used Jolene Creme Bleach, which was cheap and made my arm hair really light, but it was still THERE, which I prefer, because it would weird me out to have TOTALLY BALD ARMS, but maybe that’s just me. It was kind of a pain because you have to mix a powder into a cream and then use a dumb tiny little plastic spatula that is seriously like the width of a fingernail to spread the bleach ALL over your arms. Other cons: it stung like hell while it was on; it didn’t last very long (the darker hairs started to grow in within a week); and—this is the biggest one—I honestly don’t think anyone noticed one way or the other. They were too busy noticing my BRAIN. Just kidding! They were noticing my boobs. (Also kidding.) But think about the people you know; can you tell me what the hair on their arms looked like yesterday?
I wear short sleeves or no sleeves in public every day in the summer. Hair is just hair, whether it’s on your arms, head, legs, hands, armpits, or face. I don’t see anything wrong with removing it if that’s your preference; I just don’t want you to see it as “a problem.” It’s not. It’s just a difference. Unfortunately even in 2013 the prevailing beauty standard here in the West is still thin, white, blonde, and hairless. We’re all affected by that, but that doesn’t mean we have to roll over and accept it. —Anaheed
I recently broke my ankle, and now I’ve got a cast on my leg up to my knee. It’s going to be on for a few months, so I would love some ideas on what I can wear with it besides leggings and casual tops, which is what I’ve been doing every day and I’m already sick of it.
Oh, how I envy thee. Breaking my leg in the second grade was my favorite life event—yeah, I peaked a bit early, but I have yet to eclipse the level of popularity I enjoyed among my peers when I was the broken friend. My leg healed in a timely manner, yet I cannot say the same about my ego once I stopped getting special indoor recesses.
But I feel for your fashion woes. It’s hard to work around a bulky healing device, so my advice is to work WITH it. This is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime fashion opportunity, so make it count and you can be Bangin’ Cast Girl. If you want to go H.A.M. on your decorating spree, you could, for instance, apply some glue to your cast and roll it in glitter. Like a badass personalized jean jacket, this would be your signature look, and no one else can copy it. Or, if you don’t want to shed glitter everywhere, wrap your cast in a colored bandage that matches your outfit for the day. Or think of the cast as a portable bulletin board and using Mod Podge or washi tape, attach pictures, stickers, trimmings, or fabric squares that your friends can autograph. Or ask that one really talented kid at school to paint something elaborate, like a galaxy, on your leg. Far out!
Now on to your wardrobe limitations. You said that you’re already bored of leggings, but have you seen these ones with the sharks on them? Or what about bananas? Or UNICORNS? Then bring the party to your torso with an oversized shirt, or forget the leggings and pair a skirt with a fancy top like this one or this one from ModCloth. Bask in the attention from not only your injury, but also your fierce fashion sense. And break a leg! (Sorry, too soon?) —Dylan ♦
If you have a style/beauty question for Marie & her Rookie team, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.