Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

How I Became a Bed Head

The Ghost of Hair Past

For years, I subjected my short, thick and coarse hair to permanents, about one every six weeks. I had the standard "ball of curls" look year after year.

One day on an impulse, I got a red rinse. Well, nobody fainted from shock, and it actually looked pretty good. So the next hair appointment became perm, coloring and styling. Risk-taker that I am, I experimented with deeper color until I was a real redhead, eyebrows and all. The color was gorgeous!

But a funny thing happens once you make a semi-permanent change like this; in about five minutes, YOU HATE IT. So, out came the color, out came the curls, and I went immediately back to my original color (dark brown), kept my hair short and straight, and, for the heck of it, bought a pair of horn-rimmed glasses (who was I trying to be? Clark Kent?).

Different Hairdressers, Different Cities

Since I changed jobs (and cities) often, I had to keep finding new hairdressers. Then I started working out every morning and taking vitamins, and my hair grew so quickly I needed trims once every two weeks. I don’t like to spend a lot of time fussing with my hair in the morning, so I wanted something simple.

Eventually I settled for the bangs, long in the back, behind-the-ears look. It was an easy style for each successive hairdresser to duplicate. (Photo courtesy of ARTec - all rights reserved).

But I wasn’t happy.

Each morning as I styled my nice, neat and easy hairdo I wondered why my outside looked so different from my inside. The Jane inside is goofily happy most of the time, likes to laugh, loves to dance, is fun-loving—you know, an "a la mode" kinda gal.

So the old no-nonsense, straight and severe style had to go. (Photo courtesy of ARTec - all rights reserved).

So—what now? Tried the perms, tried the color—even bleached my bangs blonde (looked like I had a run-in with a jar of mustard)—and nothing felt right. For a while I even considered getting hair extensions. (But then I’d have to buy a red Cadillac convertible to go with them, and between the hair and the car, that’s too much M&M—Money and Maintenance!)

Birth of the Bed Head

I recently stayed with Mary Anne, a friend of mine in another city, and when she came to pick me up, I noticed she had a fabulous new hairdo. It was short in the front and sides, long in the back, and looked a little like the old 70’s shag. But it seemed to have a life of its own—in places it stood straight up from the crown, and looked deliciously disheveled.

Before I even said ‘Hello!’ I practically shrieked into her face: "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT HAIRDO? IT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL MY LIFE!’

She told me the style is called "The Bed Head," and the idea is to have a winsome, just-rolled-out-of-bed look. (Now when I roll out of bed, I’m apt to have an Indian warbonnet ‘do—either straight up from my forehead, or in a big fan in the back of my head.) Her hairdresser was out of town, but she mentioned that she had her hairdressing license and could duplicate it on me. (Photo copyright Tom Carson - All Rights Reserved).

Well! After I threw my belongings in her guestroom, we set up shop in the middle of her kitchen floor and she transformed me! The Bed Head hairdo is all about the right cut and right styling products. It starts with the cut—instead of pulling a section up, holding it between the first two fingers and cutting it straight across, you twist the section, then cut it in notches. With thick hair like mine, this cut is perfect! Once you’ve got the cut, you need the right products.

Products & Styling

To achieve the Bed Head look, you need a great hair gel and hair spray. Additionally, you can use a waxing stick or wax product to help keep the style (more on that later on). A good gel-mousse product gives a mousse-like hold to towel-dried hair. (Photo copyright Barbara Lhotan - all rights strictly reserved).

Apply whatever amount works in your length hair (I used my usual quarter-sized blob). Run it through your hair, and pull it out with your fingers so it stands up. You can blow-dry it briefly if you like—I do it for just a few minutes to get the serious wet out. But if you do blow-dry it, put your hand flat on your hair and swirl the hair so that it doesn’t set in any one direction.

The next product you need is a good holding hair spray. I don’t know how it does what it does, but believe me, this spray holds like nothing else I’ve ever used! The trick is using it in a section of hair at a time. It made my hair as malleable as Play-Doh, which sounds just awful, but you get the idea. You need to work fast, because it dries quickly.

Here’s an important tip: Don’t fuss with it anymore than you have to. Generally speaking, less is more. (The biggest thumbs-up for this hairdo is that is should take a minimum of time.)

I start with the back of my head. After spraying, I run my fingers from the nape of my neck up to the top of my head so that the hair stands up. The idea is to get the hair going in the opposite direction it usually grows. (Photo copyright Bob Steele - all rights reserved).

For additional interest, twist the ends as you pull the sections up and out. This helps integrate cowlicks, too. I like having bangs, so I make some wispy ones, then push the rest back and up. Since I had been wearing the sides long to put behind my ears, I either fluff it out around my ears, put it all back, or (my current favorite) pull a few pieces forward and tuck the rest back.

I don’t know if the spray does this to all hair types, but with mine, the ends seem to curl. The sides make nice little "fishhooks" that look great.

If you like, use Kusco Murphy wax for extra hold and shine. This product looks like wax and it has a waxy-feeling. Here’s a simple trick to using it: put a little of it on your fingertips. Using the other hand, rub your hands together briskly to distribute the product and warm it up. With the fingertips, dab it on lightly from scalp to ends. You don’t have to coat every hair; you just want to give the hair additional lift and shine.

Now that the styling is complete, leave it alone. Put on some wow earrings and enjoy the looks and compliments. I don’t know how you’ll react to having a Bed Head ‘do, but I’ll tell you what I did—I immediately put on more eye makeup, slipped on my funkiest earrings (although this ‘do looks darling with little sparkly studs, too) and strode out into the sunshine looking and feeling like a star on Oscar night!

Nice ‘Do, But Will It Still Look Good at the End of the Day?

Once I got this look and fell in love with it, my inner-pessimist said, "Well sure, it looks good now, but how will it look at the end of the day?" I’m happy to say that it does stay put. (Photo copyright - all rights reserved.)

I even performed three unofficial field tests:

I walked in a high wind (which barely moved my hair), I stood outside in the Texas sun (even sweat doesn’t hurt the ‘do), and I tried on six pullover tops while shopping, and it still looked terrific!


I love the Bed Head hairstyle for me! It’s by far the most fun and easy hairdo I’ve had in years. It meets all my requirements—it’s quick and easy, looks fantastic, works beautifully with my type of hair, and if I’m a week late for a haircut, I can easily hide it. (Photo copyright Bob Steele - all rights reserved).

I honestly don’t know how it works on fine, thin hair. When in doubt, check with your hairdresser first. Also, while this is a great look for short or even medium-length hair, I don’t know how successful it would be with long hair. A good rule of thumb is never to have hair so big you can’t get your head into your car.

Try the Bed Head hairstyle! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to achieve, how much fun it is to experiment with, and how great you’ll feel wearing it!

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