When you grow up being told that your hair is the single best accessory you already own, you can wind up feeling pressured into making sure it lives up to strident beauty standards.
To meet the mark, we often end up sacrificing the health of our hair in order to style and alter it for certain trends. We willfully dye it, bleach it, relax it, burn it — essentially consciously damage it (things we’d never do to our skin) all in the name of beauty.
YouTube vlogger Vanessa Martinez knows all too well the caca we’re willing to put our hair through to obtain a certain look, and in a video she dropped on Friday, she decided she finally had enough.
In her most recent vlog, Martinez revealed that after years of putting extensions in her hair, it had become severely damaged.
Martinez’s 2 million YouTube followers have watched Martinez regularly switch up her hair styles from one week to the next. She has rocked short extensions dyed red, long extensions slicked back in ponytails, bangs and long bobs all in just a few months’ time. Her look is constantly changing and doing the most all thanks to the magic of her hair extensions. And, yet, despite all of their allure, the negative impacts of her extensions began to take their toll on Martinez’s hair in very visible ways. As she points out in the video, the tug and pull of the extensions left various bald patches throughout her scalp making her hair look thin and uneven.
“As you guys can see, I have extensions in. This is not my own hair. I have individual microbes,” Martinez says at the beginning of the vlog before pulling back a section of her hair to reveal bald circles around her scalp. “No matter what extensions you put in your hair, you’re going to go slightly bald from it, just from the weight.”
Of course, it’s easy to recognize the perks of extensions. They’re one of the quickest and most noncommittal ways to vamp up your look. Still, it doesn’t take long for extensions (particularly when they are used longterm) to generate breakage and hair loss.
“I’m not stressed. I’m not going through anything because I am stressed. My extensions left me bald, and it’s my fault because I got them,” Martinez admits.
The negative consequences were bad enough to make her reach for the clippers.
Anyone who has ever had to deal with damaged hair knows that one of the greatest frustrations is feeling powerless to the inevitable that comes: unrelenting breakage. It can take weeks or months, but damaged hair is damaged hair, and while the process of it shedding can be slowed down, its loss is inevitable. It’s impossible to truly heal your hair afterwards. Once your hair is at that point, you have two options: cut it or watch it break off. No matter what you decide, you will see it go in some way or form eventually.
Instead of waiting to watch the extensions take their full toll on her hair, Martinez opted to take control of the situation on her own terms. Determined to give her hair and scalp a fresh start, she shaved it all off. “I’m just making myself balder and balder, so why don’t I just cut all my hair off and start over,” she says matter of factly before jumping into the process with a friend who was there to help.
Throughout the clip, Martinez joked about the reactions she knew she would get.
As exampled by nearly every season of “America’s Next Top Model,” most hair transformations can be extremely emotional. Almost always we can expect tears or other displays of emotional reservations. It’s particularly true when such a change includes overhauling your look from mermaid with cascading locks to cueball.
But there weren’t any tears in this video. Martinez and her friend cracked jokes and laughed as the alteration took place. “Now if something does happen and I have to cut all of my hair off, I won’t cry about it. Because I know what I look like bald now,” Martinez says to her friend.
That’s not to say that moments of insecurity and awareness of what others thought didn’t creep into Martinez’s thought process.
Naturally, there are moments in the video where the blogger contemplates what her dad, brother and boyfriend will say. “I’m still going to wear wigs, so don’t get me wrong,” she says before joking about being certain that boys will no longer think she is cute (which, truthfully, seems pretty impossible). At one point, she picks hair up off of the ground and puts it on the side of her face for a look similar to Larry David.
But by the end, Martinez was happy she had done no hair deep dive. “I feel very liberated,” she said, grinning into the camera as she checks out her new look. “New trend, new bald, 2018.”