Whether you’re a little, a slave, or a sub, the condition of your hands and hair can make or break your appearance. Just like wearing a costume, you’d never put on an outfit and then leave your hair to do its natural thing, and the remnants of your three week old nail polish on your fingers—not unless it fit with the image you were trying to recreate, anyway. I’ve seen more people take special care to dress nicely to go out and then leave their hair to frizz, or avoided doing their nails, and it completely undermines all of their other efforts. Like your jewelry, like your make-up, and like your clothes, your hair and nails have to tie in to whatever look you’re going for, but more than that, paying attention to your hands, feet, and hair and giving them consistent care, is an excellent way to further pamper yourself, and as I’ve said before, treating your body in addition to treating your mind to positive reinforcement about your worth and beauty can help you make long strides in building your self-esteem.
How do Hair and Nails tie in with Self-Esteem?
In my article that addresses expressing submission with your hair, I talk about how hair is a cultural symbol of youth, freedom, and beauty. As such, having hair that is healthy, full, rich in colour, and soft to the touch, tends to be a subtle, but effective confidence boost. There’s a reason why the expressions “good hair day” and “bad hair day” exist: the behavior of your hair in the morning usually plays a huge role in how you’re feeling for the rest of the day.
Likewise, taking care of your nails (hands and feet) give out very clear messages to the people you come across. A person who dresses nicely, but has broken finger nails and hangnails will still give off a pretty poor impression in comparison to someone who obviously takes care of his or her hands as well as caring about what he or she puts on in the morning. The state of your nails, in particular, is a big indicator of your class and your position in life. Not only does having long nails indicate that you work with your hands a lot less than someone who has short nails, but having fake nails, painted nails, well-manicured nails, indicates that you either have the excess time to dedicate to your nails, or the money to keep up with your nails.
Being able to take pride in these highly symbolic factors in your appearance plays a big role in allowing yourself to feel good about the way you look, but actually dedicating the time and attention to the upkeep of these things is what really helps tie your mental mantras for building self-esteem to your body. You’re worth the time it takes to take care of yourself, and your dedication to these areas ultimately makes you worthy of the results that their upkeep will yield.
Remember, the idea is to create a sense of ritual: physical actions that you can follow through as a form of active meditation which will allow you to focus on the aspects of your body that you’re proud of, or that you desire to be proud of. Taking the time and energy to dedicate to yourself will help build the positive reinforcement that you need for those, “Pretty, Sexy, Strong,” mantras that you use in the mirror to work effectively.
The Look You’re Aiming For
Unlike your skin care routine (which, despite being a sub, should solely focus on your needs), the way you keep your hair and nails can be greatly influenced by the type of submissive you are, and by your Dominant’s preferences. For example, a stay at home little might wear his or her hair to reflect the age they like to play at. The colours of polish they wear on their nails, if they are allowed to wear polish, can easily be regulated by what your Dom prefers or feels to be appropriate. A lot of my function as a sub is ornamental.
My Dom enjoys when I look nice, and she enjoys when other people notice that I look nice. Since we’ve been together, my interests in fashion have grown substantially, and while part of that is from a natural interest, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that looking elegant on my Dom’s behalf didn’t fulfill some of my needs as a sub. As such, when I do my hair and take care of my nails, my goal is always to create a sense of being well put together.
That’s not to say that I haven’t painted the TARDIS or Nyan cat on my nails for the heck of it, but rather that I do my best to maintain my polish so it isn’t chipped and that I take care of the skin surrounding my nails. Likewise, I have a few really simple hairstyles that I tend to throw my hair in to keep it out of my face, but match my overall appearance, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally just toss my hair into a sloppy ponytail or put my hair in pig tails if I’m staying home for the day—and of course, no matter what my preference is, my Dom’s preferences always trump mine.
Ultimately, what you dedicate yourself to can be completely tailored, making your hair and nail care a fabulous way to express your submission as well as a way to pamper yourself.
This article actually got very long just going over basic hair care, so I’ve decided I’m splitting it up into a separate article for nail care (where I’ll walk you through a manicure) and the rest of this article will focus specifically on hair.
General Care for Hair
We talk a lot on sub forums about things like hair removal: what methods get the best results, how we actually implement those methods, etc. SubmissiveGuide has a few articles on the subject, so I felt the best method of approach for this article would be to focus on keeping up with the hair on your head—especially if you’re attempting to grow your hair out.
Regardless of the length of your hair, and styles that you and your Dom choose to pleat it into, taking care of your hair is a fundamental component of taking care of yourself. I’ve already addressed some of the ways that you can express your submission with your hair, but its upkeep, like your skin care, should be a task you perform for your own benefit, and it starts, strangely enough, in your diet.
I promise that I’ll talk to you more about healthy eating in a later article, but in reference to your hair and nails, your diet is exceptionally important. You need to make sure that what you’re eating is giving you the appropriate balance of vitamins and minerals that you’re supposed to be consuming, and you need to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. Regardless of the length you keep your hair and nails, starting with your diet is integral to building a strong, healthy structure that will look good with minimal effort. It’s also important to understand that, while there are dietary supplements that target your hair and nail growth, these are incredibly expensive, and actually contain such an overly large quantity of the vitamins/minerals, that most of the time taking a single capsule every day results in your body flushing out the majority of the capsule that you paid a lot of money for—meaning that the results you yield are often times non-perceptible when compared to the average, unhindered growth of your nails and hair. There are a few exceptions to this, but ultimately the way you use those products is more involved than just consuming them.
Caring for Your Hair Starts with a Good Shampoo and an Effective Conditioner.
Before we get into supplements, though, let’s talk about the basics. Most people develop a basic routine for their hair by the time they reach adulthood. It’s substantially less tricky than trying to find a compatible skin routine, so I’ve done my best to par this section down to tips rather than instructions. If you feel completely lost regarding hair care, that’s okay, there are plenty of resources available to you on youtube.com and lurking farther reaches of the internet, and you can always talk to a stylist. Just like skin care, however, you want to make sure what you’re putting on your hair is a high quality, and that you personally see results from it.
What makes shampoo high quality?
Remember that high quality doesn’t mean high price. Don’t rely on the fancy labels on the bottles or the price tag to indicate whether or not the product inside is good. What really makes a shampoo/conditioner combo high quality is whether or not you’re seeing and feeling the results in your hair, so, as always, you’re trying to balance out the ingredients, with the results, with the cost of the product. It can be a little frustrating, especially if you’re on a budget, and no one wants to have to suffer through a bottle of shampoo that makes his or her hair limp and unhappy. Fortunately, like lotion, you can usually predict the effectiveness of the product by considering the consistency. Don’t buy something that comes out of the bottle super watery, as that generally means that water is the primary ingredient. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is ineffective, but it means you’re going to need to use more to get the desired results, which means your cheap, $3-$9 bottle of shampoo will need to be purchased twice as often as a more concentrated $9-$15 bottle.
Ultimately, I would recommend that you shoot for brands that are salon quality or that used to be considered salon quality. John Frieda is my current grocery store brand of choice; not only is it effective, but it’s actually cheaper to buy than lines like L’Oreal OleoTherapy, but if you’re looking for exceptional products, Redkin, Bedhead, and Biolage are common salon brands that tend to work amazingly as well. If you want to feel like you’ve just gotten your hair professionally done every time you wash, take a peek into the nearest salon or the place you usually go to when getting your hair trimmed and check out what they’re using. A word of caution, though: don’t buy directly from the salon without checking the prices of the products on Amazon. Amazon tends to mark things down as incentive for using their website, so be sure to take full advantage of that.
In addition to having a go-to brand, try to find a secondary brand that you can alternate to every one or two bottles of shampoo. It doesn’t matter what brand you use or how uber great the brand claims to be, eventually, the product builds up on your hair, and changing out your shampoo usually helps break down that residue effectively. (It also keeps you from getting bored of the same old routine. A new brand of shampoo, like your special occasion skin products, can help revitalize your routine and make it take on some new meaning for a few days).
In Regards to Washing your Hair
I’m going to try not to hit this too hard, as most of you have probably been washing your hair a long while all on your lonesome, and I don’t feel instructions are overly necessary. What I will say is: try not to fall into the trap of “lather, rinse, repeat,” but rather, make sure you wash from scalp to tips thoroughly. Don’t use water that’s too hot, as it will dry out your hair, and no matter the length of your hair, follow up with conditioner to ensure that you’re not drying your hair out by just using the shampoo that strips the excess oil from your hair. Last, remember, shower every day, but don’t wash your hair as frequently as that, unless you have exceptionally oily hair. Hair care starts with your scalp, and while stripping most of the oil from your hair and using conditioner to moisturize it is fine for creating healthy looking hair, drying out your scalp itself is a good way to give yourself dandruff and itchiness.
On the note of conditioner
How much of your hair you condition generally depends on your hair type. Again, my hair is just on the drier side of average, so I will often times condition all the way up to about two inches from my roots. If your hair gets oily faster, you will want to focus more on the ends of your hair.
The most important part is leaving it to soak a bit. Put your hair in a messy bun once the conditioner is in, wash your body, and then rinse your hair and body at the same time. Conditioner needs that extra time to absorb. Make sure that you’re spending at least two minutes with your hair covered in conditioner before you rinse, and again, make sure the water is warm, not scalding.
Brush it out!
The biggest mistake that people tend to make when taking care of their hair is brushing it with a hair brush while it’s wet. This is a good way to damage your hair and to get a lot of split ends, because your hair is its most fragile when it’s wet, and will snap if you try to force your brush through tangles. Instead, you need to brush your hair with a comb first. Try to have one wide toothed comb, especially if you have thick hair, and one fine toothed comb. The former tool will help you remove the larger knots form your hair and keep it from breaking as you brush it out. The latter will help you get those small, gnarly creatures out of the under layers of your hair. Make sure that you’re working knots out from the bottom up. Trying to work from the scalp to the ends of your hair is a good way to get bigger knots because your hair won’t have anywhere to go. Once your hair is untangled, then you can go through with a brush, if you still want to, but I usually find that it isn’t necessary unless I’m blowing it dry to style it.
When it’s dry, your hair is pretty safe to brush as normal. I keep two brushes: one with the stiff, plastic bristles that is used for detangling, and a boar hair brush, which is designed to distribute the oil in my hair, and to keep it smooth and silky throughout the day. I keep the latter brush in my purse, as it’s tiny, and make a point to brush my hair when it’s down whenever I feel like I need a little bit of a touch up.
Putting Heat and chemicals to Your Hair
Perming, hot curling, straightening, blow drying, bleaching, and dying your hair are all great ways to tame your unruly locks and to accentuate your beauty, but you need to be careful. Consistent application of extreme heat will damage your hair in a way that even high quality shampoo and conditioners can’t fix. Make sure that when you do use these tools, you combat the effects by using products designed to help protect your hair from the heat you’re using, and balance out the use of those tools with days where you go au natural and using shampoos and conditioners that are advertised for “repairing damage.”
And on that note:
If the ends of your hair constantly frizzy, dull, dry, breaks easily, or feels coarse and gritty no matter what you use on them, changes are, you’ve already done some damage to your hair. The damage can be repaired only slightly by that point, and the products that will help tend to be salon quality and expensive. If you can afford it, length wise, it’s usually cheapest to cut off the damaged ends and to start fresh. If you’ve completely fried your hair, however, and aren’t able to cut your hair completely, you might need to look into products like leave in conditioner and hair masks.
This is where some of those supplements seem to come in handy the most. Mixing natural products like honey, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, mayonnaise, etc. with a liquid vitamin E capsule can give your hair a boost without you having to worry about how much of the vitamin your body expelled without using.
I mentioned that you should make sure that you style your hair appropriately for your outfit. There’s not a realistic way for me to address this topic without writing a book about different hair styles and their how-tos, but what I can say is that there is a plethora of resources out on the internet, especially youtube and pintrest, where you can learn how to do up-dos, half-dos, braids, ponytails, knots, ties, faux bobs, vintage styles, and basically anything that you know how to research. Understand that depending on how stubborn your hair is, you may or may not be able to do certain styles the first time. They take practice, and I recommend doing a hair style several times before you actually want to wear it out. As always, ask your Dom for his or her opinion. It’s a nice way to incorporate him or her into your ritual, and gives them more of an opportunity to express their influence over and interest in your appearance.
Extend the Ritual
Remember how we talked about your special occasion skin treatments, and the possibility of using an extended treatment as a way for your Dom to reward you for good behavior, or to take part in your grooming? Hair is another great way for you to interact with your Dom on a sensual, albeit not necessarily sexual level. If self-esteem is something that you find yourself consistently struggling with, having your Dom take an active role in interacting with your body in a way that doesn’t lead to sex is an amazing way to allow yourself to feel attractive and well cared for.
The exchanges can be as formal or informal as you want them to be. Right now, the most emotionally compelling ritual that my Dom and I have is when she brushes my hair before we go to bed. It’s not a complex exchange: I’m usually ready before she is, so I kneel and wait at the end of the bed for her. When she’s ready, she brushes my hair for me, and then she invites me into bed. It takes about five minutes, but especially because I’m very proud of my hair, my Dom brushing my hair for me is a comforting reinforcement that I’m worth her time and that she appreciates me enough to give her time to me.
The exchange that you set up with your Dom could be as simple as that, or it could be more ceremonial. It could start with your extended skin care routine, it could involve regular inspections of the way you keep yourself. If your Dom has an interest in voyeurism, it could be a simple, intimate part of your routine which he or she can enjoy watching you perform. The implementation is only really limited by your imagination and interest.
I’m hardly an expert.
Per usual, I’m happy to remind you that I am not an expert on anything that I write; I have a natural interest in the topics, and tend to do a lot of research until I get bored with learning a particular subject, and it may take weeks before I’m ready to look at something a second or third time. There are as many techniques for hair care as there are stylists, amateur and professional alike, and I’m sure there are even a few readers who are actually stylists and know a lot more than I do on the subject. If you like to think of yourself as a hair person, or know more about what I’m talking about than I do, or even if you want to just deposit your two cents into the jar, go ahead and comment below. Ask questions about things you have trouble with, or feel free to post some additional resources.
Until next time,