The art of the scrunch

Before: the innocence of 2011
After: Power hair, power suit, power earrings of 1986

I first learned the womanly art of hair and makeup in the mid-late ’80s – around ‘86 and ‘87 when I was 11/12. I spent a lot of time in my bedroom practising, and I came to the realisation that I could probably still do those things.

Big in the ’80s (for the ’80s were big) was scrunching. This involved squirting a ton of mousse in the hair and then scrunching it as you blow-dried. This is pretty much the complete opposite of straightening with GHDs, as the end result was that of someone who’d woken up after falling asleep in a park on a humid night.

As for the makeup, it was all big and bold, complete with sideburns of blusher. If you blushed naturally only on the side of your face, you’d probably see a cardiologist. Because blue frosted eye shadow doesn’t exist any more, I had to fake it by mixing blue with silver. Hey, u have blue eyes – the frosted blue eye shadow will make your eyes look really pretty!!!

End result? I look like a man in drag. Or I look like a 50-year-old high-powered business woman. I want those reports on my desk asap. Either way, this is not a look I want to sport on a daily basis. Evidence that only women with delicate features can get away with strong makeup. I am thankful I was never an adult in the ’80s.


I’d noticed a woman on the bus that I get to work when I’m doing the early morning shift. She’s probably in her late 30s, if not 40, is nicely groomed, wears smart business clothes and has long hair just past her shoulders.

One day she sat in front of me and I spent the bus ride looking at her hair. The colour was nice, but it had a kind of wiry texture to it. I realised that it’s that kind of wiry hair that younger women never really seem to have. I didn’t think too much about it until a few weeks later when I was getting my hair cut.

I complained to my hairdresser that my hair had gone really strange. I’ve always had curly sections and straight sections, but now it seemed that the hair on top of my head was really straight and the hair underneath was really curly. I was expecting a simple answer like that it was colour damage or the humidity, but instead she asked me how old I was.

She explained that around the age of 30, there’s a slight hormonal change in women that, among other things, affects hair, so it was possible that that had started with me, and then she skilfully cut my hair in such a way that the textural contrasts were barely noticeable.

My theory is that your body puts time and effort into making you pretty in your teens and 20s to help snare a mate, but figures that you’ve probably got one by the time you reach your 30s, so it can concentrate on other things.

Suddenly it all made sense. The lady on the bus probably had really lovely silky tresses when she was younger. She probably refused to give up her hair style, even though it was all wiry and pubic-textured.

It’s a little bit sad thinking that maybe I’ll never quite have the same hair that I used to have, but now that I know this little piece of information, I can avoid being an old lady with scraggly long hair.


I was reading an article in one of those weekly gossip mags about the excesses of Jennifer Lopez’s lifestyle. Among the tally was the $10,000 she supposedly pays to have her eyebrows plucked, or rather shaped.

I refuse to believe that. I totally refuse to believe that anyone would pay $10,000 to have their eyebrows plucked or that anyone would charge that much for their services. The one time I had my eyebrows done at a beauty spa, it was a $80, and that included a half-leg wax.

I just find it easier to do it myself with a good pair of tweezers ($7.95) and a hand mirror ($1.95). Although, it did take me a few years to get the hang of it. There were several years when I had lopsided eyebrows, and to this day my left eye is easier to do than my right one. Ok, sometimes I get carried away and look like a drag queen, but most of the time my eyebrows rule.

Oh, here’s a beauty hint: if you have an eyebrow piercing, take it out before you turn 25 or it will cause your eyebrow to droop. This looks cool if you’re a pirate, or a crazy old guy, but not if you want to be a sexy chick in your 30s.

I dyed my hair today. I was trying to go for a trashy rock whore blonde, but ended up with more of a suburban wedding blonde. It looks really nice, but nice is not what I was going for. I’m going to have to kiss goodbye the regular selection of hair dyes and instead move onto the top shelf, yes, the special blonde range. The stuff that makes your scalp burn baby, burn.


I discovered a section of my hair that is three different colours. The end half is light blonde, the middle quarter is a reddish brown and the head-end quarter is ash blonde. I’m not sure how this happened. I think I should see a hairdresser.