All that glitters is gold, and by "gold," we mean really, really popular. While it started to gain momentum in November of last year, the glitter hair trend has really taken off this summer. Vogue called it a beauty phenomenon and Teen Vogue hailed it as “the biggest trend of music festival season.” A horde of almost entirely white girls led by Kendall Jenner rocked the look at Coachella. Really?! Fucking glitter?
They say that glitter is the herpes of craft supplies, but that’s probably more insulting to the 67% of the world population who have the virus (let’s keep this sex positive). Glitter is the ultimate sign that you’ve given up on an art project. Glitter is what you use to try to cover up a terrible idea, like using Prezi for a presentation or adding the phrase “A Netflix Original” to an Adam Sandler movie.
What kind of idiot would put arguably the most permanently infectious material in your hair? Hi, yes, hello, my name is Isha, and for a week, I was that idiot.
Despite being aware of the fact that glitter might be the successor to the big music festival trend of the bindi—which a few years ago represented just how much rich white people got away with all the time—and that there was a good chance the glitter would never actually find its way out of my hair (one time a bee got caught in there), I thought what the hell, maybe I’ll put some fucking glitter in my sometimes wavy, sometimes frizzy Sri Lankan hair. I decided to find out for myself whether this Instagram-worthy trend was also IRL-worthy. But what started out a harmless week of putting craft supplies in my hair became a tug-of-war between beauty standards and my personal standards.
I went to the Urban Outfitters website to look for some Major Moonshine Hair Glitter, which costs $28 for just a few ounces. Not that you need a lot! There were a number of colors to choose from: turquoise, a dusty rose, gold, and copper. I went with the more “unexpected” copper because I assumed it was darkest, least bright color, I was hoping to be more subtle with this glitter bonanza.
But when I finally received the bottle, I realized it was decidedly orange. Great. But the regrettable-ness of this decision is probably best determined by the fact that the color is no longer available online. Not sold out—just dropped from the lineup. Note to self: dark hair, dark glitter.
I figured the best way to ease myself into this fabulous mess would be to try to incorporate it into my own style while maintaining some type of office-appropriate standard. I tried an updo—and it was at that moment that I realized I had already made my first mistake. Word to the wise, don’t even bother getting glitter gel if you do not have a brush to apply it with. Sure, you could use your fingers, but when something has the consistency of fresh bird shit, it’s hard to get a real smooth, uniform application. I did my best.
While I did receive some compliments from my very, very generous coworkers, I couldn’t help feeling like someone having a midlife crisis, yearning for her better years when spunkiness came a little easier. On Halloween. We’ll call her Brenda (or Shyamala Aunty).
This (above) is why it’s important to have a brush. What I imagined to be a clean stripe up the back of my head more closely resembled whatever the hell Rafiki smudges across Simba's forehead at the beginning of The Lion King.
Honestly, I’m sure it wouldn’t have looked much better had I been properly equipped, seeing as I was trying to paint the back of my own head. It's tough!
On Friday, I really ramped things up and embraced the music festival look. So I went with a middle part half-up double bun, which, no is not a special In-N-Out order. (Wait is it?) Because I still couldn't take myself seriously, I dedicated the look to my personal deity Sailor Moon. This girl felt like an Ærin or Blair or maybe Zinfandelle?
The glitter on the middle part is an actually pretty dope look, although it probably would have looked a little better if it wasn’t bright orange. I felt pretty good about my hair and even better when a woman I met at a Thundercat show told me she loved the glitter—AND HER NAME WAS SERENA (Sailor Moon’s actual name in the English translation). If that’s not a sign of something idk what is.
Sleeping with glitter on is a terrible idea. While the glitter does wash out fairly easily, the longer the stuff stays in, the harder it is to get out. So I spent much of my exhausted Saturday picking out chunks of orange glitter out of my hair—like chunks of dandruff à la Goldmember. Yes, this was such a desperate situation, I just referenced Austin Powers.
I had a pretty serious case of the Mondays and so did my hair, which was frizzy as hell. My scalp needed a break from the updos, and I never rock the middle part with my hair down. So I tried to apply the glitter to my usual side part (not by any means an unusual take seeing as Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, and Miley Cyrus, obviously my personal heroes have done it). Unfortunately, it looked much better on their sleek straight than it did on me. She was a Stacey at best. Maybe a Shanaya.
My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I felt more basic than a basic bitch, and my brain punished me by replaying my shameful high school phase of wearing pajama pants to school. With Etnies skater shoes. With Animal shoelaces. Yes, from the Muppets. It sucks to try and fail when the thing you're trying for isn't even you.
I went for a ponytail-dipped-in-glitter (inspired by this), like a cross between a character from Guitar Hero and My Little Pony. But the humidity had rendered my hair into nearly maximum frizz, and the eyebrow brush didn’t stand a chance. So, I resorted to applying the rest with my hands.
The perfectionist in me really wanted to pull this one off after feeling like such a failure on Monday, and desperation drove me to make a classic glitter mistake—adding more. Like a lot more. The glitter disappeared into my hair. Fifteen minutes later, my hair was sopping wet with gel and dripping with glitter that only showed in the right light.
My hair hardened into a scraggly, spindly state that served to highlight how much I need to get a haircut and take care of those split ends. This look was a Seema. Ooh or an Amelia Jo—good concept, but a little too much on the end. I was a walking Pinterest fail.
I was woken up at 5:30 in the morning by the most acute, stabbing stomach pain I had ever felt in my life, so I opted to work from home. Perhaps it was the dread of applying more glitter, perhaps it was the creamy AF mac & cheese I ate for dinner ravaging my lactose intolerant digestive system. We’ll never truly know. What I do know is that the previous night I went to sleep with a bunch of clips in my hair in an attempt to create finger waves and goddammit I was not about to give up my glittery endeavor because of painful bout of indigestion (or glitter anxiety—again, I just can’t be sure).
Because I didn’t have to rush into the office, I was able to put a bit more time and effort into the glitter, and even though it wasn't perfect, I was pretty pleased with the look. Definitely a Gilda (or a Mumtaz). OMG Gilda Mumtaz would be such a good drag name.
I took the time to do almost exactly what I wanted, and I finally felt really good about it. I felt like a magical flapper princess!
Usually, I tend to go for somewhat bold looks when I employ makeup. Thick cat eyeliner. Dark witchy multicolored lips. That’s me. Adding glitter to the mix threw me off my game and for a hot second made me question my taste and therefore my confidence, which then made me realize that I am in fact pretty shallow, which made me question my worth as a person. And when you're a frizzy-haired brown girl comparing yourself to Kendall Jenner, no one wins. Except for Kris Jenner.
Whee! That being said, when it went well, it looked great!
I clearly put far more effort into some of these looks than an overpriced and dirty music festival would allow for (and maybe I was a bit heavy handed). Still, I’m not sure the work of applying and washing off all the glitter is worth the sobering realization that glitter will now forever be a part of me. It's on my shoulders. It's all over my bed. It’s on the couch. It’s on the cat. It follows me wherever I go, and just when I think I might be clean of it, a glimmer of fucking orange catches my eye and I realize that I am probably, yes, past the point of salvation. This is my life now. Save yourselves.
But in case you do want to rock the glitter look, the best way to get glitter off your skin? A lint roller.