Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Cheap Hair Tricks For Sailors

When my neurotransmitters are cooperative I try to enjoy what life has to offer wherever I am at the moment. At the moment I am at home in our house on land so I am reveling in the freedoms that land life has to offer: the freedom to drive across town on a whim, the freedom to grocery shop without advance planning, splaying on the big king sized bed, taking long steamy showers, having unlimited internet juice, cooking in an oven where I have some real temperature control. I am working on not taking these things for granted as we get closer to moving onto the boat.

First, the ponytail.

First, the ponytail.

It is the relative safety of this land life that allows me to experiment with how we might do things once we have sailed away from our network here. We will leave behind our friends, family, massage therapist, our chiropractor and doctor, and the yoga studio. These losses will be hard, but they are nothing compared with the loss of Rose, my hair stylist.

Cutting straight across is difficult with a lot of hair, on a moving boat, looking in the mirror.

Finding a good hair stylist that can beat my hair into submission without breaking the bank, or a nail,  is not easy. In my land life, my hair is of medium importance to me. I know I am not alone in that considering how long it takes me to get an appointment with Rose. Apparently, sailing will not change that as is evidenced by the Women Who Sail Facebook group to which I belong, along with thousands of other women. Hardly a week will go by that someone does not ask a hair related question on that forum. They ask questions about what products other boaters use, whether they like their hair long or short, whether they continue to color their hair, and how they manage to get it cut and styled. All those questions got me to wondering: Will Rose fly to the Galapagos Islands to cut my hair?

Cutting into it to feather the ends. Should be holding it straight up, but my arms aren’t long enough.

Well, maybe she would, but it would be on my dime, making that the single most expensive haircut ever. So I decided I needed to learn to cut my own hair. Sure, Rose laughed at me when I told her, but I’ve never been deterred by other people’s amusement. I began to let my hair grow out, longer and longer, making plans to cut it while we were on the boat in Canada. That way I would be sure to have Rose as a backup if things went horribly wrong. If my hair sucked, she might say ‘I told you so’, but she would fix it for me with a smile.

Of course, I realize people do get their hair cut all over the world. I also know that there are a lot of people who cruise who also cut hair. Still, I like to see how far my ‘I can do it’ will take me. This is the personal grooming equivalent of solar panels. And really, after a month on the boat, I was ready to get creative with my time.

The unveiling.

I waited until almost the last possible minute to take the plunge as I was more than a little concerned about the outcome; having not actually cut my own hair since age 4.  By the time I had studied up on how to do this via the modern equivalent of beauty school, Youtube, my hair was down to the middle of my back. Some of it needed to go.  Mike recorded the event and I learned a few things about how hard it is to hold hair up straight and cut correctly while looking in a mirror on a moving boat. Mike is no help here as he cuts left handed. I have to help him cut paper straight, much less my hair. No, we don’t have left-handed hair cutting sheers, although that might be on the list of things we bring with us on board.

The results, while not exemplary, were at least acceptable leading me to believe that with practice I might actually be able to pull this off. Sure, there were some pieces that were too long and I spent a little time evening things up. Next time I will be braver, go shorter, have sharper scissors. But in the end, when we got to Tacoma no one began pointing at me and laughing, no one asked me if I’d learned my lesson on hair cutting yet. I will take that as a success. Now if I could only learn to do my own foils.

So far, it’s ok.

Result: not terrible but I did have some parts to re-trim.  Next time will be better.


15 thoughts on “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Cheap Hair Tricks For Sailors

  1. This is cool, Melissa! I used to cut my own hair when I was younger! In fact, my boys never went to a barber until college! Maybe you could cut Mike’s as well!!!

    • Oh, I’ve cut Mike’s hair, and Andrew’s as well. But I learned to not use clippers as accidents happen 🙁 Mike promises me that he will not allow himself to go rogue when we live on the boat. If I have to cut his hair while he sleeps, I will.

  2. Yup,that’s the way I do it. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve trimmed away about 10″. Still long enough to pull back into some semblance of a pony tail and keep out of my eyes.

  3. I LOVE your settee cushions! Which I know is totally unrelated to hair, but that will tell you how fabulous they are because they distracted me from the pictures of cutting your own hair. I cut my own bangs, but have never had the courage to tackle the back. Scott keeps offering to cut it for me but he always has a strange, mischievous look in his eyes which makes me think twice about taking him up on his offer. Plus his hairstyle consists of shaving his head and I worry he might try to replicate that on me.

    • Ahh, the settee cushions. We love them as well, and also because that’s how we named the boat. The name of that fabric happens to be ‘Galapagos’, which I didn’t know when I bought it.

  4. Great job right there..Practice makes perfect !
    Learn to French braid. I love mine done when at the coast. I taught myself just sitting around playing with my hair and one day wa-la….it was done LOL. I could do mine backwards for a yr before I could do someone else’s !!! LOL LOL

    • Well he Regina! Great to see you over hear on the blog. You know, i used to french braid my hair but I haven’t done that in so many years. Maybe I will give it a try again.

  5. Speaking of hair, I’m learning how to groom my dog. Thank goodness she’s only 5 lbs, but she did get some weird looks the first couple of times. Lol same as mine!!

    • Like I always say: Hair grows. Dog or human, it always grows back so why not groom your own dog? Our Australian Shepherd would be seriously annoyed if we ever actually had his hair cut.

  6. Much easier to have someone else do your hair. My partner does mine. Once every two months. I am a 60ish year old male with hair around my ears but not my shoulders. I am lucky.

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