Funky colours and cool textures a la young Hollywood. Tinsel town celebrities have gone gah gah over feathers in their hair, from natural blondes and brown to neon colours, and now they’ve come to Doha. They promise to stay in as long as I like, to be reusable, and to wash and style just like my normal hair. All this, while not damaging my hair either.
Step by Step
I’m both intrigued and ever so slightly wary as I head to the salon in West Bay to have the feathers put in my hair. Intrigued because I’ve always been a fan of bright colours and stand-out hair accessories, and these promise to give me the bold impact I want without having to destroy my hair with bleach to get there. My inner 12 year old is very excited. And that’s what’s worrying me: are these going to be hot, or are they going to look like the clip-in neon yellow hair extensions my friends and I bought at Claire’s in Grade 7?
Once I’m at the salon, the process is pretty simple: I’m handed a Tupperware tub full of the different feathers. I’m going with seven, so I need to pick out my preferred colours, patterns and textures. And there are a lot of them! From natural browns, greys, blacks and silver to hot pink, flaming red, turquoise and purple, they come in everything from thin ribbons of colour to chunky feathers that look like they were just plucked from a bird. There are even stripped feathers to choose from. In the end, after looking at my head (which has a short, naturally curly bob going on at the moment) I go with seven thin feathers in various shades of blue, from navy to turquoise, several with black stripes for added texture.
Application is surprisingly fast and easy. The feather and a strand of my hair is threaded through a tiny bead. The bead is then clamped flat, and voila, feathers in my hair! We decide to group several feathers together, just behind my ear, and the others are interspersed on the other side. I’m assured these will stand up to most wear and tear, although I’m warned to be careful when brushing my hair (as someone with natural curls, this isn’t a problem—I don’t even own a hairbrush). My stylist then curls the feathers with a flat iron, and trims them to the length of my hair, and we’re done.
Leaving the salon, they look hip and fun, bright flashes of blue with a cool texture in my curls. Friends that evening tell me they’re funky and ask where I got them: always a good sign when other people want your hair. The next morning, however, I wake up feeling a tad more Hannah Montana. The feathers have joined my hair in the usual morning riot, sticking straight up in all directions. After a shower, they’re trailing limp and straight again, several inches below my natural hair line. After doing battle with them with a curling iron, I’m starting to feel frustrated: they just won’t curl, and in fact, one of them loses the battle, it’s end snapping clean off. This is probably down to me, however, and not the feathers: I think the curling iron is too big for them, and my technique is seriously lacking (I’ve used a curling iron perhaps twice in my life, with middling results). Public reaction on them is mixed: many of my friends think they look cool, especially straight, interspersed with my regular curls. However one friend does point out that, with my habit of running my hands through my hair when thinking, I end up looking like an agitated owl. The clump behind my ear especially is prone to rising up, like a pigeon puffing itself up in indignation.
Like all good reviews as well, I try very hard to kill them. I’m not terrifically gentle with them, to see how much stress they can take, and they stand up pretty well. I go swimming in both the sea and a pool and they come through manfully, their bright colour and sleek texture still intact. It’s not until about a week later that they begin to give up the ghost—one, caught between a hair pin and a hard place, pulls clean out of it’s bead. As the days go on, and my fingers catch them while finger combing my hair, fluffing it during the day, or pushing it back at the gym, the beads start to slide slightly down my hair. I can pull them back up into place, but eventually I just gently tug them out. The hair is completely undamaged, and the feathers themselves look good to go for another round if I wanted to go back to have them reapplied.
•They have bright colours and fun textures that are quite different than the average hair extension.
•It is possible to curl them (perhaps just not by me), and a curly feather is really something unique!
•They really don’t damage your hair: even when I pulled them out myself, nary a strand of hair came with them.
•You hardly notice they’re in your hair. Secured by a bead, they’re not itchy or noticeable, until your fingers accidentally grab the bead of course.
•The feathers are reusable. I could take them back to the salon and have them reapplied.
•The beads are as styling hazard, and it could be tricky to use a brush without snagging them .
•With my shorter do, we ended up cutting off nearly half the feather.
•They are naturally straight. If you have textured hair, prepare to style with a machine every day. As someone who air dries my hair normally, this added time to my day.
This is a trend: a fun one, but still a trend. Fresh from the salon, they looked great, and I can see doing this again or having them reapplied for a special event or even just a night out, as a special treat along with a blowout. However, for day-to-day wear, they may be a bit intense, especially for conservative workplaces. People who regularly style their hair or have straighter hair would probably have an easier time making them behave then I did: short, naturally curly hair didn’t lend itself as well as longer, straighter hair may have. That said, I’m holding onto my feathers: next time I go out for a special party, they’re going back in my hair!
QR32-QR70 per feather. Glow American Salon. Available at both Salwa (6686 4221) and West Bay (6686 4220) locations