Bad Hair, Good Times

What is it with women and their heads?


Ah, a smile you can’t make up.

Last week’s video, Achieve Happy Hair followed my ceaseless journey to look more French and finally resolved that the solution to fundamental frizz includes goggles, my most primitive memory in form of security blanket and Bumble and Bumble’s Semisumo. Groundbreaking, really. The former half of the video reminded me all too keenly of the temperament of my natural hair, unscathed by the perils of “temporarily permanent” hair straightening processes and conversely an iron (I don’t know how to use a blow dryer, so, if you want to teach me, I will take a lesson.)

The photograph above was taken during my semester abroad in Paris which is ironic considering the width of my hair. I may not actively know how to achieve French hair without help from a third party (see the aforementioned goggles, blanket, hair product) but I do know how to assess that which is certainly not French.

And yet, I feel nostalgic. I remember so vividly getting this hairbrush caught in my hair. Though I had brought my most functional hair iron with me to France, I did not bring a converter, which is different from an adapter, which I should have guessed based on their names, which quite literally speak to what they do, which I did not guess, which left my hair looking like this for a very long time. Instead of suggest aid tips, my roommates–with unapologetically silky hair that required few products beyond straight lotion and holding spray–took photos and laughed and likened the texture of my hair to house cleaning products.

On the particular night chronicled here, I was slated to meet a man for a drink who had expressed previous interest in myself and what looked like an explosion from the stuffed animal aisle of a toy store but was actually just my jacket. I did not cancel nor did I apologize for the state of my hair.ย He took me to a kosher Thai restaurant even though he was not Jewish, presumably to avoid anyone he might know. I never saw him again but that noodle bowl was ace.

Fervent complaining made my mother cry from 3,000 miles away (estimate). But because I had no other choice, I made it work. At least I had hair, right? Five years later, memories from the time abroad are far more colorful because of the tales my head insisted on telling.

In light of procuring good memories, I urge all of you to upload photos into the comment section below (hooray for a multifunctional commenting forum!) depicting some of your worst hair photos and consequent great stories. You can vote up for your favorite pictures and stories (hooray once more for a multifunctional commenting forum!) because the 19th amendment said so but certainly don’t have to.

You also really should try Semisumo to make sure the bad hair memories remain just that: memories. Unless you’re still building some, in which case, remember: adapter, not converter. Sigh, what is it with us women and our hair?

Part II of a Man Repeller x Bumble and bumble collaborative series.

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  • Eva S

    Ahh I have the same problems with my hair!! Sisters? or Sisters?

  • Felicity

    Luckily there are no photos, but when I was sixteen I took to straightening my naturally wavy waist length hair to death, slicking it down with product (in an attempt to make it shiny) so that it was basically flat to my head. Had a middle parting and no fringe. Also wore blue eyeshadow, which complimented it nicely. And when I was younger my mum made me get all of my hair cut off (as in, ALL off. As in, I looked like I had an actual penis) – the hairdresser cut off one side first (again, waist length hair) and I wailed! I’ve had a phobia of the hairdressers ever since! x

  • Elisa

    omg. can’t believe it. it’s my hair

  • Your hair looks gorgeous in that photo. I wish my hair could achieve such mass.

    My hair is a little torn up right now — certainly not its worse, but I’ve been dying parts of it pink for years and the bleach wears on ya (especially when you have delicate curly hair). I don’t have any really bad photos of my hair, but this is my current hairstyle, which I am sure I will look back on and shake my head at.

    Actually, fuck that — no I won’t. I’ll be fucking pleased with myself!

    • Leandra Medine

      My dude has been asking me to do this to my head since he got back from Croatia three summers ago and we weren’t even dating. No, really, I got a random email from a guy I kind of knew being like, “you should shave the sides of your head.” Red flag?

      • Anytime a guy tells me I “should” do something, I tell him he SHOULD go fuck himself.

        On the other hand, however, if you have hella thick hair, shaving the sides kinda alleviates the thickness. Mine’s a convertible hairstyle. When I wear my hair down, you can’t see that it’s shaved. So … maybe? It’s a pretty kick ass hairstyle. I can be cute or I can be a freak. It really suits my personality ; }

    • Knee A Tea

      OMG. WHY DOES YOUR FACE RESEMBLE MINE. HOLYSHIT. I thought I was looking at mee….this is ridiculous. Or may be it is just the side profile. .You thinkkk!?

  • My hair straightener is my #1 favorite possession (unless my husband counts as a possession, and let’s face it, he does). This is my hair in its natural state: air dried and brushed with zero products. The “after” image is sleek, thanks to my straightener which gets incredibly hot.

  • Ilana Broytman

    My hair at Junior Prom was an utter disaster. I walked into pre-prom with a gorgeous blowout but by the 1000th picture, it was morphing into this monster. Worst of all, it was only thirty minutes into the event. I had to walk around all of prom and after prom with this problem!

  • Nico

    My hair are prfectly like that! But after several years, maybe I could control them!

  • You are gorgeous!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your posts!

  • RobinH

    How is wild Jewish hair a problem? Screw the French. You’re the fashion leader – you can make flat hair so yesterday in a minute. And enjoy your deep brown hair while you have it.

  • greer

    right. there. with. you. i am condemned to that sort of wavy hair that frizzes with the slightest humidity and behaves only momentarily after a visit to tim, my hair-doer. but i swear that the moment i leave the salon, my hair reverts to its sadistic personality and pumps up the volume. the only time i have gotten hair complements have been in the desert southwest or at the requisite bar/bat mitzvahs or weddings when hair irons have worked their momentary magic and my hair seems miraculously flatter. that’s when my great aunts slying get to ask when i had it done and i have to wonder – do they mean the nose???

  • Reptilia

    i have to say that i have no problems with my hair but i would like to try some products that you are recommending!


  • I am thrilled to say I’ve destroyed most bad hair day photos taken of me. UNFORTUNATELY I still have no idea how to do my hair. It’s thin but there’s lots of it, it breaks easily, and my mother has been telling me for years it looks better back – Therefore it’s in a bun 95% of the time.
    This post is my inspiration to get out of my comfort zone and put some effort into my daily hair looks. Thank you for the motivation! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mariu

    ignore the face…this was after a night out, the next morning I lost half of my hair in the shower…disgusting, sad and true.

    • Mariu

      it’s that bad it won’t let me upload it!

  • you actually look so cute here

  • Great post and perfect pic. Have a nice day

  • Lace and Chiffon
  • Maraleth Herrera

    My hair was not that bad but i ruined it with too many straightening products.When it’s not blow-dried i can only wear a top knot which “my dude” hates with all his guts.

    • Leandra Medine

      That is *really* nice hair!

    • ha, you’re like the 4th woman who’s man hates top knots or buns lol. I dont get it there are too cute, I love them.

      • Madeleine

        my boyfriend loves my top knot! thus my “‘sup bunbun” pet name. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • alcessa

    Worst hair evah? 13 years old, about to be confirmed as an adult member of the Protestant church, in a white dress and all that, but I had gone and had my dark brown locks chopped of for what should have been a sleek bob, only I didn’t know how to re-create it on the morning of the said occasion, because I didn’t have enough experience with it. No pics for you, sorry, but I cannot say I am never (ever) getting back to that one because I have something similar right now. I’d have preferred the locks and the occasional frizz, but my hair is not supportive … once again. Time to get a Miley, maybe ๐Ÿ™‚

    • alcessa

      Oh, before I forget: I still had loads of fun that day because I didn’t have much time to think of my hairstyle and no one told me I looked terrible (which I did, no doubt) … ๐Ÿ™‚

  • monkeyshines
  • Rose

    I also have a fizzy curl mess thanks to my Indian roots. A little bit of Moroccan oil and some confidence is sometimes all you need. (when that doesn’t work – bust out the hair straightener)

  • Kayla T

    you look like a sexy jewish diana ross, i’ll say it.

  • Belรฉn Cavas Hernรกndez
  • Haha my hair can definitely look like this but I try to keep it tame with Argan oil (works wonders!).

  • Jennifer

    This happens to me whenever I brush my hair. So I don’t haha

    xo Jennifer

  • This was taken in 2006 during a time which I like to think it was appropriate. Also, a small confession, I used copious amounts of gel to maintain the curl when not wearing a hat, which is fine. But I aggressively denied any allegations that I did such a thing. A process that resulted in me looking like I had really wet, hard hair for 7 hours a day. I’m also a man.

  • Me thinks the natural state is gorgeous!!! ahaha I’m not posting mine, i dont want to break a computere screen haha. but seriously i broke a comb on Sunday messing with mine haha.

  • Catalina Gรณmez

    I swear, that picture of you could just really be me. I don’t know how you got a hold of it. I unfortunately (fortunately?) don’t have physical documentation, but the whole ADAPTERS DO NOT IN FACT CONVERT ONE VOLTAGE TO ANOTHER ordeal is too familiar to me.

    I was spending a summer in the south of France, at age 19. The glorious Cote d’Azur sun and salt water, daily, for two straight months had a role to play. My naturally crazy frizz (see *my* picture above) was desperate for an operating blow dryer, mine was a useless heavy brick. Somebody offered one. I don’t know where that motherfucker was made, but had no safety standards: it went up to 20000000 degrees. My hair, already in bad shape, was literally burnt off by large strands (luckily I have so much, I still had plenty left). I cried. My mother cried from across the ocean too, it was all very dramatic. It took 2 years to heal completely. I only use professional blow driers now. I am really good at it too! We seem to have the exact same type of hair, I can teach you anytime ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hair drama aside, that will forever remain one of the best summers of my life.

  • Redsissy

    “different than (an adaptor)” different FROM, please (!)

  • I know I just posted about the beauty of Argan oil but here is my messy hair without it!

    • Leandra Medine

      Girl, you are living the dream with those locks.

  • Nina

    Hey, your big lion hair looks wonderful. Please don’t complain about thick, massive hair. I have fine, silky, straaaaight, slippery hair that won’t hold anything and falls flat in minutes. Newly washed, it’s impossible to cope with. That’s why I wash only once per week now, that definitely helps a lot. Straight, soft hair is so last decade. I would kill (ok almost) for a coarse, curly mane. Actually I did perm it once (oh nooo), huge mistake – my stylist almost cried.

  • The key is to just not wash your hair. Ever. It’s a gift ๐Ÿ˜‰ why clean that which is meant to be as is.

  • Claudia

    I struggled with my hair for years! Until not so long ago I decided to just let it be ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kelly

      Your hair is gorgeous!

    • Zizi

      Stunningly amazing hair! Rock that stuff daily!

  • Lina Luna

    until very recently I always dried my hair… now I embrace my natural curls… not always with the best results. Some people just expect you to have long straight hair… well too bad for them… I’m loving my natural me… I’ll just leave you with a quote!

  • PerlsOh

    This Dead Squirrel was on my head for the past 3 years. Last Sunday, the Squirrel was put in his/her final resting place.

    • Leandra Medine

      Where is she now???

  • Tali

    I’m one of the laziest people when it comes to hair, this length was the product of 1 and a half years of not visiting the hairdressers. It reached my ass when it was straight and It got so ratty and horrible. I was called everything from a mermaid to a mormon.

    • Tali

      oops, picture didn’t load

  • RG

    Today is my bad hair day.. it usually looks like this all the time, actually. Oh well ๐Ÿ™‚

    • RG

      Picture didn’t load for some reason?

  • after seeing that picture I am really contemplating trying out the Semisumo product. ๐Ÿ˜›

    on side note: my sister would kill for you hair!

  • Kate

    my high school self, illustrating how even the most authentic of beach hair can benefit from styling…

    • Leandra Medine

      We are practically mane twins, not to be confused with Maine twins which would include more L.L. Bean

      • Christina Janna


  • My hair as a bowl circa 1999. I am only 16 now, so I don’t have too many good hair stories, although I may look back to realize my current hair is a mess. Either way I can’t believe my mom thought this was a cute hairstyle and I wish each and every picture of me looking like this could be deleted. Luckily, it grew out about a year later and was able to be worn in cute pigtails. I love your video with bumble and bumble and am planning on getting the product so thanks a lot for the tips! you’re fabulous xx.


    • Leandra Medine

      That is a look I am currently aspiring to emulate, so thanks for the jolt of motivation

      • any time; can’t wait to see how you emulate it!

  • Kathryn

    I have thick, crazy, curly, frizzy hair. (And ironically, it’s from the French side of my family.) I let it go nuts. Between as few washings as possible and the occasional Aveda Be Curly, I embrace my nutty hair. May s/he who not like it kindly lump it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Leandra Medine

      No, no, that is awesome hair. IT LOOKS SO SOFT, WHY?

    • Zizi

      Your hair is freaking FAB U LoUS!!!!

    • goldwaffle

      so gorgeous!

  • I’m not going to lie…I still think you look bomb with the big hair! Is that weird?

  • The Urban Promeneur

    Oh, how a smile can make up. What was this concealer thing again?

    G r e a t curls by the way. Such a good alternative to all those putative straght heads.

  • deanna

    Have you ever tried to actually style your hair curly? Nicely styled curly hair looks way better than fried/frizzy straightened hair.

    • Leandra Medine

      You know how some people are just wildly self conscious about versions of themselves? Me with astoundingly curly hair = a face with no features (subjectively, of course)

  • ML

    I gotta admit it, I have nice hair. Even though I had the worst haircut ever like two months ago, and now it just looks DULL ๐Ÿ˜ I could have changed it but I just moved to Europe and don’t know ANY hairdresser here, and I’m also too scare to trust in any random one. So, I won’t post my worst hair picture because you all hate me, but nowadays is my worst ever.

  • Sara

    I have naturally wavy hair and never ever dry or style it, due to laziness and because it is so fine it doesn’t hold any other shape than my soft waves. If straightened would be wavy in a couple of hours and when I have it professionally blow dried in the hairdresser it would be quite the same story.
    I just let my hair dry and use some serum to avoid any frizziness. I like it better the next day after washing, and because of that don’t get people washing their hair daily. Bad hair days (or at home time) are solved with a top bun, no matter how much other people (mom and grandma always make sure to let me know and make weird comparisons) hate it.
    Once a friend of mine said she loved my hair and described it as grunge. I kind of liked that way of describing it.

  • This story is from days I lived in France. I asked the lady who was chopping my hair off if she could do something to my hair to achieve the Kate Moss allure, I mean that I just wake up ready in full beauty. She answered in a very French way, that way that make you feel so miserable: Dear, you need to be almost bald to have that. She only got three hair and you… got enough to sell a half and still have something to deal with.

  • Sarah

    I would describe my hair as a frizzy and wavy mess, but I love it… most days. This “oh hair” photo comes to you courtesy of Florida humidity, spending a day in Disney and wearing my hair in a bun. Enjoy!

  • Zoe

    As a fetus I had a fro… still do ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • LizLemon

      That comment made my day! I have a fro too.

  • Gabrielle Pedriani

    I think you look prettier than ever. This is my ideal form of beauty – and I honestly wish I could look like you do in this picture every day. Brush and all.

  • Emanuella

    I wish my hair was still like this. Sadly now it’s curler and is light brown ๐Ÿ™

  • Chelsea Choi

    This is off topic, but
    You look like Dory from Finding Nemo ๐Ÿ™‚ which automatically makes you awesome

  • i’ve given up on the wanna-be Goldie locks that is my hair. I guess hoods will suffice.

    • Chelsea Weyler

      nonono, your curls are beautiful, I’m so jealouuus

  • @iheartriri

    this is what happen every time after i wash my hair. i don’t really have time to do things with the craziness state, so usually i just use kiehls coconut conditioner and jumble my hair into a top knot or ponytail. cheers to all crazy hair around the world. btw, love ya, leandra!

  • Michelle

    Does this picture not say it all?…curls that try to be tamed on my head often turn to dread like sea creatures, but you work with what you got….maybe I should try out to play a psycho in a movie–does anyone notice that crazy people in movies often have curly hair?….we get a bad rap man! Love the blog..always a great read Leandra!

    • Michelle

      I don’t know if the pic is going to actually upload this time….

  • Norweigan

    The picture is from the days that I thought a perm was stylish. In real life, my hair is naturally wavy, and, being that I used to be a tom boy and didn’t learn how to straighten my hair until my senior year in high school, most of my youth equaled horrible hair.

  • Jenny from

    I just must say I really really enjoy this blog.

  • ebbsie

    It’s kinda sad, to me, that the original post and most of the comments are about big curly hair being something bad. I mean, no hating on all you not-liking-your-curly-hair girls out there, I know you have your reasons to feel the way you do but… I think many of you (including Leandra) have amazing hair in the pictures. I had really big, thick curly and often frizzy hair in my lower teens (it had always been thick and went curly as I entered puberty) and I miss it now. In my late twenties, I only have like 20% of it left (damn you, combination of high androgen levels and genetic hair loss disposition) and the curls have gradually disappeared too. Pretty sad…

  • Halea

    Your hair looks lovely and very French-ly frizzy.

  • leandrita


  • Hannah A H

    My cousin’s words were, “It looks like a wig from 3 Halloweens ago. Made out of yarn. That the dog got to.”

    Also noteworthy: I am alone in a room full of males. VICTORY IS MINE.

  • dnabz

    eek! have been obsessing over your wavy but straight ‘do for some time. pleasantly surprised to see you started with frizzy curls just like mine — it’s a real mess over here. did you get yours chemically relaxed? help!

  • Maria

    i feel you! i have the same hair… no treatment though.. i just let it be! I’ve lost one too many times hair bands in it.. only to find them when i untangled my hair in the shower.
    I must say the bun is a saver… on top, to the side or on the back… always great!

  • lesfactoryfemmes

    i know how it feels ๐Ÿ˜‰ love your style and your blog!!you have an amazing way to mix and match, greets from vienna

  • Gina

    through the years…

  • cheers for bad hair!

  • Leandra, SERIOUSLY. Your curly hair is amazballs. I know its totally jewfrotastic, but you should seriously rock those curls more often. You’ll be praised for originality.

  • With the kind of width and volume that your locks have, itโ€™s no wonder that the brush got caught on your hair. Best of luck on getting a โ€œFrench Hair.โ€

  • Carla

    Wait… You look gorgeous in this pic. Why have you never tried going curly again? Please, please, please?!

  • Au Naturale. Basically lion status.

  • So I recently decided to stop straightening my hair. YIKES! I had/have no idea really what I’m doing, which is really sad. Here I am missing key products, and have yet to learn had lessons. But fear not, I have gotten a bit better.

  • Annie

    Hi Leandra! I’ve read your posts on hair trying to glean any advice I can on how to tame my unruly hair, and they’ve been great! But I’m wondering if you would give your step by step process- down to brushing it straight out of the shower, to finishing it off with product? My hair is VERY similar to your (judging from the picture above) and it has been my arch enemy for most of my 24 years. Within the past 3 years I’ve gotten pretty good at straightening it, but that’s what I’m left with- boring straight hair that poufs at the slightest hint of humidity in the air. How do you get yours from the above picture to your normal sleek, yet perfectly messy look? Also, my greatest fear might be fried hair, which means I don’t straighten it nearly as often as I’d like. How is it that yours always looks healthy?

  • Sara Graรงa

    Look at this Frodo shorter hair version – “chez moi” everyday is potential bad hair day! It has a life of its own. Just accepted it and came to enjoy my natural man repeller hair;)

    • Sara Graรงa

      the picture now