By Tricia Y. PetrinovichDear 1980’s, You had it all! Journey, neon, shoulder pads, Footloose (the good one, with Kevin Bacon), punk and, of course, big hair. REALLY big hair. I.Mean.Big. I miss you so much. Love, Me
When I was in college, it was not uncommon to have several large cans of hair spray in your inventory. One to use every day. Another in case your first can depleted. A third in your emergency kit so if we had a nuclear war (War Games, anyone?) you could grab your kit of bottled water, freeze-dried food and hairspray and survive the apocalypse. It wasn’t even shear vanity. I am convinced a family could have survived in my ‘do. It slept eight.
In the 1980’s, it was important that every day your hair embodied three components:
1. The scoop.
This involved spraying the hair just above the ears on either side and then using an excavator to lift hair away from the face. (I know you think you could probably settle for a backhoe, but it is limited to only 45 degrees of workgroup movement while the independent boom swing of the excavator allows offset digging.) The deeper the scoops, the better for people to see your Doorknocker earrings which yes, did weigh about seven pounds each.
2. The Wall-O-Bangs.
Applying the hairspray to the side part of your bangs, you lifted straight up until you had created a vertical tower of hair, approximately the size of the Washington Monument. The wall only existed on the one side, and then tapered down naturally (as natural as your hair can look with national landmark-sized objects in it).
Hold out your hair and spray, spray, spray. Then tease a little – okay, a lot – and spray some more! Think big, as in the size of Texas or Bill Gates’ bank account. Personally I knew I had succeeded when the U.S.P.S. assigned my hair its own zip code.
What I really miss is the one product I attributed all of my 1980’s big hair success to: Hard Rock Hairspray. It no longer exists, nor I can find any mention of it in the source of all wisdom, the Interweb. But I remember it with the highest affection. I could hold my hair out horizontally, spray it, and it would stay. The ingredients list might have said something about spray fixative and superglue, I don’t remember. But one thing I am sure of: if there is a hole in the ozone, chronologically it can be traced back to the ’80s and my hairspray.
Of course, in the modern age, I have had to find other products that help my hair find statehood. Always on the quest for the biggest and best, I have landed on three items that work for me like Viagra works for men over fifty:
1. Tri Aerogel Styling Spray.
It might not go vertical, but it does allow you to do something Hard Rock Hairspray never did: you can actually brush through your hair after it has been volumized and sprayed. (I know, I was shocked!) You can even re-curl it without getting white flakes in your hair, a lesson my hot rollers and I learned the hard way in college.
2. Kenra Root Lifting Spray Volumizer.
Hey, if you’re going to put “Volume” right there in the name, I’m in. Like Nigel Tufnel, I want my hair to go all the way to eleven, one louder. Spray this on damp hair then blow dry away from your scalp. Boom. Barbarella has nothing on you now!
3. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish.
Spray a little at the roots or wherever you want lift and volume, but keep it to your hair (as tempting as it might be to spray it in your bra). It’s like inflating an inner tube, and I’m convinced that with this stuff, I could float down a river on my hair.
The 1990’s sucked, hair-wise. Bang-less and style-less, I refer to this as the “Pancake Decade.” If your hair wasn’t flattened against the side of your head to the width of a micron, you were out of style. Suffice it to say I went a whole decade being just that. I remember a visit to a high-end salon in Tacoma where I purchased two large cans of hairspray, as I would not be returning for a haircut for at least six weeks. The stylist said, “Do you really need that much hairspray?!?” To which I replied, “You can take the girl out of the ’80s, but you can’t take the ’80s out of the girl.” But thankfully, the world came to its senses and decided women did look better with hair that had texture, volume and its own Costco card.
I must say that I’ll never stop being nostalgic for the whole ’80s vibe of hair, makeup and fashion (and I’ve got the legwarmers to prove it). But it’s nice to know that our modern age has found a way to pump up the volume with great products like these, while leaving the ozone intact.
Oh, and in case you want to write to my hair, its zip code is 79341.