This is a selection of three favourite captures that I shot of my wet hair after a fresh dye; pressing it, combing it and moulding it into countless different shapes and textures.
Water is party absorbed into the hair layers, while the entire bunch of hair holds extra water between the individual strands. It becomes a heavy, sculptural masse that moves and reacts completely different with the added liquidity. It holds form, it is flexible, it is easy to take apart, bendable, pressed together into shiny shapes. We have all been hair sculptors in the shower. No styling product can fully imitate what wet hair does. A hair in healthy condition can absorb more than 30% of its own weight of water, damaged hair can reach up to 45% – increasing its diameter from 15% to 20%.
Besides its shaping qualities as a material, water is harmful to hair. Additionally to knowing to never detangle wet hair, after a little reading on what water actually does to hair, I found out that letting your wet hair dry in the sun is one of the worst things you can do for your locks. Water amplifies the negative effects of sunlight, which breaks down melanin and keratin in the hair, causing it to decolorate and become more fragile. Hair not only sucks up water from showers and swims, but also from vapour which is always present in the surrounding air.
Confessions: I have a bit of an obsession with hair, in the beauty department it is surely the thing that I have spend most money on. I’ve been dyeing my own hair since I was 11 years old. I am one of those annoying people who will try to touch your hair.
At the same time I find hair a very strange human feature, compared to other animals, we lack it and only have a little bit of it on the top of out heads. Function-wise one could easily live without it. Perhaps the biggest function is a social one; a point of recognition. A reference point. A part of our body that we alter and shape every day. ‘Before we say a word to a new acquaintance, our visible hair announces our gender, suggests our class, and even hints at our religion and politics.’ Penny Howell Jolly