WHEN Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another national lockdown was coming mum-of-one Melanie Llewellyn felt a rush of terror surge through her.
Not because it meant covid cases were on the rise again and schools, shops and pubs would be closed.
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But because – once again – she’d be back to washing her own locks.
“Before the coronavirus pandemic I hadn’t washed my own hair for three years,” Melanie, 39, from near Dunstable, Beds., says. “I spent £3,100 getting salon blowdries and the hairdressers being shut was my worst nightmare.”
She spoke after OnlyFans model Vanessa Sierra went viral for moaning the worst part of lockdown was having to wash her own locks.
Vanessa, the partner of Australian tennis ace Bernard Tomic, received death threats for her admission, which went viral on social media with people calling her out-of-touch.
“This is the worst part of quarantine,” says Vanessa. “I don’t wash my own hair. I’ve never washed my own hair. It’s just not something that I do. I normally have hairdressers that do it twice a week for me, so this is the situation that we’re dealing with.”
Melanie says: “Good on her – I feel the same. Ever since I was little, I’ve detested my frizzy hair – and that’s not too dramatic a word. I remember being in nursery and stroking the hair of the girl in front of me. It was so smooth and silky, I was gripped with an all-consuming hair envy.”
Before having her hair professionally shampooed she tried all manner of products on her hair, but none worked.
“Curls was a generous term for the frizzy mess that was on my head,” Melanie says, explaining how since she was a child she had hated her hair.
And as Melanie got older it only worsened – whereas her friends’ hair dried straight and silky, her own barnet only needed a whiff of humidity to become knotty and ragged.
She says: “One day in secondary school assembly we all ran in from a downpour.
“My mates’ hair all dried neatly but mine just got bigger and bigger – people were cracking up.
“On another occasion a hairdresser actually broke their wrist trying to drag a comb through my locks.
“Meanwhile, I would ask for pricey hair products for every birthday and Christmas but it was pointless – nothing worked.”
So extreme was Melanie’s desire for softer locks that as a teenager she even tried to iron them – plonking her head on the board while her mum Jan, now 66, looked on horrified.
The last year has been hell. I’ve been washing my own hair but quite frankly it has been horrible – a ridiculous, frizzy mess.
She says: “But that didn’t work very well and left my hair damaged. Straighteners were pretty crap too. It was only the advent of GHDs which did anything but even then it took around two hours to make my hair look presentable. And, bloody hell, it was hard going.
“Straightening my mess was a workout in itself.”
Falling pregnant 21 years ago to Riannon, now 20, Melanie “prayed daily” her unborn daughter wouldn’t inherit her hair. She says: “I feared my wiry mess were the dominant genes, but thankfully she got her dad’s soft, silky hair. I was delighted although, obviously, also jealous.”
Over the years, Melanie tried endless products from serums to sprays and gels in a futile bid to tame her mane. Until, three years ago, after her independent graphic design business started making decent money, she had a brainwave.
“I had always enjoyed going to the hairdresser – it was the only time my hair ever looked good – but I didn’t really realise you could go all the time.
“But then it popped into my head… ‘This could be more than a two-monthly thing, this could be how I get my hair done all the time.’”
So she started going to her local hairdresser’s, Creations in Dunstable, once a week, for a £20 wash and blow dry.
She says: “But soon that wasn’t enough. I craved the compliments. For the first time in my life people were saying my hair looked good. So I began going twice a week, then three times a week, which cost £240 a month.
“I don’t have to other sacrifices in my life to do this,” she says. “I was so broke for so long it’s really nice to be able to afford this treat now my business has taken off. But if things fell apart I would cut on pretty much everything else – meals out, clothes and nice food – before my hair.
“Lee, my husband, 47, who works as a contact centre manager, thought I was wasting my money but he’s never really seen my hair naturally – at least not until this year – while my mum would always ask me: ‘who do you think you are? A multimillionaire?
She’s now worked out that before lockdown she spent an astonishing £3,180 a year getting her hair washed professionally – adding up to nearly £10,000 over a three year period
“I know I could have bought a car or luxury holiday with that, but I don’t regret one single penny of it,” she says. “It’s my money.”
But all the money in the world didn’t help Melanie once lockdown was announced.
“I found it really hard in lockdown. It was horrible.
“I had a bloke who started making deliveries of fruit and veg to us during the first lockdown so he only saw me looking s*** with a frizz bomb on my head.
“During summer 2020 when we could go again and I looked good I bumped into him and he didn’t recognise at all. I was really laughing.
“The last year has been hell. I’ve been washing my own hair but quite frankly it has been horrible – a ridiculous, frizzy mess,” she says.
“Now I’ve taken to throwing it up in a bun, but it isn’t a sexy bun. It’s grotty and unkempt.
“I do not feel like myself.
“I must have saved cash by not having my hair washes but I’m not sure where it’s gone – I have bought a lot of stuff online during lockdown so that will account for some of it.”
Now hairdressers are set to open in a socially distanced manner from April 12, Melanie has already pre-pre booked her first appointment.
She says: “And thank God. “Yes, my mates think it is a waste of money but I don’t care. It’s worth all the money in the world for how it makes me feel. I can’t wait to feel human again.”
Lee says: “She is such a drama queen, but to be fair she does have quite wiry hair.”
In other beauty news, a hairdresser claims bicarbonate of soda is the secret to salon-worthy locks at home as it’ll fix damaged & lifeless hair.
And the mad new beauty trend is to give yourself EYE BAGS – but people joke they ‘already have them’ and don’t need to ‘fake it’.
Plus beauty fans are going mad over this mascara which gives you the longest lashes ever & it’ll cost you less than a tenner.
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