We know how to straighten our hair (almost) as good as hairstylists, and we know the importance of a conditioning mask, but we didn’t come out of the womb with the knowledge already in our tiny minds. We had to learn it as we got older–often by making a few mistakes. In addition to making a few makeup mishaps and the occasional fashion disaster as a tween, we made our fair share of hair mistakes as well. Some of them we realized were screw ups at the time, i.e. the time you attempted to dye your brown hair blonde at home, but other instances we thought we looked totes amazing and only realized the error of our ways as we got older–glitter hairspray=bad.
Get ready for awkward teenage nostalgia, these are the 13 hair mistakes you probably made at 13:
1. Constructing OTT updos.
You wanted hairstyles that were easy to do but that didn’t mean they had to be simple. Simple was boring. The more braids, barrettes, ponytails, twists and furry clips, the better. It was your goal to see how many different elements you could get into one hairstyle. You looked like the lovechild of Marie Antoinette and Cindy Lou Who, who had been attacked in the arts and crafts room. You called your look “cutie 4eva.”
2. Clipping back your bangs with barrettes when you were growing them out.
Even as an adult, you know that it is awkward growing out your bangs. Now, you hopefully have discovered that a good haircut can make those too-long-to-be-bangs look like proper layers that blend into your haircut. As a tween, you found those bangs in your eyes annoying, so you pulled them back with clips–probably butterfly clips, or a fancy barrette shaped like an animal. You liked the look so much that you still wore it even after you bangs had long grown out because nothing looked cooler than a middle part and two sparkly pink monkey clips.
3. Braiding your hair when it was wet, then taking it out when it was dry.
You may still do this now, but you have learned some important lessons on how not to turn your head into a giant frizz ball. When you were younger you made the mistake of braiding your hair into a thousand tiny braids, because the more braids, the more curls, the better it would be. Of course, you didn’t think about hair products, because you were far too focused on deciding which headband would look best with your curly fry hairdo.
4. Attempting drastic DIY dye jobs.
Your sister was allowed to dye her hair, but your mother said that you were still too young. How unfair was that? You were bored with plain Jane brown hair and wanted something super cute, like blonde or pink. If you had been born blonde, like Emily, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but you weren’t and wanted to change your hair. You used your allowance to buy a box of hair dye in “platinum blonde” because the girl on the box had the princess blonde hair you always dreamed of. You made a mess of your bathroom, the dye burned your scalp and when you washed it off, you immediately cried because your hair was orange–not blonde.
5. Not knowing how to use heat styling tools.
You were just figuring out how to use a straightener the right way, and had yet to attempt a curling iron–that thing looked, like, way complicated. You held your straightener in place and counted to 20 before moving on to the next spot, because you didn’t want even the slightest bit of wave in your hair. You wanted Avril Lavigne hair, even if you weren’t into sk8r bois.
6. And you completely fried your hair.
You had never heard of heat protection products, nor did you ever think you needed to protect your hair when using a heat styling tool. Why would something that is meant for your hair be bad? You used your flat iron every single day before school–sometimes twice a day, if you were going to the mall later. When you went to get your haircut, your hairdresser said you had three inches of damage and needed to cut it off. Your were convinced it wasn’t your hair tools, it was your hairdresser being a biotch.
7. Cutting your own bangs.
Your bangs were starting to bug you in gym class when they got in your eyes. After school, you took the initiative and decided to give them a bit of a trim with the kitchen scissors. When the kitchen scissors weren’t sharp enough, you grabbed your mom’s sewing scissors or her manicure scissors. You cut your bangs straight across, except one side ended up a bit shorter than the other, so you had to correct it. Then that part didn’t look good, so you had to fix that. Ten minutes later you had a choppy, uneven fringe and tears in your eyes.
8. Adding beads and string to your hair.
Sparkly clips were super-duper but they were even better when you added beads and wrapped string around hair. You even had a little kit that you bought from the toy store that came with a tool that made putting beads on a piece of hair that much easier. You looked like Steven Tyler, but you didn’t know that because you had no idea who Steven Tyler was. The only singers you knew–and cared about–were BSB, Britney Spears and the Spice Girls.
9. Using glitter hairspray.
You didn’t use hairspray because that was what your grandma used to maintain her perm. Then there was a girl in your dance recital who used a sparkly hairspray, and she instantly become the coolest girl in the entire class. You had to have glitter hairspray, because everything was better when it had glitter. You begged your mom to take you to the drugstore to buy a can, and you used it everyday. You even tried to wear it to school, because every occasion calls for sparkles.
10. Getting a haircut one a year…maybe
Your dream hairstyle was having locks that stopped just above your butt. How could your hair ever grow that long if you had to get it cut every few months, or every time your mom said that the ends could “use a bit of a trim.” The term “split ends” meant absolutely nothing to you.
11. Crimping your locks.
Straightening was for everyday, but crimping was for special occasions. You would pray for a friend’s birthday party, or a chaperoned school dance so you could use your crimping iron. The crimper wasn’t ionic and it definitely didn’t have protective ceramic plates. It emitted a weird smell when you used it, which you discovered later was probably the smell of your hair burning. Crimped hair looked cool though, fluffy dog cool.
12. Adding fake hair buns and hair pieces to your hairdo.
It was all about the hair accessories. A hair accessory was a necessary part of every outfit, just like something sparkly and your BFF necklace. Fake hair made your ponytail look so long–and it was pink and blonde! And how much cooler did your bun look with that curly bun ring? You loved all of your hair pieces even though they looked faker than Barbie’s hair. Your faves were the ones mixed with tinsel or feathers. Oooooh. Fancy.
13. Using hair mascara.
If you didn’t attempt a drastic dye job (#4), because you knew it would be a disaster after your BFF tried it first–and your mother would have killed you–you probably used hair mascaras. When you first discovered that there were hair mascaras, that allowed you to add a different colored streak to your hair for every day of the week, it was almost as good as when Dan smiled at you in the hall at lunch. It didn’t matter that the hair mascaras never went on evenly, or that they ran at the first drop of moisture in the air, you could have turquoise and purple hair one day and pink the next. Totally awesome!