‘It’s all about the Hair’

Hey!! How is everyone?? It’s been a while since I posted and I super apologise…this will happen every now and again when our theatre obligations get craaaazy! Last month, with a local cafe, we pulled together and sold out our first ever Haunted House tour…in less than 4 weeks!! We have also had Panto rehearsals three days a week and we had our play ‘One of the Lads’ on (amazing story and if we ever bring it to a theatre near you, you MUST see it!) for two nights in October so it has been bananas! But we love every second of it!

Having not written anything for a while I hadn’t a clue what to write about. It’s been a manic few months and finding thinking time has actually been challenging! Every spare minute has been spent figuring out rehearsal schedules, solving the challenges of the Haunted House tour…and planning strategies for 2019 all while trying to get my tax returns in on time! Things have not stopped! But, they always say…write what you know…

So…what do I know??

Well…I know how to maintain strong, colourful, vibrant hair. It’s one of my most asked questions! Currently, my hair is bright pink (finally!) but I’ve been dying my hair crazy colours for over two years and I have got really good at keeping it in really good condition. Have you ever gone to a hairdresser with something particular in mind and you’ve let them talk you into something else because…well…they are the professional! But when you get home you wish you had gone with your original plan? Yes, I have!!!! We have all been there…we have all come out of the hairdressers at some point in our life and gone WTF??!! We might not have liked our idea either but sometimes trial and error through our own decisions is the best way to learn.

Well… my hair care has been developed over almost 3 years of trial and error. Finding the right brand of colour for your hair is only the start! Everyone’s locks are different and what works really well in one person’s hair might not work as well in another’s! Then there’s the bleach volume… some hairdressers will use a higher volume of bleach to bring up the colour faster and whiter but it’s also far more damaging to your hair! Always use a low volume, it may take longer but the results will be far better! It’s also super important to only bleach the roots, bleaching over old colour will damage your locks something crazy and might cause it to all fall out (this has actually happened to people!) and the remainder of any previous colours in your tips will add an extra dimension of the rainbow so win-win!!

But the secret to my luscious locks lies not only in the bleach volume but mostly in the daily routines; the washing, drying and brushing. My hair is usually in a plait or a half ponytail, sometimes also a bun. I touch it as little as possible to keep it from getting greasy too quickly if it does I use dry shampoo in the roots to give it an extra boost without washing it. Washing is important but can be brutal and strip your colour if done wrong! So I use luke-warm water, the shampoo and conditioners have been tried and tested to find the brands that best protect my colour and hair and I leave the shampoo on for as little time as possible, I want it clean but not stripped! Washing my hair is a ritual that happens every 5-6 days (unless I have an important event). Washing it every day is REALLY BAD for your hair and doesn’t allow your hair time to soak up all those natural oils that are there for a reason…and every shampoo will lift the lightest layer of colouring ergo the more you wash it, the faster it fades.

After washing, the next step is combing your hair. I brush with a wide tooth comb when it’s wet as combs are more gentle on wet hair than a brush, but a wide paddle brush is ideal for brushing out those tangles when it’s dry…just go gently! The last stage of the cleaning ritual is the blowdry. Now… a lot of people don’t like using a hairdryer for the protection of their hair, which I totally understand! But I live in Ireland and leaving the house with damp hair means a week of the flu! So I use argon oil heat protection (Vo5 also have a fab heat serum!). The heat setting on my hairdryer is on medium to get a good blast at my roots then turned down for the rest of my hair. Straighteners and curlers are only ever used for special occasions. Most people know that heat will damage your hair, leave it frizzy and broken, increase your split end count and generally leave your hair in crap condition but what most people don’t know is that heat also strips your colour… luke-warm water, low heat settings and no straighteners maintains my vibrant colours so I only touch up my colour every four months or so!

There was a time my hair was long and dark, I loved the length but it was in such a terrible condition that I ended up chopping it off into a bob to let it grow out healthy again. It was around that time that I saw a picture on Pinterest of a girl with long, beautiful pink hair and I wanted to have hair like hers. After years of trial and error and taking great care of my hair, I now LOVE it and it’s often a discussion point with new and old friends! Sure sometimes I wonder about chopping it all off…because it would probably be easier to maintain… but I never do, it’s valuable to me and I take great pride in keeping it looked after.

The other important secret to great hair is found in the body and the mind. The healthier your diet is and the happier your mind is the healthier your hair will grow. Similar to my trial and error hair care I’ve spent the past few years training a positive mind and learning about my food intake. Being physically healthy has never been my forte but reducing my deep fat fried food intake, reducing my sugar intake, increasing my greens/veg intake, increasing my water intake and choosing my snacks carefully is slowly becoming more and more of a habit…just like my hair, it is all in the daily routines.

This leads me to the other question people seem to ask me ALL THE TIME! ‘How do you keep going?’

Since Treasa and I started the Rabbits Riot Theatre Company we have produced 18 projects and the Pantomime this Christmas will make it 19, we started 2 years and 7 months ago. Amongst those are 2 festivals, outdoor site-specific pieces, interactive children’s theatre, re-tellings of famous tales, re-creating myths and legends, immersive theatre, one man shows, verbatim performances, pantomimes and now haunted houses…you name it we have probably done it (or something in the realm anyway!) while doing adult drama workshops and production workshops with Performing Arts Students along the way. All of our work is original, Treasa writes all of our scripts, we both direct, I design sets and costumes, Treasa is a marketing genius and for the first time, we are currently working with an outside producer as well! So ya…we keep ourselves very busy! But do you know what? No one ever became successful by sitting at home moaning. So we work hard, we hustle and we keep moving forward no matter what challenges we come up against (and there are a lot of those!) and we keep fighting for what we want, what we are worth and what we will one day become.

But the secret? We have spent the past few years (around the same time I started colouring my hair, coincidentally!) learning what works, what doesn’t work. We have gone through so many trials and errors that I lost count a long time ago. So many people question whether all of our grinds are worth it, the late nights, the stress, the scheduled sleeping hours, the planning, the meetings and the difficult people, difficult situations, fighting for what we have worked to built, the setbacks, the losses, the tears, the injuries, the occasional antibiotics as we crash every now and again… But nothing on this earth can compare to the smiling faces of children and grown-ups on stage in costume, the excitement and chaos backstage, the stomach aches of laughter in rehearsals as Prince Charming gets hit on by an unusual character, the overwhelming emotions that fill our auditoriums as we tackle alcoholism, mental health and tell the true stories of revenge-porn survivors, the hugs of strength, gratitude and humility from collaborators as we give voices to those who struggle to be heard, the excitement and awe of audiences as we create magic in places no one thought possible and the family we have begun to build with the most generous, big-hearted people who have taught me so much about life.

This is why we do what we do… sometimes we want to chop it all off into a bob, sometimes it can be so overwhelming that I think I might explode! But then I look at all we have done when so many thought it wasn’t possible and I keep moving forward.

It’s the small things, the day to day care, that makes life manageable. It’s the trials and errors as we find the best ways to do things, the patience as we accidentally strip the colour because we trusted a professional who didn’t understand our needs, its remembering that sometimes a straightener is worth the risk but that we need the regular support of the cool setting hairdryer, learning when to adapt to a wide toothed comb or a paddle brush and using all past mistakes to ALWAYS remember the heat protection.

The ability to keep going when things get crazy is in the day to day habits that we have learned over time, it’s in the vitamins I remember to take, the healthy eating habits I have come to love, the mental health habits, the positive affirmations we repeat over and over again when faced with a challenge and faith…faith that no matter what, we will endure.

Have patience with yourself. I did not wake up one morning with long, beautiful, unicorn locks. It has taken years of product testing, trial, error, hilarious disasters and lots and lots of patience to have well nourished, loved and cared for, unicorn hair. When we allow ourselves to learn from mistakes and keep moving forward despite the challenges, that is when we truly begin to see the possibility of what we are capable of.

Stay fabulous my lovely readers ❤

Love Sonia xxx

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