beauty tips from a beast

Uncombable hair syndrome (UHS)  D.I.Y = the new look for summer! 



The classic “brush-your-hair-with-bread-crumbs and peanut butter” didn’t do the trick? Hair still limp and straight after a date with your high-fry bedhead iron?  You are in luck because this season, the only thing you’ll need is a quick trip to the coiffeur for a one-time longitudinal sheath-grooving session, and voilá:  Cheveux incoiffables!”  On the runways this season, the androgynous man-boy look for women isn’t thanks to a new Kerastase mousse, but rather a one-time fix designed to permanently set hair askew.


The pain is minor, but what in the name of beauty isn’t? Rest assured, you won’t need extensions or implants, as the effect is achieved with a normal quantity of hair.  If done correctly, you will not only have full-volume bed-head but it will also turn your hair into a shimmery, glimmery blond with the scars on the skull’s surface showing as flecks of silver. Depending on the light.   Easy to maintain and adorable when dressed up with pipe cleaners and plastic ties, you will never be late again for a meeting because of your hair, but always fashionable.


Despite landing on the runway radar only recently, the style is steeped in history.  Originally possibly discovered by the French in 1912, they sat on it for sixty-odd years and then officially confirmed the results of the previous study and coined the syndrome‘s name in 1973.  A frenzy of imitation ensued, and we Americans came up with our own version called “Spun-glass Hair” shortly thereafter.  A patent issue is currently being processed at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Now a technique widely taught in cosmetology institutes, the big daddy of the technique for commercial use got his start in the theatre. Inspired by his time as head head-stylist on the “Shockheaded Peter” opera, a remake of two-century old German fairytale about a boy with messy hair who dies a young pariah, Jacques LeCrois wanted to go to the source for inspiration.  Back in the 80s, he was allowed by the members of the only living UHS (Uncombable Hair Syndrome) community to live as an equal among them. An isolated colony in Bavaria with its own language, the UHS gang took Jacques in and revealed the softer side of life with brittle hair.  They taught him how to microscopically identify the structural anomaly and even lent him their troop of fainting goats to practice simulating the coiffure.  “The quality of goat hair is in fact ideal for learning to triangulate the root.”

After thirteen months and an epiphany walking back from the river with his goats one day at dusk, Jacques was finally ready to return to human hair.  Now it’s nearly impossible to get an appointment with him at his salon in Beaune, a small village in Burgundy, France.  Getting in to see Jacques is made even more difficult by the elusive French accent with which the town’s name is said.  (Hint: it is a sound between “bone” and “boon”), but if you can endure the pouty, snobbish insistence of the train station attendant when she tells you there is no town in France with that name, it will be well worth your trip.

If not, you can try doing it yourself with a pair of square-edged tweezers and honey.  Stay away from biotin-rich products and avoid shampoos with zinc pyrithione, which will naturally undo your hard work and return your hair to the silky elegance of last season.