When I was a child my hair skimmed my bum – no, not much has changed. I never wanted to wear it up, so for important things like piano exams I'd wear big, girly headbands. My teenage years were a bit more chequered. I was angsty and wanted to experiment. A platinum bob here, a red – and black – dye job there. Once, obviously mourning my hair's length, I put extensions in. The extent to which they damaged my hair, wow – such a regret (don't do it, kids). When you have to cut your hair off and it's not your choice, it can be pretty devastating. I think as I was finding myself my hair was the easiest thing change. I could dip in and out of trends and looks, and suss out what made me feel most comfortable and, in a lot of cases, cool.
Once I got my length and health back, well... I've been in a long-term relationship with it ever since. It’s an emotional crutch, and truly, not to sound dramatic, my support system. Before it became my signature, my taut braid was a way for me to overcome stage fright. Having it up off my face meant I fidgeted less. It helped me pull my shoulders up and assume a power stance, which obviously had an effect on my performance. It's amazing what a hairstyle can do, huh?
Honestly, I can’t imagine myself without long hair. The thought of chopping even an inch off is enough to make me run for the hills. Imagine if they cut off too much! I don’t dye it anymore, either - I'm more than happy with my natural brown. On stage, my hair is a tribute to Sade, who always has the most slick, perfect braid. (Although I am aware that wearing one all the time this tight is not good. My scalp needs time to breathe, and not stretched to within an inch of its life).
I love this little-known brand, and not just because they're vegan and without parabens. I've tried a lot of animal-friendly products that look and smell good, but don't make my hair feel as clean as I'd like – although there's lots of it, it's fine, so I have to wash a few times a week.
Obviously, I love the conditioner just as much.
I did a shoot with this incredible shop called Kindred Black and they gifted me a Jojoba oil mask that I drown my hair in when it's parched and dry. For every day, you can’t beat Briogeo’s Don't Despair, Repair! Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil, £28.80, which is so fancy it has rose petals in, OK?
Anything Byredo, seriously, though I'm particularly partial to cult favourite Gypsy Water. Since my hair is so long, and basically has its own personality, it's nice for it to have its own signature scent.
If you've used one of these, you'll know how less damaging it feels compared to a typical comb. There's no arduous dragging. When I'm done getting knots out, I run through it with a Mason Pearson comb - the best and most beautiful there is.
Images | niiarocco