Stefanie Ayoub is an artist, fashion designer, co-founder of Boneset Studio and all around cool chick. She's gone through plenty of hair phases over the years, but she's come to love her natural locks. She got real about bad hair days, favorite hairstyles and hair as a form of identity -- check it out below:
ON HER HAIR EVOLUTION I was always the really preppy, super keen and really studious kid, so when I went to high school I was basically like, “I’m going to rebel! I’m going to have crazy style. I’m going to do whatever I want!” I remember my first hair experiment. I cut it into a bob and I bleached the tips and dyed them bright pink. That was my first foray into the hair experiments. I was actually pretty trendy for a 13-year-old. After that, I just went crazy — every three months I would probably change my hair. I died it really short and it was platinum blond and then I had purple bangs. At one point it was blue, and at [another] point it was a mohawk. And this was all in high school — literally every three months I would change it.
Then I was at the time of ‘the scene’ in trends so it was a black mullet and I had blonde highlights and I had gotten those fake extensions that everybody had. In grade 12 my hair started getting more normal. And then I had it short and red and blonde and I had a short blonde pixie cut for a long time and then I started growing it out and here we are.
My hair was just one of these things that I never really cared about, that’s why I changed it so much. I would just get bored so easily and it was just one of those things where I always thought, ‘Oh, it’ll grow out.’ My mom was so supportive of whatever I did and of all my style choices. She wasn’t a tough mom who would say, “You can’t go out wearing that!” She would never say anything like that. So I think because she was so open about it, it made me feel the same way.
ON HER WORST HAIR EXPERIMENT I almost always dyed my hair myself. One time I had a very dark brunette shade and it was really short and I decided to bleach it. That was a terrible idea. It was orange, bright orange, and I think the next day I went to Shopper's Drugmart and bought a box dye to get it out. It was literally only one day of humiliation so it wasn’t that bad. Even though there were some styles that were just absolutely terrible, I was always just like, “yeah, whatever.”
ON USING HAIR AS IDENTITY I think when I had all of my different hairstyles I was still figuring out who I was. It’s funny because hair is just one of those things that you think is so definitive of who you are and I always wanted to be different than everybody else, so that’s why I was always doing something. I was just bored with what I had and wanted to change it. I guess I had something to prove, [maybe] that I was unique or something. Now that I’m older I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I know who I am and I’m confident in who I am and I think that’s kind of why I started going back to my natural hair color.
I embraced that my hair doesn’t have to make a dramatic statement, it can be more subtle. It doesn’t have to be everything that I am. I think people really base their identity on hair and get really attached to it. It is the defining characteristic for a lot of people so I think that’s why it’s important, but personally I’m slowly moving away from that. I’m kind of just letting go, in a weird way, of having it be so important.
ON LOVING NATUAL HAIR Now I just really love natural hair. When I see someone whose hair is clearly their natural color and it seems really clean and simple I love it. And right now I’m really obsessed with this magazine editor [Editor’s note: She means Sarah Harris, Fashion Features Editor at Vogue UK], she’s got really long grey hair and it’s natural, and I just think it’s so beautiful. That’s my dream hair.
ON HER FAVORITE HAIRSTYLE Recently I had it super super short; it was my natural hair color, but it was just really cropped. It felt really feminine. It’s funny because I feel like there’s a point where when hair is super short you get to see your features really well, and I feel like because you can see your face it seems really feminine. You’re all out there and you kind of just have to embrace it.
— As told to Untangled in Toronto, Canada. Photos by Amy Buck.