Julia Brucculieri is a 26-year-old entertainment writer who lives in Brooklyn. She founded Untangled in 2016 after going through a series of hair changes that made her think about the ways in which our hair sends messages to the world around us. She can talk about hair for hours. Here's what she had to say about hers:
ON HER HAIR EVOLUTION
This is going to be long [laughs]. When I was younger, I always had long hair. I loved it. Then, when I was probably around 10 and Mary-Kate and Ashley were super popular, all I wanted was to have their simple shoulder-length hairstyle that flipped in and out at the ends. So I got it. At some point, the Olsens also had perfect beachy waves, and I remember begging my mom for a half-perm so I could have beachy waves -- my hair was straight at that point. When I went through puberty, though, my hair totally changed. All of a sudden, it was wavy and had life. The only thing was, I had no idea how to properly style it.
Then, when I was in sixth or seventh grade, I decided I wanted to chop all my hair off. With the support of my sister, who told me to cut it like Mandy Moore on the cover of an old Teen People issue, I went to the hairdresser and told her to do it. Of course, my hair looked nothing like Mandy Moore, and I was devastated. I'm also pretty sure a substitute teacher once mistook me for a boy, and as a pre-teen with gaps in her teeth and not the best skin, I was mortified. The next time I got a trim during that period of time, I hated my hair even more. I swear, my hairdresser turned me into one of The Beatles. I cried as soon as I got back in the car with my mom.
When I got to high school, my hair had finally gotten a little longer, but I was more experimental with it. I once let a friend cut it, and I ended up with a very choppy style, kind of like T-Boz from TLC, with two long pieces in the front. I also bleached parts of my hair, and then died them pink because I thought I was so cool. Near the end of high school, I got bangs, and I kept them until the end of university. By that point, my hair was wavy and really long -- kind of like Zoey Deschanel -- only I had ombred the ends myself. At the end of university, I finally decided to just get rid of it. I really hated school, and I felt like cutting my hair would help me leave those four years behind. For the first time, I chopped my hair and loved it. I even went back a week later to get it shorter. Over the years I've played around with color, going platinum, then purple and brown again. But, I've finally gotten to a point where I have a style that I feel confident with and I think looks good on me, so I generally just opt for slight variations of the same lob hairstyle.
ON HAIR AND CONFIDENCE
I don't really recall my hair making me feel confident as a kid, but after years of bad haircuts, I definitely think that once my hair was long, it became my security blanket. From high school to my first year of university, all I wanted was long hair.
I remember wanting "Victoria's Secret" waves for my high school graduation, so I bought clip-in extensions. For the record, I wanted extensions in grade 8 for graduation, but my mom wouldn't let me [laughs]. When I had long hair, I loved the hair, but I didn't even think it looked good on me. I have a long face, so I always felt it dragged me down. But my friends always complimented my long hair, so I felt like that was enough. They liked it, so it must be good. And of course, there's the whole idea that long hair is just generally pretty. Like, you can do whatever with it, you don't have to style it, yet it signifies beauty. In that sense, I felt a little prettier, even if I didn't wear makeup. But it just got to a point where the bottom off of my hair, which was ombred, was fried, and I was sick of school and sick of people telling me not to cut my hair. So I did. And I loved it more than I thought I ever would. I felt more like myself than I ever had with long hair, probably because I was the one who decided to cut it this time -- no sister giving me her input, no mom to tell me how much she loved my long hair, just me, shedding all that shit.
When I went blond, I had even more confidence in myself, and just felt generally cooler. No matter what I wore, I always felt like it looked better because my hair was blond. Then when I went purple, the confidence skyrocketed. I felt SO COOL. People on the street would stop me to compliment me and I honestly felt like I was fully myself. I had always prided myself on being different, not blending into the crowd style-wise, but with brown hair, it's kind of inevitable you blend in. Now that I had purple hair, I kind of felt weirdly invincible. Like a superhero who could get away with anything because her hair looked cool. So silly, but it's true.
HER HAIR PHILOSOPHY
This isn't really a philosophy, but I do think everyone should bleach their hair once in their life. Even if only for a short period of time. I am a staunch supporter of platinum and/or rainbow colored hair and I'm fully supportive of all my friends who want to change their hair.
-- As told to Untangled. Photos by Amy Buck.