I’ve been living on my lovely little rock, Grand Cayman, since August 2017. While these past seven months of island living have felt significant to me, I am often still referred to as a “baby” or a “newbie” by my fellow islanders. Not only am I considered new when people ask how long I’ve lived here, but they also tend to draw this conclusion just by looking at me. Being from England, the “base tan” of seasoned islanders that everyone talks about is inaccessible to me. Possessing the typical “English Rose” skin means I pretty much reflect all of the sun I could ever hope to receive. Being constantly mistaken for a tourist is no fun for a resident, though I will admit to using it to my advantage from time to time.
Overall, my transition into island life has been a smooth one, save for a creepy crawlie here and there. My main island girl struggle, beyond being able to escape the perpetual “newbie” status, lives on the top of my head and pains me every single day.
It’s my hair.
As much as I’m loving life on my rock, my hair has other opinions. The hair on my head is very blonde and thin. In England, this is not a problem because humidity is not a thing. On island, however, I’ve immediately taken on the look of Monica from Friends during the episode where they go to Barbados. In case you missed it, here’s a visual for you:
Grand Cayman’s endless humidity makes every day feel like I am going into battle. I start my days how I used to in England – with a blow-dry first thing in the morning. Come lunch time, I find myself looking at my reflection and wondering why nobody has told me I look like I have just been dragged through a bush backwards. For nights out, I foolishly spend time trying to spray it into place, only to find that after a ten minute walk to the bar, it has all fallen out of my careful pinning and the flyways have nightlife plans all their own.
After a few months of wasted primping time, I finally succumbed to wearing my hair in a ballet bun on the top of my head and spraying it to within an inch of its life with hairspray, though I can’t say I was satisfied with this everyday look. So I decided to bite the bullet and seek out a professional to hopefully rescue me from my island hair woes. I visited a hairdresser on island and it was the best decision I have ever made since moving here.
My hairdresser sat me down and listened to my complaints for about ten minutes whilst looking hopelessly at my hair. She then took a few inches off the length and then she brought me some life changing products to help tame it. She was no island newbie, this one.
Now, seven months in, my hair is finally learning to go with the flow of island life like I have. Instead of fighting the elements with the blowdryer, I let it dry naturally with something I can’t believe I’m buying in a bottle so close to the ocean – sea salt spray. I have no idea how it works, but it does, and it’s magic for this island girl.
So much of learning to live on a rock means letting go of how things used to be back home. I’m so glad my hair is finally starting to understand that too – there’s more time for fun at the beach bar now.
Has anyone else struggled with their own island girl hair drama? Any products or tips you’d like to share?
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