How this fashion stylist shaved her head, embraced her scars and learned to do things for herself
The story of one woman’s “undramatic” hair transformation that was 20 years in the making
“The most amusing bit of shaving my head has been other people’s reactions to it,” says veteran stylist Ekta Rajani.
“An aunt well over 70 advised me to stick to the look, not something I was expecting. On the other hand, my driver was so embarrassed for me that he literally ran in the opposite direction because he didn’t want to disrespect me by laughing to my face.”
Having toyed with the idea for about 20 years, the former fashion director of Grazia is as nonchalant as can be about finally going head-to-head with the trimmer. Though her progressive parents couldn’t understand why their daughter was getting rid of a perfectly healthy mane, she had made her “undramatic” decision.
Lockdown rules prevented the hairdresser from entering the building, so the garage was turned into a makeshift salon, albeit with proper safety protocol.
Rajani explains that the hair transformation was her way of winding down. “For me, it was about taking time off. Lockdown was a quieter time for many, including myself, so I had the mindspace for an old bucket list.”
Having spent her 20s and 30s shuttling between trying to fit in and rebelliously standing out, she has finally arrived at a place where she wants to do things for herself.
“Everyone goes through those stages before they actually stop caring about what people think. It’s like a universal rite of passage.”
“Life scars – you have them, you live with them, you love them.”
A few years ago Rajani suffered from a bout of eczema at the nape of her neck, something that she believes kept her from shaving her head.
“The eczema is much better healed but there still is some discolouration on my neck from the worst of it. And while I was dealing with eczema, I didn’t want my neck exposed because it was a symbol of something I was suffering through. Five years ago, I would probably even want them photoshopped, but today, for me, they’re life scars – you have them, you live with them, you love them,” says Rajani.
Regardless of what your insecurities might be – thinning hair, stubborn cellulite, an arm complex you’ve inherited along with your mum’s Punjabi genes — this fashion insider can vouch for the fact that you may be building that molehill into a mental Mount Everest.
“Things we magnify in our heads, might not be as big. Beauty is supposed to be fun, something that gives you joy. If you feel like you’re getting too caught up in it, then step back and re-evaluate,” says Rajani.
“Besides, hair grows back, you know.”