"How much can you actually say about hair?" was the reaction I got from a handful of people when I let slip about Refinery29's plans for Hair Story. The answer? An extraordinary, thought-provoking amount.
It strikes me as odd that, according to trichologists, hair is essentially a dead tissue. If putting together this series has taught me anything, it's that hair is so much more than what we see on the surface. It is not 'dead' and it certainly isn't superficial or one-dimensional. Intrinsically linked to identity, including ethnicity, culture and gender, not to mention creativity and expression, hair has a profound impact on our lives. The stories published every day this week prove that.
Take the brave trans people who talk candidly about how their hair creates a sense of fear and dysphoria as much as it means a new lease of life, or the badass 56-year-old who chopped her signature long, dark hair into a cool, bleached pixie crop in a bid to shake off ageism at work – "No more old lady. Give me old punk!"
There's the mixed race influencer who was adopted into a white family and felt as though she was stripped of her black hair identity, only to rediscover it in an empowering way years later, and a fascinating deep dive into the 'dumb blonde' stereotype and why it still lives on in 2019. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Earnest, informative, intelligent and poignant, these are the conversations we're having regarding hair all week. Whether you're interested in the intricacies of how hair comprises human identity or are simply looking for some hair inspiration (our upcoming photo story, which brings together non-binary people and their penchant for bright colours and unique cuts is absolutely bursting with that), we encourage you to join in the conversation by commenting on our stories and using the hashtag #Hairstory on social media. We'd love you to share your thoughts, pictures and personal anecdotes.