Holy Mother of White Rain Hair Spray!

High school was a difficult time in my life. Mostly because of the stupid battles that I had with my parents every! single! morning! before I’d leave for school. One of the biggest battles that I’d have with them every!single!morning involved my bangs. Specifically how tall they were.
To my parents, everything was a sin and High Bangs was no exception. And yet, every morning I’d bust out the curling iron, the comb (for ratting), the hairspray and most importantly, the blow dryer (You know, to blow the hairspray dry in order to keep the bangs locked into place all day long.)
I’d spend a great deal of time trying to get The Bangs to go perfectly. And getting the bangs to go perfectly involved the proper ratio of height on the top and perfect curl on the bottom. There was nothing more devastating to my 15 year old ass then to have spent (sometimes) hours getting the Perfect Bangs only to have my dad catch me on the way out.
Oh, the drama that would ensue. Drama that involved the measuring of the bangs with rulers (AM NOT LYING) and the pushing down of the bangs by my dad (think: chest compressions during CPR. Only, on my bangs.) And also praying, rebuking and quite possibly, crying.
Good Lord. The Crying.
I never understood why The Bangs were just a big damn deal to my parents, because, seriously. THEY WERE JUST BANGS. I wasn’t having sex, or doing drugs, or ditching school. I was teasing my bangs. And yet, every morning I’d get a spanking or a rebuking before leaving for school because of those damn bangs.
Last night as I was organizing some pictures, I found my junior year high school ID card. Suddenly, it all became very clear to me. My parents anger towards The Bangs probably had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus disapproving of them.
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And everything to do with not wanting their daughter to go out into the world looking like a cracked out cockatoo.

I started a flickr group called Bangs! Because I really need to see pictures of YOUR 80’s bangs. Just go here to join. If no one plays along, I’ll delete it, but I hope you will. Haa!!

98 thoughts on “Holy Mother of White Rain Hair Spray!

  1. Willow

    Girl, oh dear, the memories that brought back. With me it was backcombing (just google Robert Smith of The Cure – that was what I aspired to!)
    Am I alone in thinking you’ve got a bit of Amy Winehouse going on there?

  2. Louise

    Oh my GOD! I am actually jealous. My hair would never do that, no matter how much hairspray, mousse, curling iron, ANYTHING I used. At best it would sort of flop sideways.
    Of course today I’m kind of GLAD it wouldn’t do it, but 14-year-old me? The Only One In Our Class Picture with Small Hair Me? Green with envy.

  3. jules

    Oh-yeah baby. Same deal, but AQUA NET (aka wood laquer).
    Willow: Backcombing=ratting. I called it ratting too-surprised by hair didn’t fall out in protest.

  4. Average Jane

    Yes, but everyone had bangs like that back then (except me – I had a mullet with the top teased really big). My sister, though, was the champion of the bangs shelf.

  5. Amber

    This post reminds me of the movie Hairspray:
    Teacher: Tracy Turnblad, once again your ratted hair is preventing another student’s geometry education.
    Tracy: It’s feathered, not ratted
    Teacher: Whatever you call it, it’s a hair-don’t!

  6. hdw

    No matter how hard I tried (and oh, how I tried … shout out to Salon Selectives!), I couldn’t get the bangs that high. My late 80’s, early 90’s self is so jealous – mine, at bes,t looked like a hot dog on the top of my head.

  7. Sylvia

    That’s hysterical!
    I was an aqua net girl as well – but my bangs never went very up – and certainly not for more than five minutes. 🙁

  8. Amy Girl

    Absolutely loved the big bangs. Aqua Net was my friend and my pinky skinny curling iron. Thanks for the memories. Big Bangs rocked!

  9. Jen

    ‘cracked out cockatoo.’ I think I just busted a vessel in my head. HAHAHAAA.
    I had The Bangs as well. In my neck of the woods, it was referred to as ‘Mall Hair’, because, you know, the Mall was THE place to be.

  10. lani

    hahahahahaha… I was talking to my aunt this weekend and her and her daughter used to go round and round about this same issue (in our conversation, she was using this to illustrate how she wished she’d laid off some of the more unimportant things… picked her battles a little better). Anywayz… she said one time she measured my cousins hair and came up with four inches once. FOUR INCHES!!! What were we thinking?

  11. Kristy

    We could spend an entire day at Six Flags, riding rides, etc. and at the end of the day, the bangs were exactly the same as when we got there. I wish I was making that up.

  12. Perfektly Mary

    Those bangs are awesome! You DID have the perfect hight and curl on bottom. I remember how difficult it was to try and adjust the do once you’d sprayed a bajillion pounds of aqua net on those bad boys! My dilemma was the rain. Imagine Florida, humidity, rain and one big globby, gooey mess of teased, sticky flat bangs. Ewwwww.

  13. Kyla

    Hahaha! I play this little game in my head where I compare people to animals (Leanne Rimes=llama, Seth Green=sheep, ect). In that photo, you can totally pull off the cockatoo.

  14. Janine

    I had similar bangs. My friend has satelite dishes on the sides of her head. I think it was just the times.
    I called my bangs a bumper.
    My excuse? I was “growing out my hair.” Yeaaaaa…okay! ; )

  15. Melissa

    Ha! I remember doing that to my hair. I also remember my Mom telling me that I looked like someone put a dog turd on my head (okay, I was in the 5th grade and curls were in… but I had REALLY curly short hair [think Annie] and the curling iron was NOT my friend. Of course, Mom telling me I looked like dog crap didn’t help much. *sigh*
    Looking back I realize how ridiculous I looked and kind of wish Mom had followed through on the “I should drench you with the hose if you walk out of the house like that!” threat.

  16. Beth B.

    – love it!! thanks for sharing! oh the trauma of the teenage years – so funny to look/think back on it now and wonder “what the heck was i thinking?”… anyway – girl, you got some nice height going on there – wow – i’m impressed with your teasing/spraying skillz!

  17. Abi

    Wow. Just wow.
    The height of my hair sophistication in high school was, erm, tying it back in a pony tail? Getting an inch cut off the end? Brushing it? I am in awe of your commitment to looking your best 😉
    Thank you for sharing that photo. It has made me happy.

  18. Leah

    That brought back some great memories. My weapon of choice was not White Rain, it was Aqua Net in the Purple Can. And when you got stuck in the rain and that leaning tower of bangs started to melt… ah good times.

  19. DogsDontPurr

    OMG! I used to do the bangs too! I was a Final Net junkie. Do they still make that? Do they still make White Rain?
    My parents used to complain too. Not to the point of actually squashing my hair down and praying over it, but still. My dad used to cringe and say that I looked “rocky.” As in “rockstar.” But he said it with total disdain. Little did he know, that was exactly the look I was going for!
    You look totally rockstar in that picture, btw. Love it!

  20. Karen

    OH! MY! GOODNESS!!! lmao That right there
    is so me in middle school. Except my hair spray was Rave. LOL I love it Your bangs look good to me…well ok they would have
    looked good to me back in my middle school days hahah.

  21. Jerri Ann

    All the way from the other side of the country, I was ratting and teasing and spraying and drying my bangs just like that. No harm in a little fashion statement. Hhehehe

  22. bellevelma

    OMG the memories! Now I have to go dig up photos of myself because I can’t remember if I had the bangs or not (always had short hair). I think I leaned more toward the feathering of the bangs and then in H.S. I had tails. Some people would call that a mullet I guess. Anyway, you had some seriously high hair there! Maybe I was doing the bangs in college (so sad I can’t recall) because I remember using White Rain and Final Net and Rave (not all together) and having to let the shower really douse my hair lest I touch it and get my hands stuck in the bricky mess. That stuff was like super glue for your hair.

  23. supertiff

    i will totally join the group as soon as i can get over to my mom’s house and ind a pic of me from junior high. it shouldn’t take too long, as she lives right across the park. but i’ve already been over there 2x today. first, to steal some toilet paper and later to steal some dinner for my man. that i later pretended to have prepared myself.
    living across the park from my mom is the Best Thing Ever.

  24. jesseeezmom

    I loved this post! It totally brought back memories of my wedding day. My Mom and I had our hair done the day before, slept in the silk scarves so as not to mess up the conservative updos. The next morning on the way to the wedding my parents were in the car to go and I stayed behind a few minutes to ratt and rave up the bangs and not have to hear any disapproval. I totally thought I had slipped through their radar and into the backseat with the three inch tall bangs. Seriously my Mom did not even look at me and said “What the He!! did you do to your hair?” I was all “what??, What do you mean? I didn’t do anything to my hair- what are you talking about?” Totally busted by the eyes in the back of her head.
    My Bangs + His Mullet=Perfect 80’s Wedding!!
    The BANGS!! Definitely the funnest part of the 80’s!

  25. alayna

    A cracked-out cockatoo! That is great! Definitely got me to laughing out loud! My own bangs were what I considered to be a work of art. Every self-respecting 7th grade girl carried a whole freakin can of aqua net in her purse, and going into the girls’ bathroom was likely to get you high off the fumes! I was seriously jealous of my best friend because she had a butane curling iron that she carried in her purse to touch up The Bangs during lunch – like they ever needed touching up with all that hairspray! Too bad you didn’t have one of those, you could have done your hair on the bus and avoided all the spanking and rebuking! I’ll have to look for a pciture of The Bangs, but I’m pretty sure they’re all still at my mom’s house. I do remember I was one of the first to grow my bangs out and go all one length, and it was a HUGE deal! I felt naked – and? What would I do with those extra 30 minutes in the morning now that I had no work of art to produce? Seriously, I think that hole in the ozone all started in the 80’s from all the cans of hair spray in jr. highs.

  26. Nina

    Unfortunately, I could never get my bangs “fixed” like that. I lack that talent (it’s hiding somewhere with my make-up skillz). But if I had pictures of myself with the bangs, I’d definitely share!

  27. Y

    oh my GOD. You guys are bringing up the best Bang Memories EVER.
    spraying first THEN curling. Melting in the rain. AhhAHAHa!

  28. JaniceNW

    LMAO! I have a picture up at my blog of myself in high school tonght too. I have never ever ratted my hair and would have no clue how to get my bangs to do what yours adorably did.

  29. Rachael

    Wow. Just, wow. I am totally going over to that flickr group. I didn’t have giant bangs, but I will enjoy looking at everyone else’s with open-mouthed wonderment.

  30. Vanessa

    I used to have bangs like that. I teased and sprayed so furiously every morning, it’s a wonder I could even breathe from the fumes. If I find a picture I will give in and join Flickr.

  31. baseballmom

    HAHAHAHA! I totally found a prom pic today where I had HUGE bangs…and even though I thought they weren’t high enough? They were pretty freakin’ awesome for an 80’s rocker chick!

  32. Maria

    I love this. I did do the high bangs thing because I attended an all girls Catholic high school. I did other 80s things, but not the hair until prom. I’m going to see if I can find a photo to scan.

  33. Tammy

    Y, oh how you look like your children, sooo cute!! Or I guess they look like you hu? I had the same bangs, and even worse, I used to do my girls hair the same way, untill they were big enough to put a stop to it, lol! You brought back some memories I’ll tell ya! Hugs from Fort Worth!

  34. Something About Her

    LOL!! I thought I had the only parents in the world who were offended by large hair! I never understood how or why my bangs affected them so much! I’m almost relieved to see that someone else suffered along with me, all in the name of ginormous bangs!

  35. Nik

    Oh man. I cried and CRIED because my hair would. not. do. THAT. And I lived in Texas, too, home of big hair. And yes the cool girls at my school had butane curling irons. I tried all sorts of different hairsprays and combs, sure that some magic combination would save me. My parents thought I was completely ridiculous (true, in hindsight), but my mother tried, and failed, to help me anyway.
    After more than a year of listening to me whine and wasting money on hairspray, she took me to a professional–Shawna at Hall of Hair (because it’s not a Texas Beauty Salon without a crazy name). Shawna had a red-gold spiral perm with MASSIVE bangs. Poor Shawna. She was totally confident in the beginning. An hour later, after she’d sweated, snarled, and ratted my head sore and sticky, her co-worker had to talk her into admitting defeat. My hair? Still flat. I wouldn’t have spoken up, no matter how much my scalp hurt, because FINALLY there was someone who took this just as seriously as me. And SHE couldn’t do it EITHER.
    That made me kind of proud of my hair. It was Fuck You hair. Hair that refused to live by the rules. I could live with that. So I gave up.
    Man, my description of Shawna’s efforts sounds like bad sex.

  36. Texan Mama

    LOVE THIS POST! I used this hairspray called “Stiff Stuff” and it certainly lived up to its name. I used to spray my bangs, while they were still clamped in the curling iron. Then use a pick to gently separate the curl. Then tease tease tease. I even had a special teasing comb that I bought at a beauty supply store with teeth of varying lengths. Then of course I had the giant permed layered hair. It was the equivalent of a mullet-back, only all over.
    You don’t look like a cracked-out cockatoo, you just look like we all did back in the ‘day!

  37. Michelle

    Aqua Net – in the magenta can. I’m responsible for a good part of the hole in the ozone layer.
    We were just at my dad’s house this weekend and my hubby saw a photo of my 80’s hair. I didn’t just do the bangs, I did some wings on the side of my head (hair spray blown with hair dryer for maximum width). My hair was crunchy on a good hair day. If I had any digitally I would totally join the bangs flicker group.

  38. SheilaG

    What kills me is that I spent hours curling and teasing my bangs, every single day, while my daughter grew out her bangs and just straightens her hair. It’s a lot faster, and let’s be honest: it looks a whole lot better than that ridiculous thing we used to do!
    I’m so glad those days are gone. Now if only I could bring myself to throw out that blue eye shadow once and for all….
    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  39. AmandaB

    Too bad they never heard the phrase my Mom uses: “The Higher the hair, the closer to Jesus”. My Mom does work at a Southern Gospel radio station – so she sees a lot of big hair.

  40. Manda

    AHHHH! That is the greatest. I had the opposite problem for a while: I would wet down my hair and plaster it to my head with hairspray (yes, while wet) and you couldn’t crack it with a hammer. Ah, the hubris of the young! I moved on to bangs later. It was a glorious time. I wore glasses and wore White Rain on my lenses to school. HAWT.

  41. Michelle

    Ahh, if only you saw the time I tried to cut my own bangs. While they were wet.
    Yeahhh… I wore weird headbands for a couple weeks after that.

  42. Izzy

    Sadly, I will not be able to participate in the bangs group because I never had the tall crunchy bangs. Actually, I think around that time, I think I had a cute little 1920’s style bob. But — just to prove I’m not above having bad hair, I DID have a bi-level, now known as THE MULLET. *hangs head in shame*

  43. Jakki

    Oh my the bangs the bangs the bangs…I had the bangs AND the ‘wings’.
    I’d curl my hair…spray and blow dry upside down mind you, and then spray again, right by the temples and then take a curling iron and lay the hot azz barrel against my hair to make it crisp.
    A black girl with ‘wings’…yeah…I got into fights quite a bit when I was younger but as long as no one touched my ‘wings’ I was good.

  44. DeborahB

    Yeah, you know, sometimes kids don’t understand at the time why parents get so freaked out about what they wear, or look like, etc. Until you grow up and start doing it to your kids. My daughters all went through the 7th-grade-tons-of-eyeliner phase. I’d turn blue in the face telling them to tone it down a bit, you look like a slut (so to speak). To no avail. Fast forward 4 years when they’re looking at some old school pictures, and they tell me “Why did you let me go out of the house like that?” AHA! Told you the eyeliner sucked! Wouldn’t believe me! So when Gabby gets the bang phase on, don’t freak out too much. I’ll look for some bang pics of me. Mostly I had poodle-perm pics, but I’ll look!

  45. Tammie

    How funny that you should post about those bangs. My 15 yr old daughter just had dress up day at school. Pick your era, she chose 80’s! We had a blast that morning doing the crimping, scrunching and blow drying the hairspray.
    “Mom, make me some 80’s big hair. I can’t get it to do right!” I told her the secret is alll in the blow dryer baby and Aussie Freeze spray!

  46. HeidiChick

    not meant as in insult since I had “the bangs” also — but it reminds me of the Mormon chicks… : )
    except is there an excuse for that in this Millenium?(geez, I had to look up that word)

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