If you’ve been thinking about taking the sharp-edged plunge into the marvelous, cool-necked pool of pixie cuts for summer 2018 — if you’ve been flagging pictures for your Instagram save folder and using Photoshop to see what you’d look like without your usual lob, or whatever — model and activist Jillian Mercado is likely to convince you to go for it.
Other hair-related things she might inspire you to do: take risks with color, stop an admirably-haired stranger, feed your dry ends avocado and olive oil, and be a little bit kinder to that which grows out of your head. Already persuaded? Keep reading for more.
And if you’ve caught the hair bug, not to be confused with a hairball, you can read about Tiffany’s hair, Solange’s hair, Sarah’s hair, Amelia’s hair, Erica’s hair, Nell’s hair, Shiona’s hair, Simone’s hair, Arabelle’s hair and Megan’s hair after that.
How did your current hairstyle and color come to be?
I used to change up my hairstyle and color. I’ve dyed my hair almost every color of the rainbow. But with a professional modeling career, it’s very hard to experiment with colors, so I’ve had to take a break and let my hair recover from the bleach damage that I had before having blond hair.
As for the cut, I’ve also been fascinated with pixie haircuts, so with the warm weather, I thought it was a perfect time to change up my hair, give it a little break and hit the restart button.
What’s the upkeep like in terms of cut and color?
At the moment, I am so glad to say that the upkeep is the easiest it’s ever been! Since I’m trying to get my hair back to being healthy, I just have to trim it every couple months until my bleach is completely gone. Pixie haircuts in the spring or summer time are the best.
What’s your daily routine and how long does it take?
I literally wake up, use a bit of hair product, like oil or cream, and start my day. The advantages of having a pixie cut! I love products from Hairstory, Sebastian and Moroccan Oil.
Tell me about a standout hair-related memory (weirdest, funniest, most memorable)…
A few months ago, before my hair was this short (it was just above my shoulders and platinum blonde), I was on set for a Google commercial (which has been showing throughout YouTube and already has almost 36 million views, which is crazy, but anyway) when the hairstylists who was brushing my hair -turned me around, gave me a hug and told me the sentence that almost made me cry: “Sweetie, we’re going to have to put extensions in your hair because a chunk just snapped off…”
I touched my hair and felt a huge hole right in the center of my head. It was very much noticeable.
Thankfully during filming you couldn’t see the back of my head, but that week, I called a good friend who’s a hairstylist and asked her if she could replicate my hair with a wig. She agreed, I quickly went to the salon to get this pixie haircut. The silver lining to the story is that now I don’t have to mistreat my hair with bleach.
Have you gone through a bunch of hair phases or had the same hair your whole life?
I have gone through many lives with my hair. I’ve had every color in the rainbow except neon yellow or neon green. (I’m still waiting for the day that I can try them.) My theory is that it’s just hair and it’ll grow back before you know it, so why not have fun with it? Hair has always been like a work of art for me. It’s something that I truly enjoy changing up every so often.
When do you hate your hair?
I dislike my hair when it’s extremely dry. It’s not pretty. It’s also a sign of dehydration and damage.
When do you love it?
I’ve grown to love and embrace my hair in all its forms: from its curliest, which is actually my natural hair, to when I style it straight.
What’s the worst or absolute best hair-related decision you’ve ever made?
I think the best hair-related decision I’ve ever made was when I decided to wear my hair curly. Growing up in a Latin community, there is a stigma that having curly hair or coarse hair is a bad thing, so we straighten it all the time. I was ashamed to have curly hair! And yet, other people perm and add chemicals to their hair just to get it to my natural state! So when I understood and began to love my hair, my hair loved me back and it’s been a beautiful relationship ever since.
What’s something you learned about your hair in the last year?
I’ve learned that you have to listen to your hair. Your hair has many, many moods and when you start listening to your hair, you take better care of it. I stopped using harsh chemicals and went toward ones that are full of plants or fruits. Anything that is found in nature, my hair gets a taste of it.
What’s the most important thing to know about your hair?
To all those girls out there with my hair type, the ones with curly, coarse, thick hair: Love your hair, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It just adds to your already beautiful self.
Hair is full of secrets. What’s one of yours?
Avocado mixed with a bit of olive oil is the secret to smooth hair.
Have you ever stopped a stranger with great hair and asked them what they did to it?
Definitely. Usually their answer is a hair product or a salon. One person gave me their personal organic rose oil and you know what? It really helped restore my hair.
Have you ever cut your hair yourself?
I remember cutting my hair as a teenager because the trend was having layers. It didn’t really go so well and I cut a chunk of it off that I wasn’t supposed to. My mom had a field day and took me to the salon the next day.
What misconceptions do people have about your hair?
A lot of people don’t understand how thick my hair is until they deep dive into it. I can spend almost two hours just blow drying my hair. It’s a lot of hair.
Have you ever cried over it?
I remember being about 13 and my aunt, who is a hairdresser, decided to cut my hair one afternoon. She had a photo of herself on her dresser with this really funny haircut. Next thing I knew, I had the same one.
I cried for three days. Needless to say, I was a joke at my household. And you know what? Actually thinking about it now, it’s kind of funny.
Photographed by Bridget Badore at The Freehand Hotel.