Friday, November 28, 2014

About Hair

I've been having my hair highlighted or colored since just after J and I were married.  At first I did it myself, but the one time I used a boxed color and ended up with clown-orange hair that needed to be professionally altered was one of the last times I did it myself.  Since before Ry was born, I've been going to hair-stylist friends to do my hair, in their basement or kitchen salons.  Their prices for cut and highlights or color have been so reasonable compared to a fancy salon that I've never looked back.  

For your entertainment, I present you with a few of the hair styles I've tried on over the last 40 years. (Warning - This is going to be loooong and one of those "it's all about me" kind of posts...)

 That was all before I turned 20.  Enter the next 20 years...
Wedding Hair - 1994
Convinced I Needed a Layered Perm
Perm Wrecked My Hair So Bad
I Cut It All Off by Our First Anniversary!
Temporary Bethel Worker Hairdo
Grew It All Out Again
First Time Without Bangs
Short Again and Blonde
Being Blonde
2005 - Pregnant Again
Nauseous Don't-Care-Hair
Braids on Vacation in Mexico
Shoulder Length, Highlighted Hair
3rd Pregnancy
Dark with Copper Highlights
New Baby Bed Head
Blondest Yet Plus Highlights Again
Salt Water Style
from Swimming in Cuba's Ocean
More Highlights
Grew It Out Again!
Went Blonder
Back to Bangs
Getting Longer...
And Longer
Then Redder and Shorter
Are you entertained yet?  I know I am! This head of hair has vacillated between almost every style and color with the exception of the ends of the spectrum - platinum or black.  My latest color was a nice brownish auburn that I really felt comfortable in.

Short Again and Last Color - June 2014
But the journey I've been on in the past couple years to distilling what is important and who I really am had me thinking more and more often that I wanted to return to natural, uncolored hair, even if it meant letting the silver threads reveal themselves to the world.  Besides, the idea of less toxins is an appealing one!

That idea is so foreign in the female culture we are presently in.  As I pondered the issue, I watched other moms in our homeschool circles - makeup and dye-free, strong and beautiful as they creatively mother their children. I scanned Pinterest for images of beautiful women with silver hair that were proud of it.  I asked my dear husband and got a non-committal shrug.  "I don't know."  I ran the idea past other women I knew (other than my legion of homeschool friends).  The answer from them was an unequivocal "Don't do it!  I never would!" even if they were well into the grandmothering stage of life.

Mainstream media certainly presents that if we want to be beautiful or even acceptable, we have to look young. And if we want to look young, we have to BUY their products, color our hair, fit into the 0-8 size range and...  Don't get me started on the things the commercial world tells us we "need" to do!

After a long time of mulling things over I realized that I just didn't want colored hair anymore, even though I wasn't entirely sure what my natural hair color would even look like.  More research ensued about how to "go gray gracefully".  The options seemed to be to have a progressively descending root line as you grow the color out, to shave it all off and restart, or to highlight select strands to blend in the stages of growth.

Since my hair was fairly short anyway, I went to my friend Amber and said "Cut it off."  It took some convincing her that I was willing to shoulder the consequences of however it turned out, but she did it.  It was really short.  Scary short - I felt like I looked like my brother Kenny's twin!  Not a bad thing to look like as a guy, but not as a woman.

One surprise is that there was less gray in my hair than I had thought.  Turns out that most of it was along my front hairline, and (to me, anyway) is barely even noticeable.  And here I was all psyched up to rock silver!

But it's grown a little...

...and I'm pretty happy with it.  I even had it trimmed around the edges again another time.  My plan was to try the no dye route with the idea that I could always get it colored again.  Since then, a few times I saw a hair color on someone else and thought, "Oh, I should try that!" but I think it was just a habit from so many years of going back and forth.  Presently I have absolutely no desire to cover up my hair with artificial color even as years pass and I inevitably get grayer.  

I still wander back and forth with longing to be able to put my hair in a swirly updo and loving how easy it is to style it this short.  How easy?  Shampoo in the shower, rub with towel, comb forward and blowdry for 30 seconds if desired.  Apply pomade to bangs and sticky-up hair at the back.  Done.  (I still use a small amount of makeup occasionally but that's another topic.)

So that's where I am on my Hair Journey.  Why not just do it, and not talk about it?  I like to think that the more women show their true colors and don't buy into the commercial ideals, the more beautiful we will all be!  Don't you think so?  I welcome all your comments!