Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

One of the worst things a woman can do when she's upset is radically change her hairstyle. I think Britney Spears' little head-shaving episode is an excellent case-in-point; it takes a while to recover from that kind of spur of the moment decision. With the exception of the time that my friends and I decided that Sun-In was the band camp accessory of choice, leaving many of us with a headful of fried Ronald McDonald-hued hair for several months, the haircolors-not-found-in-nature period of my adolescence was fueled largely by temporary and washable coloring agents.

This kind of popped into my mind a minute or two ago because my "dignified greys" and I are about to have a showdown. I color my own hair and have done so for approximately twelve years, although I've been going grey pretty much since I was sixteen; such is the nature of being a brunette. In the last year or so, though, the grey has proliferated and I feel as if I'm having to color more often. Since my hair has been donated to Locks of Love twice in the last five years, I haven't had professional color, highlights, or lowlights for a while. It's also been stick straight and long. Now we're back up to the shoulder and I've been wondering if I ought to try anything different...well, I'm not as adventurous as I used to be about this kind of thing. Pink, blue, green, etc., and strong reds require double processing to come out correctly, and I don't want to go Harlow platinum in order to overdye with a strong color. I'm really afraid that I'd end up bald.

My best friend decided to go dark back before Christmas, and it's been an adjustment. She's a natural light redhead; over the years, like both her mother and mine, her hair gradually took on more blonde and lost the majority of its red hue. The base color that she chose was darker than mine, with a strong auburn tone. I think if I saw it on a regular basis (she lives almost five hundred miles away in another state), I'd be more used to it, but it's a source of cognitive dissonance for me. We've known each other since I was about thirteen, so almost thirty years...I caught myself not being able to find her in stores over the holidays because I wasn't looking for the new haircolor. Her color, unlike mine, is professionally done, and she is blessed with incredibly thick, strong hair.

It's not an entirely irrational fear, this concern that I may go bald. My paternal grandmother, a former Miss Arizona, believed in chemical intervention back in the days when permanent waves involved electricity and color involved a lot of ammonia. She was also always on some kind of crazy weight-loss plan, which probably contributed to her follicular challenges. By the time I was a child, she'd lost most of her hair and constantly wore a wig. While wigs give one the option of radically changing looks from day to day (one of my favorites was a Lucille Ball-red beehive affair), they're hot, uncomfortable, and can fall off at the worst possible moment. As they wheeled her into the operating room near the end of her life, the orderly tried to remove her wig- she snatched it back and told him she was not going to meet Jesus without her hair. True story. (Granny was born in Texas; ask any lady from Texas if she'd go out in public without her face on and her hair done, and she'd tell you she'd just as soon march into church naked.)

I've had a pretty stressful week so far, so I should probably just go with the root touch-up color kit that matches my natural haircolor for now. If I were to do something that accurately reflected my week so far, I'd probably come out looking like either Rhianna or Pink- or possibly Sinead O'Connor. Since I'm not young or thin or a performing artist, that would be bad. Very bad.

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