Brown is the new black

1994 senior portrait
I had long hair in high school. Crazy long hair. When I went to college, I decided to keep that crazy long hair. I kept it all the way through dating Steve, adding a blond streak in the front (which I did myself with peroxide and a toothbrush). Then once I was dating Jeremy, I decided to go to Hokie Hair and cut it up to my chin.

1996? Thanksgiving

Once I made that plunge of cutting off a significant chunk of my hair (which I still have saved in an envelope from 1995 - pack rat!), suddenly I wasn't so emotionally attached to it anymore. So I started experimenting. I added some highlights. And then I went nuts and cut it all off.

2005 crazy short

That sated me for a while, but I was growing restless. I walked in and told my stylist I wanted to be blond.

Joseph: "You can't be blond. We'd have to bleach your hair." Me: "But how does Angelina Jolie get blond hair?" Joseph: "She bleaches it." Me: "Then why can't I have blond hair like she does?" Joseph: "Because she gets it touched up every two weeks and I'm lucky if you show up every eight weeks." Me: "Oh." Joseph: "We'll do foils. It will be fine."

So over time, my hair got more and more blond. It would grow out and be ridiculous (because Joseph is right and he was lucky if I would come back every eight weeks). But it was pretty much blond.

That's when I started to forget what my real hair looked like. It became a distant memory.

When I tired of blond, I decided I wanted red. We started with a few red highlights. Then, I brought in a picture from Iron Man and said I wanted strawberry blond.

That worked for a while but I soon discovered that dying one's hair red is really high maintenance, almost more than blond. It changes over time as you wash it. I felt like the horse of many colors from the Wizard of Oz.

2008 more red

I then had to plan my hair appointments around all social engagements, hoping to get 4 weeks of "good" color out of an eight week style. If I was going to a conference in the middle of June, I had to dye my hair two weeks before that so it would calm down enough to not look radioactive but still have some red in it by the beginning of August and not all have faded to blond.

The last time I dyed my hair (at the beginning of July) my aunt came over that day and told me I had street walker hair. Thanks, Sissy. I admit it was alarmingly bright. But with the blond chunky highlights on top, it was just bizarre. Two weeks later it was looking fairly normal. And even yesterday it was looking good in its light red shade except for the inch of dark brown roots all over.

Something had to give. I've been warned that one should not make major changes to one's hair while pregnant because it can cause devastating emotional damage. I was tempted to cut my hair short again to start over and get rid of all this damaged blond. But I resisted and stuck with just a new color.

I'm working my way back to my natural hair color, or at least a close facsimile of what I remember it being. And while I'm still not emotionally attached to my hair, I do feel better knowing I look more like "me".

back to chestnut