"Your hair!""Oh Jo, how could you? Your one beauty!"
- Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
I wouldn't know my natural hair color if I passed it on the street. In many ways I am a crunchy-granola Mrs. Green-Jeans, but not with respect to my hair. I recycle, I compost, I am vegetarian. I use cloth bags at the store and borrow books from the library. I do not have acrylic nails, but I have a lengthy history of coloring my hair and I don't intend to stop any time soon.
Furthermore, I am a do-it-yourselfer. I wax my own lip, pluck my own brows and I color my own hair. I should get at least a little Hippie cred for that. I am usually pleased with the results. My stylist seems impressed, too. My friends are surprised when they learn that I use a box. Hey, no offense to the hair folks out there, but it ain't rocket science!
I have used a variety of products, from the old stand-by, Sun-In , to Frost-N-Tip to Nice-N-Easy to Preference by L'Oreal (because I'm worth it) to Garnier. I have gone from full-on bleach to hi-lites to red to various shades of blonde.
I was born a blonde. I remained blonde without assistance, gradually darkening over the years, until high school.
Here I am at about 3 or 4, sledding with the neighborhood boys. Even at that age, blondes really do have more fun.
Here I am at 6, with my new wheels.
Dig that banana seat, baby! Am I rockin' those saddle shoes or what?!
I don't have photographic evidence handy to prove it, but by my freshman year in high school, I was dark blonde. That's when I began "using". During the summer before high school, I discovered Sun-In, my "gateway" dye. Never one for half-way measures, I used it every day until I was platinum. Coupled with my life-guard's tan, I thought I was hot-hot-hot, like a chunky Malibu Barbie. Then the tan began to fade and the hair began to grow. Things got ugly for a while until I discovered that Sun-In works with a blow-dryer! I was empowered. I gradually eased it back to medium blond, with highlights appearing during the summer.
My "touch-ups" were my little secret. Or so I thought. I kept it up for many years. When I was in my early twenties, a male friend teased me about coloring my hair and I insisted to him that I wasn't coloring it; I was simply removing the tarnish from my naturally blonde tresses. Truly, that's how I saw it: I was restoring what nature had given me.
Along about that time, in the wake of a bad break-up, a friend offered to add some highlights to my hair. I wasn't sure. I was nervous. I had never let anyone else color my hair. We had a few drinks and she proceeded to frost.When all was said and done, my hair looked like tortoise shell. Medium blonde with brassy splotches all over. She laughed, somewhat nervously. I cried. I spent money I did not have at a salon to have it fixed. That's when I discovered "foils". I felt distinctively high-maintenance having my hair colored. It meant I had "arrived". I endured quarterly visits to the shop for years.
It was pretty, wasn't it? I liked it. So did Hombre. But I couldn't leave well enough alone.
About six months after this picture was taken, I got a wild hair (!). I decided to go red. Secretly, I had always wanted red hair and had been too chicken to do it. "What would people say?" "What would they think?" "They would know that I color my hair." Egad. What could be worse? Thank goodness I got over myself. I LOVED being red.
After I settled into red, I started coloring it myself. It was easy, single process color. No reason to pay someone else to do what I could do myself. After some trial and error, I settled on Preference by L'Oreal "Light Auburn". As much as I loved the red, my darling Hombre did not. After a few years, I transitioned back to blonde. At first it was a honey blonde (Nice N Easy #104), then a more neutral blonde (Garnier "Champagne") and finally a medium blonde with highlights (L'Oreal Couleur Experte Express "Toasted Coconut"). It was a nice color that didn't scream "dye job"!
A year ago, I decided to let my hair grow out a bit, which I had not done for more than 15 years.
The picture quality is terrible, but here I am on my birthday at the end of November. What's not to like, right? Once again, I couldn't leave well enough alone.
The January doldrums hit hard and I decided that due to my advancing years and crow's feet, maybe it was time to retreat a little from the blonde. So I deviated from the tried and true and used L'Oreal Sublime Mousse #70, "Pure Dark Blonde". I figured it would be a tad darker, but still vaguely blonde. Oh, I was so wrong! There is nothing, and I mean nothing, blonde about this:
It's just, well, so BROWN. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I am a blonde. No matter what my roots may say, I am a blonde, dammit.
Where are my car keys? I'm headed to Target for some Toasted Coconut! As God is my witness, I'll never be [brown ] again!