Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Hair-Raising Experience

"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!


    I LOOK LIKE YOU hear me out...
    there is a look in your eyes..and it reminds me of ME
    something CRAZY familiar
    I keep looking at it

    I think we are related

    and yeah
    that is not blonde
    fix that fast

  2. You are so funny.

    I never would have suspected you color your own hair. It always looks great.


    Ms. Brownie Pants (wait...that doesn't really sound right)

  3. I dunno. That's looking faintly red to me--not so much "brown." I assume you've changed it by now?

    I've never colored my hair, but as my former red gets increasingly brown with age (hey, wait, my hair color is what you have in that final photo...?!), I do consider getting some sort of "lights" put in. You shall be Miyagi to my Karate Kid when this time is upon me.