Friday, February 18, 2011

B is for Brown ... No! Blonde! No! Red! No! Brown!

My adventures with hair colour began when I was a college freshman. Four of us were lounging around and decided that there would be nothing more delightful than getting some semi-permanent haircolour and having a go at home hairdresser.

We tripped off to the store and selected our boxes of dye. For some reason, I chose ... well, let's be honest. I chose the darkest shade I could find because, whatever, it was temporary, right? It would wash out.

Much like it's probably a bad idea to let a 7 year old choose wallpaper (because they're only going to love it for 10 minutes and you really can't just change out wallpaper, can you?), letting my misguided 19 year old self dye my own hair proved to be an error in judgement.  Here's why:

1. My people don't tan. On a super healthy day? I'm ... pale. Like a Cullen, only not sparkly. (I hang my head in shame for making a Twilight reference... Oh, the humanity! or, since they're vampires ... Oh, the Inhumanity!) Adding long black hair to an already not so glowing complexion? As my mom said, upon seeing it for the first time: "Wow." Pause. "You look like Snow White." Pause again. "If she was on drugs."

It was true. I did.

2. Some colours are not meant to be semi-permanent. Such as black. Apparently everyone other than me knew that. So while everyone else's hair washed back to it's regular colour? Mine, sadly, did not. Until, finally, I had about 3 inches of roots and then long black hair. It was a look.

It was a TERRIBLE look.

I did the only rational thing I could think of: I marched to the hairdresser and asked her to cut all of the dyed hair off. OFF. TAKE IT OFF. Yes, I knew that I'd be left with a short short haircut. (Think Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries. That short.) Yes, I knew that having hair that short would make me look startlingly like a bobble head (I have a large head). It had to happen. Make it so!

And then ... colour what's left. Like, oh, I don't know ... red's nice. Or, NO! I know! Since it's the shortest, littlest hair ever, maybe some highlights? To detract from my bobble-head-osity?

With that, the games began. I had red hair. I had light brown hair. I had auburn hair with caramel highlights. I had purple hair. I had red hair again. I had a deep chocolate brown hair. I had red hair with blonde highlights. I had light brown hair with deep red highlights. I didn't ever go completely blonde (because as I got older, I recognized: Pasty white does not belong with sunny blonde) but I must confess -- I've always kind of WANTED to (and then I wanted skinny subtle pink highlights. To quote one of the many hairdressers regarding the pink highlights: "Seriously. Are you high?")

Over all of the years since this adventure began, my mother just shook her head. "You've got pretty hair," she said. "I like your natural colour.You should leave it alone." And off I would go to the hairdresser and mess with it again.

Why? Because I could. Because, frankly, hair is SAFE. Rather than let my restlessness and wanderlust take me down the road to a real adventure, I chose to mess with my hair instead. As I learned from the "Snow White on Drugs" incident, there's nothing that can go too terribly wrong with hair. Hate it? Cut it. It'll grow back. There's no real risk involved with it except the risk of looking like a dolt for a bit ... and let's face it, I don't need my hair for Dolt-hood. I manage that fine anyway.

I sometimes wonder what I could have managed if I had put the money, energy, and time I put into changing my hair into -- well, other things. Not that it's not important to like how you look (it's VERY important), but if I had ever paused to wonder why I felt compelled to change how I looked every 15 minutes, I might have learned something important.

At any rate, a few months ago, I decided to do something very dramatic and dye my hair a dark, dark brown. (NOT black. There is a difference). A rich espresso colour.

I love it. My friends like it. It suits me.

About six weeks rolled by before I looked at the calendar and thought, "I am SO overdue to have my hair done." I rushed to the bathroom mirror to check the root situation, and was... perplexed. Except for the places where the shiny silver hairs were making their wiry selves known, I couldn't FIND any roots.

"That's so weird," I thought. "How can that be?"

And then it hit me. I didn't have any roots because my dramatic new fabulous haircolour? Is apparently my natural colour... and I hadn't even known it. I had forgotten that, underneath the bleach and ammonia and peroxide? There was something pretty damn awesome.

I wonder if my mom gets tired of being right. 

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