Saturday, February 13, 2010

the colour of my hairs

Yesterday, I said good-bye to blonde hair. It's true that blonde hair has been saying good-bye to me for years. When I was little I had light brown hair that turned blonde in the sun. When I got older, I began having that light brown hair streaked blonde a couple of times each year. Most people (I think) have thought of me as having blonde hair for most of my life.

About 5 years ago, I started getting white hair. Sturdy, sometimes electrically wavy, strands of white poked straight up like exclamation marks, until they got about an inch or two in length, then they would lie down. Just a couple appeared here and there. Sometimes I plucked them, sometimes I'd go get my hair streaked again, and they'd blend in with the blonde.

I haven't streaked my hair for about 6 months. Wearing it shorter these days, I find that the streaks are cut out pretty quickly. Recently, I found myself with light brown hair again, but this time with a lot of white and grey all in the top and front of my head. The overall effect is kind of like a gerbil getting old. The only difference is that a gerbil lives for only a couple of years. I have lots of time to go, and I'm reluctant to impersonate an aging gerbil for a slow, drawn out process until I reach full silver.

At my last haircut, I consulted with Julie, my hairdresser. She told me that she could streak my hair again, but if I was looking for a change, she thought I'd look great with a browner kind of brown, maybe with a bit of gold to counteract the grey and the the gerbil-ness. She told me that she could colour my hair, or I could do it myself. Home hair colour products are apparently very good these days - easy to use and to achieve good results.

So now I am a self-coloured medium brown-haired mompoet. I decided to start conservatively with the change, but I'm sure I'll be more adventurous next time. Don't worry, I won't turn purple or orange (at least not on purpose). It's only hair, though, and it grows pretty fast, so why not have fun with it?

So, I am officially no longer blonde-haired. Notice please that I did not say "I am no longer a blonde." I don't like it when women are called a hair colour as if it is a noun. "A blonde," or "a brunette" evokes a stereotypical image in my mind, out of the 1940s or 50s in a magazine advertisement. It's as if the most distinctive and noteworthy characteristic about that woman is the colour of her hair. Ug. We never call a brown-haired woman a brown, either. We say brunette. I guess it's more feminine and diminutive, which adds to my dislike of the convention. We would never call an older woman (or man) a "grey," nor would we call a man a "bald," although I'm sometimes tempted to call a guy with a goatee a "goat" or a guy with a toupee a "toup," but I would't, really.

So I am, if anything, a brown now. In a month or so, I might be a different shade of brown. I prefer to be known as a mom, a poet, a neighbour, a helper, a friend, who no longer has blonde hair.

question: what shade is your hair? by birth or by choice?

mompoet - chemically modified ever so slightly


Franci said...


Franci 1 – I think I’ll have my hair coloured blonde…light blonde…

Franci 2 – I thought you were done with that high maintenance stuff…

F1 – It was easy when my sister M was doing it…we got the best colour out of a box! Auburn…light bright red… the colour of carrots, just like I wanted when I was a little girl. Our bonding time was good too, but then she wasn’t well enough to do this either.

F2 – The professionals made a mess of it – it was often too dark.

F1 – When that happened I couldn’t stand to go back for adjustments – there would be too much chemical damage I thought.

F2 – So why the change of heart?

F1 – I think blonde could grow out more easily…my naturally light-coloured hair would fade to almost natural. There’s not so much dark hair present now… It could change to just “frosting”, in the end…if I kept getting it cut…

F2 – Blonde colour would mean more bleach – might make your fine hair weaker?

F1 – But – if done only once…it would be stronger…

F2 – You hate to spend so much time in the chair…

F1 – That’s why my plan is for colour maybe only once a year.

F2 – First you have two colours. If you add one colour, and let it grow out, you will have four colours. It could look like a dog’s breakfast!

F1 – I’m ready for some natural colour & feel I do embrace it, will embrace it as it reappears. I just need some warmth, when I look in the mirror.

F2 – OK so you can find a box at the drug store for about $10…even Joe could do it for you…if it’s not dealing with re-growth, it could be a truly “shampoo-in” experience.

F1 – Maybe I should consult with the professionals. A hairdresser in New Zealand thought I wouldn’t be happy with the results of this plan. But then, her blonde highlights didn’t take very well. I didn’t have the patience for her to try again. I’ll get a second opinion.

F2 – But you hate spending big bucks at the hairdresser…

F1 – Hmmm…there is always the hairdressing school – that experience was not too bad – and it would be an interesting challenge for the student to help me decide…

F2 – I think you are all over the map on this one. I thought you admired the hair of some folks in your writing group…

F1 – I love Ruth’s “champagne blonde”. I love Margo’s snowy white, but I don’t have enough white to be dramatic yet. Besides she gets frequent, POSH haircuts. Veronica has a nice strong blend of light and dark. I envy Janeen’s low maintenance style…

F2 – Well…pick one…

F1 – I thought I had…but then, I could also get a blonde extension again, on my left side this time…that was cool…& only $5…maybe that would be enough. I actually did look for that hairdresser again, who did it twice, but couldn’t find her…

F2 – I agree – that was fabulous…but you need to decide about the colour first…yes or no…you could have a consultation at the school. Maybe they can do all of it for you…

F1 – I could drop in there on my way home…

(I didn't...)

FL said...

for Mariann, my sister, and most successful colourist

the girl on the birthday card had hair
the colour of carrots – at six, I wanted this . . .

you went to hairdressing school . . .
once I said . . . as red as possible . . .

(a man I liked laughed so hard
I heard him half a block away)

I had blonde times; then a niece was born
with hair the colour of carrots

I felt a duty to my generation –
we used a box

L’OrĂ©al . . . Nice and Easy . . .
we got the best colours out of a box!

we tried henna – and then –
I took you to emergency,

with a plastic cap over my henna
and a kerchief over that!

the henna had lots of time, and a warm temperature –
we had a maximum effect!

the next day someone called me
her “golden girl” . . .

a dermatologist worried
about the palms of my hands – the colour!

I explained contact as the cause –
she ordered blood tests!

she found an elevated level of Vitamin A,
ordered more tests

internists tested the henna –
what would you use to make hair the colour of carrots?

it was 99% carotene – I had hypercarotenosis,
and the best all-over tan!

hyper-Vitamin-D-osis is more dangerous
they said, but suggested synthetics . . .

yes I’ve had bad red
tried twice myself, fried the back, had it cut

when standing was hard for you
I went to others, paid lots

I had bad red for ten years too dark, too brown, uneven –
we got the best colour out of a box!

one Christmas I asked for a red streak
and got a patch!

I looked like a poinsettia!
and went through shades of pink!

finally I went natural, with only red shampoo
and red conditioner, hoping for highlights . . .

and now I’m well-attuned
to bad red

the I’ve-just-come-from-the-hairdresser-red –
candy-apple-red with white bangs, perhaps a perm

the orange henna, the maroon, the over-processed
the what-were-you-thinking? red!

today I asked for blonde
pointing to the blonde receptionist . . .

got red, a lovely golden honey red
thought – I can do this!

Franci Louann December 2007

Franci said...

Hey Sue, that was easy...Google account is my challenge...2 posts, 3, to make up for temporarily misplacing my photos of the blue pajamas at the Opera House!

Pearl said...

you may be no longer blonde-haired and will never be bland-aired.

I never colored my hair till November. one home kit wash when the amount of brilliant whites started to outshine stars. they're back now. not sure if I'll do another round.