“Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen”
~Rado, James; Ragni, Gerome
I don’t think I’m overstating if I say the relationship we women have with our hair can be the most rewarding in our lives and yet can cause the most devastation to our self esteem. Many of us find our singular identity in our hair; be it style or structure. We spend much of our lives in a love/hate alliance with our hair, and wish for hair, any other hair, but that with which we were born.
My battle began before memory. My mother had a favorite story to tell of when I was two and a half, down for a nap. She’d put me down with glorious waist-length wavy hair. She came into my room to find me happily clipping away around ear length with my safety scissors- I’d cleared around half my head, she said. There was nothing to do but find a salon. Thus, I was I was introduced to The Pixie and, from that point on, perfectly straight hair.
In high school, I’d become a Breck girl! Hair products weren’t sophisticated as they are now. Breck was the Bomb, though! As a sophomore- 1966- I wanted to be blonde. Mom was cool with this and again took me to a salon to have it professionally colored. It took six hours! But I walked out of there looking like Marilyn Monroe. Well, at least the hair. When I was done with the blonde thing (about six months) did I go back to natural professionally? No. I went to a drugstore and bought Clairol in medium brown. I came out of this looking like Sophia Loren and not in a good way. Of course, being 16, my life was over! I was never leaving the house again.
By my senior year I felt so experienced! Your hair is your hair. Be happy with what you have. My best friend at the time had super curly frizzy hair and was always anxiety ridden about her hair. I grew quite philosophical regarding this topic. I realized on many levels, but especially hair, we’re often not happy with what’s facing us in the mirror. Yeah- that’s my Libra rising. That bleach trick had done a number on my head, no pun, and I became “wise.” I wish.
Now really! The hair fixation… You know what I’m talking about, it returns. It revisits.
I made bad choices in my early 20s. The next one happened after visiting my sister-in-law, and she had a friend over. I loved the hairdo she had called The Lioness. It had obviously just been cut. It looked like Farrah Fawcett’s hair. Gorgeous. I asked where she’d had it done. She named a local beauty college. Do you sense danger? I got detailed information, and I made my appointment the next day. I remember sitting in the chair, this chick clipping clipping clipping my hair and saying, “I hope I get it right.” Long story short: She had only watched this cut being done on the chick I’d seen. My head was her “first cut.” I called it The Ragdoll. Around jaw length and flat as a pancake. The style would have been very cool today. Maybe.
A few years later I was AGAIN overtaken by the need for change. It can be almost painful when you think you can look like that picture in a magazine. Or you keep seeing women on television with a cut or style, and you start to believe you can achieve that look. I’m so over that- I kept telling myself, no really, I’m doing a good job. But at 27, I had to have the Barbra Streisand 80s look. Her curly look! Don’t laugh. I’m serious. But, well, let’s call that The Curly Ragdoll.
I hit rock bottom, hair-wise. I don’t even wanna discuss the mullet period in my 30s. I finally crashed and found my reality. I had stick straight, ash brown hair. Best worn single length just past shoulders with bangs; straight bangs. They call them fringe today.
And in my 40s I fell in love with my hair! Absolutely in love. I knew what I had as far as hair goes. What it could and couldn’t do. Mostly what it couldn’t do. What I could wish for, but never achieve. None of it mattered. I was centered. I’d found acceptance. Then I hit 50, post or mid menopause, and my hair began to curl. You don’t see it in any of my pictures, because I blow it dry and use a flatiron. But it has so much curl, that if I encouraged it, I would look like Harpo Marx! I’m simply nonplussed. My stylist is, as well. Just when I truly accepted my hair and loved it; it no long is the same hair. Unreal.
Today I’m no longer a Breck girl. That simplicity got lost around 1975. I started using Sebastian Professional shampoo. Adored it! I used it for 20 years at least. It was discontinued, and I was devastated. Since that time I’ve been on a seemingly endless journey for the perfect set of hair products. I didn’t color my hair until I was 55. Until then I didn’t need a conditioner, which complicates the game. The past year my hair has thinned around the hairline. Yikes! Today I use Rain Shadow Labs Amino shampoo ($11.95) and conditioner; Schwartskopf leave-in conditioner (with sunblock for hair); Moroccanoil; and Folligen mixed with emu oil (3:1 ratio) the night before I wash my hair. I wash my hair about every third to fourth day. This is truly strange to a chick who washed daily until I had it colored at 55. It’s a major transition.
I love my hair. I do. I think once we stop loving our hair something inside parishes. It matters. So don’t let your fellows discourage you, or you discourage yourself. Try new things. Have fun. Today there is so much new technologies regarding hair it’s unbelievable! I envy the young heads. As for me, I’m working to keep the hair I have and not achieve the Telly Savalas look. And as Junko says: Share the love.
Julie- my long and winding road to hair acceptance
“Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair