Years ago and I mean years ago, I decided to color my hair. Why? Because I felt my natural color wasn’t me. I just knew there had to be a color out there that would make me feel more comfortable in my own skin, more natural! I chose a beautiful shade of red. My “natural color”, affectionately known as “dish-water blonde”, was to forever be a memory.
Of course I knew nothing about how to dye my hair. I figured it couldn’t be any harder that shampooing and heck I had been doing that for years. What I wasn’t prepared to deal with was the up keep of my new, natural look. The roots of my hair kept appearing every so many weeks and as a result, that meant buying yet another box of color to ensure that the bottom part of my hair would always match the top of my head. Should have been an easy enough task.
Have you ever colored your hair? See, the box shows you how to do it, I mean there IS a visual tutorial printed on the instructions, yet the only thing that it actually teaches you how to do it, is to go through the process. Over and over again, I would end up with a variegated head of red hair, that never looked like first time I rinsed out the dye. Of course they said to simply touch-up the roots first, wait the required minutes, then pull it through the rest of my hair. I didn’t own a timer, wasn’t double jointed and always managed to get a little extra color beyond the roots too soon. My goodness, it became easier to simply apply the entire package to my whole head all at once, let it process, rinse, shampoo and style. Hence, the bright, glowing line of red along the root line of my hair, announcing to the savvy world that I was NOT a natural redhead.
Naturally, I went through this for a dozen years. I was actually a red head when I met and married my husband. And at one point I went to a salon and had my hair colored professionally. That was the only time my red hair DID look natural. Of course, my stylist was forever entering styling and color competitions so this one time she asked if she could experiment with a cut and color, for this prize she was hoping to win. Sure, why not! Well, the hair became its shortest in years, the red, became the darkest I had ever worn and do we even speak of the lightning bolt she bleached down the front of my hair? No and I believe I have burned all the photos…
We moved from that city, I was starting a new life and needed a new hairdresser. Guess what happened next?
She stood behind me while I sat the chair, with this stone face expression and kept tugging, brushing and playing with my hair until she finally said, “This color is NOT you. It looks so UNNATURAL!” In all the years (12 in all) I had been coloring my hair this shade of natural red, no one had ever even hinted that it didn’t look good on me. I had even grown to LOVE it. I was not prepared for the next statement. “You’re a natural blonde!”
Yes, yes, I had been a “dirty-blonde” the first eighteen years of my life but that natural color was hideous, doing nothing for my skin tone. Before I could explain that I didn’t want to return to that shade of boring, she asked if I would trust her. Naturally, I said yes. After all, wasn’t she referred to me by someone whose hair I loved? Yes, she was, so she spun me around so I could NOT see the mirror and nearly two hours after I walked into the salon, I strolled out as a Marilyn Monroe blonde!
Of course, they had to revive my husband, who kept demanding to know what I had done to and with the beautiful redhead he married… My co-workers just circled me, staring at my head like they were trying to decide if they wanted to even take that used car for a test drive. I wasn’t sure if I should have run away to join the circus or laugh and say, “April Fools!” Yeah, I had no desire to leave town and it wasn’t April.
Naturally, blonde was much harder to maintain than red and there was no way I could do this on my own. I won’t drag you through the ensuing years of my 50 shades of blonde, and all the hairdressers who were forever trying to entice me away from my current clip joint. After thousands of dollars and another twenty-six years of time spent as a bleach bottle blonde, I knew I needed to reclaim the natural me, regardless of what she looked like.
It has taken took about as long to adjust to the grown out color as it did to learn to accept each of the natural color changes. The big difference between then and now, was that if someone didn’t care for it, I could always blame it on the formula or the technician. Over the past four years that I have allowed my hair to simply be, I have figured out that I have saved enough money to rent a cruise ship and invite my entire high school graduating class to take a cruise. Also, my natural hair is pretty cool. I am finally happy with my hair. There is some glitter in spots. Yeah, I know many of you may call this gray, but I prefer to say that I sparkle, naturally.