Monday, May 11, 2009

Adventures in Hairdressing

So I have had gray hair for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, I'd have these mutant white hairs that would SPROING out of my head and grow in odd directions, and I'd usually pull them out. When I was a teenager, they were still there, but less obnoxious-acting, so I just left them alone.  In my twenties, the grays (really, whites) started coming in fast and furious around my temples and along the sides, and I didn't really care so much.  However, when I was around 28 or so, over a period that wasn't much longer than a month, I really WENT GRAY.  Like, 40-50% gray.  I'm not an overly vain person, and really didn't care so much about the grays, but I just looked odd with the gray hair.  At that age, it really just didn't match my face.  So, I started dyeing my hair.  And I never did stop (actually, somewhere in there I shaved my head, but that's another story).  Every 4 weeks -- my hair grows freakishly fast -- here I am with my Feria #40 (Espresso Brown), hunched over the bathroom sink, trying to keep the dye more on my hair than the counter, usually with somewhat limited success.  I always managed to get my face quite dark, as well.  Anyhow, this has gone on for the past 15 or so years, and I can tell as my roots grow out that I am getting grayer and grayer.

Slowly, slowly I get sick of the constant dyeing and even more sick of the roots growing like a skunk stripe down my scalp, and now that I've reached the ripe old age of over 40, I start thinking that maybe my face can now handle the grays.  While I'm quietly considering this, I happen to have 2 discussions with other women who've either gone through the process of "going natural" or are thinking about it, and the idea is born.  

The whole problem is how to do it.  If you just stop dyeing, the roots grow out and you end up with hair that's half white and half dark and while I'm not too concerned with looks, that's a little too much even for me.  Cut it short?  Been there, done that, and I do NOT look right with short hair.  Put it off for a few more years?  This is probably the route I would have taken, but I had those conversations with those women and I got the idea in my head and rapidly became (as I am wont to do) totally obsessed with the idea.  The next morning I called my hairdresser (who happens to be the most awesome hair person I have ever had -- and the most inexpensive, too) to discuss my theoretical options and the next thing I know I have an appointment scheduled for the next day -- Friday.  She told me that what she would do is strip the color out of sections of my hair, and over time this would allow the gray to grow out in a more natural-looking way.  This process, she said, would take about a year of regular visits.  This definitely represented a pretty big commitment on my part, 'cause I'm lucky if I can make the haircut twice a year.  But I was ready to Embrace My Natural Womanhood, and thus . . .

Here I am, looking pretty much the way I've looked for the past 15.  Note that I haven't dyed in maybe 2-3 weeks and you can see the white hairs coming in on the top of my head, and a little at the temples.  The extent of my gray headedness is not really apparent in this photo, though.  I really am wicked gray.

Tom's a little afraid that I'll come back from my appointment all gray-headed and looking like a grandma, so he whips out the Photoshop and we take a guess at what I might look like.  I have this idea in my head, and this is the closest we can come to it.

So I go off to see Vicki, and show her this photo.  She says that it'll take a lot longer that one visit to reach that kind of color, and reiterates that it takes a year or two to really get there.  Then I plop into her chair, and she starts the laborious process of bleaching itty bitty strands a little at a time, wrapping a few strands in foil and then moving on.   Have I mentioned that I have ridiculously thick hair, and have the hair of maybe 3-4 people all on top of my head?  True.  She has incredible patience, and what she guessed would take 3 hours actually took 5 (!) 'cause of my ridiculousness. 

So here I am sitting with all the foils in my hair, looking like a Ring Ding, wondering what my hair might look like after all of this.  She quickly cut another guy's hair, and then we took the foils out.  At first it was really freaky because what was in the foils was now all white and crinkly-looking and a startling amount of it promptly fell right out -- I imagine it was less than it looked, but I was still glad I started with lots of extra hair.  She then cut about 3 inches off and that way jettisoned the most-dyed part of my hair, aiming for the evenest color possible.  It was pretty light at this point, and then she dried it and it got even lighter!  We were BOTH totally surprised at how good it came out, and how light my hair appeared when all was said and done.  Vicki thought it would take me longer to get to this point, and thinks maybe I can grow the gray out right from here without needing a whole lot more professional intervention.  So here I am, a blonde:

It looks surprisingly like the 'do we Photoshopped, doesn't it?  I was pretty shocked at first, but have really gotten used to it over the weekend.  For the first 24 hours I couldn't stop looking in the mirror, and was constantly asking How's my hair look?  Now I'm completely on board and wondering why I didn't do this years ago.  The hair looks even lighter than it does in this photo, kind of an ash-blond with lots of gray and white.  I guess the real test is how it looks in a month or three when the roots start coming in strong, but it'll obviously be a lot less jarring than white and brown.  I'm ready.

In other news, the local gym is running a special and FINALLY they have prices we can afford, so we joined today.  I don't know how much use we'll get out of it in the summer, but come fall winter spring we'll be regulars, I'm sure.  Hello, spin class!

1 comment:

Runner Leana said...

The colour looks amazing on you!!!! I am trying to get back to my natural colour too (blond still, I think...) and patience is the hardest part.