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so this hair thing

Prompted by my complaints of "long hair is too much work to dye" and the subsequent comments on Facebook, I've been thinking about my hair, and the crazy colors thing I've been doing for the last 15 years (goodness, that's awhile).

I remember talking to Kit about it years ago, how I didn't really dye my hair funny colors for attention, it was just part of who I am. For a long time, I wanted to be invisible: I dressed in enormous baggy clothes, was an unhappy little ball of self-loathing for my physical appearance. This is something I still struggle with, mind, but I've clearly come through the worst of it, as pretty much none of my clothes hide me like that anymore. So I had blue or pink or purple hair, and people were always staring at it, but I always wished they'd just overlook it, not see me at all. It says a lot about my mental state when I dyed my hair black a couple of years ago, is all I'm saying.

So now I've got this gorgeous long hair, and I love it. It's ridiculous and trite, but it makes me feel sexier than the short hair (guys tend to love long hair, what can I say?), and I swear I could have run an experiment on how hair length relates to approachability, when I was growing it out (no matter how fabulous the color when my hair was short, only children and little old ladies commented on it; as I started to grow it out, there was a while when every single time I went out somewhere, at least one person complimented my hair; this has actually declined as it's gotten longer, so there's some sort of sweet spot in there). It's a marvelous accessory for dance, I'm finding (my hair was always at most chin-length, when I was really dancing a lot), it's fun to play with, and just feels nice. Though I really need to learn how to french braid it, my hair-wrangling skills are pretty weak.

But man, dyeing it is a pain. As I type this, there's still dye (and saran wrap and a towel) on my head...and my hands, and arms, and neck, and ears and I'm just ridiculously purple, there's no good way to keep this stuff from getting everywhere when you're doing it solo. And since I'm not bleaching it, the color fades after a month or two, and I have to do it all over again, and turn things purple for a few days. Not bleaching also means I'm stuck with overdying, which means I've been purple and/or red for the last couple of years now. Which is fine and good, but I miss the blues and teals and even the bright bright stuff. I just don't want to trash my hair with bleach, don't want to be forced to cut it off, like years ago.

I realize that most people don't change their hair on a continual basis, and this is one of my little eccentricities. But it just feels weird and wrong to have the same color for a long time, now that I'm not changing the cut at all. Plus, well, it's still me to have the brightly colored hair. Even if I haven't been "Blue-haired Angie" for years, the funny colors still fit me, and I'm not sure how I'd feel without it.

Which brings me back to the whole attention thing. There's a part of me that would just feel invisible and uninteresting without the crazy hair (tattoos and my style of dress aside). Like, well, ok. It's not like I've dated a lot, and I'm pretty lonely on that front, I won't lie. So I don't want to be invisible...but at the same time, I'm not dating a lot, maybe the hair's not doing me any favors (ok, this is more about me not really looking/trying, and feeling terrifically insecure about my no-job situation, but still). I don't really know.

I'm not just my hair color, but my hair color is a lot of me, if that makes sense. And my hair hasn't been its entirely natural state for as long as I can remember--my mom started perming my hair when I was like 6, and it was unnaturally curly right up through college, at which point I started dyeing it, and haven't had a perm since. So I really don't have the faintest notion what my hair would look like, if left to its own devices. I, augh.

This is some mixed-up ramble, right here, trying to figure out how I feel about this, what I want to do with my hair, my very identity. Which is kind of weird to realize, but yeah, I've been doing this dyeing stuff almost half my life, it's definitely a part of me. I want comments, and probably to talk about this in person with folks as I try to figure myself (my hair!) out, so bear with me while I pester some lot of you.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Have you thought about doing a natural color with highlights or even brightly colored streaks in it? Might be easier than doing a bright color all over, and lets you experiment with a more natural look without going cold-turkey on the bright colors. (Natural doesn't have to be boring --- reds seem to look nice on you.)

And I hear you about what a pain it is to dye long hair. I've had noticeable grey in my hair since 30, and I don't feel good about my appearance without dye at this point. It's such a pain to do myself, and yet I can't justify spending $60+ at a salon every six weeks to have professional color. Ugh.
Jun. 18th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Sorry, that was Stacy.
Jun. 19th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, some sort of red or even a dark mahogany (I've always admired your hair color, to be honest!), maybe, but highlights on my own light brown would just look weird, I think. BUt then it's double-process, to dye it a "natural" color, and then bleach part of it for highlights, so I dunno. I just remember trashing my hair not once but twice before, and don't want to lose the length to that again.

Part of the problem is roots, yeah, because man, life would be simpler if my hair was just darker--black or even dark brown roots with bright colors would be kind of fun! And I"d offer to help out with touchups, but I'm so very, very imprecise about dyeing, I'd worry about getting it all over you anyway. <.
Jun. 20th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
I do low-lights in my hair. I get 'hilights' of dark purple and copper. I really like it. Since I don't bleach out the strips (I live in conservative New England and would like a non-supermarket job some day), the colors aren't stunningly obvious and they fade out in a subtle manner so I don't have to be appalled if I don't have the money to get it done again with the frequency it deserves. I don't think my natural hair color is all that dramatically different from your natural hair color.

In fact, I was still doing brilliant red for a while and when it became clear I wouldn't be able to maintain the bleaching/dying process, I bleached out my hair and dyed it something close to my natural color so I could grow out the bleached hair. So now, my hilights are done an mostly (except for previously hilighted bits) unprocessed hair.

Not that any of this is terribly helpful, since I don't do the hilites myself but have my very amazing and wonderful hairstylist do it and then he charges me the much less expensive 'over all dye job' price instead of the hilites price. :)
Jun. 20th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Oh! And when I go chunky with the hilites, they actually change the overall tone of the color of my hair, which I find very nifty.
Jun. 18th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not an expert on hair, men's or woman's, but I liked the look of your hair when I saw you last. I'm one of those people who likes long hair on women.

Of course, as a woman, you have to do so much more than a guy when it comes to looks, (i.e. I don't have to shave my legs or buy/apply make-up.)
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! It's one of the reasons I don't want to lose the length, because I really love it, and other people seem to like it, too. And I'm a particularly lazy girl when it comes to that kind of stuff--I prefer how my hair looks when blown dry, but don't usually wear makeup, and only really shave my legs in summer (tights in winter ftw!). ^_^
Jun. 18th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
Have a regularly scheduled dyeing party. :-)

I like Stacy's suggestion, as well.

But let's look a little deeper. What would you like to be doing in five years? How bright is your hair in that image?

I find myself thinking of this as the Coming Of Age story for your hair. :-)
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
I might just start asking for help to get full coverage, it's true. At least a couple of people have offered (one below, even!), and it would make my life a lot easier. I'll still look like I've been bathing in Kool-Aid for a day or two after, but yeah.

And I'm not really sure, is the problem--that's part of why I'm still jobless, I don't even know what I want to be doing, in an ideal world. So right now, my hair still seems like it should be bright, but as I lean towards pinup fashion, maybe black or natural red is more likely to happen, I don't really know.

I'll have to keep thinking about this!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, if my hair was less blah to start out with, streaks would be fun, but brightly colored streaks in plain light brown hair just seems odd to me. Though I've been resisting my natural color for so long that it might just be habit keeping me from the idea, I dunno.

And thanks! I don't think orange was the best look for me, and I tend not to use yellow-greens (blue greens are great!), but it is quite nice that all of these colors look, well, "natural" on me, for the most part. ^_^
Jun. 18th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)

rofl jk

i've got most nights free in summer so i can always come over, and i've learned some trick of the trades, girlie. that would be my suggestion, because you look fierce with your hair how it is, and while the color doesn't define you, it definitely is a part of who you are
Jun. 18th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
stop stressing
Take a deep breath and relax! This does not need to be something you anguish over, just like when you dye your hair a new color just try out the natural color thing. Start out using a color you like ("normal" colors can be striking and bold and richly hued too!) and stick it on your head for a while and see what you think. Then from there you can always experiment with adding streaks of color or crazy braids or beads or something!
The thing is no one is going to prevent you from changing it if it turns out it doesn't feel right but I don't think you'll know for sure what you want until you give it a go. And I don't think you'd be spending this much time pondering it if somewhere in your brain you didn't want to try something new. So give it a try!
Jun. 18th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
I was going to say this over of FB, but it's easier here. I second (or third, etc...) the suggestion of trying out some "natural" colors, at least for a while. I highly recommend Clairol's Natural Instincts dyes, which always leave my hair looking and feeling so good. And no, they don't have teal or purple, but they do have some pretty intense colors, so you might find something you like.

One cool thing about the in the box dyes is the color is easy to get rid of if you don't like it. A couple of washes with Neutrogena (which is a clarifying shampoo) will strip it right out.

And if you're looking for information on how to take better care of your hair in general, I'd suggest reading Curly Girl. Even if you're not curly-headed, it had great tips on what's good for your hair, and what's not. I broke myself of the shampoo habit years ago, and my hair's never looked better.
Jun. 19th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
Your hair is you. It doesn't matter who is around you; it will still be you. So, do what makes you happy.

Hair color is you, make it work! =D
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
M colors her hair on a regular basis, not manic panic colors, but it's still an ordeal, and it gets worse and worse the longer/fuller it is.

But, more recently she started going to a guy that colors and cuts it for her, and she loves it. It's pricey, so it may not be the right choice for an unemployed person, but once you're employed again, that might be an option.

I will probably always think of you as "Blue Haired Angie" even if you're not really blue (and you've been red for how long now? hmm) You also have other ways to express "eccentric" that probably work equally well.

I think it's interesting that you've probably tried just about everything -except- growing it out however it grows. Maybe that's the next "wacky" "experimentation" in the chain. One nice thing about leaving it not-dyed for a while is it's pretty effortless and cheap, but the other nice thing about it is, you can stop whenever you want and go back to your "normal" (for you) mode. You don't even have to make a commitment to it.

If you are going to let it keep getting longer (nd fuller) why *not* find out if unaltered would please you? :)
Jun. 20th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
Fang is pro-hair! Any color is fine as long as it drinks the blood of the living.

Jun. 20th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
I really, really, really loved having long, brightly colored hair too, for a while.

And I totally understand how it could simply become part of your self-definition, as it kind of became a part of mine for a while.

And, yes, long bright hair has so much more impact than the short stuff does. It's funny how I sniff a little at the "short timers" who do just short hair. *giggles* And, yeah, for me, it was a great way not to 'hide' anymore. Not so much for the attention, so much as the whole, well, I have to deal with the fact that I'd draw the eye so much faster with it than without.
Apr. 15th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )