September 20, 2012

Curly Mama

I'm getting my hair dyed today -- long overdue, which it always is. I can't afford to get my grays covered every five to six weeks as recommended, not at my stylist's rates.
My dad had prematurely gray hair -- by the time he was my age, he was almost completely gray.  By the time I was in high school, his hair was silver.  And so thanks to him, I found my very first gray hairs before I turned twenty.  By age thirty I had a "skunk stripe" of gray near my front part, which my husband found sexy. I didn't agree. (My stylist tells me that Native Americans call them "spirit stripes," and they supposedly convey wisdom.)  (As does a gap in your front teeth, and I have that too, which I guess pretty much makes me Buddha.)

My old skunk stripe is where my very first gray hairs appeared -- and since that's my Grey Hair Ground Zero,  that same area is now the most resistant to hair dye. The hair in that stripe is now not just gray, but an alarming shade of snowy white. Barn owl white.

I wear my hair parted so that, even when I'm overdue for a touch-up, you can't easily see the stripe. But when I look for it -- yikes! There it is.  Not going anywhere, honey.   Finding my very first gray hairs didn't make me feel old -- not when I was still too young to buy alcohol.  But hearing my stylist tell me that she now needs to whip up a special small batch of heavy-duty dye for my color-resistant stripe: yes, that makes me feel old.  Also: when she tells me that my natural hair is now almost 40% gray. What?

But what I really want to talk about with my stylist today as she's applying that heavy-duty dye, is my cut.  Forget about the gray hairs. Right now, my haircut is making me feel old. 

It's worth a whole other post, how I came to cut my curly hair short, how a lovely woman I saw one night three years ago led me on a quest to copy her chic, short, adorable cut.  Because when you get me going on the subject of my impossibly thick, coarse, very curly hair, I have a lot to say.  A lifetime of stories and experiences and humiliations to share.

So let's just say this: I used to wear my hair long-ish. Below my shoulders, anyway. It was heavy and droopy and hid my face and I wore it up in a headache-inducing topknot much of the time.  Also: the frizz.

Three years ago, I started cutting it quite short. At first, I loved it. And now, I don't.  Here's what I look like now:
Taken at my aunt's pool party on Labor Day. (That's pool water on my shirt, not sweat. Really.)

But with the wiry little gray hairs springing up from my scalp, the days of recent high humidity, and the doldrums of my short cut, this is how I feel:
Yeah. Like Mama.  And don't forget, I also wear glasses 75% of the time. 

My gray hairs will disappear (for a few, fleeting weeks) after today. Growing out my hair will take much, much longer. I hope to discuss with my stylist, who is trained in the "Deva" technique of dry-cutting curly hair, how we'll work together to avoid my hair getting so heavy and weighted down that I feel, instead, like this guy on my bad days:
Weird Al and his lovely locks.
Wish me luck!


  1. Oh, DITTO on the gray hair. And the short hair. My grays showed up mid-twenties. I have great wings of gray streaking back from my temples and peeking through at my hairline. I am now starting to feel like those old ladies who have dark hair but put in blonde highlights to hide the grays.

    Also, the short hair. I had short short hair for about ten years, and I have grown my out over the past two years, but it is not the luxuriant hair of my it is the thin, fine, straggly, limp hair of middle age. It doesn't help that it seems like everyone in the OC has long gorgeous hair. (Fake or not, its still long and pretty. And mine is not.)

    I am actually thinking of cutting my hair short again.

    Do you subscribe to the no-shampoo method of taming curly hair?

    ps. Yes, you probably went to the same furniture store off the 405. :-)

  2. Lisa, I don't do the "no-poo" method, but I do a version of "lo-poo." I think. I used to pay better attention to that stuff! I've done the light highlights trick before, but this time around I went quite dark all over. My grays will have nowhere to hide this time!! ;)


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