Hair. Let’s talk about something we can relate to in one way or another. We all have it as well as the accompanying emotions that seem to cause us endless angst. We have straight hair but long for curls. Natural redhead but would prefer being deep brunette. Or those who struggle to stay ahead of graying locks and when the battle is lost, struggle to stay ahead of the gray roots. I’ve always said, if I worried about my body the way I do my hair I’d look like Madonna back in the 90’s but minus the cone bras.
Let me tell you about my hair. It is extremely thick and I can honestly say every stylist who has ever worked on it “claim” they’ve never seen such thick hair (which somehow I doubt). In my late teens I allowed a stylist to thin it out with thinning shears ~ never again. Because my hair is also course (especially the top) when it was thinned I had pieces sticking out all over my head that literally resembled corkscrews . I’ve had stylists subtly ask if I was biracial because of the texture of my hair ~ the horsehair part that is. I’ve been tempted to say that I’m only biracial on the top of my head but haven’t. Biracial isn’t a bad thing but I’m 100% Irish with extremely pale skin and dark hair. Adopted by a Polish couple and later lived in Little Italy. Some diversity right?
I’m now nearing 50 so have undergone quite a few hair transitions over the years. Frosting in early 20’s which was torturous because they used THOSE caps. For me it was like they were pulling my brains out because of the thickness but did I have it done again? Of course! In hindsight I think I must have been going through a masochistic phase but didn’t realize it.
I’m a natural dark brunette with red undercurrents that keep coming through. But I have something different in that I have a Mallen Streak . I was born with one in the area of my upper right hairline. As a child my adoptive step-mother (who knew one kid could have so many mothers?) would take me into a room and have me look at a photo of Shirley Temple and berate me for not looking like her. “Look at Shirley’s beautiful curls Bunny. Why can’t you look like her?” or “Shirley doesn’t have that horrible white spot on HER hair”. I had no idea who Shirley Temple was but I knew I didn’t like her because I was constantly being compared to her. At home I was ridiculed for my white patch as well as for my “birds nest” ~ a term they used to describe the particularly course, thick hair on the top of my head.
At school I was called Skunky, Lily Munster, Bride of Frankenstein or Pepé Le Pew. Seriously? Ridiculed and beat at home and taunted at school. The name calling continued throughout high school but seemed more like a harmless joke then as opposed to the cruel way grade school children inflict pain with their words. I think I began honing the fine art of sarcastic retorts during my time in high school because I’ve got quite an impressive collection.
Once I gained my freedom, one of the first things I wanted to do was have my white streak colored but was told it was impossible. I eventually discovered (pre Google folks) that the hair lacks pigment). Looking back I think that’s what steered me in the direction of the masochistic frosting cap.
In my late 20’s and into early 30’s I had that section bleached then highlighted. I had the chunky highlight going on before it became vogue. But alas by late 30’s I was tired of it. Salons had found a way to color Mallen Streaks so I was on that like white on rice. I turned my dark brown hair with the auburn highlights into dark brown with burgundy highlights. I thought it looked fabulous but in reality I probably resembled an eggplant from the neck up.
That phase ended in a few years and I stuck with dark brown for my streak, stripe or chunk. In between I went through a braid phase (and occasionally still do especially for hiking) and actually am somewhat adept at a variety of braids. I used to put my toddler granddaughter’s hair in cornrows just to annoy her mother (my son’s now ex-wife). In 2011 I had my hair chemically straightened and can say with all honesty that was my favorite hair phase. When I returned a year later to the same stylist to have it done again, I had major breakage and I really do think it was “operator error” as the whole process was somewhat different from the first time so despite a love of all things three, won’t go for a trifecta.
Since I discovered Argon and Macadamia oils my hair is much more manageable and I’ve come to love it. During the winter I do add a bit of EVO to the shampoo just before I slap it on my wet head because it gets dry easily if I don’t stay one step ahead of it. After towel drying I use a spray leave in conditioner. I can’t find the one by Nexxus that I used for years but recently discovered It’s A 10 Silk Express Leave In that’s quite nice. Then I follow that with either one of the oils and I’m good to go.
The texture is such that I essentially wash and go as I despise blow drying (makes it frizz uncontrollably). I rarely use a comb instead opting for fingers and until last winter I kept it pretty long. When my dog Callie died in November I hopped on what I eventually began to refer to as the “Crazy Train of Grief” and a week later went into the bathroom and cut inches off. Then a few days later I cut some more. And because I like the #3, I went back one more time and tried to layer it. Yeah, not a pretty picture. A return of the corkscrews from my late 20s only cut by Edward Scissorhands before he honed his craft.
During my train ride I also didn’t worry about the Mallen ~ until the day I decided to self color my entire head with a dark brown. It came out nearly black! Because I used a permanent one as opposed to semi-permanent, my choices were live with it or lift it. Therein was the problem because I didn’t want my hair bleached or stripped simply because of its course dry texture. I scoured the internet and found an interesting concoction that received great reviews on Makeup Alley (my go to site because every woman who lives in the willy whacks up a densely wooded mountain simply must know the latest fads). It’s a mixture of crushed Vitamin C tablets combined with shampoo to make a paste which you apply to wet hair. To be honest my family thought I’d been on the train too long as they heard me use a meat mallet to pulverize the Vitamin C tabs inside a zip lock bag. However it worked and I had my normal dark brown back plus the streak. At that point I decided on a different approach; I’d “embrace” my white streak. It’s visible from mid winter in my Gravatar picture. I still liked it then. I liked it for nearly six months. Now however I’ve decided (depending on the day of course) that it’s served it’s purpose and must go back into hiding. I mentioned this to my hairdresser when I ran into her recently and she babbled about all the coloring ideas she had for my streak; lavender grey, plum, copper, or a sparkly silver. I just looked at her, laughed and said “Hell No”. I have an appointment this Wednesday and she booked me for enough time in case I change my mind. Somehow I doubt it but then, never say never.After all, I don’t drink, smoke or go anywhere (except of course the veterinarian) because I hate driving 5 miles one way to shop so I guess you could say hair is my hobby…
Welcome to my hair! In a way it’s therapy…