"In this fucked up world all you can hope for is change, and I'd rather be a hypocrite to you now than a zombie forever."

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Help! My hair is damaged

Like most women, I take pride in my appearance. For me, my hair is almost as important as flattering make-up when it comes to looking good. I compulsively colour & cut it when the mood strikes me and then grow it back again; a vicious cycle of follicle abuse. 

When I was 13 and embarking on my adolescent rebellion adventure, I dyed my hair dark brown-black in order to match my black clothes, nails and current obsession with punk music/not smiling at anybody. Fortunately my wise mother deterred me from using a permanent hair dye so my mousey brown mane returned in no time...
At 14: sporting my 'original' hair colour

...until I was 16 that is. Ever since I was a little girl and obliviously partaking in gender stereotypes that were created to keep the patriarchal structure of our capitalist society in place, I'd dreamed of being a Bleach Blonde Barbie. Cindy was boring & brunette and at 16 it was time to transform my Mousey-locks into Goldilocks. Again, my wise mother intervened and I was forced to highlight first:

Honey blonde highlights
Not good enough, thought I. If I'm going to start a 'NEW ME!' at sixth form I may as well achieve the desired look. Many highlights and protests with mother & hairdresser later, on the eve of turning 18, my hair was an all-out bold blonde:

Hair finally damaged! Ash blonde
 "Blondes have more fun" they say and in a way they're right. You feel conventionally attractive on account of your hair and I did receive more glances and beeps from 'appreciative' men. It was also easier to be noticed when standing in front of a busy bar, waiting for the person on the other side to pour you a whiskey already. However emulating Barbie's style comes at a price. People make more assumptions about your personality - that you're fun and not too deep, say. It's also hard to manage because the roots are visible and spring up very soon. Bleach isn't the best thing for your strands of dead protein to handle and foundation becomes more of a necessity unless you like looking pasty and washed out.

Roots!  + a washed out, unhappy texture
Like most of my hair phases, the all-out blonde lasted about a year before I was bored. Had I have been born a blonde I might not have dyed my hair at all. I love blonde hair. There's just a part of me that wonders if it looks better on other people than on myself. I am after all, naturally quite dark-haired. 

So after having brown, near-black, dark blonde & light blonde hair I wondered what the next step on the colour chart was. 

Voila! Let me unveil the Redhead.

Being a redhead is a lot of fun. The first time I rinsed out my hair to reveal red I stared into the mirror for ages, just examining how cool I looked and how much it apparently reflects my personality. I guess all hairstyles & colours come with labels and as a redhead, people think you're loud, alternative, attention-seeking and feisty. I'd agree with 2 of those concerning me and other redheads that I know - some cliches are true some of the time. Red hair is always complimentary to pale skin and makes any eye colour pop out. I love it!

That picture was taken last summer and true to form - I'm bored again. Whatsmore, I miss being blonde. It was always the dream and I think blonde while you're young and brunette when you're older is a good aesthetic ideal. One represents the vitality and sunny disposition of youth and the other the smoldering, sophisticated look that comes with age & wisdom. This is just personal taste and of course, I may well change my mind.

Growing it out - How it looks today!
My current hair plan is for blonde 'festival' hair with pink and purple dip dye at the bottom. It'd be perfect for summer and I get to be blonde again! So I went to the local hairdressers today on the hunt for advice about how I can return to the light side. As you can see, my hair is damaged. It breaks off easily, causing me to find stray hairs just about everywhere I've been in the house. Furthermore it looks limp and lacks the gloss of my mousey years. (Apologies for the disturbing pose in the above picture).

Glancing at my damaged hairdo with a concerned eye, the lady snips a strand and tells me to come back once she's tested it. I'm apprehensive because I know it needs treatment but my compulsion has hit me so I go ahead with the plan. Nigh on half an hour later, said lady emerges from the backroom with tin foil and my missing hair strands...which have virtually split in half and look more pink than yellow. She simply tells me my  hair is too damaged.

So I suppose my vanity will be put on hold until I've thoroughly conditioned my hair with the above product & toned down on my primping, blow-drying, straightening and most of all colouring!

Washing my hair with luke-warm water and rinsing it off with the cold tap is another method of hair preservation. Also, I'll look out for any shampoo&conditioners marked with "repair damaged hair".

In the meantime, if you have any other hair care tips, let me know! 

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