To dye or not to dye. That is the question.

When my hair is short enough and blonde enough, I'm told I look just like Michelle Williams. It's closer to the truth to say I look like her older, chubbier, slightly less attractive sister. Either way, I take it as a compliment.

When my hair is short enough and blonde enough, I’m told I look just like Michelle Williams. It’s closer to the truth to say I look like her older, chubbier, slightly less attractive sister. Either way, I take it as a compliment.

Every now and then, I just let myself be consumed with something really trivial and I enjoy being the Queen of the First World “Problem.” So, let me prove to you that I do think of something besides my granny-care woes  and share my thoughts this evening:

It’s about hair. My hair.

I was born blonde. Very blonde. And I remained naturally very blonde up until I became pregnant with my first child at 40. Yes, I realize that everyone’s hair eventually darkens and dulls. I realize that only 2% of the world’s adult population is naturally blonde. And I realize that making it to 40 without ever dying or highlighting my hair is a bit unusual. I had way more good hair years than most women.

But here’s the deal: I got pregnant and my hair grew in taupe. Not quite blonde. Not quite light brown. Not quite gray. Taupe. It’s an unattractive color when it’s on a shoe or an old lady’s purse and it’s even worse when it’s on a head. My head.

So, I dyed it. I went to a store and came out with a box of Loreal Preference. I nervously followed the directions. I was certain that if I didn’t do everything just right, it would be a disaster.

While it wasn’t a disaster like a flood or an earthquake, I thought it looked a little brassy. I really didn’t know what people meant when they described dyed hair as “brassy” until I saw it on my head. My hair was the color of a French horn. No one told me that it looked bad, but no one told me that it looked good either. Mostly, people acted like they didn’t notice that anything had changed.

I let the color grow out/wear out.

I decided that I should have my hair highlighted professionally. I found a stylist I liked and made my hair my thing. Every eight weeks, I had my hair cut and highlighted. When I did this, I spent about $200 per salon visit, and I justified the expense by asking myself, “When do I ever spend money on me? I drive a hand-me-down car. I buy my clothes at the wholesale club. We can afford six salon visits per year.”

The problem was I wasn’t completely happy with the highlighting. I thought it made my hair feel coarse. It seemed to pull out the natural curl. So, I was sacrificing texture for color. Ewww. Not much of a trade-off.

So, I was contemplating ending my standing salon appointment when BAM–the decision was made for me: my laptop died and had to be replaced, both of our cars ended up in the shop with pricey repairs, and it was Christmas! I really didn’t feel I could justify the expense any longer—especially since I wasn’t 100% happy with the result. I cancelled my appointment.

After a couple of months of having hair that just looked really awful, I bought a spray-in “blonde enhancer.” Think of it as a new and improved version of the 1980s’ Sun-In. It worked well. Really, really well. I kept using it and using it thinking that I could take my hair back to the color it was when I was about 18. My use was so enthusiastic, however, that I fried this one spot of hair in the front, and to get it cut out, I had to get a pixie.

No regrets there. The short hair is working for me, but I haven’t done anything to improve the color. I’m back to my natural taupe.

On a good day, I tell myself that it isn’t so bad. It’s environmentally-friendly not to dye my hair, and the color is more of a dish-water blonde than taupe. Yeah, dish-water. That really doesn’t sound any better than taupe, does it?

So, I’m debating—to dye or not to dye.

The truth is when it comes to doing anything with my hair, I am a coward.

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One thought on “To dye or not to dye. That is the question.

  1. Tracy

    Well Susan, you know how much I enjoy doing anything with my hair…I mean, maintenance at great expense is just something I can’t bring myself to do. Not only that, I’m so slack at even getting it cut in a timely fashion I’d look like a skunk for weeks before getting around to having it touched up. So, my two cents worth is to focus on the whole you, the inner you, the healthy you, and your beauty will shine regardless of hair color!

    Reply

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