ON A ROLL
I’ve never had pretty hair.
It is fine in texture, thin in covering, slow to grow, and at this stage of the game, in its natural state is the color of salt and pepper, only probably not the pretty kind, but the blotchy kind.
I thought I at least had the timing down as far as covering the gray, but now even that is in question. The gray stripe down the crown appeared two weeks early this time.
I life-lined my hairdresser for an emergency intervention before I leave for a road trip Tuesday, and fortunately, she’s getting me in. Whew! But color is not the half of it.
My hair is having an identity crisis.
I’m in no way throwing my stylist under the washing station. She does all she can. Who knew that my hair had a mind of its own?
While I’ve never been fond of these locks, for a few years, I was OK with a particular style. I had admired the short, spiked-out, layered look on a woman in a store. When I complimented her, she told me it was simple to maintain, and that it was all in the cut and product.
Sure enough, my stylist handled the cut just fine, and I bought the product—er, products. Why yes, only five simple tubs and tubes to maintain the simple style: shampoo, conditioner, mousse, styling gel, and hairspray.
And when I say five, I mean that in the most minimalist sense. I could buy additional products that promoted shine, a powder applied to the crown to add volume, and probably three to five more bottles, tubes, and tubs that would do this or that in addition, of course, to emptying my wallet.
So maybe there wasn’t anything simple about a style that required a cut every six weeks, color every three months minus a week, and five products. But I could maintain it. That was a first. And another first was that someone in the community where I work described my look as "sassy." I liked that. Sign me up.
But because I tend to hang onto a style too long (think Dorothy Hamill), I wanted to change things up. So I had it stacked in the back, shaped longer in the front, added bangs and flipped the whole works under.
That worked fairly well, and I should have left well enough alone. But no, early this winter I decided to go back to the layered, pieced, "sassy" look.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the blow dryer. The style would no longer hold, no matter the products involved. My hair wanted to lie flat. As a board.
My last hair appointment sounded like a therapy session as I complained about my stubborn tresses the way some would a wayward teen. My hairdresser thought she had a product to help. It didn’t. But I don’t want to tell her. Why is it when a product lets me down I figure it’s me and not it? That I didn’t hold my mouth just right when applying it?
Aside from the fancy products, expensive haircuts, and coloring, I’ve found one thing that adds a little body and perk to my hair in this new phase of life -- or whatever it is. Warning: You’ll probably laugh at my secret weapon. Here we go anyway.
Yes, old-fashioned rollers.
I wash my hair, add mousse, apply the rollers and leave them in on the ride to work. As I roll along, I jack up the heat or the air, and intermittently put down the windows for blasts of air to fluff until I’m close to the town where I work. Then I start ripping those babies off my head and tossing them on the floor before anyone spots me with a head full of curlers, circa 1972.
I know. It’s pitiful. Only I don’t even use hair spray, let alone gel or powder. I just run my fingers and well, it’s as good as it gets. Not saying it looks great. I’m saying good as it gets for what I’ve got to work with.
Problem is, it’s rinse and repeat the next day because it only looks decent for a day.
I’ve had people commenting on my hair lately. “New do for summer?” a friend asked in the office the other day.
A coworker asked me if I got my hair cut. “I feel like your hair looks different every day,” she said.
Yes, you might say its on a roll that way. I never know what hairdo will show up or if my hair will behave well in public.
So my question for other women of -- ahem -- a certain age is this: Have you noticed that your hair is changing? If so, how, and how do you deal with it?
And another thing I’m wondering. With few exceptions, most women tend to color their gray for several years, and then one day, they let it fend for itself in its natural state. How did or do you decide when?