Friday, December 05, 2008

A Little Off the Top

I don't know about other people, but my hair has been a source of grief and aggravation for me since it got long enough to tangle (about 3 months old in my case). It's always grown like a weed, fast and wild. My mother, who has very different hair, always struggled with the unruly mop. Everyone kept telling her how beautiful it was - and it was - long, golden blonde curls - so she didn't cut it. I was very tender headed, so that made matters that much worse. I made it to about three before she gave up. The solution, of course, was to give me the dreaded Dorothy Hamill bob that was so popular at the time.

That took care of it for a while. Around puberty, the hair situation got worse because it started getting even curlier. Super curly. Frizzy. Like I didn't have enough problems at this point. Neither my mother or I had any clue what to do with it. We were ignorant of the fancy hair serums and treatments. Back before the heyday of mousse and gel, if it wasn't Aquanet, you didn't use it. So it ran free (read: amok) until I was about fifteen.

That's around the time I discovered the wonders of leave in conditioner and frizz control gel. I'd finally determined that brushing my hair was not an option and that short, layered hair and bangs would only make my hair 'fro. So I started growing it out. It was good. As long as I kept the ends trimmed, carefully detangled and conditioned like it was going out of style, it was manageable enough.

About six years ago, I had an unfortunate hair straightening incident and chopped it off to chin length. Since that time, I've let it grow out aside from the occasional trimming. Not too long ago, I went in for a trim. It had been a while since I went and it had gotten a little out of control. "Cut off the dead ends," I told her. I held up my fingers to about 3 inches. She nodded and she swung my back to the mirror.

Fifteen minutes later, she swung me back around and I realized I had miscalculated how bad off my hair was. Before, when my hair was wet, it reached to the small of my back. Dry, it kinked up to the low middle of my back. The dead ends translated to about six dry inches. (She probably only cut about 4, but it was wet.) Now... it's a couple inches longer than shoulder length.

Sigh... it will grow back. It won't kill me. I'm sure it looks fine. Its just not what I had anticipated. You'd think the hairdresser was a man the way the three inches I asked for magically doubled. Have you ever left the salon with something different than you anticipated? Please tell me your worst hair horror story so I feel better about my cut. :)



Linda Winstead Jones said...

I have very, very fine hair. It's been long, it's been boyishly short, and I've never found any style that makes it look thicker. When son 3 was a baby, I decided to get a perm. Went to a salon, let them put smelly goop on my hair, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. I wanted to look like Dyan Cannon, and apparently that takes time. The hairdresser was a social butterfly. She talked to everyone, she spent time on the phone, and at one point I got the distinct feeling that she'd forgotten about me.

Eventually it was done, and then I was certain she'd forgotten about me. I looked nothing like Dyan Cannon. Little Orphan Annie on a bad humid day, maybe. I don't think I ever saw anything resembling a gentle curl, it was all frizz. When I went to the doctor for a checkup, he looked at me in horror (he was not a subtle man) and asked, "What did you do to your hair?" He didn't preface it with GOOD LORD, but it was there, unspoken.

It was my last perm. To this day, I believe that hairdresser forgot I was there and left the smelly potion on far too long.


Problem Child said...

Well, I think your hair looks fine. And y'all know how I am about hair!

I have several haircuts that can only be explained as "It was the 80s. I was experimenting.)

Let's see, there was the interesting asymmetrical haircut where one side was a bob and the other side was a stacked wedge. The year when Jon Bon Jovi and I had the same curly, stick-up-everywhere hairstyle. Many years of the Dorothy Hamil. Many, many perms.

Sigh. I've done some really bad things to my hair in my day. *Your* hair looks fine. And you know I'd tell you if it didn't. :-)

Maven Linda said...

Sigh. No one likes her own hair. I have curly hair, too, SP, and I hate it -- but I envy you YOUR curly hair, because it does what curly hair is supposed to do. Mine curls in spots, waves in spots, frizzes in spots. I even have a couple of spots that are straight. There's a reason why the curling iron and I have a date every morning.

Once when I was getting my hair done (i.e., bleached), the hairdresser put a rinse on to counteract the yellow. Bleaching my hair is an act of faith, quite literally, because it's always accompanied by a lot of prayer on the part of the hairdresser, mainly because my hair is so dark. Add that to baby fine, and they're always afraid the bleach is going to dissolve the hair right off my head.

Back to the yellow-counteracting rinse. The rinse itself was purple, a cool tone, which makes sense. My hair, being my hair, grabbed the purple color. She let out a gasp of horror when she took the towel off my head, echoed by the gasps of everyone else around us. She didn't let me anywhere near a mirror, just sat me down and bleached my hair AGAIN. And we're talking 40-volume developer, with extra lightening added -- which means it was almost pure bleach and should have taken the color out of coal.

Afterwards -- and this was a five-hour process -- my hair was blond, and to their utter surprise, still on my head. Not only that, the texture was as smooth as if it hadn't been bleached at all. That was the day we discovered my pigment-dense, baby-fine hair is actually made of pig iron :-).

Playground Monitor said...

In all honesty I can say my only hair disaster was when I was in second grade and my aunt took me to get a haircut and he/she cut my hair really, really short. I came home and cried all day. Obviously it grew, but I can't remember much else. I mean, this was half a century ago.

I've had long hair (when I was in college it was all one length, parted down the middle and below the shoulders), short hair (I too had a Dorothy Hammill wedge, and in between (most recently, my 1989 experiment in growing out my hair only to realize it just doesn't look good and I cut it again).

When I got braces in 2004 I found a website for adults undergoing orthodontia and one of their recommendations for women was to get a new hairstyle to take attention from your face. I let the perm grow out and it's been a work in progress ever since. For the last 6 months I've been keeping it short but letting some of the layers grow out. I love it! My hairdresser and I go back to 1981 and I will now allow the woman to retire.

P.S. Your hair looks good. Honest.

Liza said...

My hair is really, really thick. I've cut it off several times and it seems like it takes forever to grow back to the length I like it. When it's short, it stacks up so I have the biggest hair ever! My hair is about an inch below my shoulders now, but I really need to get a trim. I'm pretty sure I'll have to have about 2 inches cut off since it's been so long since I've gotten it cut. Plus, for some reason I don't understand, my hair has started to curl on the ends. I've had to pay for perms my entire life, and now I can't have straight hair.

Instigator said...

Your hair looks great! And I envy you those curls. We all know my hair won't stay curly no matter what I do to it.

In fact, that's the hair disaster I remember most. When I was about...eight maybe. My mom and her friend permed my hair - with an at home kit. Several hours (cause my sister was getting one too) of pulling and rolling and stinky solutions and I finally had curly hair for the first time in my life. I loved it. And it was promptly stick straight again twelve hours later. I should have known right then. It doesn't matter how many hours I spend on the process my hair will simply not curl.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

SP, your hair looks great! What are you talking about?!

I have had many hair disasters, which is why I spent the last 10 years or so with the same straight hair and the same banana clip holding part of it off my face. It was easy, it cost me little in terms of haircuts, nothing as far as hairspray went, etc.

I have had big hair. I've had spiral perms and perms that were too short and made me look like I had a fro. I've had, Lord help me, a mullet -- and I did NOT want it. It was the hairdresser's response to my mother's suggestion to give me something easy to take care of. (Probably, it was more of a Florence Henderson in her Brady days, but gah.)

I've had a Farrah Fawcett that looked nothing like that glorious hair Farrah had in the late 70s. I've even had green hair when a fresh perm and a heavily chlorinated pool met one memorable evening at a pool party.

But I *love* what my stylist did recently. I trust this man a lot. I let him color my hair for the first time ever (highlights were a big deal for me when I started them a little over a year ago), and I trusted him when he said I needed layers if I wanted any sort of flexibility with my style.

Yeah, I spend more time with products now -- and I've gotten reacquainted with my curling iron, which I hadn't used in so long I'd actually forgotten how it turned on. I even bought new hot rollers. My hair doesn't hold a curl well, but with the right products, I get a soft gentle curl that I'm loving these days.

Homer Hickam said...

One time I went in for a haircut and came out with NO HAIR AT ALL! I still don't know what happened. I guess they just didn't have very good hair stylists at Fort Leonard Wood. Come to think of it, I don't recall scissors being used at all!

Virginia said...

I have worn my hair lone for years, you know half way down my back and then curled to top. Also keep perms in it,because it is thin and fine. Well last week I went and had it all cut off, like a boyish bob type, blow dry cut. I think I am kind of liking it but not sure. At least I am not dealing with long hair all over the bathroom sink. I guess time will tell.

Sherry Werth said...

SP, I love your hair! But I can relate to the taming process you go through. My hair is a wavy/curly/frizzy combo. My disaster was years ago when my friends(?) talked me into cutting my hair and getting a perm. I'm not sure what happened but I think the hairdresser must have used an afro blow out kit instead of perm solution. It was so big and stuck out so far that a good strong wind could have picked me up and flew me like a kite. Needless to say I cried for weeks!

Playground Monitor said...

Welcome back, Homer! LOL at the haircut. I'm pretty sure they don't have scissors at barber shops at places starting with the word "Fort" or "Camp."

Christine said...

My worst hair experiences are a result of "self-color tampering." Most recently, I decided to save money on highlighting my hair so went to coloring. Found a way to color the base by looking up Heather Locklear's color mix. That was fine, but then I tried to highlight my own hair the next time I did the base. Well, BIG MISTAKE. Can anyone say, "orange skunk stripe?" I wore a cap to the store, bought more color to tame the 5 inch stripe on my head (those comb thingies do not work as advertised is all I can say), and then waited till Monday to run to the hairdresser for a fix. It's taken me a year to get it to a place where I am happy with it.

I've had disastrous cuts. Most significantly, post baby. Everyone says DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR OR MAKE A MAJOR CHANGE AFTER THE BABY IS BORN FOR ABOUT A YEAR. Did I listen? No. I thought I'd go into my regular hairdresser and get the Jennifer Anniston cut. Haha. Layers and cutting and layers and drying later, and I had a half straight, half curly head of a huge mess. My hairdresser was HORRIFIED. Apparently the texture of my hair had been radically altered by my carrying my beloved daughter.

To this day I have half curly, half straight hair that I can only manage with longer lengths, much styling and a love affair with the largest ceramic roll brush made.

On days that I feel it is important to write more and style less, you'll find me with a half pony tail in place.

Terry S said...

My worst hair disaster was actually done by my mother when she was a cosmetology student. Long, board straight, baby fine hair and permanents do not go together. It resulted in an inch wide halo of itchy, red, oozing skin all around my hairline that I that took weeks to heal. Luckily, as bad as the resulting quadrupled volume of frizzy hair was, it at least covered my horror movie skin from public view. My mother's apologies were profusely given (many, many times) and we laughed about the incident for the rest of her life. And, yes, I did let her give me more permanents after that but she had learned her lesson. She used the mildest solutions available, left them on for the minimum amount of time and greased me up beforehand like the proverbial pig....and it was all good.

Problem Child said...

Until recently, I wore bangs, which of course grew much faster than the rest of my hair and required constant trims. I learned the hard way not to do it myself, so sometimes Mom would help. She usually did a great job.


I remember standing in the bathroom with my back to the mirror as Mom snipped away one time. My eyes were closed, and I suddenly hear "Uh-oh."

Now, what is the one thing you DON'T want to hear while someone is cutting your hair? Yep.

So I sympathize Terry S. I really do.

Problem Child said...

Oh, and do y'all remember when Bravo used to do short clips called "Tresstify"? It was your chance to go on air and skewer the stylist who messed up your hair.

I had hair nightmares for weeks after watching a few of those...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I made the mistake of having a perm in my hair, I looked like Don King --- it was not a pretty sight. I am bless with thick hair, that is naturally curly. I only wash my hair 3 times a week, God knew I was lazy. God Bless those ladies who wash their hair every night. And I am actully having a great hair day today---yeah!!!

PM's Mother said...

I have baby fine hair and a double crown that poses problems for a good "do".

When I moved to south Georgia I made the statement that I would rather change my gynecologist than my hair dresser. Fortunately my Georgia daughter had vetted the hair dresser here so I am happy with the magic she performs with my hair...perm and all.

Angel said...

I have my first new hair style in over 15 years! My hair is naturally curly, which poses new styling problems, so I haven't bothered to change much except the length. But I'm enjoying the new 'do' I got a few weeks back. And no one has said "Eeewwww" yet, so that should be a good sign. :)