Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Love-Hate Relationship with Hair Color

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have pesky gray hair. In fact at 43, I bet I'm at least 50% gray or more if truth be told. Especially around my face where my roots grow in, not gray at all, but WHITE. Like platinum white. It all started when I was a young twenty and by the time I graduated from college I had a white streak on the right side of my head. At the time, I thought it looked cool--like some punkish highlight I paid to have done. But within two years, the white had spread significantly beyond the streak and I was hitting the hair color section of wal-mart with annoying regularity.

Back in the days when I had a regular salary, I dutifully went to the salon every four weeks to get my roots done. Fast forward to more frugal times and I've been coloring my own hair now for at least two years. Sometimes it comes out a little darker than I'd like, but I always find that about a week post coloring, it's about the perfect shade of medium golden brown. And at a difference of $6-$8 bucks per coloring versus my previous $100 per month charge (and even that was cheap for a Chicago salon), I can put up with a slightly imperfect color for seven days.

But I just hate that last week when I'm trying to eek out another week before a coloring session (especially now that I'm pregnant and am trying to further stretch time between colorings to avoid the chemicals). I have to refrain from pulling my hair back in a pony tail or headband as it totally accentuates my white, face-framing roots and makes me look tired, haggard, washed out and just plain OLD, no matter how I'm really feeling.

On those bad roots days, it depresses me even to look in the mirror as no amount of skillfully applied make-up, nice clothes or anything can overcome the aging power of those nasty white roots. It makes me feel like my mother at fifty. It makes me feel a good ten years older than my younger husband (who, in reality, is only a mere 18 months younger than me). It makes me feel like a real frump.

This morning, planning to wait another two days to color, I was about to jump in the shower when I glanced in the mirror and could take it no more. I grabbed that box of ten-minute root touch-up I keep on hand for color emergencies and went to town.

Emerging from the shower and looking at my wet-haired reflection in the bathroom mirror, I immediately felt better. Revitalized. More myself.

Aah hair color, how I hate and love you at the same time. I resent your expense and smell, the time you make me sit in the bathroom covered in your goo and the way you'll stain my forehead if I'm not careful. But not wanting to sport some kind of Barbara Bush or George Washington "do," I also have to love you. Love, love, love that ten minutes can have me feeling instantly better, more alive, more who I really am.


grammaw marina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grammaw marina said...

I MEANT to say, HI Maggie - I'm marina from north Georgia and tonight found your blog. It's very interesting writing and I'll be stopping by often, as I want to see how it goes with you and the new one.

Maggie Sumner said...

Hi Marina! Glad you stopped by. I'm interested to see how it goes with the new one, too : )

Only about 9 weeks to go--exciting and scary all at once!