Saturday, December 29, 2007

why my scalp is blotchy and bright

I have long had a fascination with hair dye.

It began when my friend Rebecca...whose incredible beauty I tended to envy... told me that she dyed her deep brunette hair, resplendent with an auburn iridescence, with boiling hot Black Cherry kool-aid. I shortly thereafter attempted to give myself Kool-Aid highlights, but succeeded only in disobeying my parents (I'd been forbidden to toy with God's creation until I turned 15) and getting grounded, with a faint orange hue tinging my bangs for about a day.

I turned fifteen and bought the first box of Garnier Nutrisse I saw.

Since then, my hair has been varying shades of brown, from reddish-brown to brown-brown; I flirted with black, but I looked like Morticia Addams. I went natural for a while but I saw gray hairs and went crying back to Clairol. I started drifting farther and farther away from brown, as well.

At the urging of my friends, I ignored my dad's complaints about fake-looking burgundy hair and dyed my hair fake-looking burgundy.

Now I look kind of like The Little Mermaid and my bathroom looks like a crime scene. The cupboard needed repainting anyway. And I've been thinking about my long relationship with dye, and how hair color plays on all my qualms with my identity.

The hair color industry banks on the idea that people want to look like something they're not.

People who gray want to look like people who don't gray.

People who aren't blond want to look like they are.

People want to pay 7.95 plus tax for confidence in a bottle.

I wanted to look older and more sophisticated? I dyed my hair a dark brown. And gave myself bangs at two o'clock am, but that's a different story.

I wanted to look more urbane and dangerous? I dyed my hair a color not found in nature---well, yes, technically found in nature but not so much on heads in natural states.

People, including me, tend to claim that messing with their hair is a form of self-expression, as if their inner self had beachy blonde highlights. But I think it's usually more of a form of expressing one's nothaves.

I don't have the chutzpah to make decisions; but maybe my hair color does.

3 comments:

Meursault said...

what color is your hair now?

Claire said...

You know, rereading this entry... I should have linked to "Blue Hair."

My hair is red... but it's redder than it was when I left school.

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