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The Hair Metric

I’ve been coloring my hair for…well, quite a few years now. It’s not a fast process because I use chemical-free ground herbs – henna and indigo being the main ingredients. So the process includes mixing the herbs with water, black tea and a little vinegar (to help it soak into my whites), letting that sit for an hour or so to let the indigo “bloom” (so it’s less red, more brown), and then working the thick, dark green goop into my hair. I cover that with a reusable shower cap (leopard print, of course), and let it sit for 2-3 hours. I always think I’m going to make three, but more often than not, I end up rinsing it out at 2.5 hours because I get sick of trying to catch all the occasional drips from the shower cap with the towel draped around my neck.

I don’t touch up my roots, because I’m lazy, and because these dyes are very permanent, so dying over the top of a previous dye job results in a darker color, and that would leave the crown of my head lighter and the rest darker and I’m pretty sure it would be a really bad rendition of the “ombre” color fades kids are going for these days. I just wait until I need to get my hair cut again and then dye it the night after my appointment, when it’s short and a lot of the dye has been cut off.

That works okay if I stay on top of cuts. Which I often don’t. My stylist is super-busy, and I can’t wash my hair the day after I dye it which leaves only Saturday for appointments. So I often end up with gray/white roots and hair nearly to my shoulders in the span of ten weeks (my hair grows fast – always has, just like my nails).

So lately whenever I get my hair cut, I come home, take my hat off (it looks horrible just after a cut, because roots, dye, no dye, lighter dye…it’s a wreck), and look in the mirror. What I’m mostly looking for is whether there’s more white than gray. Enough white to just finally say, “Okay, it’s finally socially acceptable again, so no dye job needed.”

Why? Because to me, it seems like the only hair color that really isn’t acceptable and generally tends to make a person “invisible” is salt & pepper. That in-between stage that makes one look older than they are, but still too young to be “going gray”. It’s an uncomfortable stage, in my opinion (and in my experience, the one people are most likely to comment on). That’s the stage I’m covering (mostly). When it’s done, and my hair is all white, I feel like it will be “socially acceptable” again, and then I’ll be able to do away with the whole six-eight week dye routine.

I realize this is my own hang-up, and that plenty of women go gray/white naturally and gracefully, and kudos to them for that. But in my experience, people respond to the dyed hair better than the “transitional” stage, especially at work. So for now, I dye.

Do you have a hair metric? If you dye your hair, is there a point at which you know you’ll stop dying it?


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On Gifts & Hair Color…

My dining room table is pretty well covered with Christmas gifts at the moment. Gifts for other people, of course, in neat piles, with checklists on top for the homemade things so I don’t get lost in what I still need to make for whom. We’re pretty well done, just a couple things to order online and that will be it for the year.

I think it’s interesting that for me, at least, the better you know someone, the harder it seems to get them something you’re confident they’ll like. A lot of that is, adults already have much of what they need, and they tend to buy what they want as well. Which is part of why I think gifts for adults at Christmas could easily be dispensed with altogether. Why not just make it another holiday celebrated with family, and leave it at that? My husband and I don’t exchange gifts with each other – we never have. We don’t at birthdays or anniversaries either. Why? Because if we see something we think the other person will like, we go ahead and pick it up for them, and just give it to them then. No need to wait for a special day – we just make that moment special, and move along.

I think the holidays would be far less stressful and more enjoyable for a great many people without all the gift hullabaloo, personally. Obviously, I’ve quit fighting it personally and just go along with it for peace & harmony, but it still kind of rankles, every single year.

*sigh*

In other news, I felt like I needed a change (not sure whether it’s vanity, or just a need for something different), so this past Saturday, I dyed my hair. I’ve only done that once before, quite a long time ago, and it was kind of an ordeal so I never even tried it again. I may have also gotten a slightly perverse pleasure out of people giving me crap about my hair turning white, and not actually doing anything about it (which clearly, they expected me to do). But enough of my brunette mop is white now that it kind of makes my whole head look “ashy”, and I figured maybe it was time to give the whole hair-dye thing one more try.

With a family history of a few cancers, I won’t use chemical dyes, so I ordered some plant dye (mainly henna & indigo, plus a couple others) last week. Saturday I proceeded to wash my hair, cover it in green goop and then a rather jaunty leopard-print shower cap, and sit around crocheting & watching TV with my husband for the next two and a half hours.

And it worked pretty well, really. Not nearly as much work as the last time I’d done it, and most of my white is now a lovely shade of copper while the rest of my hair is dark brown, as promised on the label. Something a bit different, without nearly as much work as I’d expected. Next time, I might mix a little auburn in for a subtle red highlight effect. We’ll see.

My before and after pics aren’t worth posting – the colors are all washed out due to poor lighting, and I suck at selfies, so I’m afraid you’ll have to take me at my word that it turned out okay for now. Maybe I’ll get a better pic next time.

One of the reasons I haven’t dyed my hair before now (except that one time) is because keeping your hair dyed requires maintenance. Hair grows, roots start to show, and before you know it, you need a touch-up. And it just keeps going on and on indefinitely, as long as you’re willing to play the game. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to commit to that. But I don’t think this will be too bad to stay on top of. One Saturday afternoon ever 4-6  weeks, and I’ll be…well…not white-haired for as long as I care to keep it up.

There was a nice, artistically-pleasing third thing I was going to jabber about, but it’s already 1:30am, which is my bedtime, and I still have to schedule this first. So…I’ll leave you with just two topics today, and you can create your own for the third, as you see fit. And by all means, feel free to share in the comments, if you’re so inclined!


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