I’ve been dyeing my hair since I was ten-years-old. That was when I stopped perming my hair, and needed a new variety of chemicals on my head, apparently. I got my first set of highlights, and after that, I was hooked. Initially, I went to the salon, but after a while, I became completely devoted to the box dye-job.
When people would ask what my natural hair color was, I’d have to say that I wasn’t really sure, that it had been brown, but I hadn’t seen it in years. For most of Jr. High, I was a redhead, then went dark brown for part of High School, then back to red, then a rather long stint in college where I was blonde, then I dyed in blue-black for over a year (until people kept calling me goth), then red, then plum– you get the picture.
Recently, I’ve been sticking with medium brown because I just don’t have the energy or inclination to dye it a different color every two months. Also, there’s that whole “I’m a bit of a grown up now, so I should try not to look like too much of an asshole.”
This summer, I went out and bought my usual medium brown Feria, smeared it onto my head, and let it do its thing. Except it’s thing came out not how I expected it to, and for some reason come out rather blonde. I showed up at work a few days later and a co-worker remarked indignantly “You can’t have those blue eyes and blonde hair– that’s just not fair!” I assured her that my hair was supposed to be brown, and that I wasn’t sure why it came out looking so suspiciously blonde, then I wondered if I was actually blonde and blue-eyed, if we would have to be enemies. I dyed it again a while later, and the same thing happened.
Ok, blame that on the brand because I got a two-for-one deal, but it’s still weird.
After that I decided to quit dyeing my hair altogether and figure out what color it actually is. I greedily rubbed my hands together when I thought about all the money I’d save (this is actually true, I do behave like a cartoon villain), and waited for my natural color to grow back in. When it did, it was brown, just like I suspected, but started to look a bit ridiculous with dark roots and blondish ends, so I decided to buy one more box of hair-dye, do some low-lighting and make it all blend a little bit better.
Now, every day I look at my hair, it looks lighter and lighter. It’s like it’s rejecting the color. The strangest thing is that my hair is growing in very light in some places, like I do have actual patches of blonde, not in a sexy “natural highlights” kind of way, but more in a freakshow “what the hell is up with my head?” way. I’m tired of poring over my roots in the mirror cause it makes me feel incredibly vain, but it is a bit fascinating. This whole adventure reminds me of a quote from Gloria Steinham about plastic surgery where she said that she’d never have plastic surgery because she’s too curious to see what she’ll end up looking like naturally.
I am a scalp anthropologist, and I’m trying not to interfere…