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follicle follies :: to all the hair i've had before

the fact that i recently changed my hair in a way that surprised even me got me to thinking about just how often i change my hair in general. i've been dyeing it somewhat regularly since i was about fifteen, but i have paused from time to time, either because i couldn't be bothered or because... well usually just because i couldn't be bothered, actually.

the most recent time when i abandoned the fine art of dyeing was actually the only extended period of my life where i tried handing over my colouring to a professional, which is not the same as having natural hair, but is a lot different than doing it yourself, which is what i've done generally. i had a base colour and highlights, which would cost a lot of money and look more or less like what i think my natural hair colour looks like anyway. it also took hours of work because at the time i had metric areseloads of hair. [dom hates this look on me.]

personally, i'm just happy i've lost weight since then
salon colourists are masters of subtlety and since i shared the fact that i worked in an office that was pretty understated in terms of appearance [fitted jeans were about as dressy as it got], it was assumed that i wanted something pretty low-key in terms of colour. truthfully, i think i was trying that look for a while, since i'd been making an effort to fit in, but, unsurprisingly, i went back to my old ways.

ironically, my crack hairdressing team sort of pushed me in that direction, encouraging me to go lighter and shorter [with my hair], which eventually evolved into a more stylish look [including the rather distinctive asymmetrical bangs, an idea of my hairdresser's, which have mostly stayed with me for the last half dozen years], rather than just a huge mass of slightly wavy hair sitting on my head.

fyi, this is why you shouldn't take photos immediately after coming in from the cold
sadly for my colourist, i decided to take matters into my own hands and go back to handling those duties myself. having spent most of my adult life blonde, i first went back to my old standby- a sort of medium-light gold colour.

this eventually became my author photo
i even went a bit lighter and learned to straighten it. [the trick, apparently, is buying a pricey flat iron that doesn't end up just burning your hair.]

this is as much styling as i can do.
IT GOES ON...



however, not being happy with that, i continued pushing things lighter and cooler, although it's really only looking back at photos where i see the difference. i would say that this point is the point at which i was happiest with my blonde hair. whereas i'd always found warmer shades looked a little mucky, i thought the nice silvery platinum, with lighter and darker points, was a pretty sharp new look for me.

she's so modern...

and that's when i killed my hair.

i have no idea if it was because i coloured it too quickly in succession, because i left the dye on my hair too long, or it was just my head's way of saying "enough" but i fried my locks so badly that they almost didn't move, even when i shook my head. it look like doll's hair, if the doll had been left a bit too close to the radiator. this is where a professional comes in handy. my hairdresser extraordinaire was able to restore my head to a more presentable state and even to make it look surprisingly like it was cut that way on purpose.

you wouldn't think a woman would notice 2 or 3 inches

the strange thing for me was that it was really short, shorter than i'd had it in years. it looked plenty short when i came home from the salon, but it was straightened at that point and i mostly wore it curly, so it looked even shorter. i was a bit surprising the first few times i looked in the mirror, but i had to admit that i'd learned an important lesson: no matter how badly i screwed up, sergio would be able to fix it.

with no hair to balance, my head kept tipping

so i kept right on doing my own blond-ifying, even when i moved to montreal. but i was restive. i wanted to try something new, to go along with the new city. being blonde didn't seem so shiny and new anymore- i'd been there for two years!

and so i went back to the other shade that had always worked for me- red. when i was younger, even using cheap dyes, people usually though that when i'd coloured my hair red, i'd actually let it go back to its natural shade. growing up, my hair had a lot of red in it anyway, so i guess it didn't take much of a push. red had always been my go-to retreat from blonde [not least because red dyes, even permanent ones, is almost always washes out after a few months, so it's not a long-term commitment], so it was a safe choice when i wanted a change.

at first, i went with a shade that was almost more of a strawberry blonde, coppery but not that much darker than the blonde i'd been sporting.

i sort of like the "intense" expression here...

when that started to wash out, i got a little bolder and went with something a little more auburn.

... which is probably why i didn't move for months

that summer, however, we were filming "conversion" and dom pointed out that with paul ash as my costar, it would be better if i went back to blonde, because viewers would be too distracted by the apparent ginger invasion to pay attention to the story. i had to agree and so i gradually let my hair lighten.

i finally decided to entrust my head to a professional again, a story i've already told but, if you haven't heard it, it ends with a rather unpleasant girl dyeing my hair grey. so i re-coloured it myself and it was once again a sort of light golden blonde for the film.

the ginger revolution was postponed

as an aside, the colour i'm sporting in "conversion" is one of my least favourite variations. i find that it lacks personality and seemed to make my entire face look faded and/ or washed out.

so that fall, with dom's encouragement, i took the final plunge. i'd never gone dark before, although i'd always been fascinated. i was scared of doing something that i'd regret, was scared that it would immediately age me, or that it would have that horribly flat, dry look that so many black dye jobs seem to have.

no so scary

as it turned out, what i should have been scared of was the ungodly mess it was going to make of my bathroom. i had never in my life realised that little droplets of dye get everywhere, because i'd generally used colours that either blended or washed off easily. as it turns out, black dye is every bit as difficult to get out of walls and tiles as it is to get out of your hair.

but i stuck with it and actually got to like it [i have to say that it took a few days]. however, i was in for another surprise. even when you have really thick hair to begin with, black hair is a hell of a lot hotter than blonde hair. so last year, at the dawn of my second brunette summer, i'd had enough. dom and i set to work giving me a spiffy new 'do that was actually even shorter than the one i'd had after my "accident". it served me well through the summer, although i did let it grow out afterward.

my neck had been liberated
by the dawn of this spring- again, around two years after i'd changed to black- i decided it was time for another major shift. so, finally, there is the arrival of the current colour, which generally reads as a darker red, but runs in a gradient from more coppery at the roots to near-black at the tips without looking striped. this also required a trim to make it work- not quite as short as last time, but still well above my shoulders, which is usually where i draw the line right now.

the state of things

so what comes next? well, i've only had this for a week, so i really haven't any idea. traditionally, i haven't stayed with red more than a few months with a red shade, but i haven't really done a shade like this before. [plus, because it wasn't achieved with red dye, it's unlikely to fade on its own.] who knows what i'm going to do, either willfully or by accident? i certainly don't. this is all stuff i've done in the last five or six years, so about the only thing i can guarantee is that change is imminent. feel free to offer suggestions [or your own stories]!

Comments

PerilouslyPale said…
I love you as a cool blonde! That was such an awesome post! Love seeing all your transformations. You can rock it all. ;-)
Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks! I liked the cool blonde too, I just sort of wish I hadn't accidentally burned my hair doing it. I have a dry patch on the back of my head to this day that I swear wasn't there before.
Aaron Fenwick said…
I did enjoy being a blonde as well :P You need to wait ten years and do a Kate Follicle retrospective at a gallery some place.

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