Sunday Chronicles: Hair

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles: Hair

From girlhood I have had a complicated relationship with my hair, haven’t we all? Like it or not, women (and girls) get fed messages about their hair that affect how we see ourselves. Don’t believe me? Look at any princess movie or any doll, long, beautiful hair rules. We have stereotypes about hair color. There are documentaries about “Good Hair” (if you haven’t seen this film by Chris Rock, I highly recommend it, it’s a whole other level of hair drama that I can’t speak to, but I want to acknowledge). It’s “statement” for a woman to chose to have short hair. Hair is often our first attempt to change who we are or how we’re seen, and as something we deal with on a daily basis, can accepting our hair be a form of self acceptance?

I am a natural blonde (yes, it did get darker as I got older, and I now enhance it), and my hair, left to it’s own devices can range from curly to wavy. I kept it long as a kid, it’s been thick, it’s now fine, but I have a lot of it. And loves, my hair and I have fought, it may be what I’ve cried over most. When I was 10, I grew my hair to my waist, my grandma was my nanny, she hated long hair-she offered me $100 to cut it. I did cut it, I hated it, and then my mom wouldn’t let me accept the money. This may have set the tone for a complicated relationship. I started experimenting with color in college, I’ve been super blonde, brown, red, and mousy. I spent years paying to have my hair chemically straightened, fighting my curl every step of the way.

But loves, these experiments weren’t always fun. I worried about being perfect-the perfect shade, the perfect cut, the perfect style. I wanted (and maybe still want) my hair to be its best self, look natural, and yet control everything about it. This may be a great metaphor for my life. Yes, I try to control my hair, and I can freak out about it. Ladies, I know there are some of you who can cut, color, style with an ease and grace that I envy. You seem not to worry about the shade or cut, and I long to be like you. For me, just accepting my hair and trying not to white knuckle a hair appointment has been a journey.

About three years ago I was at a breaking point. I had been attempting to find a colorist and my hair was in a bad state- it was blonde, but had orange, green, and brown in it (from bad dye). I needed a cut badly, my last keratin had grown out, and my ends were a wreck. I was lucky enough to find two women, Colleen and Sulekha, who changed my hair (and my life), and have helped me on the way to accepting my own hair.

Saying I was nervous to start this journey is a severe understatement. Colleen wanted to layer my hair (I had awful visions of 90s hair) and she had to talk me into it, the first time she let my hair go really wavy I almost had a heart attack, I had all these “rules” about length (it had to go into a bun, which to be fair I still stick to). I was jumpy and though she claims I’m not a bad client, I’m sure I drove Colleen crazy. It took some hand holding, some styling, but loves, I now love my wavy hair, and I’m so grateful that Colleen showed me how to embrace it. And loves, the cut was a cakewalk compared to color. Have I mentioned that there was green and orange in my hair? That I want the “perfect, natural” shade of blonde? My colorist, Sulehka, not only had to retone and color correct my hair, she’s had to deal with me being anxious about shades, learning that quality of light can make your hair “seem” different”, to really work to earn my trust. I’m lucky she stayed with me. We’re at a point now where I can sit down and let her do her thing, which lucky for me is a natural-like shade of blonde that’s made some boyfriends believe that I don’t dye my hair.

I’m at a point where I love my hair, I’m embracing having wavy,blonde hair that I don’t really fix. I love my Juxatipositon of messy hair and couture, my hair feels a part of me now. There are still times I freak out, I want to control length, I see the color in reddish light and will worry about color for days on end’ but I’m learning to relax. I’m learning that my hair can be exactly what it is, and that’s ok. And I’m learning that accepting a part of me is so much easier than fighting it. AND that great hair really does make your life better!

So, loves, what are your hair woes? Can you let it go or do you control it? What do you think it says about us?

Wishing us all a week of amazing hair and amazing shoes! XO RA

If you want to give my miracle workers a try: Colleen can be found @cleencuts on Instagram, and Sulehka is at Sally Hershberger LA. Tell them Rachel sent you!

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Actress, avid shopper, and a lover of fashion. Hoping to make the world a better place one pair of shoes at a time.