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August 11, 2009 / Brittany Hendrick

Bye-bye, boring, boring brown

My natural hair color hadn’t made a fully headed appearance since the 10th grade.

All the other girls in school were dabbling with the hardcore shit Sun-In. And some of those girls had no business going blonde, because it didn’t complement their skin tone or eye color. I had enough sense to know that Brittany and blonde wouldn’t go together.

I don’t know what inspired me to try out auburn. I bought one of those “washes out in 6 to 8 shampoos” jobbers, just to see what would happen. I did it on a Saturday morning, before basketball practice. I didn’t play basketball (oddly enough). I kept the books for the boys’ team. So I went to all practices as well as games. And locker rooms, yes. Anyway, I dyed my hair and it turned out really well. I wore a navy blue turtleneck (ca. 1994, don’t judge) that day, which showed off my bright eyes and newly red hair.

At practice, one guy, who was nice but we didn’t talk to each other much, said to me, “Did you color your hair? It looks good!”

Yea! When the Shy Guy musters the nerve to give a compliment to the Intimidating Girl, that settles it. If anybody else commented to me that day, I don’t remember, not important to me. From that point, I was a redhead.

Over time, I graduated to semi-permanent. By 19 years old, I finally got the nerve to go permanent. Soon after, I began mixing my own colors, combinations of reds, browns and strawberry blonde. Then I did my own highlights. Then I started really adding dimension, working in three or four different colors: a darker, more brownish-red “base” underneath; and on top, alternating two different red shades with even lighter highlights. I did this all by myself. I enjoyed being able to choose my colors and discovering new mixtures. The bad part is, this involved a triple process in some spots. Yet I never encountered a problem with hair breakage or scalp irritation.

Alas, fifteen years of redheadedness ceased last year, because my hair started running away from me. It’d probably been going on longer than that, but it didn’t become visible until that time. It was upsetting, because many months passed and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. A dermatologist was useless.

“You have diffuse hair loss,” he said.

No shit, Jose Eber. Mind telling me WHY and what to do about it?

He said the most common causes of female hair loss are stress and anemia.

Yeah, I know that. And if I thought at that point either one of those were true of me, I WOULDN’T BE SEEING A DERMATOLOGIST. SO, I DUNNO, MAYBE IT’S, LIKE, SOMETHING ELSE?

Dr. Dodo didn’t offer to test me for anemia despite his cocksure diagnoses on female follicle maladies. Nor did he offer a prescription. Nor did he offer an over-the-counter remedy. In the middle of me talking to him about Nioxin– a product of which he had no knowledge (???!!!!)– he stuck out his hand to shake mine, turned to exit the exam room and said with his back to me, “Your hair will grow back.” The door shut behind him.

Uh, yeah, thanks. $40 well spent.

It turned out, I was a bit on the anemic side and now take iron pills. Yet… what if the hair loss is a result of me burning my scalp after many years of self-dyeing? I decided to lay off the chemicals until my hair reached some semblance of normalcy. I dyed my hair a semi-permanent brown  so it wouldn’t be half red/half brown and began the waiting process.

It’s going to take a looooong time before my hair gets back to its long, curly self. I’ve chopped off my hair so that the “sprouts” wouldn’t be so far behind the rest of the strands. I haven’t dyed my hair permanently in over a year, so I’m pretty much at my natural state. And I hate it.

My hair color is a nice shade of brown; it’s not mousy. But still, it’s just so blaaahhhh. One-dimensional. A tad too light. I think it makes me look old and matronly. I don’t even look like myself, the person I’m accustomed to, the redhead. So tomorrow, I’m getting it dyed professionally for only the second time in my life. I’m a cheap bastard when it comes to paying people to do things I can do myself.

I have a good idea what I want done, and I’ll bring in these examples to the colorist, to see what we can come up with. Hmmm… what to do, what to do…

2003, first professional dye job. Meh. At least all my hair was intact.

2003, first professional dye job. Meh. At least I got to have a hand in picking the colors. And all my hair was intact.

Way back in Jun of '05. I like what I did here.

Way back in June of ’05. Back to self-dyed. I like what I did here.

2006. Here, the haircut was more damaging than the color. Thinning shears is a no-no...

2006. Here, the haircut was more damaging than the color. Thinning shears is a no-no…

...but the results are so awesome!

…but the results are so awesome!

2008. Whoa, now! I think I had four different colors going on...

2008. Whoa, now! I think I had four different colors going on…

...I'd hit my color stride. Yet I couldn't replicate it-- this was the dye job before all the "trouble" started. (I also don't pay to have my eyebrows done. I must've been busy that week.)

…I’d hit my color stride. Yet I couldn’t replicate it– this was the final job, before all the “trouble” started. (I also don’t pay to have my eyebrows done, and pluck them myself. I must’ve been busy that week.)

Considering my skin and eye colors, red hair always seemed like a natural choice. I can’t wait to look more like my normal self! Hopefully it’ll turn out well.


One Comment

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  1. Lisa Brower / Aug 12 2009 8:42 am

    WOW! That last picture was the most gorgeous red shade ever ever. Thanks for this post–my hair has been breaking off really bad lately and I swear it’s thinning. I’m going to have my doc check me for anemia–duh, I’m a total vegan, I should have thought of that myself as a possible hair loss cause.


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