I've never been one of those girls who is overly attached to her hair. I learned this when I was 14 and accidentally turned my hair blazing orange with Sun-In, bleached it 'til my scalp turned red at age 16 and shaved it into a mohawk just in time for my first adult job at age 24.
HAIR GROWS BACK! Or to quote Dr. Ian Malcolm, LIFE FINDS A WAY!
I've also never bothered taking into account how a new hairstyle or color would LOOK on me. Like, I'll roll up into the salon and pull up a photo of a random mutant from the X-Men and ultimately let my stylist (Hi Shell D!!!) do whatever she wants because she's a professional and I'm the asshole gleaning hair inspiration from my childhood cartoons. Per her recommendation, I've walked out of there with blue and pink My Little Pony hair, rat tail extensions and a partially shaved head.
None of these drastic changes have ever freaked me out because A) hello, My Little Pony hair and B) I've never seen hair as being a permanent thing.
It always weirded me out when, in reaction to any of my unusual hairstyles, people would be like, "You're so brave! I could NEVER do that!" Yeah, it took epic bravery to plop down in my stylist's chair and drink iced coffee while she labored over my hair for four hours. And then while my hair is processing, grill her about which of my Instagram girlcrushes have weaves. (Spoiler: ALL OF THEM!)
I had to make a change recently that FREAKED. ME. THE. EFF. OUT.
For numerous reasons, including the fact that the ends of my hair were so damaged that I could apply coconut oil every hour and it'd suck it up instantly and demand more like some kind of insatiable monster from a Goosebumps book, I decided to GO NATURAL.
It's the one thing I said I'd never do, but I had a lot of good reasons -- primarily laziness. My hair was formerly red, so not having to touch it up every two weeks and not having the bathroom look like a murder scene afterward was pretty enticing. My monstrous, tentacle-like ends would obviously need to go too.
Going from red to blonde is borderline impossible and probably not recommended for most people, but like I said, my stylist is a hair wizard. If I was going natural, my pale, pinkish complexion could only handle a darker, cool-toned blonde. No warm tones ever! I made it abundantly clear that the only caramel I ever want to see is in my Werther's Originals.
Once she got to work, I knew I'd walk out happy. I felt that familiar burn of the bleach and along with it, a strange sense of comfort. When I was all done, my hair looked wildly healthier despite having been stripped and toned several times. She seriously did a bang-up job and none of my hair fell out -- an added bonus. I was riding that new-hair-high, so I decided an Instagram picture was in order to celebrate.
Despite the fact that by the time I got home it was well past my bedtime, I sat hunched over my phone in bed, practically salivating in anticipation of some double-digit "likes." When my boyfriend asked what I was doing, I told him, "I NEED THE INTERNET TO VALIDATE MY NEW HAIR!!!"
I thought I was joking, but you guys, I wasn't. I THOUGHT I looked good, but when it came time to share this newness with the rest of the world, I actually started questioning WTF I had just done. Was I delusional? Did I really look like crap? Did my new color scream boring and *shudder* mom hair? It didn't matter what I thought, the Internet would have the final word on my new ‘do.
I don’t post selfies often -– I feel awkward shoving my face in your Instagram feed, although I can appreciate what a good Lo-Fi filter can do for my skin. On the rare occasion that I do, I’ll almost always notice some major flaw in the photo afterward. Like, my lazy eye was acting up or my eyebrows were uneven (maybe as a result of the lazy eye?). I’m generally never satisfied with any photo of myself ever, so I pretty much stopped trying to look nice in all photos. Nice is boring anyway, right?
However, certain special occasions warrant selfies, like the time I got home after a music festival and was a little drunk and extremely proud that my make-up lasted approximately 18 hours on a humid August day that involved eating lots of knackwurst and dancing on stage with the Red Elvises.
New hair qualifies as such an occasion. I also just wanted to share the fact that I could now wear red-orange lipstick, which would have clashed horribly with my old hair color. I consider this a milestone of sorts.
But there I was, clutching my phone in my disgustingly sweaty palms with an elevated heart rate, freaking out over what OTHER people thought about what was probably my best-looking hair color in a while.
Not too shockingly, I didn’t receive one negative comment on my new hair. The worst was probably, “I bet your mom will love it.” My inner 14-year-old shuddered violently at that one. But shouldn’t I know better? I’m almost 30, shouldn’t the number of fucks I give take dramatic dip around now? When will that day come?
In the meantime, feel free to validate my new hair -- my self-esteem is fully reliant on positive affirmation via the interwebz.