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April 12, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

By Sarah

There once was a time when my hair used to be sexy.

I can remember this era vaguely, very vaguely, back in high school when I spent hours obsessing over my dirty blond locks. Mostly this was due to the Clairol Kindness hot curlers I received for my $(KGrHqEOKicE14+k5cOPBNl2Q85Lyw~~_3 sixteenth birthday and that, in my adolescent delusion, I believed would transform me from a clairnet-playing, honor society geek into Farrah Fawcett.

Clairol Kindness hot curlers didn't mess around, the "Kindness" being a red herring to throw off the unsuspecting fool who assumed adding water to curlers - as if - would diminsh the split ends. They were white plastic with little spikes that gripped the hair and didn't let go. I knew my hair was done when I heard the satisfying "riiip" as I unrolled them, along with a fulfilling "hiss."

All marketing to the contrary, curling was not the goal, frying to a crisp was. You could put your hair up in those, brush it out and walk into a Level 5 hurricane without fear. Not a hair would be out of place. Hey, it was the 70s. Beauty before brains, ya know?



Now, the only time I see hot curlers is when I'm on deadline - like this week. I haul out my mproved purple padded curlers, do my hair, put on makeup, jewelry perfume and, uhm, clothes, douse myself in a cloud of hairspray and walk to my office, eerily resembling Pat Nixon even though no one will see me but my dogs and the stray Jehovah's Witness.

Don't ask why I do this days before a book is due. I just do, okay?

My hairdresser Melodie, God Bless Her, says I'm the only client of hers who likes hairspray. Maybe I should move to the South.

Lately, however, I've noticed a few disturbing hair trends. For starters, my big bald forehead (you're getting a lovely image of me now, no?) that my mother claimed was "royal," has grown bigger and Queen balder. I know guys, hold yourselves back. I can't say where this will end, but I suspect I'll be like those old ladies in church who comb and spray their remaining five red/orange stands into a magical convection resembling hair.

On the flip side, hair is growing on places I would not prefer. This, by the way, is not normal hair. This is Brillo and it could strip paint. My tweezers, God Bless Them, have thrown in the towel and waved the white flag. I may have to succumb to road-side laser treatment which, in Vermont, is often a home-based business along with taxidermy. In the same room.

 No one told me about this hair. I was not briefed. Which raises questions, how many other mysteries of 40+ womanhood await? And just when did being a woman become a juggling act - drop one ball and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket.

So, here's my strategy and tell me if it works. I will continue to be blond until my dying day. Even if Melodie has to visit me in the chemo ward to dye my roots and gossip, I will do this. Also, as God is my witness, I will tweez, wax, burn and acidify every other follicle on my body, no matter how great the pain.

HelenMirren In the end I'll be like this woman because I can't believe at her age Helen Mirren's so thin, talented, beautiful and sexy.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with her discipline, talent and DNA. It must be the hair.




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Oh please! Boo friggin' hoo. The only place I can grow hair above my neck is on my ears.

FYI: Helen Mirren was so hilarious in "Red" I thought I was going to wet my pants. Unfortunately, another issue ageing men need to address along with male pattern baldness.

I have had long, sexy hair several times in my life - and here is the secret - it is a major pain in the ass. It's like having an extra limb. If you roll over in your sleep, you end up snapping your neck back and waking up in a follicle-induced terror.

Also - it takes forever to dry. And if one has short arms, it becomes impossible to actually brush the stuff without either help or yoga.

Locks of Love and other similar programs are wonderful, and I am glad I could donate a couple of times. But the last time I tried it, I just could not stand to wear it long. I kept thinking the hot flashes were going to catch it on fire or something. Plus, it's like wearing a fur coat on your head in the summer.

Like so many other things, it's a young woman's game.

As far as the new growth, get yourself an 8X magnifying mirror with a light. You can do your own eye surgery with one of those things.

Hahahahahaha to Kathy with the magnifying mirror. Trust me on this, since I have a decade on you: It Is Not Enough.

I have been tempted to blog about electrolysis, since the day I learned roadside laser doesn't work on light--er, white--hairs.

I looked at the Pat Nixon picture before I read the blog, Sarah, and thought to myslef: Hey! That's my current haircut! Hm.

Another Hairspray Fan in PA.

I had very short hair in high school but decided to grow it out when I started college. I received a stray compliment my sophomore year and didn't cut it again (other than trimming the ends and the occasional bangs misfortune) for 15 years. Waist length - eventually knee length - hair brings many compliments, as well as strangers thinking it's perfectly acceptable to fondle you. "Can I braid it?" was heard at least once a month. The best compliment was in a deserted gift shop on Mackinac Island as I combed it out after the boat ride to the island. I stood in a sunbeam with my back to the door, red-gold hair shining past my butt, and heard a breathless, "God, your hair is gorgeous!" I swear, my heart stopped. I may have whimpered. I turned to give a heartfelt thanks and apparently my enthusiasm scared the poor guy so badly he didn't meet my eyes again.

I've since cut it all off, but, as you described, I'm also fighting the mutant hairs. Was 40 the magic number? I swear I have a piece of fishing line growing from my chin, and no matter how often (or painfully) I tweeze it, it's back in a week.

I have permanently straight, poky hair. NOTHING makes it curl - NOTHING. I stopped using any form of hair curling many years ago, and I just blow it dry now. It's about the length of Helen Mirren's but a different fake color from hers, and with bangs. I'm sticking with this until I die!

Do I ever have experience with all forms of hair removal except for laser! Trust me, there's nothing out there that's permanent. Tweezing is the cheapest way to go, ladies! I miss a lot of hairs but at this stage in my life they're mostly all white, anyway, so they don't show up as much against my pale skin. And my motto has become: Love me - Love my hair!

Deb: a CT hairspray user (See? LOTS of non-southerners use hairspray! Buy it at the dollar store!)

Helen Mirren is a great role model. But of course, she started out a lot smarter/sexier/more talented that I did.

My grandmother kept dying her hair until she was 94. In her retirement community, her apartment was literally next door to the hairdresser.

Let me tell you, short hair isn't a lot easier, no matter what your stylist (or the mags) tell you. At least mine isn't. OK so I hate "product"...I tell my stylist NOT to use it, mainly because of the above, but also because I'm usually out the door and into the wind or going swimming or cleaning the house and I'll be in the shower washing it out in a couple of hours. I also feel like I have a helmet on after she finishes the blow-dry. However, I can get bedhead more easily than anyone I know. And I have my dad's cowlick. And I'm not coloring either...been there, ended up with more conditioning stuff than I ever wanted to buy.

That "other" hair? There's this little battery operated gadget that looks like a fine tooth comb. It vibrates, and I swear by it for those "oh my god when did that sprout" hairs under my chin. And it doesn't hurt...well, not as much as pulling the dang thing out with a tweezer. Getting older is so so so fun! Thank for the memories, Sarah...I remember my sister (long haired of course) dealing with those curlers. These days her hair is almost as short as mine :o)

Yes, we are many blog sisters with but a single brain: Nancy's right. You can't laser hair that's not dark. Sarah, I suspect you, like me, will go to the grave clutching tweezers.

My Grandma never missed a Friday appointment to "get her hair done," after which she would take me to Woolworth's for a grape soda. Never mind her constant aphorisms about "handsome is as handsome does" and "it's the inside, not the outside that counts." When it comes to hair, all bets are off.

This post reminds me of Nora Ephron's chapter on hair maintenance in I Feel Bad About My Neck. Hilarious book, equally funny post. I'm in my early 30's and I recently discovered my first gray hair. Glad to know what's coming around the bend. Thanks for the heads up, ladies.

Well, since I haven't had to deal with hair issues since around 1984/85, can't really chime in here. A quick buff when I get out of the shower usually takes care of things.

Easiest hair ever is my new hair. I have non curly non straight wavy crap that frizzes and is poopy. BUT I FINALLY at 43 found a way to do it!

Cut: Choppy bob

Product: Put 2 pumps of this MAGICAL CRAP in it:


Style: Scrunch with hands.


If it looks crappy later, dampen hands, rescrunch.

Mother Nature is such a bitch -- she takes away hair where you want it and puts it where you don't. I still have long hair, but it's work. I keep it because Don likes it and I'm vain.

Elaine Viets got it right. Mother Nature is the culprit. Keep holding up that role model. Keep drinking water. [I don't know if it helps with the hair, but it solves a whole lot of other woes.] And keep on keeping on. With your hair, with your writing, with your ritual. You had me in stitches.

~Avery AveryAames.com

The eternal challenge. Too funny about the Level 5 hurricane!

My best discovery for hair maintenance is some version of this gizmo:


I wash and blow my hair dry (never did learn to straighten as I dry), then smooth it out with the flat iron. Since I started using one my hair has never looked better. I bet Helen Mirren uses one, or at least her hairdresser does.

My eyebrows hardly need to be plucked anymore, after all these years of plucking them. Wish I'd thought to do that on other body parts.

Tweezerns and magnifying mirror. Absolutely.

My hair changed, big time. I mean, I literally woke up one moring, went to comb my hair, and thought--wait! Whose hair IS THIS??? It used to be kind of--wavy and thick. NOw it's straight, and not so thick. It;s kind of okay with me, you know, always wanted to have straitght hair. (Deb, I know you're laughing.)

But HOW did that happen? Overnight? (I went to the doctor, even, and asked about it. And she said--Oh, that's impossible. Thanks, Doc.)

Sarah, I'm charmed by your deadline ritual! Mine involves lots of lamentations. However, I really can't write without makeup. I use a shampoo and conditioner that tingle and stimulate the scalp and follicles. It was recommended to me by a stylist who used to say, "Do you remember how broke your hair was?" Like I needed to be reminded every time I went there. But the stuff works.

My oh-so-delicate hair rebelled against perms, then hot curlers, then blow drying, so I keep it short and let it be . . and that's not gray in my hair; it's highlights. I am trying to find time for a haircut . . .

My nose/throat/eyes strongly object to hairspray. I once had to take a friend back to her own car and leave her to find her own way to a meeting because my eyes were watering from her hairspray. She knew about my sensitivity to the stuff, but "forgot" and "ran out of the unscented" and "hoped it wouldn't bother you." Toxic stuff! (for me, and perhaps the planet)

Okay, I'm lucky. I've got curly hair and the gray looks good. But I don't like to fuss. So I cut it (myself) really short. My friends tell me that they don't like it that short. Tough ti****s. It's easy and I don't have to think about it much for the next few months, except for trims around the sides or back. When the top gets too limp from length, it's time for the radical cut again. I'm happy, Steve doesn't care. We're good.

God, I'm smug.

But don't worry, Mother Nature gets me in other ways; hot flashes (NOW IN OUR 15TH YEAR!) and knees going to crap (what? I've never been a jogger, what have you got to complain about? Those extra 70 pounds for the last quarter century? Oh.).

Ok, I love long hair. I have for a long time. Most of the long haired hotties I went to high school with have cut their long hair off. One has not. Bless you Susie. I am sure her husband appreciates the effort of being a working mom with hair down to her belt.

About a dozen years ago, I let my beard go for a few days. It was not my choice exactly, a hospital bed is not a good place to try to shave your chin. My head hair was still black, my beard much more salt than pepper. I would probably be in the Santa category now. Molly never liked the beard anyway.

Please do not let this be a negative to such a fun blog. Currently, I have more hair on my face as my head! Radiation after brain surgery to remove a tumor fried the hair. However, I am delighted that it is starting to grow back!

I have the "royal" forehead which gets royaler by the minute. My mother always told me it was a sign of intelligence. To be funny, my husband just replaced my Facebook photo with one from my twenties. I'm tempted to leave it there. The hair I'd always considered too thin was about four times as thick as it is now, enhanced no doubt by that spiral perm I paid a fortune for in NYC. My hair started out a dark auburn (my mother's description) or brown with red highlights (mine) and is getting redder as it greys thanks to a strawberry blond henna I discovered a few years back. I am allergic to hair dye, but the henna seems to work, with the added benefit that I can give myself some pretty creative henna tatoos which I do on occasion just for fun. I'm having an odd side effect though. Some of my hair is turning black. It's happening strand by strand instead of grey now, and it's the oddest thing I've ever seen since I've never had black hair at all. I figure by the time I'm 80 or so, my hairs will all be black, all six of them.

In the '90's I went a bunch of years undiagnosed with a thyroid disease - lost a lot of hair. Some of it returned with treatment but not all. I always had fine hair but now it is super fine. I don't use any product or flat iron etc, making it straight just makes it look thinner. This last year of health woes has lost me a bunch more hair. Luckily I have a very nice stylist whose mother has thin hair so he cuts it just right so it has some curl to fluff it up. I use the blow dryer for about 60 seconds to make the front of my hair behave, otherwise it likes to do a thin/short version of cousin It and tries to cover my face . . .

I think Storyteller Mary and I are sisters from different parents . . . Hair spray causes much gagging and coughing for me as well. I went on a vacation with a hair product loving friend and she kindly went outside to do the bare minimum hair stuff while we were away.

I figure it is a good thing I have always liked tweezing my eyebrows and a 5X mirror still works good on the hairs of my chinny chin chin.

I also had hair to my waist at one point and when I wanted about 10 inches taken off NO one would cut it, even a stylist. So I cut it myself, did a horrible job and went back to the stylist and said, gee can you fix this?

I have nice hair. I can style it, color it and can hot roll; it and forget it.
As I grew older I am losing some vanity but I think that hair has defined many in history. All the styles through the twenties, thirties etc. each play a part in our memories.
Keeping my hair colored is expensive and I find myself looking at glorious white haired ladies to fantasize about going in that direction.
It is a possibilty I suppose.
My hair became wavy after the birth of my first child. Maybe there was a shift in hormones.

Bitterly, Hank, I'm laughing bitterly over your desire to have hair like mine that just sticks out all over the place. At one time I had very thick - but straight, of course - hair. Medication seems to have thinned it out. So now the pokiness of it is more apparent. I suppose I should not complain too much because I recently looked at photographs of me taken when my hair was short and permed, and I looked OLDER then than I do now.

Make-up: okay, it's weird, but I can see that some of you will understand this perfectly - I put it on as soon as I get out of the shower, even on Saturdays, even if all I'm going to do is clean the toilet. (Must look good for the toilet.) Since I'm allergic to staying home on my days off, chances are I'm going SOMEWHERE, even if just to the laundromat - for which I must, of course, be wearing make-up. When I graduated from high school, my Latin and French teacher (who always thought I looked sickly, even though I was rarely ill) made me promise, practically on a stack of Bibles, that I would ALWAYS wear make-up (it was against the school rules at the very strict private school for girls), eat breakfast, take vitamins.She kept emphasizing the make-up, though!

My wife has very long naturally straight hair and I love it.

My own hair is long and has quite a bit of waveyness to it. I need to get the split ends trimmed. In younger days, my hair was a mix of dishwater blonde and red, but now the grey hair is taking over. Same with my formerly red facial hair, which is now anout 85% white.

The rest of my body has never been very hairy and what hair there is has the courseness of the hair on a baby. On the other hand, my ears sprout hairs like mushrooms popping up after a warm spring rain. Also, what the hell is the deal with the 4 inch long eyebrow hairs? Tweezers, I need you!

I have thick curly hair. Old ladies love it but when you touch it, it feels like a brillo pad. Very coarse. If I go more than 3 weeks without a cut, it starts looking like an afro. Last time, I was unemployed I tried to get away with not coloring and boy, did it look bad.
A few weeks ago, I had my eyebrows waxed and the girl said you might as well do the whole face. Being gullible I said sure, save me time. Didn't realize that included the cheeks. Boy, did that ever hurt and I never knew there was so much hair there. Aggh!

When I was much younger I had stick straight, baby fine, thin hair down to my arse. Think Julie from the Mod Squad. As I aged I wore it shorter and shorter though not by choice. It became more brittle with time and broke off before it could grow long. It was a pleasant surprise when I turned gray that my hair became thicker with more body than it ever had. I love the hair on the top of my head . . . the chin not so much.

Funny, funny blog, Sarah.

Oh, I, too, adored Helen Mirren in Reds. Love that movie.

The irony. . .I spent decades throwing a fortune away on streaked blond hair. Stopped doing it a few years ago and found out my hair is naturally streaked. hahahaha

I just let the white grow in over the last year and am loving the freedom from black hair dye every five weeks. My good friend, however, is having trouble adjusting. I think she doesn't want her younger friends looking their age. Still it was making me paranoid about how many others hated my white highlights until I went to a fancy new hairdresser and the first thing he said was that he loved my color. Then another client came over to tell me how sexy and confident I looked. Paranoia abated. Cool non-soccer mom cut helps too.

"by the time I'm 80 or so, my hairs will all be black, all six of them."
Funniest line ever -- I'm going to save it somewhere for comfort as my hair thins and thins . . .

My 70's hair was all the way to my rear end, straight as paper, and blonde as could be. We were hippies in Colorado. It took me decades to learn that lipstick would not immediately make me look like a secretary in the Pentagon.

I remember your hair in high school, and you had the Farrah Fawcett curls, nice, pretty, long-ish dirty blonde hair. Given my curly mop of hair and general state of self-absorption, I never considered that you did anything more than I did, which is roll out of bed, run a comb through it, and be off to school.

And if you didn't announce it, I wouldn't think that you do any more with your hair now than you did then, whatever that was.

Sorry I missed this blog... so funny! My hair is a mess these days. Being gender-challenged I've always had short hair, Beetle-style, since my teens. A bit more girly now, because it has decided to curl on me... so unpreppy of me. But honest, fellow 'Headers, I can't help it!

All marketing to the contrary, curling was not the goal, frying to a crisp was.

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