Saturday, February 22, 2014

Time to Seek Some Professional Help

It's time to admit I need professional help. For my hair, that is.

I have an appointment next week, my first in nearly five years.

I don't expect miracles, and I don't really think that even a miraculous change in my hair would take away the perpetually tired look that I see when I happen to catch my reflection in the mirror unexpectedly. At the same time, it's a step in putting myself back together, which has been a work in progress since Ethan died.

So this week, I've been obsessing about my hair.

After all, my hair practically has a personality of its own and is probably one of my most recognizable traits. Down between my shoulders, thick and curly as all get-out, and typically out of control or in a ponytail or braids, I recognize it is a dominant feature on its better days.

Of course, my hair has suffered from benign neglect pretty much since I moved out of the public workforce. I think I swapped dog boarding for highlighting that winter five years ago, and since then my hair has been left to my tender mercies. While I may be able to groom a dog and give my husband a decent clip (if you've seen him lately I was not responsible for the one he's trying to outlive now), my hair is another story.

It is the longest and probably the healthiest it has been in years, thanks to completely abolishing heat and chemicals from use on my hair a year ago. Still my efforts at addressing split ends involve bending over, combing my wet hair so that it hangs down towards my knees, and taking a pair of scissor to trim the longest bits back. Probably not quite what is needed.

My sudden attention to my hair, however, has come out of the need to move forward and the fact that yes, I'm tired of looking tired. It's come from seeing shiny hair around me, well groomed hair, and usually straight hair. While my hair may never achieve all, if any, of those things, I can at least make an effort.

When I mentioned on Facebook early in the week that I wanted to do something to my hair, there were a few suggestions. Some people expected that I would be cutting it off, straightening it, or something equally drastic. No, although I might enjoy someone else's short haircut, I know that those styles take more maintenance than I have time for. Remember, it's been five years. I give new meaning to low maintenance. It will stay long. It will stay curly. And although I may not be happy with the gray, I won't color it in any way that means maintenance and roots.

I also had a question about why I stopped using shampoo and conditioners. It began with the innocent download of a Kindle book entitled Hair Gone Wild by Diane Kidman, which was offered free one day on Amazon. The more I read it, the more intrigued I was, especially when she talked about her hair and it sounded like mine in its general characteristics. In addition, I was equally prone to dissatisfaction with my shampoo, changing it frequently and filling my cabinets with half-empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner that no longer seemed to be doing the job.

As a result, for the last year pretty much everything I've used on my hair has been something I could eat. It is washed in a mixture of baking soda and water and rinsed in diluted apple cider vinegar, generally only about once a week. I typically treat it to honey once a week as well. If my scalp or hair seem too dry, a mixture of glycerine and aloe with a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. I've also made a deep conditioner of cocoa butter, olive oil and essential oils that I use when I have time. I smooth frizzies with coconut oil or jojoba oil. That's pretty much it.

So I'm facing the possibility of losing an inch or two, layering, and any kind of salon treatment with a bit of trepidation, if not downright panic.

Sure, I remember the fun of having my hair done. The spring I broke my arm I had to go every week and get it shampooed and blown out simply because I was unable to do so. It was the most pampered my hair has ever been. But it's been so low priority for me that to take time now seems wrong at some levels. Surely there's something else I need to be doing Tuesday morning.

Then again, maybe there isn't. Perhaps it's like Zumba a couple of times a week, something I need to do for myself that is long overdue.

Just please be gentle with me.

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