I stood gazing at the assortment of hair dyes on the store shelf when a reader spotted me and suggested a column discussing why we need so many different brands. Sure, why not? If Lady Gaga can sing, “I am my hair,” surely I can dedicate one column to it.
I don’t really know what colour my hair is. I’ve been dying it blond since Grade Ten. Before that, it fell somewhere between light brown and dark blond, depending on your perspective. Which, as we know, is everything.
At some point in the 37 years since Grade Ten, my natural hair colour changed from mousy brown to mousy grey. I have no idea what it would look like now without the wonders of Miss Clairol’s chemistry kit. When highlights became the new requirement a decade or more ago, I quit dying it myself. My capable hairdresser has handled the details ever since. I let her figure out which colour to choose, when to apply highlights, and how long to leave it on. It’s wonderful.
Until she needs to cancel an appointment.
Some of you will understand this terror. Who ya gonna call? My lips say, “certainly, no problem, take care of yourself,” while my narcissistic heart yelps, “But but but but but but…my hair!” I wish that were not true about me, but there it is.
I decided to let my hair grow until the next regular appointment and dye my own roots the old-fashioned way. Thus, I was shopping in the hair dye aisle, eyes glazing over.
In the years since I last did this, the selection grew from maybe six different shades to six different brands, each offering 147 subtle shades of blond alone. Shelves bulge with varied formulas, depending whether one requires root touch-up or an entire new colour.
And judging by the selection of men’s products, women are not the only ones obsessing about tresses.
I couldn’t guess how much is spent annually on hair in our country, though I suspect it could feed a small nation for a long time. On the other hand, it’s feeding a lot of hairdressers, chemists, and retailers here at home. They need to eat, too, right? Like I said, perspective is everything.
I grabbed a box of Natural Medium Champagne Blond and it didn’t let me down. Toughing it out until my cut will be my next heroic feat.
Speaking of heroes. Smiling back at me from my computer desktop these days is a photo of my 35-year-old niece and her two small sons, all three sporting identical buzzed haircuts. Mommy cut her hair off because it is falling out.
Chemotherapy will do that.
I thank God that, unlike Miss Gaga, my niece knows she is so much more than her hair. She is optimistic, faith-filled, courageous, and truly beautiful.
Perspective is everything.