Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Memory Lane - The Nightmare Returns...

I'm going to take you on a journey down Memory Lane, that has many dark and treacherous twists and turns, where extreme peril can lurk and strike at any moment.  For this isn't just my story, this is the story of Generation X - a journey of HAIR.  Many of you may have come on the same journey as me, many of you may have taken a different, equally scary path, but we have all ended up in the same place:  MIDDLE AGED AND GREY.  And what a relief that is, as you will see for yourself.

The journey will begin from the present and work it's way back through the mists of hairspray being burnt off by crimpers to the sunny days of my childhood.  Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be turbulent. 

Please enjoy...

Into the light!

Still some washed out bleach/purple - my first pixie cut since 1989.  I like to call myself  Pinhead here.  Paul Weller in a short hair phase springs to mind...

Directions hair colour - just one last time.  Did this the day before meeting my potential new boss.   Hmm,  didn't want the job anyway...
July 2011

Awful, I knew it had to end.  My nightmare toxic relationship with hair dye.  My nightmare toxic aversion to just being, er, me.  My hair was like fluffy chewing gum.  Clumps were falling away every time I moved, breathed.  Or had a brain function.

 Ahh, those heady first days of a fresh bleach, when thoughts of a young Paula Yates (more about her another time but only good things, not like Thatcher - don't get me started.).  Ahhh Paula Yates' hair lalalallalalalalla....
March 2011

Terrified by the regrowth, I dived for my knee jerk default colour dye option  YET AGAIN.  Black.  But this time, even Adobe Photoshop can't hide the fact that it is extremely unflattering to my 40 year old skin.  Panic sets in.... What next?!

I knew I was stalling.  Still on maternity leave I thought, WTF.  I'm still young!  I can do what I want!!  So I invested in about 12 tubs of varying shades of Directions hair dye.  Rock and Roll.  Except not.
Sept 2010

Pregnant, I couldn't dye my hair apart from semi.  I realise, fully, just how grey I am.  Grim.  Not only am I  having a third baby at 40 (thus the complete annihilation of my physical self) I'm also going to immediately look like it's Grandmother.  I WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!!!  I said.  I AM GOING TO FIGHT IT WITH STRONGER WEAPONS!!!!  I said.  Hahahahahaha.

Weird.  Didn't know I was pregnant, but somehow I knew I wanted to stop bleaching.  Aimed for a colour  'more like my natural  colour'.  What?!  A.  I've never had dark reddish brown hair in my life.  B.  My natural colour,   as I knew full well was GREY.  I like to call this style The Pretender.

I'd had 'blonde' hair for about 18 months and still saw it as a compromise I could live with.  I had 'normal ' colour hair as a plus, but I had to have it cut very short and very regularly as a minus.  At this stage, anything was better than being grey.  Anything.
August 2009

Ignore the timecode on this - I don't have a camera that can look into the future.  It's lying.  Like I was, with my terrible yellow hair.  I HATED my hair here.  And who wouldn't.  Felt like straw, looked like, erm, straw.  Nice one. 

This is what happens when you bleach grey hair that's been dyed with black/brown/red dye for hundreds of years.  It falls off and gets shorter and shorter and shorter.  Can you see, I'm almost crying - that's because I know my hair looks a bit like a cross between Hilary Clinton and Myra Hindly...

My birthday.  Here is where the bleach has started to disintegrate just the top and front of my hair.  I've already embarked on a desperate race to snip in order to save.  Imagine Holland in the 12th Century, desperately scrabbling to build dykes to keep the sea out...that was me keeping out the relentless sea of decrepitude of my failing follicles.
Feb 2009

Dear God,
Yes I did abandon you when our Baptist vicar Norman ran off with Anthea the
Sunday School teacher with the horrible red afro,
Who played guitar,
Who taught me how to be good,
Then ruined it.
But God,
I don't deserve to be punished this way, surely?
Have mercy, sweet Jesus,
For I am just a foolish middle aged, insecure, over educated and very frustrated woman!
Take pity God, and let me have nice blonde hair like, erm, Paula Yates.
Or, (deep breath because I can't believe I'm admitting it)
Lady Diana.


Yup, ginger again,  another strategy.

Here's what happens when you dye your hair dark brown and your greyness  can not longer sustain it.  It starts to go a weird aubergine, then, like here, it goes a weird ginger.  I coped by going to Bestival and seeing the Chemical Brothers and the Beastie Boys and dancing for 72 hours.  Only took me 3 months to recover!  Sept 2008

The half and half.  Dyed brown underneath, dyed red on top.  Classy.  With my sister , who will feature heavily in future.

A turning point.  Jan 2007  I'd had very very very long hair almost to my waist in every colour from black through to my  silver roots.  I had my hair cut all one length and a fringe cut and I planned to grow the grey out then.  Except I didn't.  I lost my nerve.

This shot really domonstates why I could no longer rock the goth.  Look at the top of my hair - you can see the difference in the newly dyed hair.  Even permanent hair dye just couldn't obliterate the grey.  I knew my very very long hair was going to have to go...

Wedding - My hair was very long, below bra length.  It had been  brown, but days before my wedding in 2006, I  panicked and dyed it black - it felt safe.  I think I look ok.  But my hair, to me now, looks very fake.  

This is what happens when you dye your hair when it's very long.  You can't see what's happening to it.  The  bottom 6 inces of my hair was a weird burgundy/red colour while the top around my scalp was black.  I had no idea!

So here is the evidence that I was 50% grey when I was 30.  Here my hair is already full of years of  black/brown/red  dye.  My solution?  Ignore it and carry on dying and growing of course!

Dye, grow, dye, grow......

My 30th with the BF.
A variation of my classic goth look.  Dyed dark brown.  At this stage I'm already having to redo the roots every 4 weeks.  

Probably my last shot of natural looking roots with no grey.  But look at the red  ends - most of that  are hair extentions.   A regular flirtation of mine.  Nice thick 90s eyebrows!

Graduation party with Uni BF 1993
Not my hair!  The stuff at the roots is,  the rest are hair extensions  down to my bum.  Thought it looked good at the time.

The henna haired, corkscrew curls look.

Dyed ginger AND crimped.  With pearls.  Oh just help me.

Black hair with greeny blue streaks in the fringe.  Nice.

Goth.  Black.  1987

Goth black.  With red bits, 1986.

Dyed black for the very first time.  Very into Rockabilly chic. 1985

Ok, probably the one photo I WONT apologise for.  I love this.  Me and BF in the Summer of  1985 outside Birdies Restaurant in Harbour Street in Whitstable about to watch the Carnival.  We rocked that hair and good.  - See below for this image...

1985.  First home bleach job.  Yes, I am about to punch my dad, that's because he hated my hair.  In fact, just today I told him I was doing this and he said 'oh Al, have you got any of that awful yolk coloured hair you had.  I hated that!!'  Which is kind of why I did it Dad.

Dyed ginger with Sun In.  Lovely stuff.  You just  simply spray it in and your hair gets naturally lovelier and blonder!  Well we worked out that you can speed the whole thing up by spraying it on then blowing your hair with the hottest setting of the hairdryer.  Yeah!

The Hurting by Tears for Fears.
The clothes by Snob.
The hair by Shaders and Toners.

Teen hatred.  Oh the stroppiness. The hair is dyed  with Shaders and Toners Burnished Copper.  My very first dye.

Dear Sal (my sis) is doing the right thing here and refusing to pose for my Dad.  My poor poor poor Dad. 

The last photo I have of me looking unknowing.  1982.  I'm 12.  That's 30 years ago.  Everything changed 6 months after this photo.  I look happy in my aviators with my very curly sweaty horse riding helmet hair.  And bad dentistry. If only I could reach a zen like indifference to life like I had then.

Age 7 1977.
Yup, The NHS's best - pink National Health Glasses with  the boingy metal holdy-on-the-ears bits that give you migraines.
My hair colour here is the same as my eldest two sons - light brown with a bit of red.  

So, you can see that my hair has had a lot to contend with over the years.But like an old pit pony that has emphysema, I'm putting my old grey hair out to pasture to have one last frollic in the sunshine!

1 comment:

  1. Haha... I really enjoyed this... brought back some sweet memories of my own... shaders and toners... sigh, do they still make those? And sun-in... my sister spent much of the early 80s with strawy orange hair thanks to that stuff.

    I decided to work from the bottom up... was fun to see how you evolved... and if your life has been as adventurous and fun as your hair colours, then lucky you! :-)