Last month, I decided it was time for a new haircut. For some reason, my beyond shoulder length, beyond curly, totally beyond manageable hair was beyond bothering me! Now, along with that haircut, I had also been toying with the idea of coloring my hair; I really wanted a flame-like orange or red streak in my curls. My parents may say that I wanted to connect more with my fictional characters, and they’re right, but I think all I wanted was a change, at first.
I went to the salon and asked my stylist to take 7+ inches off my hair, and I immediately saw a difference in myself. The heavy hair and unruly curls were like a curtain, and hid so much of who I am. So, with a brand new short haircut, I researched hair dye. I searched all over the internet for an organic and natural product that didn’t have harsh chemicals, and was good to put on my sensitive head. This was a little more difficult than I realized, because flame red streaks are not necessarily “natural,” yet I wanted to try to accomplish it with a “natural product.” So I researched all-natural organic hair dye… and in the end, there was only one product that I found that met my needs. Light Mountain Natural uses only henna and indigo for hair dye, and this all organic, all natural product had a wide range of color choices. I settled on the brightest red they offered, hoping that it would get me closer to the fiery red locks I was imagining.
We ended up buying three boxes of the bright red henna dye, (it was a better deal to buy three than just one, and I was pretty sure that I would be using the remaining boxes), read the instructions, mixed the henna, and cut holes in a plastic cap to pull some curls through. As much as I knew that I wanted to make a change, I wasn’t ready to commit to coloring more than a small amount of my curls. We (or my mom…) applied the mud-like, tea-scented henna to my hair, layered some more plastic wrap on my head, and then we waited four hours. During those 4 hours I was working on my school work, reading, and just going about my normal day; all the while thinking about whether or not the henna would “take” or “set up” properly. My natural color is an auburn/brown, and I was sort of worried about how the “Bright Red” hair dye would work on my hair. I didn’t know if it would end up as a red-mud color, or a copper-y color closer to my desired flame color.
When the time came to rinse out the henna, my excitement grew. With a still dripping wet head I went outside to see the color in the sunlight, and sure enough I was able to see that some of my curls were a copper-red, exactly the color I had wanted. I was absolutely satisfied with the outcome, and liked what I saw in the mirror.
Fast – Forward 6 weeks – – – –
Well, over time things change…hair gets longer, and colors start to fade. I was already planning to get a shorter cut, and about this exact time, my mom was also cleaning out the fridge and mentioned that it was time to throw out the remaining henna that we had previously mixed up.
The henna was fading in my hair, we had to use the leftover henna that was in the fridge, and I had free time. All these combined to be a perfect opportunity for dying my entire head full of hair! We repeated the entire process, except this time we didn’t isolate the curls, and we just slathered the henna on all my hair.
I can’t express exactly how ecstatic I am with my new hair color…and how great I feel about my new, even shorter haircut… maybe the look on my face will say what I can’t say in words!
Here’s the picture we took at the salon – me with a whole head of henna and a new cut:
Now, does the hair change who I am? No.
Does it change how I see myself? Yes.
I’m not doing this to stand out or fit in – I’m doing it to express myself. The reason for choosing red as my hair color is partly due to the fact that in Druidawn (a super-fun roleplaying/writing class), my character is a Fire Elemental. I also have many fire-related characters throughout many of my stories, as well as multiple redheads. I find myself able to ‘get into character’ easily now, aligning myself more with the characters I’m writing about. It’s much easier to write as if I am the character, which is what I need to do, as I normally write in first-person. I guess in a way I wanted to connect with the people or creatures I had created in order to write more authentically and make fiction a little less fictional.
So, as you can see I have made some changes, and yet I am not really changing…I am still me!