Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Mission

When I was approaching my 45th birthday in the summer of 2006, I made a decision to grow my hair as long as it would grow. Why? Well lots of reasons. First of all, I'd always wanted long hair, but all my life I'd been told that my fine hair was "thin" and wouldn't look good long. I was inspired by some of the older women who were sporting long hair and I decided that I was going to do my own thing and just see how long I could grow it. I wanted to have the hair that I always wanted, and I decided that the social conventions of women having shoulder length hair or shorter after the age of 40 was irrelevant to me. I had a notion of me as an old lady with very long hair which my grandchildren would ask to see take down out of a bun or braid. I also had a sense of the growth of hair as being a measurable way to somehow chart the growth of wisdom that I hope to gain with maturity. Some reasons might seem silly, but they're all very meaningful to me.

In trying to learn not only how to care for my hair, but also to learn how to style it, without blow-driers or curling irons, I joined a long hair forum, The Long Hair Community. I began learning how I had been previously abusing my hair with heat styling products, using ultra light blonde shades of hair dye that were far too harsh on my hair, and not even brushing and combing my hair properly.

I came into my long hair quest with fairly damaged hair, but I vowed to change all of that, and I was doing pretty well with it. However, there were a few things I goofed up on.

First of all, about a year into my journey with my hair closing in on waist length, I had the--ahem--bright idea to dye my hair medium brown. It was almost immediately that I knew I had made a mistake. My predominantly white natural roots popped out almost immediately after colouring. This made it necessary to colour far more often than I had been with a medium blonde shade. Oops. So it wasn't long before the previous damage became more apparent than ever. So I chopped off 5 inches. Back to square one.

My hair was actually looking great at this point, because the hair that had been previously damaged by "ultra light" blonde hair colouring was just about gone. However, now I was stuck with this brown shade that in some places was almost black. While I enjoyed being a brunette for a change, it really was far too dark for my colouring. I hung in with it until March of '08.

Now, how does one safely go from dyed dark brown to blonde without damaging one's hair. Well, the short answer is it really can't be done. So I bleached out (ouch) the brown, and started colouring with medium blonde again. But the damage! I couldn't live with it. So another 5 inches cut off. And there was still plenty of damage. Another 3 inches off. Still more damage. I just maintained my length until January of this year 2010, when most of the damage was cut out and I decided to start growing again. By February, the length of my hair was back to where it was when I first decided to grow it. Back to square one yet again.

It's now April of 2010, and my hair, when measured from the hairline on my forehead to the tip of my ends is 24 inches, as pictured above. My current goal is to reach BSL length, which means "Bra Strap Length". I hope to be there before the end of this year. By summer of 2011, I'm hoping that my hair will be at waist length.

I'm on my way again. I'm still dying my hair, but in my low-maintenance medium blonde shade. Now I have the knowledge of hair care, and I've learned my lesson about trying wacky colour experiments (I promise). I've learned lots of protective hairstyles, which are featured in my hairstyle/haircare website. This time, I'm going to do it!

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