Julie Lyles Carr: Coloring Conundrum

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coloring Conundrum

Well this is an unexpected turn.  Hmmm.

I've always messed with my hair color.  Growing up in Southern California, every time I played outside in the intense high desert sunshine, my hair color lightened by a shade.  By the time we moved to the Washington DC area, I was a California blond.  It was through a winter there that I discovered that my roots did not agree with my personal perception of my hair color self--I was definitely more of a reddish light brown than a golden blond.  A couple of seasons in Utah did nothing to improve the color situation, and by the time I hit college, I was regularly 'adjusting' my roots to the titan blond I thought I was.

Pregnancies further darkened my hair and in my late twenties and early thirties, I bit the bottle and went red.  Fast foward to another move to America's third coast and I re-entered the golden blond highlights of my youth.  My photographic record looks like an ode to all the hair color mentioned in the Nancy Drew mysteries; titan blond, red, brunette.  Nancy, Bess and George.

Fast forward to the hormone-rendering effects of carrying both a boy baby and a girl baby in utero at the same time--I was officially seeing dark brunette roots.  After the twins were born, I dinked around with a few more highlights, then threw in the L'oreal towel.  It was official--it was time to go brunette and leave it alone.

But guess what?

All those blond highlights through the years had disguised a little follicle phenomenon--I was sprouting some white, and I mean white, little hair visitors.  I had dodged the gray bullet for a long time--my mom and dad both went gray very early and my younger brothers have sported a distinguished salt and pepper for a while now.   I assumed I was protected from those pesky white bristles, that it was all those pregnancy hormones, one side benefit.

Guess I was wrong.

So I do the whole brunette thing, only to find little white post-it note reminders of time's ongoing march.  No biggy, I think.  I'll just keep coloring the little guys. I've made my peace.  I'm a brunette now, remember?

Except for this.

My white hairs do not accept color.  They apparently are segregationists.  They do not want a wash of Light Reddish Brown 4R tarnishing their lily roots.  They are standing out in firm defiance against all things dye.  They have also decided that they will be a completely different texture than the rest of their sister tresses.  White, frizzy and defiant--that's the new state of my head.

So what's a girl to do?  I think I've hit upon the answer.  It was always so obvious, something I've known since childhood.  It's the one camouflage for these melanin-challenged follicles.  It's the one fix for diminishing gray's distinguishing marks.  And it takes me back to my roots...well, okay, my 'roots'....

I simply will return to what I always knew deep down I was.

Golden Titan Blond.  I get it from my Aunt L'oreal's side.....
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