Hands up those of you who worship at the shrine of good hair. So that would be just about everyone, am I right? It’s a well-known fact that a woman and her hair are inextricably bound. A tangle that defies untangling.
Our hair is such an integral part of how we look that we never give up on it, at least not without a fight. In some cases that fight can take on epic proportions, involving countless potions, appliances and perhaps a dash of the dark arts. Up to and including voodoo (though hopefully not including chickens).
Our hair can be anything from a number one cut to waist-length tresses liberally augmented by strands from a stranger’s head. It can be coloured honey, strawberry, carrot or banana (OK, maybe not banana). Pink, blue or green are also options, possibly even at the same time.
Whatever the state of our hair, it reveals much about us. Sometimes perhaps more than we intend or realise. Sometimes the way we don’t have our hair can say as much about us as the way we do.
Take me, for instance. About three years ago I made the decision to go au naturel. Let the grey have its way.
The first greys started to appear in my thirties. I was never going to allow them to broadcast their message of ageing to the world. There’s was no doubt in my mind, The Grey Had To Go.
I was born a brunette so my first line of defence was henna, in one of the less lurid shades. This worked fine until the grey multiplied to the point where my hair was covered in copper streaks – the wiry kind, not very flattering.
So I took it to the next level. Now I was having allover colour with judicious streaks to “lift” it a bit. I opted for a shade of aubergine with beetrootish highlights. While the grey continued its inexorable march across my head, I kept it well under cover. It didn’t come cheap, mind, but the god of good hair had to be appeased.
Eventually I decided the aubergine look had had its day and opted for something blonde on the shade chart. But I baulked at the demands of regrowth maintenance and kept the streaking to half my head. The greying strands blended tastefully with two shades of blonde, creating a kind of variegated effect.
By now I was in my late forties and my hair reflected how I felt – a foot in both camps, the youthful me and that other one, the one who was growing older by the day.
And there I remained, straddled across the divide, until one day three years ago, I became curious about the “real me” – what did my real hair actually look like? What would I look like with my natural hair? The thought was scary but also quite exhilarating in a strange way.
Thus began the process of discovery as the colour slowly grew out and nature took its course. I entered a new era, one where I was no longer straddling but had both feet on the same side. The god of good hair’s side.
Or so I like to think. Surely we don’t have to dye for him?