Confessions of a {Fake} Blonde


Why is it that according to pop culture a bad hair day equals a bad day in general? Shania Twain famously sang that anything she does or says better be okay when she has a bad hair day. Is it because so much of our confidence is seemingly associated with the collection of keratin and other proteins scattered on top of our heads? As a population, we spend billions of dollars taming our genetically-determined and environmentally-susceptible hair into something that meets our seal approval. Many argue that not only does hair represent our personalities, it also represents our thoughts and beliefs. I’d like to say that I am so self-assured that my self-esteem is not impacted by my hair in the slightest but that’s not the truth. My hair matters to me.

Earlier this year, I got a bee in my bonnet about dying my hair from the blonde I’d been rocking for quite a few years. I impulsively picked a reddish shade of dark brown from the Target shelf and treated myself to a box dye job later that night. And immediately regretted it. So in the spirit of not-so-great hair colors and styles – let’s talk a walk down memory lane and see some of the colors and hairstyles I’ve endured over the years.


I spent the majority of my childhood in Phoenix, Arizona. My hair was long and sun-kissed and my bangs were blunt (Why mom, why?). When we moved to Pennsylvania in the middle of my 7th grade year, I became depressed that I chopped off my hair. I also avoided the sun – so much so that my hair turned brown and my already pale skin transformed into a ghostly shade of white. Isn’t middle school fun? By the time I was a junior in high school, my spirit improved and I was back to loving life. After years of rocking shoulder-length hair, I decided to let it grow and my mom let me get six foils – thus starting my (expensive) love affair with highlights.

{As I look at the picture on the right, it is painfully evident that it was a sad attempt at ‘The Rachel‘ too many years too late. Sigh. More evidence that I was and will not ever be hip.}

During my middle school and high school years, I never thought of myself as pretty. At least not in the traditional sense. Hair and make-up didn’t really interest me and I didn’t discover the power of a well-shaped eyebrow until I was in my 20s. I had high enough self-esteem when it came to my intelligence, sense of humor, and athletic ability. But I just didn’t care enough about what I looked like to put forth much effort beyond the bare minimum.


That attitude pretty much stayed throughout my college years as well. I wore minimal make-up and didn’t put much thought to my hair beyond making sure it was clean and brushed. My college roommate and I dyed my hair dark brown during my freshman year but by that summer, I was back to being blonde. And because I was a poor college student, I used box color until my junior year, when I could afford to buy both beer and get my hair professionally highlighted. That was a good year. As I entered my 20’s, I started to care more about my hair and make-up and realized that I actually find value in looking somewhat presentable.


Clay and I then got married and moved to Fort Drum, New York. I kept my hair long and blonde until I kissed him goodbye that winter and sent him off on his first deployment.


Two days after he left, I went to my hair stylist and told her to do something drastic because I was sad, lonely, and cold. She cut off 7 inches and dyed it a reddish brown. I loved it but by the time summer rolled around, I was itching to be blonde again. And by the time he came home 16 months later, I was back to having long blonde hair.

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My hair was long and blonde for quite some time. We moved to North Carolina, our son was born, and before long – I was sending my husband off to war again. I didn’t dye my hair after that goodbye. I actually waited until he came home a year later and informed me that we were moving to Oklahoma.


I processed the news by dying my hair bright red. I initially had it done professionally but then maintained it myself with the help of Walgreens and L’Oreal. I struggled during our first six months in Oklahoma – I didn’t feel like myself and I wasn’t terribly happy. I thought the red would help. It didn’t. Then I thought cutting bangs myself would help. It didn’t {Karen – let this be a reminder that bangs are never the answer}.


By that summer, I had seven inches cut off and had my hair highlighted. I sported strawberry blonde hair until I went full-fledged blonde that winter. And I remained blonde as my hair grew.


We moved to Virginia, our daughter was born, we moved to Kansas, and then we moved to Texas, and then back to Virginia. During these years, my hair was varying shades of blonde (dependent on how often I highlighted my hair) and varying lengths between my shoulders and waist. I also resisted the temptation to cut bangs. I’m very proud of that fact.


And then earlier this year, as mentioned, I poured a glass of wine, dyed my hair dark, and gave myself bangs (damn you temptation!) on a whim. My hair turned a patchy shade of copper and I hated the way it looked in pictures. So after about a month, I went to the salon with my tail between my legs and requested a full foil with strands of pink. And when she asked me about my bangs, I played dumb. But I know she knew the truth. Hair stylists can always tell. It’s one of their superpowers. My stylist had to cut off quite a few inches to even out the bad haircut I received last year so I’m back to having short(ish) hair for me.

IMG_5253While I put more effort into my hair and make-up than I did in high school and college, I still really don’t spend that much time getting ready. I use drugstore products and get my hair cut and highlighted only once or twice a year (I’ve even been known to use Sun-In in the summer). My hair dryer, straightener, and curling wand are all inexpensive and I have yet to master how to dry my hair with a round brush. And to be honest, I don’t really want to learn because there are about 485,234 things I’d rather do than blow dry my hair for an hour. Could my hair look better? Probably. Do I want to spend any more time than I already do in order to make it happen? Nope.

So there you have it. Hair confessions of a {fake} blonde. I like my hair just fine. It keeps my head warm and softens my features so I can’t complain. At least it looks better today than it did in 7th grade.

2 thoughts on “Confessions of a {Fake} Blonde

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