I Love My Roots, I Hate My Roots!

woman with blond hair leaning against wall

Coming to terms with your non-salon look isn’t an either-or proposition.

I’ve always had a consistently inconsistent relationship with my hair. I can go a week without washing it and not be bothered and then spend seven hours in a salon chair getting ready for a special event. I obsess on my hair and couldn’t give it second thought – all in the matter of a few moments. 

When the stay-at-home orders came, I was already due for a root-touch up, so now, with us several months in, I’m waaay beyond overdue, which has made my roots oh-so-obvious. And that bugs me.

But quarantine has also been a time to reassess all aspects of life, taking stock of the things that have involuntarily been removed and what relevancy they each still have. It’s been a time to decide what we want to welcome back one day and what we’re okay to leave in the past. I’ve relished wearing pajamas constantly, getting reacquainted with what my natural finger and toenails look like, and not endlessly deliberating on what I’ll be wearing to brunch or meetings or dinners out that week. It’s felt amazingly liberating to shed some of these vanities for a simpler life.  

A little bit of my hair history: I grew up strawberry blond but somewhere along my 30’s, my reddish locks turned dark mousy brown. It was around that same time that I decided to go all in on being blond, graduating from wrecking my hair with Sun-In, in a half-hearted attempt to not commit completely to dying my hair. After countless color corrections to undo my DIY damage, I was the platinum that I felt suited me best. 

IMG-6409I started to first see gray hairs in my late twenties. I hated them right from the first one. They make me feel old.  They’re untameable and gnarly.  And in another twist of hair irony, despite my hatred of my own gray hairs, I desperately wanted silver hair. So much so that my stylist and I worked super hard in the last year to find a pigment that would stick. I know, crazy right? But platinum silver hair to me looks way different than the grays that pop out in all directions from the top of my head. 

None of that matters now, I know! So here I am with technicolor hair. Mousy brown/black roots accented by crazy gray hairs framing my face and shooting out on the top of my hair, followed by my bleached blond hair. It’s a hot mess. But somehow not the disaster I expected it to be. 

I haven’t changed any as a person. I haven’t changed any to the people around me. My value, my worth is still the same. And that’s been incredibly reassuring. Like many women, I worry that deep down, my value might intrinsically be tied to my attractiveness, that my lovability is tied to it too and I need to make damn sure I take all the necessary efforts I can to look good so I don’t lose that. It’s an insidious feeling. But quarantine has almost forced me to have an epiphany. Having all those salon options removed, I’ve had no choice but to accept this hair and, in doing so, I realized I don’t feel much difference. 

Having had this realization, I’ve toyed with sticking with my natural color and saying goodbye to the salon for good. I’d save a couple of thousand dollars a year, at least. Think of the experiences I could use that cash for! Not to mention the hours it would give me back that wouldn’t be spent uncomfortably breathing through the discomfort of bleach burning my scalp. I wouldn’t need to worry about setting appointments, commuting to the salon and making sure I got the exact color and tone I wanted. It sounds pretty appealing. I would just be me.

But there’s another part of me that doesn’t like those gray hairs, isn’t ready to deal with them, and hates my mousy brown non-color hair. If my roots were a rich chocolate color, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but my natural color seems dull and flat — the opposite of what my blond color makes me feel. 

Maybe you’ve had similar debates with yourself and if so, I’m here to tell you all those hair feels are fine. Your relationship with your hair can totally fall under the “it’s complicated” category. You don’t need to feel like it’s a political stance to either love or hate your stay-at-home hair. It’s okay to experience both feelings, maybe even concurrently. Even if we are the first ones back at the salon, getting those roots covered and color changed, it doesn’t mean we can’t take something meaningful out of this time when we’ve been forced to live with them. 

While you’re still waiting to go back to your stylist, here’s a few ways to energize your hair to give yourself some good hair vibes again:

  • Bring on the heat! My hair has never been happier without the repeated flat irons and curling irons singeing it on a weekly basis. It barely even sees a blow dryer in these unhurried times. But if you’re feeling like you need a little style pick me up, reach for your favorite tool (along with some heat protectant) and go all out. Do big curls, do sleek straightening, do whatever you love. I guarantee you your grown out hair will feel fabulous fully styled. 
  • Add some gloss. I love clear hair gloss. It instantly makes hair healthier looking and more vibrant. And for around $10 a bottle, it’s a bargain. 
  • Don’t do something you’ll regret. We’ve seen the disastrous effects of ladies trying to cut their bangs themselves. Really, the bangs can wait. The roots can wait! Just remember there’s only one way to fix a bad cut and that’s by cutting more! So relax, we’re all getting to see each other’s hair unmasked. Let’s enjoy it together (well, while being apart). Take some photos with your roots displayed prominently, share them, embrace them! Soon you’ll have the option to do what you want with them again.     
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