I have a dirty little secret: that hair you see in my wedding photos? It’s not my real hair color. Many years prior to my wedding, I started getting low-lights and highlights in my hair. I absolutely loved the way it looked, but about a year before the wedding, I stopped getting my hair colored because 1) it was expensive and 2) I really wanted my natural color to be on display for my wedding. My hair doesn’t grow very fast, so I had to decide if I wanted my stylist to dye my hair all over in a color that was close to my natural color, or figure out a hair style that covered the fact that I had four-inch roots. I dyed my hair. I really liked the color and I think I look pretty in wedding photos, but that’s not my hair color.
I am very vain about my hair color. I love it. I call it auburn. But I absolutely hate the texture of my hair. When I was 10 or 11, I had hair down to the middle of my back, and I begged and begged my mom to let me cut it. She finally gave in, and I distinctly remember the Chinese ladies in the hair salon in Hong Kong making audible gasps of horror as the barber chopped it off. I now had a big, poofy auburn-colored afro, and not in a good way. You see, I have thick hair that’s sometimes wavy, sometimes curly, and in the humidity of Hong Kong, it was extra big.
When I met my husband, I had those aforementioned low-lights and highlights, and he still asks me when I’m going to get those again. And then I tell him how much it costs to maintain and his jaw drops and he shakes his head, and then forgets and asks me a few months later. When we met, I also straightened my hair every day and in the dry heat of Eastern Washington, my hair was beautiful. In Utah, I had a cute bob and my hair thrived in that climate – never big, straight if I wanted, and I loved it.
And then I moved back to the PNW, but this time to the colder, rainier, more humid part of the PNW and my previously lovely hair curled again. I’ve tried to fight it, but now I have two kids, and I’ve given up trying to make my wavy hair straight. According to my hair dresser, hair changes due to hormones are very common, so not only did I move to a different climate, I had another child, and thanks to pregnancy hormones, I still have little sprouts of hair springing from my scalp that even long bangs don’t hide.
My youngest is blonde, just like I was as a baby. When my parents took the three of us to Korea when we were little, we were all blonde, and people repeatedly stroked our heads, marveling at these blonde foreigners. My hair is no longer a marvel, just another part of me that I try not to hate.