To say I shaved my head for no particular reason isn’t entirely true. My reasons are varied. But, what they boil down to is: I did it just because.
For close to four years now I’ve courted with the world of unnatural hair colors. Name a color, I’ve done it. But, the constant process of changing color absolutely wrecks your hair. It’s not the dye itself. It’s the bleach you use to get your hair as light as possible so that your application of Hi-Octane Orange pops. It’s the processes and applications you use to remove the old color to replace it with a new one. And there’s always a new one. Like the Lay’s Potato Chip, you can’t have just one.
I was fussing with my hair a week ago, and saw the color (a three-toned pink gradient) was fading fast. The idea of going back to my natural color had been swirling in my mind. I could take the slow, non-dramatic approach to transition my hair to match its newly emerging roots. Or, I could test my personal hair styling philosophy–It’s just hair and it grows back–and shave it all off. And so I did.
It’s true–my husband and I had seen the new Mad Max movie the previous weekend and Charlize Theron looked pretty bad ass with her cropped head. There was precedence. There is, actually, a lot of precedence recently, beautiful actresses who sheer their hair for a role. Karen Gillan, in particular, comes to mind. She took her hair down to her scalp for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy. And then there are the numerous celebrities, models, musicians, random kick ass chicks who wear their hair shaved on purpose. It’s just the hair style they choose to rock.
So when I was pondering my hair in the bathroom, and I said, “Maybe I should just shave it all off.” My husband responded, “Do it.” The next day we sat on the porch and took turns clipping each other’s hair with a number 2 guard. It was an amusing bonding experience: particularly because my husband was envious of my intact hairline. I’m grateful that his scalp’s follicular retreat means that we don’t exactly have the same hair cut.
I like my shaved head. It’s fun to run my hand against the hair’s grain–the way I might do with my husband’s hair. And, now, he can do the same with mine. (Pet me like a cat, I don’t mind.) I still feel the wind blowing through my stubby, little strands. The shower has turned into an even more wonderful tactile experience–the cascade of water tickles my scalp. And the most surreal of all, I spend zero time styling my hair, and it still looks good.
Of course, there are negatives, most of which I’d already experienced. (I’ve been sporting some variation of an undercut for a year) I have a light pink birth mark on the back of my head that peaks through past my hairline. Random head acne cannot be disguised, and requires make up. I now need to protect my innocent, pale scalp from the sun with hats or SPF.
Reactions from others have been interesting. When I wore odd colors in my hair, strangers felt compelled to comment. New people in my life quickly learned that anytime they saw me, my hair had likely changed. So far, people who know me well, react in shock, “Where did your hair go? What’s the story?” I demur, because I can sum up the story with, “Because I felt like it.” Strangers, I assume, assume my hair is shaved due to a worse fate. Though I wouldn’t know, because suddenly people remember things like boundaries, which don’t exist when my hair is turquoise. I haven’t seen any random acquaintances–those people I know, but not very well. I’m prepared to reassure them that my shaved hair is not a reflection of illness or a loss of sanity.
Right now, I haven’t completely rid my hair of its previous color. Its ends are still tinged pink. I’m not quite at “clean slate” status. One more pass in a week with the clippers should take care of that. I don’t intend to keep my hair shorn. I want to grow it out. I want to see my natural hair color. I’m intensely curious. Is there gray hiding in there? How much has it darkened (the inevitable fate of all natural blondes)? Will it grow redder as my mother’s has?
And if I’m being honest (with myself), this whole process is and will be an act of symbolism. A search for self and authenticity through something equal parts significant and insignificant as how I wear my hair. I’ll let you know how it goes.