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March 12, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

A Funeral For My Lost Hair

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hairI got my hair cut today.   Short.  I wore it short for most of my life because I have a lot of hair and it’s very curly and woolly and difficult to take care of when it’s long, and most people through the years have said I look better (and younger) with short hair.  I can’t argue the point that short hair looks better on me, but I have wanted long hair all my life.  I’ve tried to grow it long several times only to give up in frustration when it got too hard to manage, but this time I made it between two and two and a half years.  It was the longest it had been since I was about 14 years old.  It was probably about three inches past my shoulders.

Well, it reached the point that it took a long, long time to rinse the shampoo and conditioner out, and it hurt every time I combed it because it would tangle so badly in spite of using good conditioners, so my morning routine was complicated with extra time and pain.

This morning, I woke up with the stiff neck and sore shoulder/upper-upper back muscles that I get periodically when the Fibromyalgia flares up, and I was almost in tears while I was combing my hair, because tilting my head and raising my arms to reach and to work through the tangles really, really hurt my neck and shoulders.  That was when I finally made my decision.  It just (sniff!) isn’t worth it.

I went at lunch time and got it cut.  The lady who cut it understood my disappointment at having to give up on the long hair dream, and she made a braid in the back and cut it off for me to save.  I’ll put it into a plastic bag and stick it in a drawer so I can remind myself periodically of how long it was.

It does look better short.  And I know I’ll appreciate the ease of taking care of it, and how much more quickly my getting-ready in the morning will go.

I had another reason to go back to short hair, also.  Coloring is a problem.  I can’t seem to color it without glutening myself, and glutening myself every three to four weeks is just not good.  I can’t afford to have someone else color it for me, and I don’t know of any gluten free hair colors (though I suspect there are some out there).  Before I went gluten free, though, I had tried just about every hair color on the market, it seemed, and the brand I’ve been using is the only one that really covered the gray.  I even stopped using their conditioner and would only use mine, knowing mine is gluten free, and I would shampoo the color out and condition afterward, but it’s just not possible to not get at least one drop of dye-water either in my mouth or up my nose before I’m done.

One alternative would be to have someone else color it, but I can’t afford that, which leaves the other option: not coloring it anymore (which requires cutting it short) and letting the gray all grow in.  I have a whole lot of gray (white/silver) hair.  I will probably look ten years older than I am by the time it grows in.  I’m not happy about having to let the gray come in when I’m only 45 (in a couple months), but weighing all my options, it seems to be the only realistic one.

And maybe, since everyone says I look younger with short hair, it will balance out with the fact that I will look older with white hair, and I’ll look the same age I’ve been looking, which is probably still older than I actually am.


  1. Comment by birdonthewire2008:

    Congrats for making the move. I cut my hair from fairly long to above the shoulder length last summer. I donated my hair to Locks of Love – something over a foot of it. I wish I had taken a picture of the ponytail that was removed before it was carried away for shipping. I did pat it goodbye.

    Warning… you’ll prolly use wayyyy too much shampoo and cream rinse for a while. =)

  2. Comment by RB:

    I had no idea your hair had gotten that long…obviously it has been WAYYY too long since we have gotten together! Let’s try to soon, ‘k?

  3. Comment by lifeischange:

    Bird – lol. I was careful about the shampoo this morning, but I did rake my ears and neck with the comb. Every time I pass a mirror, I say, “Oh yeah, I forgot I did that,” and then I feel sad. But it sure does shorten the getting-ready time in the morning!

    RB – Yep, now I look like I did when you met me. Only older. lol. I’ll catch up with you over the weekend so we can plan to get together.

  4. Comment by HF:

    You have my sympathies regarding untameable hair. I started growing mine about 6 years ago, and by a year ago it was level with my bra strap. But due to repeated colouring and a few holidays which involved swimming in chlorinated pools, it was not in top condition. It also took forever to wash and dry as it was so thick, and tended to frizz when damp.

    I felt kind of sad when I made the decision to have the big chop and go for a chin length bob cut, but I can’t deny it’s so much easier to look after.

  5. Comment by kerro:

    Well done, although I understand how sad for you.

    I have the world’s most boring dead straight hair. I’m still enjoying it long (just past shoulder), but yes, even for me short was easier to look after.

    Funny how the brush just seems to slide off your head with short hair, eh? LOL

  6. Comment by sanityisknocking:

    Hey, grey/white hair can be sexy! Be proud of who you are – we all are! 🙂

  7. Comment by davidrochester:

    Ya know — fwiw, I always think women look younger when they allow their hair to go gray/white than they do when they color it. The colored hair seldom matches the natural changes in skin tone that also happen as the years pass, and the contrast, IMO, looks far “older” than the beauty of naturally-silvering hair.

  8. Comment by Rainbow Socks:

    I agree with sanity that grey hair can be sexy! If you cut it nice 🙂

    And short hair gives you much more authority in any case!

  9. Comment by lifeischange:

    Thanks for all the supportive comments, everybody.

    Yes, David, the gray will look much more natural than the way my color has been looking. I got it too dark and never could afford to have it corrected, so I had to keep making it too dark to keep the continuity – another good thing about short hair. It can grow out.

    I’m still having a problem with the hair on top of my head going in all directions. It used to curl up when it was short in the past, but hasn’t been doing that. I thought it was just in shock after being cut, but now I don’t know . . .


  10. Comment by behindthecouch:

    This is brave! Short hair is far superior.. and just think how much more time you can spend blogging instead of wrestling with it 😉

    My sister-in-law had a pony tail down to the floor and had it all cut off in one go on a whim. She didnt regret it but it took some getting used to.

    Hugs to you.

  11. Comment by Morrighu Badb:

    Awww… honey…. *HUGS* I have really curly hair and I find that it’s MUCH easier to take care of long than short. I don’t have your physical problems but I will share with you what I do. Maybe you can grow it out next time. Have it colored back natural and then as your grey grows in, you can visit a hair dresser and have them blend it into your “colored” hair using a process very similar to highlights. She just needs to see where your grey is so you’ll have to grow it out a bit. Then you’re off the coloring treadmill for good.

    I make sure that I use a really good sulfate free shampoo. I have an awesome conditioner that I add a bit of honey to (add it to the whole bottle and you don’ t have ot keep honey in the shower). I gel it (plopping) and let it dry. I NEVER brush my hair and I NEVER blow dry my hair. The most I do is comb it in the shower and pick it out the rest of the time if it’s tangled. Uusally, I finger comb it and add more gel if I need to “poof it back up” after sleeping on it. Unless I’ve really been wallowing in my sleep, tangles usually just shake right out. I normally sleep in a modified “pineapple” (my hair is too long for a regular pineapple) which takes about 35 seconds to do at night.

    A satin pillow case, a giant shower comb, a pick, and a microtowel. That’s really all you need.

    I whip it up into a french twist and pop a pretty comb into it. I let the curls spill out the top. A pin or two to restrain any over long stands, and voila! The Five Minute hair do.

    Want it even quicker…. get an alligator clip…

  12. Comment by fibrohaven:

    I had no idea there is gluten in hair color! I recently went gluten free to help with my fibromyalgia symptoms and it has been a challenge. Now you’ve got me thinking – what else don’t I know!

    Enjoy your new sassy hairdo. I will be back to read the many posts you have on gluten free living. Thanks!

  13. Comment by lifeischange:

    Morrighu – Thank you for all the info. Sadly, I won’t be growing my hair long again, though. Oh well. I DO have a little more time in the mornings now. 🙂 And it seems to be starting to settle down a little bit, which is a relief.

  14. Comment by lifeischange:

    fibrohaven – It’s amazing how many things have gluten in them, from hair care products, soaps, cosmetics and lotions, even to household cleaning and laundry products. It can seem overwhelming, but it does get easier, and it’s worth it. My FM symptoms are greatly reduced when I can avoid being “glutened” for stretches of time. One of the places where I learned a great deal is the forum at http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free . I also added a link to my sidebar for a Gluten Free Product List that includes several categories.

    I’ve been considering writing a post specifically about what products I use daily. There are others that are gluten free besides the brands I use, but it might be a helpful starting point for someone who feels overwhelmed about having to check out every single thing they use. I remember having a hard time figuring out where to start.

  15. Comment by lifeischange:

    BTC – I can’t imagine having hair to the floor! That would be so hard to take care of! A woman at my mother’s bank has very, very long hair. I can never quite see how long it is because the counter is always in the way, but it seems to be close to her knees. She wears it with part of it in a long braid, and I can’t help but wonder how she does that every morning, how long it takes, and whether someone else does the braiding for her, because it always looks so neat.

  16. Comment by Aunt Jayne:

    I just found a blog called ecocolors right before I stumbled onto your blog!
    I’ll have the article about gluten free hair colour on my blog in a day or two.
    Take care of you


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