Saturday, 9 June 2012

I’m cuckoo for cocoa (or maybe just plain cuckoo)

There are many needless vanities I have left behind. I wear plain clothes to help me focus on my spiritual journey rather than my outward appearance, I don’t wear any make up except some lip balm and I don’t shave my legs or my pits. That’s right, I’m a hairy fairy. I do still pluck the witchy hairs that seem to grow out of my chin as I get older, I do have some pride left. But mostly I am happy to be naturally me and I am radiant with happiness and the love of God and rude health and so I glow.

But hair seems to be my downfall.  When I went to plain dress I seemed to focus all my negative vanity issues on my hair. My hair is fine and straight and refuses to lie down where it should or stick up in a punky style the way I want it to in this damp climate that we call England.  My lowest point was Spiderman catching me checking myself out in the back of a spoon--the only reflective surface I could find. Sigh….so I started wearing a head covering. It really did help because now the part of my hair that refuses to behave cannot be seen. Problem solved, right?

Not really. I have issues with hair colour. I really, really, really hate my natural hair colour. It is a mouse brown the exact shade of a cardboard box. It has a way of making me look a bit pale with dark shadows under my eyes. I feel ugly when I see it. Growing up my mother constantly voiced her opinion that it didn’t suit me. I have no idea if it really suits me or not--maybe I am just really pale with dark shadows under my eyes. But having been told all my life that it is wrong I have a very hard time shaking that feeling. Spiderman says I am the loveliest woman in the world and I agree with about 95% of that. Except for my hair colour I seem to always add as a mental addendum to every compliment he gives me. How sad is that?

I have been dying my hair since I was 15. I’m now 42. You do the maths. It has been various shades of red from shiny conker to Ronald McDonald orange (that was an accident!) as well as black for a while in my “goth“ phase, blonde for a while the first year we were married, purple for a while in the 10th grade (I got put into in-school suspension for that one--apparently my hair colour was against the dress code) but mostly in the last few years I have been a medium brown called “golden chestnut.”  In recent years I have switched from the cheap ones that you buy at the chemist full of nasties to the one you buy for twice as much at the health food shop that has considerably less nasties, but still has its share of them.

I was dyeing my hair every 5 weeks at £9 every time. That’s just about £90 a year. I am in frugal mode once again so I set about trying to think if there was a way to tame the beast that lurks within (who keeps saying ugly stuff about my hair) and a healthier, cheaper solution.

A year or so ago I had discovered that you can boil some tea, sage and rosemary and let it cool, strain out the bits and then thicken it with cornstarch and heat it up until it became a gel, then let it cool, then rub it into your hair, then wrap with cling film, then let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse and it made your hair darker. Whew! Did you get tired of reading all those steps cos I sure as shit got tired of doing all that because you had to do it EVERY WEEK. I tried making up a big batch to last a couple of weeks but it went all funky as it had no preservatives. So I went back to old standby of “golden chestnut” in a £9 box. But now at week 6 with no golden chestnut to be found I decided to try the natural way again.

So I went back and did a bit more research. Thank you Google. I read that the same mixture of black tea, sage and rosemary could be made, strained and put in a spray bottle to cover grey by “staining“ it. Just make a new batch once a week. It makes sense--think how tea stains the bottoms of mugs.  Hmmm… I don’t actually have grey yet but that might be useful. Then I read that if you mix equal amounts of cocoa powder and shampoo together to make a frosting and you wash your hair with it, it will brown up lighter hair. Hmmm.. That sounded really good so after exercise I tried it and followed it up with a spray of the tea and herb solution.

Ya know what? It worked.  It is not dark like I dyed it, but it *is* slightly warmer…slightly browner…slightly nicer. And this is just day one. I think the colour will get richer and darker with cumulative use.

Now what I really wish is I didn’t feel like I needed to do this--but I do. Overwhelmingly I do.  Lately I have been thinking about what I need to feel happy. Darker hair makes me happy and then helps me to go on and do other things that make me happy like play the ukulele and not sitting around all po-faced every time I catch sight of myself in the mirror.

And cocoa powder and tea and herbs are much better for my body as well as my purse. So I guess I am cuckoo for cocoa or as Spiderman often reminds me--just plain cuckoo.

1 comment:

  1. You are beautiful no matter what color your hair is (even the Ronald McDonald orange that caused so much angst between us). You are a beautiful soul inside and out.

    And I am sooooo sad that I put that burden of hair color on you in your childhood. I had no idea the imprint would be that strong in your heart. I was just being my own mum, who never had a filter between her mouth and her brain.

    mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Damn.