LOVE – Falling in Love with My own Hair

by Rachel Mascord, Australia

Make-over aged 15

The first time I coloured my hair, I was fifteen years of age. It was in no way a gesture of teenage rebellion as my Mum took me to get it done. My naturally blonde hair had darkened to a colour that she called “mousey”. What an awful description for a colour! It was a word that said “drab”, “dull” and “plain”. In my desperation to be anything other than “drab, dull and plain” I readily agreed to the process, having recently been dismayed by my appearance in my Year 10 school photo. I thought myself too ugly for words. My hair was the focus of critical attention, and so willingly I surrendered to the offer for transformation via a hair makeover!

Hooked Transformation ­– from mousey to blond

So I was introduced to the wonderful world of hair colouring, and the medieval torture implement known as the streaking cap. For those who are unfamiliar with this device, it is a thick rubber cap that is pulled down over your head. You feel like every hair is being pulled out… slowly. It clenches on to your head for the entire period of the colouring process… about 40 minutes (feels like 4 hours). To add insult to injury, a fine crochet hook is used to gouge into the scalp to fish out strands of hair for bleaching. You sit, coated in blue peroxide, looking like a reject alien extra for Star Wars, but the result is a lovely, natural blonde effect.

That first appointment had me hooked. The pain and suffering were forgotten when my hair was revealed, all gleaming, blow-dried and sparkling. Ah! I was beautiful, blonde, not mousey, not drab and plain. Mum was delighted too, for her blonde daughter had been restored!

My mum’s relationship with her own hair was nothing short of tortured. She deeply hated her hair, was always dissatisfied with the colour, and I never recall her being happy with a cut. There was always something wrong, and she was always wishing her hair were different… straighter, blonder…. something else. She would tear the brush through her hair in self-loathing and fury, and it was truly awful to witness. I could never understand her self-hatred: why did she not just look in the mirror and see how lovely she was? She was a stunningly beautiful woman, but all she saw was hair that didn’t fit her picture of how hair should be.

Changing Hairstyles – to Change Myself

That first colouring experience marked the start of a 28 year relationship of misery and dissatisfaction with my own hair.  At hairdressing appointments I would describe my natural hair colour as “ugly” or “drab”, and then hand over all power to the hairdresser. Whatever they wanted to do, I would go with. The result of handing over to the experts was years of streaks, foils, organic colours, dark brown chunks, with blonde bits… and then attempts at red. So many hairdressers I met loved red. I got into a funny pattern of saying “yes”, and instantly regretting it. I would vow never again, then 2 years later I would forget, say yes to red, only to recall as the towel came off… oh no!… I look dreadful with red hair…. never again!

I also experimented with cuts, styles etc. I would walk into the salon, clutching a picture of the look I wanted, somehow imagining that that woman’s hair would give me her face, and somehow this hairdresser would give me the hair of my dreams. Unsurprisingly, it never happened.

Magazine Looks that Hook

For most of the late 80’s and early 90’s, the chin length pageboy bob was my hairstyle of choice. Every morning I would wrestle with the blow dryer, styling products (that never ever helped), getting a result that was never it. I hated my hair….. loathed it. I looked at pictures of perfect bobs, all smooth and glossy and I would look with frustration at my ‘stupid hair’ that just did not do what it was meant to do!

After that I changed my hair a multitude of times, sometimes super short crops, mid length styles, all of them super high maintenance, and requiring a type of hair I just did not have. I continued this struggle with salons and products… always dissatisfied, always changing hairdressers, always asking their opinion, getting cranky when it didn’t work out. What an exhausting cycle! Just writing it out makes me feel weary!

Bad Hair Day – Enough! 

In 2010, I had one particularly bad hair experience. My current hairdresser was having an argument with her husband and business partner. Her rage and frustration rained down on the heads of all her customers that day. I was too timid to walk out in those days, but was unhappy enough to never ever walk back in – my hair was burned, with a tragic little tuft, so chemically tortured that it poked out at right angles from my head.

That was the last time I coloured my hair.

Enough! Enough of the disempowering cycle of

  • “What do you think I should do?” Or
  • “Can you make me look like this?”

Growing out the colour – towards the natural ME

And I wondered “what is the actual colour of my own hair?” Years of insults about it had passed my lips, but in fact, I could not recall. So I started the slow process of growing the colour out.

This is tough, because your hair looks awful – all the time. I had some support from a skilled haircutter, but it’s very easy to give up when you have inch long roots. Half coloured hair seems to scream “I don’t care!!”  Thankfully, my resolve was strong and I did not give up.

Yet I learned something very interesting as my hair grew out. The natural hair colour always looks plain against that awful horizontal line of colour. The grey hairs stand out dramatically. No wonder we keep going back to deal with regrowth…. all is exaggerated, and for the worse.

Finally, the day came when a very short cut eliminated all colour.

Beautiful Transformation

What a beautiful moment. I was fascinated by what I saw. The colour was a dark blonde, with many little grey/silver highlights. My skin glowed, and my eye colour “popped”. Wow!

Those years of struggle, complaint, and disempowerment were placed under a spotlight. And I understood it was never about the hair dressers…. always it had been about me, and my willingness to give power to others. I always believed and lived as though others knew better than me. When it came to my hair, I let fashion and other people’s taste take precedence.

Until that moment, I had not recognised that the dissatisfaction I was directing at my hair actually revealed the deep-seated dissatisfaction within me.

My Hair – the perfect mirror of self-relationship

My relationship with my hair was a perfect mirror of my relationship with

  • My Body
  • My Personality
  • My Whole way of being

I didn’t like my body, so I was constantly trying to change it with exercise, body toning, aerobics, weights, sport, yoga. It resolutely stayed the same, and boy I hated it! I engaged in all sorts of self-improvement bids, courses and workshops and the like, to fix myself, and make myself into the person I thought I should be…. yes… just like I took that photo into the hairdresser to ask for “this style please”…..

‘Au Naturel’ – Oh so wonderful!

Today, my hair is shoulder length, still its natural colour, with its lovely greys. It curls around the ends, sometimes forming ringlets that I love. I play with it… putting it up in different ways. I don’t try to make it into what it isn’t, but I do love it for what it is.

This blog is in no way “anti-hair-colour”.

And when a woman colours her hair in celebration of her beauty, it is a beautiful thing. The day may come when I choose to colour my hair again…. maybe even red! But if and when that day comes, I will walk into that salon absolutely loving the hair I already have, where the colour will be chosen for fun and to express me, and not to cover up a perceived deficiency, or to make up for an ill-thought lack of beauty.

My choice to stop colouring and revert back to my natural colour allowed me to access a deeper appreciation and love for myself as I naturally am. It opened my eyes to patterns of self-loathing and reaction that had been running the show my whole life. Now, when I look at that Year 10 school photo I do not see “plain, drab and mousey”. What I do see is a young woman who did not appreciate and express the beauty that was already there….

But today, through the self-loving choice to be all of me, free of outer influences and pressures, I know that beauty, and live it with absolute certainty.

Further reading (Dentistry Part 1 – A woman’s choice to choose her profession over herself)

Inspired by the work of Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon

374 thoughts on “LOVE – Falling in Love with My own Hair

  1. Thanks for the honesty and raw expression, I realised reading I have that same contempt at times for my hair, in fact it’s surprising how much focus goes into how it looks, instead of loving and accepting my whole self.

  2. I am so with you on this Rachel, I used to walk the streets pineing to have the hair of another, now with a deepening self love and self appreciation I have to say I love my hair and I absolutely love me!

  3. I love how you write Rachel you expose with a gorgeous humour how we seek to make changes to our outer appearance without first looking within and enjoying ourselves for who we are and not what we look like. At 15 we are at a sensitive vulnerable age, where we are growing into women and look to compare ourselves to everyone else, so it is an age where we need to be supported to know that who we are is something to cherish and adore and not be criticised or judged. What is lovely that after your long journey with your hair you were able to look at your school photo in year 10 and appreciate the beautiful you, you had not taken the time to appreciate back then.

  4. Thank you, Rachel, for writing this. It pretty much mirrors my own experience with hairdressers and the relationship I have had with my mousy hair. I’m considering growing out my hair colour because my hair is drying out and feels awful. So, I am looking forward to what emerges.

  5. It feels like the attachment to dying your hair is a constant momentum to avoid your true beauty. I say this because of all the stories I have heard like yours Rachel, all start of with the discontentment within from what has been felt and said from others about your natural state of being. I would say that many probably without realising it, find it difficult to see a woman in her true beauty and through comments and movements try to shut them down and put them off embracing it in full.

  6. I can relate to years of giving my power away to hairdressers, asking how they thought my hair should be – trusting them more than myself. That has changed and I now love to get my hair cut in a way that I feel to – I no longer take in photos of other women to try and look like them. It feels gorgeous to have this self-acceptance and to be playful with my hair.

  7. This is so gorgeous; ‘ I play with it… putting it up in different ways. I don’t try to make it into what it isn’t, but I do love it for what it is.’ How beautiful to accept you and your hair just the way they are, ‘au natural’.

  8. What I read in your blog Rachel how important it is to discern why we want to change the colour of our hair or our figure, basically everything we seek to change asks for an honesty of why we are not appreciating who we are and how we look like.

  9. A beautiful article to read Rachel. I love how you have come to truly feel and know that there is nothing that can change the true beauty emanating from within and re-claiming it, however much previous abuse is heaped upon ourselves, judging what is perceived to be awful by ideals and beliefs of what is acceptable to others.
    “But if and when that day comes, I will walk into that salon absolutely loving the hair I already have, where the colour will be chosen for fun and to express me, and not to cover up a perceived deficiency, or to make up for an ill-thought lack of beauty”.

  10. This is beautiful Rachel, accepting and appreciating ourselves as we are is so important, ‘My choice to stop colouring and revert back to my natural colour allowed me to access a deeper appreciation and love for myself as I naturally am.’

  11. I like how you recognised your hair was a reflection of your relationship with yourself, ‘Until that moment, I had not recognised that the dissatisfaction I was directing at my hair actually revealed the deep-seated dissatisfaction within me.’

  12. Our hair is an amazing mirror of our relationship with ourselves, so often carrying high expectations about how it could somehow magically transform us into a more acceptable version of ourselves but also how it reflects how we are taking care of ourselves. For years I was dissatisfied with the condition of my hair as it had a tendency to be frizzy at the back and a mind of its own when I tried to corral it into being a certain way which never worked. Since taking more loving care of myself and appreciating my hair I have been enjoying experimenting and it feels like this reflects my more playful and evolving relationship with myself.

  13. Thankfully those old days of torture by crochet hook have long gone and your blog reminded me of how much I used to hate the pain and harden my body as a result really having to focus my mind thinking it was worth it to feel better about myself once the blonde highlights were revealed! As you say holding an image of how we need to look never works, as we are always measuring ourselves as less and not willing to accept, appreciate and love ourselves as we naturally are.

  14. Any moment any day it’s possible to hold yourself in complete Love. Do this enough and you’ll build a well of inner strength that will transform everything and your relationships with others too.

  15. I loved reading this. It is beautiful to realise that to embrace and accept what we have is actually the ultimate way to loving our hair, because when we embrace, love and accept ourselves, that comes with it naturally so.

  16. Loved reading this, thank you for sharing. When we don’t appreciate who we are and what we already have, we’re in a self bashing cycle that only ever momentarily stops when something looks like what we’ve deemed as acceptable or good. So relentless! No one else is judging us so harshly, so why do we do it to ourselves? It feels like we get into that cycle when we don’t appreciate where we’re at or anything about ourselves, so then it becomes easy to allow in those negative self critical thoughts.

  17. It is interesting how a bad hair day can sometimes affect us, usually to isn’t just the hair that’s tricky in that day. I loved reading this Rachel, and am aware how important it has felt to me to have a good hair cut. I went grey as a young adult and hated it at that time, now I am coming to accept myself and my hair, but I still sometimes have a little colour put in it.

  18. Funny how we set ourselves up to be less. Even the description here of drab and dull hair instantly means we give our power away to a hairdresser who will of course try to change it. But in this we don’t appreciate what is there and why.

  19. Lately my hair has been more in my focus, not because I want to change it but there is a pull to care for it more than I have normally. Highlighting the increased pull to care for myself overall.

  20. I loved what you have shared here Rachel and wow how I can relate as it was the story of my life as well . . . and boy did I hate coming out of the hairdressers . . . so much so that I started colouring and cutting my own hair. I laughed as I read your words as it was like listening to me talking to me all those years ago. And spot on it was a deep-seated dissatisfaction I had with myself. And yes, I thought everyone knew better than me also. Oh, how I have poisoned myself over the years! What a waste of time and energy.

    1. Interesting how we can literally poison ourselves with the strong dyes but also how we feed the poison of self loathing and it is only when we are willing to build a more loving relationship with ourselves that we can change this pattern and free up so much more time and energy for living life.

      1. Yes, it is exhausting buying into stories of dissatisfaction with self . . . what a distraction this is from getting on with living a life that reflects who we truly are which has nothing to do with what our hair looks like and everything to do with being the love that we are.

  21. Great to read this again and share your journey from feeling your attributes were deficient to loving and appreciating all of you, beautifully confirming that it is more than ok to love ourselves and allow ourselves to appreciate the beauty that is there that we might miss if we were to believe the magazines , films or even sometimes other people who tell us we are not ok and would be so much better another way.

  22. This blog will speak to many women who have had a dissatisfaction with their hair and have given their power away. One of the best cuts I have ever had was when I stated what I wanted and not what others thought I should have.

  23. I am slowly growing my hair out at the moment to its natural colour after years of dying it. I got to the point where I wasn’t sure of my natural colour anymore. And i am enjoying the process, watching as it takes shape and the quality of it. It is a fun process I would never have considered before when wrapped up in magazines and the latest trends.

  24. I agree, and unfortunately this is very common in young women of today, ‘What I do see is a young woman who did not appreciate and express the beauty that was already there….’. How wonderful the self loving choices have supported you to know and claim your beauty.

  25. A great sharing and example of how easily we can give our power away, ‘ I understood it was never about the hair dressers…. always it had been about me, and my willingness to give power to others.’

  26. I thought I didn’t know how to blow dry my hair and would feel very inconfident if I had to blow dry my hair on my own. (My partner is a professional hair stylist) One day I had to do this on my own, I didn’t leave my hair wet and blew dry my hair with absolute focus and love. I do not have the skills perhaps but the result felt very precious and delicate. And now I know I can blow dry hair too just not in the picture of what the world defines.

    1. Putting the focus on our quality, and how we are when we’re doing something, and not waiting for the end result or picture to be achieved – this is deep contentment and joy, lived and expressed in each moment, not chased after, and not something to be earned later on.

  27. Appreciating who we are and our attributes…… and then if we feel to wear makeup, colour our hair etc to enhance our natural beauty. So different to trying to cover up and or hide.

  28. I am always seeming to be having a bad hair day no matter what I try and I am getting tired of colouring it. What it is though is our relationship with ourselves, as you have shared the more we are willing to love ourselves for just who we are and not wanting to be anything else this then reflects in all areas of our life … including our hair. So this just shows me I need to truly deepen my relationship with myself .. something I good at talking about but not fully putting into practice!

  29. I dyed my hair blonde. Then it was every 5 weeks back to the hairdresser for more chemicals and a long amount of time. Recently I sat with this and it just didn’t feel true to keep changing the colour of my natural hair. So slowly I am growing out my natural colour and I am enjoying the process. Already i can feel a huge amount of space opening up and much more appreciation for my natural colour.

  30. It really doesn’t matter the colour of a woman’s hair, the size of her body, the clothes she wears, the make-up she applies etc.. yes, these all confirm and support her but what really matters is a woman living and knowing who she is.

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