Adventures in Beautyland: My Obsession with My Hair Started Early

(My dad never forgave me for cutting my hair off after Kindergarten.)

I have been changing my hair, and thinking about my hair, and obsessing about my hair since I can remember. (I here are the pictures to prove it!)

(First Grade. My Mom curled my hair every morning.)

I went from pig tails to a feathered short style to a Dorothy Hamill in the span of a year. I was always looking through magazines and taking Polaroids of hairstyles I saw on television (during the broadcast, which was how we tech savvy girls in elementary school did it.) I was obsessed with my hair and how it could look better.

(Summer after 2nd grade. I was so proud of how we got my hair to curl at the bottom. It took over an hour.)

In fact, I just called my Mom to ask when I got my first perm. The answer? Fourth grade. That seems really young to me now, but knowing me and my obsession with hair, I am sure my Mom relented to make me stop bugging her. No one gets in the way of me and my hair (or a good lip gloss, for that matter).

(Me on the Hello Dolly! Train. I loved those streamer barrettes.)

When I saw the movie The Legend of Billie Jean, I chopped off my own hair off in the bathroom. Thank goodness the person who cut my hair also lived down the street.

(Best movie of 7th grade. Fair is fair!)

Then the following summer, my Aunt Nancy gave me a perm. I remember she was on the phone and I was engrossed in actually getting to WATCH MTV (we didn't have cable until I was 18). We left the perm on too long. My hair was fried and had to be gelled within an inch of its life not to look super fuzzy.

(This is still a source of tension between my Aunt and I over this.)

I loved the accessories, the hair spray, and the invention of mousse changed my life. But the hair product that I couldn't live without? Summer Soleil by L'Oreal.

Sun-In was popular and everyone was laying out and getting blonde. However, I was more likely to use sunless tanner, which my friend with fancy divorced parents was more than happy to buy us. It smelled awful and turned us orange, just like the Sun-In left our hair.

Summer Soleil was the only thing that kept me looking like a realistic blonde, without being too fake. However, I never looked quite as good as the girl on the box I so desperately wanted to be.

I think I used that hair color from 6th grade until my sophomore year in college. Which, quite honestly, is longer than any other product I have ever remained devoted to in my entire life. When it would go on sale at the local drugstore or Woolworths, I would buy four or five boxes at a time. I had to make sure it was always within my reach. Now my hair color changes every few weeks and I can't fathom being the same color for more than 3 months, let alone for 9 years.

Summer Soleil has since been discontinued, but I was able to find chat boards where women were still buying expired product on eBay as late as 2005. And if I were still a blonde, I would be right there with them.

What products were you unable to live without? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. I'm loving your latest hair style! Cut and color are fab!!

  2. Damn, Kelly, you were so blonde! I had no idea. What is it in the Harford County drinking water that turns blonde kids brown?

  3. Great article, Kelly! I have been obsessed with my hair for years....because it is probably the worst hair anyone could ever be cursed to have. It is not only very thick, but also very curly and course. It does not grow grows out. Think a combination of Don King and the Jackson Five. I have learned to deal with it through the years, but I could never live without my hair dryer, round brush, and heavy duty flat iron! I guess we all want what we don't have!


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