aging

Tracy enters the grey zone

It’s funny how sometimes you just know you’re ready for a change. Somewhere back in January I had a strong desire to do something different with my hair. When your hair is short like mine, the only thing you really can do is grow it. But it was also blond, and I was starting not to like the blond anymore. Apart from the three hour costly appointments at the salon, I just felt like the regular bleaching wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.

I told my stylist about my decision and she got positively excited. So, slowly over the past couple of haircuts, we’ve been cutting out the blond. And last Thursday was the end of it. No more blond:


Image description: Head shot of Tracy, short cropped grey hair, smiling, wearing a black hoodie with purple writing on it, abstract painting in the background

I mostly like it. It has made me feel liberated from a beauty regime that has taken up hours of my life for the past 20 years. Instead of being in the salon for three hours, I now only need to be there for half an hour. And that is likely going to reduce further because now that the blond is all gone and I’m back to my natural colour, I’m going to grow it a big (I said I needed a change!).

It’s definitely going to take a bit of getting used to. Of the many friends I have who are my age, the vast majority colour their hair or bleach it. I only know a handful of women in their 50s who let their hair go natural. I do see this as something of a political issue, in the sense that if we are all thinking we need to keep ourselves from going grey we stigmatize grey hair.

On the other hand, apparently there are people who pay good money and go to great lengths to have grey hair. Young people, even, if this Glamour article is any indication of the demographic. And there is a much-followed Pinterest board called “women who rock grey hair.” And on that board, most of them are “of a certain age” and they look awesome with their grey hair.

I hope more women in my circle decide to go for it too so I have some company in this. But meanwhile, that’s where I’m at these days where my hair is concerned. I know that there are many reasons people colour their hair. For me, it was simply to fend off the grey. And that runs counter to my resolve not to worship at the alter of youth, but instead to accept that as I age, I can expect to see some physical changes, and the natural colour of my hair happens to be one of them.

Anyone else out there gone from colouring or bleaching to allowing their natural grey (if it is grey) to shine?

fashion · Guest Post

Sweaty hair solutions (Guest post)

Like Sam, who has written about her Athletic Hair, helmet head, and summer time curls I have short hair. But mine is straight, and I wear it longer in the winter (in part to keep my head warm). My main goal with my own athletic hair is pretty simple: keep the hair from my eyes, keep the sweat from my eyes. I also like to keep the hair from my ears (I don’t know why; it drives me crazy when I am exercising).

There’s an obvious solution: headbands. I’ve tried most of them, little strips of elastic that UnderArmour or Lululemon retails for $10, bits of lycra/cotton with a logo.

This summer, I whipped up a bunch of them for myself, and I handstamped them with my own version of fitspiration: Badass on the ball; plays hard; faster, stronger; karma … I was wearing “plays hard” when I took an elbow to the face and ended up with broken glasses, so I feel I can claim with some authority (*cough*) that they help with performance.

Badass headband
The first creation

 

I wore the headband to a soccer game, and the orders started coming in from my teammates. Seems a lot of us fit feminists like to support each other’s creative outlets at the same time as dealing with those pesky tendrils that jump out of ponytails. A posted picture on facebook led to some custom requests, too – my favourite is Kim’s “Queen of the Mountain” which came after her epic ride here.

Sam asked me to write about the headbands in the summer, and I was reticent. I didn’t want to broadcast personal contact info on the blog (although it is easy enough to find me given public directories) and was unsure how people could go about ordering something without that kind of info. It’s a side amusement to make them, not a business – or at least not a formal one. But, if you too could use a little reminder about just how badass you are when you play a sport or workout, please let me know.  You can message me on facebook (I’m in the Fit is a Feminist Issue group) or look me up at Western University. The handstamped, handmade headbands are $5 (shipping extra). They are one size fits most – even people with big heads and lots of hair. My long-haired nephews used headbands for fencing camp this summer (some with appropriate words for children!).  I’m happy to customize your headband (within length limits).

cycling · fashion

Athletic hair, helmet head, and summer time curls

Do you remember Beautiful Crissy the doll? (Warning: Answering this may date you.)

“Everyone knows that beautiful hair makes a girl look beautiful.”

1969. I was five years old.

It struck me as a terrific idea, still does. Long hair that you pull out when it’s useful, store away when it’s not.

Today this, 26 Badass Short Haircuts To Inspire Your Summer Look, came across my Facebook newsfeed and I was tempted to go shorter for the summer. But the thing is, I like my curls, and I only really get to appreciate them during the summer.

Here’s the winter problem: I’m at the gym, I workout and shower, and then there’s a polar vortex going on outside, and if I leave with wet hair, it freezes. I hate icicle head. So I blow dry it and then it’s straight. I don’t have the patience for marathon hair drying sessions so in the winter I keep my hair straight and short.

In the summer I have the luxury of letting it dry naturally curly, though I haven’t done the full on “curly girl” thing. So I tend to let it grow long and shaggy in the summer months, which kind of fits my not teaching, few meetings, some camping, lots of time on the bike summer program. Yes, I get lots of writing done but I can do that wearing summer dresses at work (see Riding bikes in skirts and dresses, totally fine if that’s your thing, here’s how) or shorts and tank tops at home. Not much of a dress code.

I tend not to stress over helmet hair. I’m not one of those people who is too cool to wear a helmet. But if you do worry about helmet hair there’s a great series of articles on the Total Women’s Cycling page about helmet appropriate hair styles. See http://totalwomenscycling.com/lifestyle/hairstyles-for-helmets-half-up-hair-tuck-22206/.

There’s also lots of very funky bike helmets out there. These from from the giggle guide are pretty cool.

image

But I’m still looking at the short hair pictures (though I know there atre advantages to pony tails they’re not my thing) and wondering how short I could go and still have curls….

Oh and I have complicated views about helmets. I’m opposed to laws requiring them for adults and in London I generally wear one. I don’t need a law to force me. But I rent bixi bikes happily in Montreal and go helmet free, ditto Amsterdam etc. I’ll blog about this issue sometime.

image

What’s your solution for combining an active lifestyle and summer time hair?