The Perks of Being Bald

Believe it or not, I have actually enjoyed some benefits of baldness the past few months since going through chemo (read about that here).

  • Cost-saving: no salon cuts or colors or expensive products
  • No. Bad. Hair. Days. EVER.
  • No cursing the humidity, rain, wind, fog (see above)
  • No hat or bed head
  • Showers are *super* fast
  • No time spent styling
  • When it’s really hot, the car ac hits your SCALP and cools you like INSTANTLY
  • You don’t have to shave your legs. Ever. (cuz the chemo makes you bald *everywhere*)
  • No chin hairs!
  • You can drive with the windows down and not worry about messing up or tangling your hair

So many perks to baldness. And yet….

Way back in the beginning of September, about a month after getting my head shaved, I was getting weary of the head scarves I was wearing every day and I knew they were not going to cut it once the cold weather came. So my daughter and I checked out a local wig shop.

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There were a GAZILLION options. And people had been saying things to me like “ooh, you can really have fun with a wig – go crazy!” But…I didn’t want to be “crazy.” I just wanted to feel like ME again.

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I finally narrowed the options down to one…although I couldn’t try it in the color I wanted, so I had to order it just based on the style and HOPE the color that I selected from a teeny tiny little sample was going to be right. Plus, the name of the wig was Hunter, which is one of my wonderful past dogs.

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Then I waited. First the wig shop made a mistake on the insurance form and the claim was denied. I spoke to the insurance company who said well THAT’S a mistake, of COURSE you’re covered…have the wig shop people send a corrected form and we’ll expedite the process. Then I waited again. Eventually the insurance responded to the claim…denied again! WTH??? Now my work’s HR person got on their case…I mean, REALLY got on their case…and FINALLY, just last week, after two months of nonsense..I finally got my wig!!!

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It’s taking a little getting used to…it’s certainly not like having your own hair, and I won’t even wear it every day…but at least I can when I want to! And I finally feel like ME again, and that’s what I wanted.

PS: this was the surprise I mentioned in Sunday’s Week in Review post!

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My Week in Review: Week 36

This week felt quiet. I think I was just mentally exhausted from the past month…various personal things, work things, physical things…ugh, I hate to whine but sometimes that’s all you have left. Ha. The good news is I allowed myself some mental downtime (ha ha, I can just hear certain people thinking, “aren’t you ALWAYS on mental downtime?”) and I think I feel ready to ease into the week ahead…especially knowing that it’s a short work week and even the holiday day is not fraught with work work work.

So….if I remember correctly, last weekend was a 3-day weekend? I think Veteran’s Day was that Friday. Or am I week off? It’s very hard to keep track of time these days. Anyway, ONE DAY when I had no reason to leave the apartment, I just relaxed on the sofa and read The Magnolia Story, the back-story of Joanna and Chip Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper fame. Sigh. I just adore them. And after reading their story, I love them even more.

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A friend and I did a little street art hunt in the Bronx…and we made a friend.

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Back at work I got the sweetest little surprise gifty from my office mate Shannon (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).

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I also pulled a Dumb Bunny move and got my hand stuck in the lid of a wipes container. A co-worker had to hack-saw it off me. It was…sigh. Entertaining? Painful? Ridiculous. It was definitely ridiculous.

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And then Tuesday was the big day, it was Use A Groupon to FINALLY get a Haircut Day…fraught with the usual anxieties…why is it SO hard to find someone who is capable of doing a GOOD cut AND that listens to what you asked for?? And usually I spend a lot of money on cut&color so this isn’t a case of “you get what you pay for.” I just figured I’m not usually happy ANYWAY, at least this way I won’t have spent a lot of money. The stylist was darling, very quiet and polite. I don’t like having to have a conversation the whole time. I like to just stew in my own nervousness as I watch more and more hair falling to the floor. And he SEEMED to really take my instructions and desires and pictures to heart…but I ended up with the same cut I always seem to get no matter what I say! I don’t understand that. If my hair is a One Trick Pony why can’t someone just TELL me that. Or if THEY are incapable of doing what I’m asking for, please just SAY that. So, in the end, I don’t think it’s a bad CUT, it’s just not what I wanted…and it’s a little hard for me work with. I will probably go back to the same stylist at least one more time, I can understand it taking some time to really understand a client’s wants…but this time I can at least say, “it got quite a bit shorter than I’d wanted last time,” and “please don’t do so much end thinning” and maybe we can come to a meeting of the…something…shears?

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He was able to shape it pretty nicely. I haven’t quite mastered it yet and it looks Not Quite Right in a slightly different way every day.

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I got new booties and we had a lot of rain. Which means a lot of the colorful leaves came off the trees and we’re nearing the end of The Beautiful Time of Year. Fortunately Christmas lights will go up soon and then there’ll be that to enjoy.

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Friday was a little respite from the normal workday and Shannon and I attended Philanthropy Day, a day-long fundraising conference. The best part was the organization I work for nominated a 13-year-old boy to be honored as Future Philanthroper (or something like that) and he was chosen! At 10 years old he started an organization called Birthday Back to help people in need. Instead of asking for gifts for your birthday, you ask for donations to be made to certain charities. He’s raised nearly $50,000 in the past three years and donated all of the money onto charities. One year we were the recipient and that’s how we knew of him. He’s such a great (and adorable!) young man, we couldn’t be more proud of him or honored that he calls us his friends. If you’re interested in getting involved or reading more about his story, here is the website Birthday Back.

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And that was my week! How was *your* week?

 

 

Product Review: Fudge Violet Toning Shampoo & Conditioner

I have had many hair colorists over the years and I always preface the event with one caveat: DO NOT TURN MY HAIR RED. Nothing against red hair, it’s lovely on natural redheads and certain skin tones…but I am/have neither of those things and on me it just looks BAD. Were you a 70s teen? Remember Sun-In?? Nuff said.

And yet…almost every trip to the colorist ends up with me still seeing red! It may not be immediately afterwards in the salon…it may be later in my car with the sunroof open and the sunlight shining down on my newly colored bangs…it may be a week or so later…but I am *always* disappointed.

Not long ago I had a conversation about this with a friend and she said yes, hair dye oxidizes and turns “brassy.” Oh. Oh? I’d heard the term before but never really connected it with my issue, but once I heard her say that I thought, brassy, that’s a good description. I have naturally dark blonde/light brown ashy hair. And that’s the color I WANT. I color to cover the greys…sooo many greys…and not a GOOD grey, some people can really pull that look off, but not me. ANYWAY. I want to color my hair to as close to its natural color as possible. Not Sun-In Yellowy Orangey Red.

Just a few weeks after that another friend colored her hair, bleached it to a much lighter blonde than it had previously been…and the shade was not quite right to her, so she went to Ulta to investigate…and a salesperson there told her that the water here on Long Island causes hair dyes to oxidize and that using a violet shampoo (because purple is the opposite of orange on the color spectrum) will help take out the…BRASSY tones. There was that word again. But she tried the violet shampoo…and it helped! I was encouraged. She had bought the last bottle of magic hair fixer at Ulta so I started doing research online for violet “brassiness fixing” shampoos…and found some YouTube videos with super fans of a product called “Fudge.” And EVERY good girl deserves fudge, so…I ordered a bottle of shampoo and conditioner and anxiously awaited its arrival from the UK.

In the meantime, my hair has gotten lighter and lighter as I’ve been in the sun…and has been turning a particularly unattractive shade of light yellowy greyish-brown (if I saw a paint this color I would probably call it “Diarrhea Brown”).

So, Today is the Day to test out the magic and see if it helps…I took a couple before pictures….and then headed to the shower…

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This is the magic…

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This is what’s inside the bottle, oooohhhh ahhhhhh…

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This is what it looked like on my head for 5 minutes….

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And this…is the Ta-Da! AFTER!!!

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Okay, was it MAGIC? Uhm, no. Did it make a DIFFERENCE? I think yes. Granted, it was hard to show before and after pictures that were truly comparing apples to apples. In the before, my hair hadn’t been shampooed in two days and it always looks lighter the longer it goes without washing. Also, the light was a little different an hour later when we did the after pictures…AND I think more grey shows when I have my hair up cuz there’s more grey underneath. That said, I STILL think my hair looks closer to brown than yellow in the after pictures. And it might have some residual build-up over time, as well.

But aside from the color magic is this…you know when you color your hair at home out of a box? And you get that teeny tiny little trial size conditioner? And it’s like the best conditioner EVER? But you can only get it with hair color and it’s only enough for one hair washing?? THIS CONDITIONER FELT LIKE THAT!!!!! My hair felt like MERMAID hair in the shower as I was rinsing out the conditioner, it was lovely. And it’s SUPER soft now and smells really really good.

It was a little on the expensive side, but not horrendously so…I got it from Feel Unique and it was $27 for the two bottles, plus $3 shipping. I got the package in about 10 days. To extend the supply, I think I’ll just use it once a week.

I do see similar products locally, Clairol makes one called Shimmer Lights, which is about $4 less per bottle and can probably be found at CVS or Sally Beauty Supply.

But I definitely give this product, Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo & Conditioner, a thumbs up.

And you know what kills me? All the years of me complaining to salon colorists about my reddish hair, and not one ever mentioned a product like this to me! It took a salesperson at Ulta (GO ULTA!) to spread the word.

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