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I spent the bulk of my late 20’s and 30’s with hair so long I could sit on it.

Initially it was a rebellious move. I was railing against all the years of short, bad, pixie-like haircuts that made me feel like a bigger Spaz than I already was. In high school all the pretty girls had long tresses, some with, some without the iconic Farrah Fawcett feathering that permeated that era. The cool girls could style their coif perfectly with a flick of their wide-toothed comb and proved expert in sporting the perfectly peroxided lightened hair. In junior year of high school I dumped two bottles of peroxide on my chestnut hair and promptly turned it orange. By the time I got to college the mullet, mohawk, and punk locks were the styles of choice. I had a short, bad perm – which was the result of salvaging a long, bleached out, burnt up perm. By the time it had grown out enough to be shaped into a mullet with perfect 80’s triangular sideburns I decided from that point forward to swear off beauty salons altogether.

And I did for about four years and nearly 12″ of hair growth. It was only about two months before my wedding that I opted for a layered, just-past-the-shoulder cut. After that I experimented with color at home; badly. I dyed my hair all the wrong shades of red and even attempted a do it yourself “frosting”. Keep in mind that my fine motor skills suck and you should get the gist of the results. After a while I had moved too many times and ventured too far from anyone I trusted could do anything, so I did nothing. I twisted my hair up and secured it with a giant banana clip at the back of my head. I even slept that way. It looked atrocious, but at that time I hadn’t yet reached my epiphany concerning the impact my appearance had on others.

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Fast forward ten years of looking like a Grateful Dead groupie. Then one day someone dear to me commits suicide. I am not surprised, but I am devastated beyond words. In a show of mourning I cut most of my hair off myself. It was a symbol of a time ended that would never return. It looked awful, but I didn’t care. Eventually I summoned up the courage to go into a small local salon. Being new to the place I didn’t know who to ask for, let alone what to expect.

I really lucked out that day. Turns out I not only got a great haircut, I also made a great friend. In the 12 years since Lani Barrett has cut, highlighted, and dyed my hair a myriad of colors in three different salons. When we met she was not confident enough in her own abilities to give me the style she thought I should have. Today I sport a cut from the Twilight movies – the “Alice” to be exact – and it was entirely her idea. It’s the best hairstyle I’ve ever had (and the worst movie I’ve ever seen).

Six years ago, out of the blue, she asked, “Want a blue streak in your hair?”

How could I resist? I loved it, hubby loved it. Everyone else hated it, so we switched to purple, which I’ve been wearing in some capacity ever since. In fact, as I write this I have two foils at either side of my head feeding purple dye onto two bleached out sections of my hair. In case you’re wondering I’m not at the salon. Every other week my friend comes over and helps me clean my house. It’s more accurate to say I help her because she does the bulk of it. Aside from Mr Spashionista and I Lani also did more to help rebuild this house after the Nashville 2010 flood than anyone else. She even cooked and delivered a surprise 20th anniversary dinner for us that year because, obviously, we weren’t able to celebrate otherwise.

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If only she liked to go shopping.  Oh, well; nobody’s perfect.

Lani currently works at Cindy’s Hair and Tan in Ashland City. If you’re lucky enough to live in the area you can make an appointment by calling 615 792-1141.

Do you have any “hair-raising” experiences in the evolution of your style? Are you okay with showing your grey or do you banish it from sight? Do you think it’s fun or folly for women over 40 to dye their hair in non-traditional colors?