Actually, this secret was revealed publicly years ago when I was a “helping mom” in my daughter’s preschool class. Miss MaryAnn was pulling items out of a bag that represented the day’s theme. One by one, she pulled out a brush, a hair dryer and curling iron, then asked my daughter if she could guess what they were going to talk about that day.
My daughter replied, “I’ve never seen any of those things in my life.”
Now, if Miss MaryAnn would have pulled out a child’s pink comb and some hair bows, my daughter would have recognized those and spared me the embarrassment, but instead, the cat was let out of the bag along with all the hair care accessories.
A couple of years later, my stylist decided it would be fun to straighten my hair. Afterward, I picked my son up from school and asked if I looked different. He said, “Yeah, did you comb your hair?”
At this point, I’d like to state that I have excellent hygiene habits in every other way, just a strong dislike of primping. When I was little, I had very long hair and, after washing it, my dad would spray it with “No More Tangles” and comb it out while blow drying it for what seemed like days. Was this the source of my contempt for hair care?
Actually not, seeing as how I went on to spend hours upon hours in high school perfecting my Farrah flip. Back then, my curling iron was as important to me as my blemish concealer stick and knock-off Sergio Valente jeans.
No, the actual point at which I swore off primping was right before I headed off to college when my mom suggested, for ease and practicality, that I get a perm. Now, as anyone from the ‘80s can relate, making my big hair even bigger sounded like a great idea to me. And that was it. A new, lazier Kelly was born, and I never looked back.
My mom was absolutely right — it was easy. I could just roll out of bed and go — and I loved it.
The only problem was, having never had curly hair before, I wasn’t sure how to comb it — so I didn’t. As you can imagine, this evolved into a look that resembled something between Medusa and a Rastafarian in a wind storm.
Then, one day, I met a girl with naturally curly hair who shared a hack with me. She told me to put conditioner in my hair after washing, then use my fingers to comb through it in the shower — a technique I still use to this day (thus the lack of comb or brush in my possession).
Sure, I stopped perming my hair long, long ago, but my natural waves have afforded me the same laziness and minimal effort to which I’d grown accustomed. Some mornings, I still wake up looking like ‘80s Jon Bon Jovi or the kid who befriends Mad Max in “The Road Warrior” (Google it and you’ll see what I mean!).
And just when I thought my hair couldn’t be more of a hot mess, another component was added to the mix — color.
My whole life I had blonde-ish hair, until I had kids, which for some strange reason turned my hair dark. I couldn’t get used to it, so I took the plunge and got some highlights. I milked these for a full year at a time, but somewhere along the line, my highlights turned into a full-fledged dye job.
Now, for those of you who color your hair, you know once a year just doesn’t cut it. A two-month routine is ideal, but something, not surprisingly, I struggle with and just can’t seem to do. Therefore, I’m currently walking around rocking a hideous old person ombre. I know gray hair is trendy right now, but I’m thinking probably not the kind that’s sprouting every which way out of the top of my dark roots. I look like a walking partially dipped ice cream cone with gray sprinkles (here I thought my Rastafarian days were bad!).
And so, 35 years after I parted ways with my curling iron, I’ve come to another crossroads, only this time I’m not sure what to do next with my mess of a mop.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yep, I might finally have to invest in color and a comb.
Nah, maybe just a hat.
— By Kelly Kalis, Tribune community columnist