Sailing hair: getting gritty, not girly

I allow myself a few indulgences – chocolate, thick-foam lattes, and this post, which is about my hair. I will make room for exactly three posts about my hair on this blog. And, believe me, there is a tie-in to sailing.

A former neighbour of mine who sailed the globe for nine years and circumnavigated tells me that her hair was salt-encrusted. And, that the image of Nicole Kidman having her hair washed on deck at sea is the stuff of Hollywood.

Sam Shepherd washes Nicole Kidman's hair in the movie, Dead Calm.
Sam Shepherd washes Nicole Kidman’s hair in the movie, Dead Calm.

So, I need a plan. Tonight is the first post, which outlines my plan for low-maintenance sailing hair. Sometime next week, I will document the results of my plan, and the third post will be a placeholder to use in case I ever contract a tropical hair illness, or decide to shave my head and want to write about it.

Something you should know about me is that I’m quite thrifty. But, I have spent thousands of dollars on my hair. I used to treat the salon like it was a religion – visiting every 6 weeks to maintain my short hair and highlights.

Then, about 18 months ago I discovered that if I stopped going to the salon I could grow my hair, save lots of money, and could take care of colouring myself. So, I trusted my hair to the expert in the picture below.

Eric Del Monaco Official Hair Artist and Colourist for L’Oréal Paris in Canada
Eric Del Monaco Official Hair Artist and Colourist for L’Oréal Paris in Canada

Simply put, I  turned to box colouring. The results were pretty good, even if not completely what I expected. I was hoping to go blonde. But, red worked too.

I was headed on my way to becoming an elegant, long-haired redhead. And, soon I could live my fantasy of tossing my hair out of a motorcycle helmet like this lady demonstrates in this family friendly Youtube video.

But to maintain this fantasy, I found myself becoming a slave to box dye. My husband put a stop to it last summer when he saw me loading boxes of L’Oreal Brass Banisher to our otherwise minimalist camping gear. With great trepidation, my husband said that my hair was starting to look like I was doing it myself, and that I should go back to the salon to have my hair fixed. And, so I did.

I am naturally quite dark, not even blonde anymore. But through inexperience or creativity, my colourist saw me as a blonde, and I was happy with the results even if she did use pure bleach to highlight my mane. In fact, I left the salon looking a lot like my colourist.

But soon, the highlights grew and my dark head was revealed. That was about seven months ago, and I haven’t done anything short of a trim since. I have come to adopt the appearance of an Alsatian or German Shepherd.

My hair is mostly blonde but with dark patches
My hair is mostly blonde but with dark patches

With this dog reference, I’m not being a typical, self-deprecating Canadian. I really am mostly blonde but with clearly dark areas.

And, so the short story is I’m getting my hair cut short next week. I’m cutting it to remove all of the colour that has been applied. And, for the first time in 30 years I will be saying goodbye to the hair dye industry. I’m no longer buying into the lie that I will achieve maximum self-confidence because I’m buying what they are selling me in a bottle.

I’m going to let my hair be absolutely low maintenance. I’m not going to worry about maintaining my new short hairdo. I will cut my hair when I can.

I hope my wind-beaten face will radiate confidence, regardless of the colour of my hair. And, if it doesn’t work then I can always go back to the bottle for some liquid courage. (I just might not tell you about it.)

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