The Brunette cuts her own hair.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I whipped out the scissors and hacked off big chunks of my own hair.
OK, it wasn’t as spontaneous as I made that sound. In fact, it was entirely premeditated.
But you might ask: Why? To that I say, Why not?
When I grew up in the 70s, my mother cut my hair, as well as my siblings’ and her own. I come from a family of six, so that’s a lot of hair! We were military working-class, my father serving as an enlisted airman, fresh from the Vietnam War. While Dad got his hair cut on base, Mom turned the scissors on all of us.
Some of you might be old enough to remember when that was the norm. I’m not exactly sure when the practice of playing personal barber changed—maybe sometime in the 80s when hair got more complicated? Now we take it for granted that someone else will do this for us, but I wanted to see if it’s an activity we can handle ourselves. Perhaps as we ease into our slowpocalypse here at empire’s end, cutting your hair will become a good winter chore, like pruning back your trees and shrubs during their cold-season dormancy.
The price of a haircut these days might be reason enough to take on the task. According to the website You Probably Need a Haircut, the average woman’s snip in the US is now $60, and a man’s is $43, though it can vary dramatically by state, with folks in Nebraska on the low end at $41, and New Yorkers shelling out a whopping $148 on average.
Other reasons to wield the snips on your own locks:
Reactions to salon products. My scalp itches and develops hives, my ears blister and peel, my eyes cloud up with mucus, and I begin to sneeze and wheeze when I come into contact with commercial haircare products. Though I can ask stylists to use only water, years of trials have shown me they’re generally not very comfortable with this option, and they will frequently forget, slathering on gel before you can stop them. Plus, the fumes in a salon are often enough to trigger an attack, sometimes even when my husband comes back from the barber and has the scent all over his clothes.
Health concerns. Even if you’re not sensitive to them due to an autoimmune condition like mine (MCAS), maybe you don’t like the idea of dousing yourself with endocrine-disrupting lab chemicals that have been linked to fertility and hormone issues, as well as a range of chronic diseases.
Self-satisfaction. Honestly, most of the haircuts I’ve had have disappointed me. I can count on one hand the hairstylists in my life who’ve really ‘got’ my hair and knew what to do with it, and my hair has never, ever turned out even remotely like any magazine image I’ve brought in as a cue.
Although… honestly? That’s probably not a great way to get a haircut.
Salons are also built to suck you into a lot of “services” you probably don’t need. I’ve been that sucker for sure, back when I lived in Seattle and was knee-deep in the urban lifestyle dream. I’ve paid more than $200 for a suite of services I can’t even pronounce. I even went to the trouble of “graciously transitioning” my hair from root touchups to a platinum wash that would allow me to slowly grow out into the fabulous “Mother of Dragons” hue you’ll see below. Half-way through the process with a trusted, also-greying stylist whose own platinum crown was my model, I moved away from Seattle, and of course the youngsters I went to after that never ‘got’ it, so I just looked as if I were bottle-bleaching my grey in order to stave off the inevitable. Too late I realized I could’ve just made a statement with my grow-out, like a model I saw with grey on top and the old dye on the bottom, a sort of take on Cruella de Vil, which actually looked pretty boss.
So was my experiment successful? Or did I come out looking like a poodle caught in a box fan?
I know you’re dye-ing to find out.