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I Don't Do "Natural"

I haven’t had a stylist near me with a pair of scissors or a bottle of dye in over ten years. My hair does not touch my feet nor am I covered in grey, so what gives? I cut and color my own hair. For some reason most people find it either fascinating or assume I’m a control freak. The truth is that when I was not yet a teenager I asked my mother to take me in for “highlights.” As soon as I sat in the chair my excitement turned to utter disappointment. “She’s only twelve so make sure it looks natural.”

Two hours later that is exactly what the mirror reflected. Nowhere near the dramatic transformation I had hoped for. Enter a nearby Walgreens and a mother who had gone out for the evening. Armed with some babysitting money and a “do it yourself” attitude, I embarked on my hair journey. The directions were surprisingly simple and while there were a few missed spots, I was overall thrilled with my own work.

After that my parents pretty much threw up their hands and I embarked on years of stained T shirts, towels and technicolor tresses. I also delighted in scouring thrift shops, cutting up and repurposing clothing and anything else I could do without the control of the parental wallet that would have me a preppy, all American bore. (That was my teenage opinion… no offense to you all that loved your Ralph Lauren and penny loafers.)

I grew up, went to college, got married and got paid. Hooray! As the money rolled in and the years went by I rather enjoyed going to the salon and all the pampering, fancy things that went with it. I bought my first pair of designer shoes (Cavalli) and then the subsequent bags and dresses that followed. Life was great.

Skip ahead a few years and I’m in a really epically bad marriage. I mean bad. The type where you leave in the dead of night with your children and leave everything behind. Nothing was worth one more minute of drama. I cut ties and moved on. I did not get a divorce settlement, my Mercedes was replaced with a VW Beetle with a bullet hole in the side of it and I thought, “Well this is not going to last long. This is unacceptable.”

I had the support of family, but only I could make a new life for myself. I worked hard and focused on rebuilding my life. I started an online resale clothing business, working days when the kids were in school and then late into the night while they slept. I had no choice but to go back to my long forgotten DYI beauty and clothing routine. The days of the $300 haircut and color were over. You know what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, I found I preferred doing things the way I wanted them and could change on a whim.

Not long after my divorce I met and married my current husband who spoils me rotten and never gives me the side eye about what I spend. (Well, maybe one time early on, but I put a quick end to that.) Today I do shop and buy things I love. Although I can have almost anything I like now, I still love a sale. I adore vintage and resale, and make no bones about telling people my favorite haunts. I cut and color my hair because I know it will be exactly how I want it. I also like that I can do it any time I want or need to, no appointment necessary. I find it funny that what began as a childhood act of rebellion has become a skill I am proud of. The old adage is true, “Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.”

By Staci Henderson, SC Fashionista, Co-Founder Joy Box Fine Flowers, Philanthropic Fetes and Social Graces Social Club

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