Thursday, February 5, 2009

Going Dark...

I swore off clothes shopping and replacing makeup for the days and weeks leading up to my hair appointment. With brunette hair, I would have a whole new color palette that I was going to have to get used to.

I walked into my stylist, Anna’s, salon ready to go dark. I was excited, but nervous all at the same time. Not nervous that it wouldn’t turn out beautiful, but nervous because the change still seemed so drastic. Anna mixed up 4 different colors to reach the right hue. Very dark, but not black, and enough cool and warm tones to not make my fair skin washed out. I had fleeting worries of looking gothic (you know, fair skin, dark hair, black clothes etc). Then I reminded myself that I wore mostly business suits, and had no piercings nor tattoos or ripped fishnets to speak of. I would not be mistaken for a goth teenager. Whew.

I looked in the mirror with bittersweet results. I loved it. But it was a change. A huge change, and I was going to need the confidence to pull it off. I knew that in the days and weeks now to come everyone and their brother (and likely sister) would come up to me to remark on my hair. That thought just felt so vain. For that reason, I’ve kept things simple. No need to distract people with a new hair cut, etc. But here I am with the most drastic color change of all.
After Anna dried my hair, I hugged her and knew immediately what I had to do. Run to Sephora! That’s right. Thankfully, I had the foresight that I might look a tad weird with my blondish eye brows if they didn’t match my hair. So I beelined to Sephora for an eyebrow pencil by Anastacia (the only eyebrow pencils that a girl should have) for a pencil that was nearly 4 shades darker than my previous one. Wow. I also realized that my previous blush and eyeshadow worked much better for me as a blonde, and I had to start investing in a new color palette. My hands were shaking as I talked to the make up artist at Sephora.

I used to be a blonde. I mean, I was a blonde up until an hour ago…. I just need to look like a brunette.” Seriously, I wish I was more eloquent, but I was quite shell shocked (excited, but still shell shocked).

I looked, well, different. Different in a good way, but it would take some getting used to. Anna warned me that my hair color might fade after three washes, as I had so much blonde in it before. She scheduled a follow appointment. But looking in the mirror at my very dark hair, I had a hard time imagining it fading.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Decision

A little about myself: I’m a lithe 5’10” with long blonde hair, fair skin and green eyes. As a blonde, I’m hyper sensitive to the notion that blondes are bubbly and dumb, especially since I've been climbing the career ladder at a ferocious pace. I loved being blonde, but didn't want to be discounted because of it. Attractive, thin, tall, blonde. In many ways, I define what many people love to hate.

"Being defined as a ‘blonde’ is not me", I would argue. I’m smart, ambitious, witty, and sharp. In an attempt to defy the 'blonde' stereotype, I've overcompensated. Therefore I became very serious, steely and matter-of-fact. But, the question remains- too serious, I wonder?

Despite my intent on defying the blonde stereotype, it had never occurred to me to go brunette, until last year in December 2006 when I saw Cameron Diaz transformed on the runway. Her flaxen locks were gone, and in place a deep dark brunette. Her blue eyes were rich, and the color was a perfect compliment.

I, myself, have fair skin and green eyes. While I’m not Cameron Diaz, I could see the possible transformation in front of me. Still, I am not spontaneous when it comes to my personal looks, and I knew that it would take some time in order for me to convince myself to take the plunge to something this drastic. I had dark blonde hair, in which I highlight into with multiple shades of blonde. My hair is very healthy for as much as I color it (of which I am proud of). But because my hair grows extremely fast, I was in to see my stylist every four weeks, thus making it very high maintenance. It was beginning to become a chore, and I would obsess over the slightest roots showing. I have a very demanding and high energy career- and for me to be forced to take time out was tough. I didn’t want to be that vain, but it was causing stress trying to block out a few hours once a month to get into the salon. I tried other solutions- I opted for an all over color a few years ago, back to my normal darker strawberry blonde shade. It was pretty, but I felt it a bit too plain Jane. It was nothing striking and kind of well…boring.

My stylist and I discussed it quite a few times over the past year. She had deep brunette hair that I coveted, and she held it over me so that I could get a sense of what it would look like up against my face. We discussed a guy friend of hers who after his own self reflection realized that he had never dated a blonde. Really? Were guys that black and white on hair color/type? Could I be a brunette? Would this become more life altering than I realized? I thought about it. My features were fair. Because I can’t tan to save my life, I would have airbrush tans throughout the summer, and then stay pale throughout the winter. Due to my penchant for wearing lots of black, many people from my hometown of Phoenix would ask if I was from New York. Designer-clad-black- wearing-blonde- not exactly beach blonde and sunny. So what am doing as a blonde when maybe, perhaps, it just doesn 't suit me?

Which brings me back to Cameron Diaz and December 2006. Sure, many celebrities looked fabulous with their new brunette locks. But Miss Diaz looked stunning. Leading up to December of 2008, I started quizzing all of my friends. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was doing something drastic out of some quarter life melt down/crisis or anything. To my surprise, I was met with very few dissenting comments. Two of my guy friends, whom were just extremely partial to blondes, felt that I should stay a blonde. I do look fine as a blonde, please don't get me wrong, but going brunette could perhaps be better. Everyone else was in complete agreement that I should go dark, very dark (no highlights) and definitely not light brown. Emboldened with confidence, I felt ready to go.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Latest Celebrity to go Brunette: Result? Stunning!

Scarlett Johansson, became the latest blonde bombshell to grow brunette, when she showed up at her “He’s Just Not That Into You” premier sporting brunette tresses. The result? Stunning! Scarlett is a classic beauty, and was amazing as a blonde. But as a brunette her features stand out, her skin has more color.

Scarlett and I share the same fair skin. In both cases, our dark hair takes us out of the washed- out-lack-of-color-abyss.

I'm interested to see how other people's reactions are. As its just hitting the blogs, I'm sure people will be voting soon on her new look. I love it!

Blonde to Brunette

Do Blonde's really have more fun? Do Gentlemen really prefer Blonde? In an attempt to answer some of life's most pertinent questions, after a life time as a blonde (and after a year of getting up the nerve)- I crossed over to the dark side (going from blonde to brunette, that is).

I wanted to engage friends and strangers alike in the a great social experiment of how people view and interact with blondes versus brunettes. Part of my own challenge is to be aware of others perceptions and reactions to similar situations that I encountered as a blonde. This will be part challenge of self discovery, and part wit. Most of all I hope that its entertaining.