My Embarrassing Hairstyle Evolution Through The Years

Many women find a good hair look or hairstyle and stay with it for years on end. Others, like me, have an uncontrollable desire to create new looks.

If there was a hairstyle, a fad, a trend, you name it, from the sixties on, my poor unfortunate hair was the victim. I have changed the length, texture, and style many times, and the color too.

I was born with stick straight hair that was baby fine, if not outright fly-away. I was originally a blonde too, as you will see from my photo evidence, but I quickly turned brunette.

Thankfully straight long hair was in vogue through much of my teenage years which served me well. Compared to others I was downright lucky as all those curly tops had to do unfathomable things to get their hair to cooperate with this straight style, including using a clothes iron and ironing it (in the days before heated straighteners). I was paid back though once curly hair came back in style, and that resulted in some truly ridiculous hairstyle choices.

Come with me now through the decades in this pictorial essay and see if you can relate to any of my reasoning for my hair choices -- the big, the plain, and the downright ugly.

I started out with this little blonde pixie. This was all well and good, but due to the impossibility of keeping it neat as I became active, as it was too straight and fine, I spent much of my early youth in ponytails.

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Then came those darn TV commercials for the Toni home perm, which my mother thought would work well with my stick straight locks that she could not keep neat. Here is the sad result -- perhaps my mother did not follow directions or perhaps my hair was too fine to hold the curls she envisioned, and I ended up with hair that was neither here, nor there. (But at least I am smiling. On another note, the glasses for my astigmatism were just so ugly in that era -- I didn't have a chance not to be teased.)

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My middle school years were horribly awkward as I was nowhere near puberty and looked like a boy, plus I was trying to grow out my pixie cut that my mother made me get. Here's the graduation photo from middle school -- don't ask for a style but I think I was trying for a pageboy.

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Next came my teen years where I wore it long, longer, longest, and parted in the middle. We all wore it like this, even if some had to wrap the hair in orange juice cans all night to achieve the look. It was the ultimate hippie look, hair that didn't know a style. Please note that I had a nervous habit of twirling the ends of my very long hair so if you see a curl at the ends, that is why.
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A product called "Sun-In" came out during my late teenage years, and so many of us teens used it because it was supposed to give us sun-kissed blonde highlights like girls on the beach, but left most of us still brunette with a redish hue as you can see from the next photo.

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By my late teens and early twenties, I wanted the Farrah Fawcett layered look -- we all wanted to do that. My hair was really too thin and not nearly lush enough to get away with it, but this is how it ended up looking -- not too bad, if very fad-ish. Feathering thin hair is NOT a good plan though for the most part.
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Yet then, THEN, came the disco era and the tight permed look. I will never forget the smell of my hair coming home from my first beauty parlor perm. Between the awful smell which lingered for a while, and my pathetic look in the mirror, I suffered through this hair fad.

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Okay, I cheated with the above, as that is a costume wig when I went as Roseann Roseannadanna - a character from Saturday Night Live, but my hair looked a bit like that, only longer. And note, I still had long hair, but the perm curled it up to just past shoulder length!

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Right before children, as my perm grew out, it was straight at the top, and frizzy at the bottom -- a frightful look.

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When I became a young mother, I was Too. Busy.For.Hair. I cut it short, into a bob that was low maintenance, and this brunette bob was my look throughout young motherhood.

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For my 30th birthday, friends chipped in and got me a session at the colorist for blonde highlights. This gift, my friends, was the kiss of death for my life as a brunette. At first it was subtle as you can see on this page boy photo.

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Each time I got highlights though, I got a little blonder, and one day I went to a meeting and someone referred to me as a blonde. I was stunned and pointed to myself and asked, Me? Yep, that's what happens over the years with blonde highlights. I also had something I didn't have in many years before color -- I had coarser texture, meaning I could scrunch, curl, and do all kinds of things that I never was able to before. So that's what I did. It also helped that I was living in Houston, a place where natural humidity does crazy things to hair.

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Please note that this bob look aged me, and I looked much younger in my forties than my thirties due to growing out my hair.

It was now the big hair era of the 1980s. Of course I wanted to rock the big hair look! I grew my hair longer and teased, crunched, scrunched, wrinkled and used tons of hair product, to go BIG! And BLONDE. You can see I ended up completely blonde after so many years of highlighting.

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This was a good thing, because my genetics had me turning not just gray, but white headed as I aged and the blonde disguised the white and gray hairs.

Following the big hair era, I did softer waves and stayed with long-ish hair. It was perhaps my most sensible and feminine look.
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Yet due to the coloring and texture, I dealt with frizzy hair on occasion, and I heard about Keratin straightening. Of course I had to try it- it was all the rage, and what a mistake it was. It reduced my once thick hair to skinny wisps, as you can see in this photo.

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Finally, we come to the present era where the straightening irons are ruling the universe. I learned how to use them, and that's what I am left with today - very blonde hair that is neither long or short, that is once again, stick straight.

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As I headed to the big 6-0, I decided to go a little more pert with my look, and now wear it just past shoulder length with flipped up ends or loose curls if I feel like bothering to use a curling wand. You will notice I kept a flair at the front for many years, which my kids wish I would lose. I tried a flatter look, and trust me people, I need the lift off my face.

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If you think I was a slave to hair trends, I was, and don't even get me started about my fashion trend choices. (That is a whole other blog!)

So, it is crazy how many looks I have had, or is this fairly common? Most of my friends have kept a more consistent look, and I was the more radical one. The only thing I can't see in my future though, is being being a gray granny -- my future grandchildren will have to put up with a blondie one.

Read my regular blog at www.arlenelassin.com.

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