A few tips can make us hair Camelot

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Standing in mind-numbing lines with hundreds of other vultures, picking at the carcass of Albertsons during its going-out-of-business sale, it struck me.

There is some bad hair 'round these parts.

Yes, there may have been people looking at me thinking the same thing. My new hairstyle is very Sharon Stone two years ago, but it takes two years for styles to migrate from the West Coast to Cape Girardeau.

I love this style because it looks like the back of my head exploded, which means it is easy to maintain as long as there are 10 pounds of product in my hair at all times.

I haven't always been so pleased. Stylists inevitably leave perm solution in my hair too long. As a result, I have looked like Sideshow Bob from "The Simpsons" more than once.

Today, I am in a 12-step program to keep me from getting perms. If the urge becomes overwhelming, I call my sponsor, and she talks me down. "Now, Heidi," she says. "You've already found your Higher Stylist and apologized to all the people who were hurt by your behavior when you were perming. Why go back to that ugly lifestyle?"

But not everybody is in such a program. Neither are they heeding the advice found in an advance copy of the style-themed USA Weekend to be inserted in Sunday's Southeast Missourian: "Try a new hairstyle at least every two years. If you don't, you'll look like a time capsule from whatever decade you grew to adulthood in."

I grew to adulthood during the decade of BIG HAIR. That meant bangs measuring three inches or higher and using a blow dryer in conjunction with hairspray to create massive wings on either side of my head.

Some misguided ladies may be doing this even today. Here is something they should know: My sister appeared to have male pattern baldness because she used too much cheap hairspray on her high bangs. My mother had to confiscate the aerosol can and put her on a strict regimen of flat hair to save her.

My sister was one of the lucky ones. This damage can be permanent in some people.

In the early '90s, I clung to the asymmetrical shaved 'do as though it were a life raft, asking my stylist for it visit after visit. Only after merciless teasing from a coworker did I let go. By then, it was 1997.

Shouldn't stylists have some sort of "first, do no harm" oath? That way, she could have said, "Sorry, Heidi, but you look like an escapee from a mental institution. My ethics simply won't allow me to continue shaving your head like this."

But at lot of hair issues are self-inflicted. Ladies, you should know that it is the exceptional woman who can color or perm her own hair with no unpleasant results. And sometimes a lady can become addicted to putting chemical treatments on her hair, refusing to lay off even when her primary source of entertainment is pulling apart split ends.

I have had more than one friend with three shades of blonde or red in her hair: one at the roots, one in the middle and one at the ends.

It isn't just girls with the trouble, either. Guys: Take out your high school yearbook. If more than two years have passed since you wore a cap and gown and your hair hasn't changed since that yearbook picture was taken, ACT NOW. Call me, and I will send you to an appropriate stylist who has taken the oath.

It is only by working together that we can eradicate bad hair from Southeast Missouri and enter an era of stylish 'dos unparalleled since Camelot.

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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