My Hair Evolution

This weekend, I dyed my hair pink. Since I first started dying my hair in middle school, I have been every natural color under the sun; brown, blonde, red, black, etc. For the first 13 years of my life, I was scared to do anything with my hair. Even highlights and layers intimidated me! I think this shy nature towards my hair was related to my pre-pubescent insecurities. I didn’t have enough self confidence to do anything eye catching with my look. But, that changed when I came into contact with Carmen Gonzales, head stylist at Stil at the Meridian in San Diego.

Unlike my previous hairdresser, Carmen looked at my hair with complete confidence, and essentially told me what I was going to do. She didn’t ask for my permission. Though this kind of frightened me at first, I have come to love Carmen’s honest approach to her work. She has been in the hair business for over 20 years and she REALLY knows her stuff. Regularly attending Vidal Sassoon training sessions in London, Carmen is always focused on developing her craft and staying on trend. She is SO good that during my 4 years of college in Colorado, I would make special trips to San Diego get my hair done. I wouldn’t “cheat” on her with someone in town.

During our first visit when I was 13, Carmen bluntly told me “You’re going to get a haircut with layers.” For the first time since kindergarten, I was going to have bangs! Though the look felt very foreign, it also gave me a newfound confidence. Fresh and on trend, I felt like a whole new person. The timing was perfect. As I entered high school, I blossomed into a confident young woman, with the help of my stylish haircut. The next time I went to Carmen, I asked for highlights. She gave me a few on that visit, a few more on the next visit, and eventually, I went hyper blonde. Though I was born a dirty blonde, the natural highlights in my hair had faded out. I couldn’t keep them without Carmen’s help. Though the highlights got me hooked, I have gone on to do far more extreme things with my hair while in Carmen’s chair.

Blonde to brown, brown to blonde, blonde to red, red to blonde; I have done it all! The summer before my senior year of high school, my coloring addiction had taken a true toll on my hair, which was severely damaged. Carmen suggested to me that I cut my bob off into a pixie. At first, I was all for it. “I am a chameleon, I can do anything!” But, midway through my haircut, when I could no longer feel the hair on the back of my neck, I completely freaked out. In an embarrassing incident that Carmen and I still laugh about today, I stormed out of the salon crying and didn’t let her finish the haircut. When I got home, my mom told me that I would be going back ASAP to let Carmen finish her work. I dragged my feet back into the chair the next day. Keeping my eyes shut throughout the rest of the haircut, I was convinced that I would be disappointed. But, much to my surprise, when my pixie was unveiled, I was in love!

Now, I have had a short haircut for a little under 10 years. It’s become my signature look. So often, regarding my distinctive pixie, people will say “Oh I love that! I want to do that, but I’m too scared.” Whenever I hear this, I always say in return “YOU CAN DO IT!” The best part about hair is that it grows back. I have found great joy in experimenting with my hair over the years and I always encourage others to do the same! In the years since my pixie transformation, I continued my trend of switching from brown, to red, to blonde, and everywhere in between. But, I had never dipped my toe in the unnatural color spectrum. Friends have taken on extreme colors with beautiful results. On the celebrity side of things, I have been completely infatuated with the lavender hair trend. But, I just couldn’t pull the trigger for myself…until this week!

3 different people told me today that my pink hair reminded them of cotton candy. When these people reached out to me, they had such big smiles on their faces. My unique hair seemed to genuinely bring them joy. In life, it is so easy to go with the grain. It is easy to blend in. But the people who stand out are the ones who often make the biggest impact. I hope that my attitude with my hair can inspire other people to broaden their beauty preferences and try new things. No matter what look you have, confidence is contagious. If you own your look and love yourself, others will catch on too! And that’s a beautiful thing.

Here is a visual look at my hair transformation over the years:

Baby faux hawk with my sister Jess, circa 1990.

Baby faux hawk with my sister Jess, circa 1990.

I would only have bangs and shoulder length hair once in my life, circa 1996.

I would only have bangs and shoulder length hair once in my life, circa 1996.

From 2000-2002, I had a major pigtail phase.

From 2000-2002, I had a major pigtail phase.

If I wasn't wearing pigtails, I was rocking "pigtail braids," as my mom would call them.

If I wasn’t wearing pigtails, I was rocking “pigtail braids,” as my mom would call them.

Hippie Hair, circa 2003.

Hippie hair, circa 2003.

Layers make their debut! Circa 2004.

Layers make their debut! Circa 2004.

Riding the blonde train with Ronald, circa 2007.

Riding the blonde train with Ronald, circa 2007.

Rocking the poof, circa 2007.

Rocking the poof, circa 2007.

I may look like I'm in charge, but Carmen has all of the control. Circa 2008.

Letting Carmen work her magic, circa 2007.

Embracing the pixie life, circa 2007.

Embracing the pixie life, circa 2007.

With a pixie haircut, I stood out within our cheerleading squad. Circa 2008.

The only pixie on the squad, circa 2008.

The more product, the better. Circa 2008.

The more product, the better. Circa 2008.

College red, circa 2009.

College red, circa 2009.

College blonde, circa 2010.

College blonde, circa 2010.

College blonde in Spain, circa 2011.

College blonde in Spain, circa 2011.

21st birthday brown, July 2011.

21st birthday brown, July 2011.

Black bob, New Years Eve 2012.

Black bob, New Years Eve 2012.

Short hair, don't care. December 2013.

Short hair, don’t care. December 2013.

Hawaii blonde, September 2014.

Hawaii blonde, September 2014.

Electric red, December 2014.

Electric red, December 2014.

Blonde mini bob, Thanksgiving 2015.

Blonde mini bob, Thanksgiving 2015.

Back to pixie, December 2015.

Back to pixie, December 2015.

Pink lady, March 2016.

Pink lady, March 2016.

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