Oh, hair.

Have you ever gone through pictures and looked at how your hair has changed through the years? I recently perused through my photos that I’ve had uploaded to my drive, and holy smokes– I only went as far back as 2008, and I am a completely different person. Completely. I know I’ve done posts on my hair journey before, but there’s something to seeing it and chronicling it in pictures. I’ve become so much more educated on how to take care of my hair and I’ve become so much more aware of how I like it within the past couple years that I’m not quite sure what I was doing with it everyday beforehand. Was I in tears every day? Was I cutting my own bangs out of a deep need for control in my life? Was I expressing a constant struggle with anxiety by curling every half-inch strand around a small curling rod until I looked like I just had a pile of springs on top of my head? What was any of this accomplishing?! I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!

October 2008 hair

This was when I thought I was cool. Well actually, that’s a problem I consistently have so that could likely be said for each picture here. But this was when I thought I was really cool. This was one of the first times when Justin colored my hair (a couple shades darker), and my cut was super-razored, super-layered, and super-textured. I wanted stick-straight hair back then, but I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like it so much when I achieved it every once in a while. I finally realized that flat-against-the-head straight just isn’t flattering on my face shape, which is somewhat narrow. I look best with a little volume.

November 2008 hair

BUT NOT THIS KIND. This was maybe one or two months after the last photo, and I would trim my own bangs in little fits of impatience. Oh God. WHY?! I would rough up my hair at the top because I thought it looked edgy. Just … no.

May 2009 hair

Maybe six months later, and we’ve landed on this in May of 2009. The curl in my hair really came out with all the layers, clearly. My bangs are growing out slowly here, and so I would try to brush them to the side, but I’m pretty sure I was employing the dreaded “curly hair with straight bangs” look. Bad. But I had fun with this hair; I’d finally started using tools besides a straightener and so that was exciting.

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This is my hair in October of 2009. I remember this being the first time that I felt extremely proud of how I’d done my makeup and my hair. I’d been skilled with the makeup brushes for quite some time by then, but this was one of those days when I set aside the time, I knew I was going to be in front of an audience, and I wanted it to look perfect. I also had Justin put in my first set of highlights that summer, and I’d wanted them to look grown out a bit by this point (a preview of my love for ombre’, all the way back in 2009!). This was probably when things started to take a permanent turn for the better …

February 2010 hair

… but apparently I still had an obsession with curling my hair with a one-inch iron. I’d gone back to a single-process color by this point, which was February of 2010. I liked the look at the time, but such curling madness without at least a little brushing out would be a no-no these days.

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Ah, summer 2010 hair. This I loved. We cut it shorter and put in some new, sunny highlights. This was also the first year that I started actually enjoying summer. I’d always considered myself a fall/winter girl, but some trips to the beach alone along with tracking my severe dip in mood and energy during the winter lead me to realize that the sunshine may actually be quite good for me. The hair matched.

Fall 2010 hair

And then I went dark again, just for autumn of 2010. This was a rough season for me and for some reason, and the hair just brought me down. I should’ve kept up with the highlights, but I wanted “fall hair” and I felt that that meant it needed to be darker (and Meesh, you were blonde!!). I still wasn’t the greatest at styling it on my own, though (and I don’t know what was up with my eyebrows or face either– I look funny and I’m not sure why). However, hope was on the horizon- Jessica Biel had debuted an incredible hair style that became known as “ombre” during her press tour for “The A-Team” during that past summer. I’d been trying to go for something similar about a year beforehand and had adored the natural “roots” look, and here was a celebrity showing off the very look I’d wanted for so long (and all before it literally EXPLODED and devolved into the strange dip-dyed Pinterest-pandered look I see everywhere now). And so, in late December of 2010, Justin and I put our heads together and he gave me my first ombre’d hair.

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I loved this. I LOVED this. It came out perfectly, and he placed the highlights closer to my roots so they could grow out and blend even more with time. This is one of mine and my husband’s kick-butt engagement shots by my amazing bridesmaid Kara Lackey, and there are few un-Instagrammed pictures of me in which I truly love my hair. This is one of them.

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And this was the goal! Grow it out, keep up with the ombre’d color, and do a half-and-half look for the wedding in June of 2011. Achievement unlocked! My friend Kat Thompson styled my hair for the day and I probably sent her such a weird combination of pictures for inspiration that made absolutely no sense. How she managed to know what I wanted through all of that mess, I’ll never know. And speaking of my wedding, I still need to do a post on my hair and makeup just for that day.

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During the autumn after the wedding, Justin cut some blunt bangs for me. I liked it, but they were difficult to style everyday. I don’t think I’ll do bangs again until I’m much older (because they make you look younger), but they were good to try just for a season. And I got to do this fun shoot thanks to the fabulous Laura Licata and her talents!

August 2012 hair

The ombre’ adventures culminated in long, wavy, grown-out beach hair by August of 2012. This was good. Very good. A lot of oil masks and a lot of tender, cautious care with natural products and little washing, but it was worth it.

Fall 2012 hair

And then we chopped it! And went back to fully brunette! I think I finally felt confident enough to style it and Instagram it myself by this point. I employed the use of larger irons and, ironically, just started caring less over all. Less became more in 2012. It was a good year for hair.

More Fall 2012Winter13 hair

And here we are today, basically. A little grown out (and I’m going for long again!), and my natural color. I’ve been wearing it straight; I’ve been wearing it wavy. I like to sleek it up, and I like leave it down. Who knows what I’ll say in a couple years, but for the moment I just feel like this works. Justin recently put an ashier single-process color that took out any red and put me back at a basic, natural brown that’s probably the closest thing I’ve had to my natural color in years. It’s good to be back, but the sun’s been out a lot lately and I just don’t think I’ll be able to resist some ombre’d highlights for long. We’ll see. xo, MR

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