Pixied and Permed: My Life in Haircuts and Headbands


My life is largely a history of headbands and bangs, an ongoing effort to make thin, fine hair thicker and fuller, an evolution from baby bald to big girl curl.

It’s basically been a bad hair life, one I’ve tried to rewrite in pixies and perms, bobs and barrettes.

Hope you enjoy this scrapbook of styles—my history in haircuts and curls.

A Baby in Bangs:

My mom was big into bangs, or so it seemed to me. Maybe it was the era–what one did with babies’ hair in the early ’60s.  Either way, I wore my toddler locks chopped short across the forehead, a bridge of bang above big, blue eyes.  


Growing up with Brown Hair and Braids:

After first grade I insisted on growing my hair long.  It may have been the Brady Bunch effect—seeing Cindy with blonde ponytails and big bows.  It may have been primary school, an effort to braid my brown into bigger girl style, curly girl chic.   Regardless, I started second grade, a studious girl with lengthier locks.  

Professional Permed:

I finished my formal education in the mid-eighties—a time when huge hair was everywhere.  It was an era before products could mousse any hair into almost any style; and big-headed professor or not, with thin, fine hair, only a perm gave me personal puff.

Mad-Headed Medusa:

I lived much of the ’90s fighting bipolar disorder.  It was a decade spent revolving in and out of psychiatric hospitals with hair as varied as my mood.  Sometimes it was short, other times a little longer—even eventually I had mildly Medusa-like curls.

Lesbian Locks:

I emerged a saner, better version of myself after the millennium turned, embracing my sexuality and cutting my curls.  Whether or not I unconsciously morphed into the stereotype of cropped lesbian locks, I’ll never know.  However, I spent the first half of the last decade opening the closet door— gay pride with pixie cut.

A Blogger in Bobs:

When I returned to work mid-decade, I marked my passage back to the writing life by bobbing my hair and falling madly sanely in love.  With Sara, I’ve lived, luggage packed, passport in hand, first in Vietnam, later in Haiti.  I wonder what haircut I’ll have for our next destination.

How has your hair evolved?  Do you have a story to tell in bangs and barrettes?

42 thoughts on “Pixied and Permed: My Life in Haircuts and Headbands

  1. Oh, Kathy…my tales of hair could be a tome worthy of the respect of Tolstoy himself…
    suffice it to say (for now, as I ponder a hair-raising post of my own…) my hair and I have never been on good terms…
    I have LOTS of fine hair…put it all into a ponytail, and it’s not much thicker than a fat sharpie marker–thanks to my Norwegian heritage, I guess…

    I love all your pictures…I especially like…your eyes–
    the first picture you posted “post” falling in love with Sara…your eyes are calm and peaceful.
    Like you’ve been welcomed into the house you didn’t know was yours…but longed for walking past it all your life.

    blessings
    jane

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  2. What an interesting and fun post! And you have so many photos of yourself “through the years!!” I have photos but – short of one 80s cut that took my hair up over my ears – I’ve had it long & layered most of my life. Isn’t in curious what our hairstyles have to say about a period of time in our lives? You’ve got me thinking … Cheers!

    MJ

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by! It is surprising what the small particulars of our lives say about who we are. This was a fun post to put together. I’m glad to know I got you thinking. It was great having you today–hope you’ll come back!

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  3. I love this post. I don’t know if I have enough pictures of the journey my hair has taken in my life, but I’m tempted to try. It currently looks like I have time-warped back into the big-haired ’80s without even trying. My hair has a life and personality all its own. Thanks for the journey through your hair–you look great in all incarnations.

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    • Lordy, lordy! I’m so glad you think I look okay throughout. Some of those styles now seem hideous to me. Isn’t that funny! The graying of my hair has been difficult to deal with–so that factors into many of these loooks. Have a great evening, Lisa!

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  4. Hi, kath! Am loving reading your blog! You look beautiful in every hairstyle – you’re so photogenic. Must say I see the greatest contentment in the post-meeting-Sara period.
    Thought you would get a kick out of knowing that on the last night of my TV anchoring, the producers showed a montage of 17 distinct hairstyles over a 13-year period. I am still trying to find a style that I can work with.

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    • How funny, Mindy! I would love to see that montage! So glad to know you have been reading and enjoying! Would you and Grant be interested in meeting Sara and me for brunch on Sunday? Don’t know where. Any ideas?

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  5. I love this post! I also went through those years of BIG hair with the explosion bangs and perm back in the 80s, a ducktail earlier on, and now I just have long straight hair. Great post!

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  6. Those are great photos Kathy! It is so cool to see you “evolve” over the years. My photos would show me going from Opie…to Ronald McDonald….to Santa Claus…… and oh yeah, the brief Sam Elliott stage in between…..can’t forget about that…… 🙂

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  7. You smile in all your photos but your really happy glow seems to start in the 90’s – just shines out. I have a very similar trail of hairstyles exceptI battled with thick heavy hair. The big hair and permed hair photos are hidden away though and I get a fright when ever I see them 🙂

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    • Yes, my smile gets bigger and brighter over time. You may actually be wise to hide your big hair photos. Mine are a bit extreme, as well. Thanks so much for reading. It was great having you today. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

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  8. Great idea, Kathy. Very interesting to see pictures from a lifetime all in one blog post. I think I’ll do one like that when I’m eighty. Wouldn’t that be funny.

    You’re such a cutie with a great smile.

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    • I know, Lisa! When Sara saw this post, she said I look like a series of different people. Thanks for thinking I was a cute kid. I do look like a sweetie! What happened to me? Where did she go? Ha, ha!

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  9. Hi Kathy,
    Hey sista! I loved reading this post! When I think about it though, we had absolutely NO help with our hair growing up. Mom’s solution to our hair was insisting we chop it all off, and yes , she was very INTO bangs……still is! For the very first time in my life have no bangs, I’ve done the unthinkable and let them grow out and catch up to the rest of my hair…….rebelling in my 40s!

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    • Hey Sweetie–
      Are these photos a hoot or what! It’s interesting that you think Mom was into bangs, too. The more I think about it the more I think it might have been the era, but you are right. She just didn’t want to have to be bothered with our hair and chose what was easiest–well, she told us that!

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  10. Your bob looks adorable! I had the famous Chinese Bowl cut when I was growing up. Never had a braid (my mom worked & did not have time to deal with long hair so I was “forced” to cut my hair short) and am still jealous of people with braids. I did not know those are called Lesbian Locks. LOL. I had them throughout my teen years (as soon as we were allowed to style our hair. Before that, every girl had to cut their hair short. One length. No layering allowed). I thought I looked absolutely handsome. 🙂

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  11. I can totally relate to the dilemma of thin, fine hair. My mom thought a pixie cut was a good idea when I was in first grade. Honestly, I think that haircut made it difficult to know whether I was a girl or a boy, being the tomboy that I was.

    Love your 80s looks! They sure bring back memories! Actually I love all your hairstyles. Regardless of the style, you sure know how to pick out a flattering look!

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    • I agree that the big hair from the 80’s is the funniest. Those were the days.

      The pixie was my mom’s solution, as well. My sisters and I all had the cut. But, yes, we looked like BOYS! And I hated that!

      Hope you have a great weekend, Terri!

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  12. I’m a little envious of all your styles. My hair has changed very little over the course of my lifetime — long, straight and brown (although it was lighter and curlier until I was about 6). I’m terrible with hair-styling and am hence very hesitant to change it.

    I love the second pic of you in the mid-80s section. You look like a movie star.

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    • How funny that you think I look like a movie star! You might think that even more, if you saw the larger image. The one here is highly cropped. It may be the best picture of me ever taken.

      I think it’s hard to go wrong with long, straight hair. It’s timeless, Heather. You have chosen well–and look cute in the photos I’ve seen of you!

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  13. You’ve definitely evolved over the years – you look like a different person in many of those pics. Very interesting to chart the course of your life through your changing hairstyles (and I agree with Jane’s comment about your eyes).

    Thanks for sHAIRing these pics.

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  14. Oh Kathy these photos are hilarious and brilliant all at the same time! I love the way you have posted them and now I understand what you are trying to achieve with Lucy’s bow!! Actually I think your eyes are more striking than your hair – they seem particularly full of life during your mad medusa phase! But you’ll always be a blogger in bobs to me 🙂

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    • Ah–thanks so much, my friend! How funny–Lucy’s bow! I’m remembering your comment about it. Sara and I had to laugh, as she says the same thing about the bow! Glad you like the eyes. The hair is nothing to write home about in my book! Ha, ha!

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  15. Still playing catch-up, Kathy! I LOVED this post– so interesting to see your evolution through your hairstyles. My own hair has gone through a wide range of styles, colours, and cuts– I’ll have to tell my own “Hair”story some time, too!

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  16. Kathy, this is a great way to review an, often dreadful, aspect of life. Between parental experiments with hair and my own misadventures, I feel I can understand your plight. I’ve always wanted big, in charge hair but been disappointed by whispy, drippy locks.

    What I find most interesting is that the many times I’ve chopped my hair, those who haven’t known me prior long hair think it’s the first time I’ve done something so different and bold but life is really a long list of hair cuts 🙂

    You seem to change with every picture -something people usually say of me, but I think you’ve got me beat.

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Rose. It was a fun one to put together. How interesting that you have always wanted to have high impact hair. I wonder if that’s the plight of those of us who don’t have much of it?

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