28 November 2011

Chemo Curl

Granny Hair
My Scottish grandmother had whispy white hair covered by a hairnet. Beneath the net, which had tiny sparkles, she had a tight white perm. I used to marvel at the small neat rolls and wonder how they came to be, until I caught sight of the wee spongy hair rollers that she left on her dresser. It is a hairdo I never wanted, but surprisingly, one that I may get nonetheless.

In the excitement about my bristles growing out this spring, I’ve overlooked the reality that my hair will probably not return the way I want. For the record, I had really great hair. Thick and glossy,  in an expensive semi-natural shade of chestnut brown. Hair stylists often complimented my abundance of hair, and I agreed. I had nothing to complain about.

But there’s a rumour swirling around about something called  ‘chemo curls’. After waiting impatiently for months, my hair might come back in the form of a really bad perm. And it’s not like a fun 80’s perm either, it would be along the lines of Grandma’s. Can it be straightened? No! Tools are strictly prohibited during the first few months of regrowth due to the hairs fragility.

And it get’s worse. There is no colour guarantee, and many women are confronted with their natural silver. I did hear of one formally grey woman, whose regrowth was a delightful mahogany, but that’s seems to be the exception. In one scary tale, an acquaintances’ once dark hair came back crinkly, and red! Can it be dyed? Again, no. Dyes aren’t allowed for at least six months, until the scalp has time to heal. So my worse case scenario is a tight white geriatric perm. I can just hear my sister voice saying, "Um, maybe you should think about covering that up.”

So I check my tiny bristles daily to examine their hue. Initially there was none -  my specks of hair looked tiny rows altar candles viewed from space. These days however, my sturdy little bristles are dark and I believe they’re getting anxious to return.

Self Portrait
So in the New Year there’ll be regrowth. That much is for sure. Firstly the tufts of a duckling, followed by Style Surprise. Worst case scenario is my Gran’s hair, looking like a headful of rolled pennies (if I’m lucky), or dimes, as the case may be.

But maybe it will be the exact same brown of my youth; the one that I’ve been paying Cosmo to recreate for the last 15 years. So I gave my follicles a pep talk, and requested a silver lining that is  10% silver, and 90% chestnut brown, as befitting the head of a half Scottish lassie rather than her Gran.


  1. Every Mcloud has a sliver lining!

  2. I'm definitely in love with your sense of humour.