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Musings: Bad Hair

Today’s topic is: “Remember those long summer afternoons sitting outside with SunIn in your hair? Tell about your best (or worst) hair moments.” 

I remember my sister trying to lighten her black hair in the back yard by using lemon juice, but I don’t think I ever tried SunIn. Instead, I had a series of unfortunate haircuts and home perms. I hope you enjoy this trip through my bad hair years.

When I was born, I had a thick head of black hair.

Phoebe age 0, phoebedecook.com

But it had turned blonde by my first birthday.

Phoebe age 1, phoebedecook.com

At age two, my curl had started to show.

Phoebe age 2, phoebedecook.com

But by three, it changed once again to a light brown.

Phoebe age 3, phoebedecook.com

The summer I was four and a half, I decided it was time for bangs. One unsupervised afternoon, the girl who lived next door and I swapped haircuts. She didn’t give me a very straight set of bangs.

Phoebe age 4.5, phoebedecook.com

But luckily they grew out (sort of) by the time I started school that fall.

Phoebe age 5, phoebedecook.com

Throughout my youth, my mom kept trying to give me bangs, but they didn’t always look better than the neighbor’s attempt. (To be fair, I’ve already given crooked bangs to my daughter! It’s my right as a mother.)


By the time I was nine, my hair had acquired significant natural auburn highlights.



The summer I moved to Arizona, my mom tried cornrows, but when I took the braids out, I was left with a lot of crimpy frizz.

Phoebe age 11, phoebedecook.com

The next year, just before starting seventh grade, I was looking for a change, and I found it, with an unfortunate Little Orphan Annie home perm.

Phoebe age 12, phoebedecook.com

Thankfully, that grew out by the time I entered high school and my hair was once again straight and more-or-less the same length.

Phoebe age 14, phoebedecook.com

I spent most of high school growing my hair out, so there aren’t many horribly embarrassing photos during that phase. (Plenty of horribly embarrassing outfits and stories, but at least not hair styles.)

Phoebe age 17, phoebedecook.com

During my third year of college, I decided to shave my head. So I went from shoulder-length to a self-induced rough 2-inch cut and then to a full-on Sinead O’Connor. (My boyfriend decided to shave his head too, as a sign of support. We were quite the pair!)

I kept it short for about four months until I realized that I would be applying to dental school the following spring. Then I desperately tried to grow it out in time for interviews.

Phoebe age 22, phoebedecook.com

Thankfully, my adult hair styles have been much less dramatic. I had long hair for most of my twenties and thirties. These days, my mama hairstyle is up-and-out-of-my-way. Every few years, I chop a foot off and donate it to charities that make wigs for cancer patients, but it never gets shorter than shoulder-length. When I cut it, I wear it down for about six months before it starts to annoy me again, and back up it goes.

And to prove that they aren’t all bad hair days, here’s a picture of my 2013 wedding day, when my sister did an amazing job recreating a photo my husband found online.

Wishing you all many years of good hair days!

~ Phoebe DeCook

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