A Hair-Related Tribute to My Mom

My mom, showing off one of her quilts for the local newspaper. As I post this, I realize I didn't even
mention her hand quilting skills, and quilt judging skills, for which she is very well known.
That is one talent that did not get passed on to me.

I am grateful for my mom. Not only is she a good mom, but she is talented at many things. She even passed some of her talents on to me. Namely, her baking skills (or at least her love of baking). My mom makes some rolls that are like little pillows of heaven. And she makes delicious pies. Oooh, and cinnamon rolls! She even passed on an unusual love for tuna on toast, which I actually requested as a kid for my special birthday dinners. (I mean, how much more lucky can you get on that as a parent?!)

Mom’s got some serious dancing skills too. After all, her husband played in the dance bands, so what else are you going to do while he plays? (You dance, apparently.) My mom was Cheer Queen in college so, I guess you could say she also passed on her love of sports to me. I cheer for my teams. (Usually from my couch.) You’d think I would have gotten the love of sports from my dad, but sadly, he was just a band geek ;)  My mom is also a great teacher. I listened to her teaching piano lessons EVERY DAY after school. And that’s just the beginning of her music skills. She’s very talented in violin and singing as well.

With all of her many talents, there is something that I definitely did NOT get from her.
And that, bless her heart, is my sweet hair skills. (Sorry, mom.)

My mom has super curly hair and I have never seen her go with her natural texture, except when she’s in Hawaii. And that’s only because it’s a lost cause trying to do anything else with it there. Normally, she blow dries it out, but she really struggles to make it SMOOTH. Like, really struggles. Maybe this was my motivation to become a hairstylist...

Let’s just say that hair, in general, was not really her field of expertise. I think I have one picture of me when I was a kid when my hair was “really fancy.” It was in pigtails, that were curled. Okay, so my mom isn’t talented at doing hair. What’s my point? It turns out that because of her lack of skill in the hair department, I learned how to help others look their best, even when it doesn’t come so easily to them.

Want to know a secret? The truth is, when it comes to styling, almost anyone could do their hair as well as their stylist does it. Most people just don’t have enough patience and don’t stick it out long enough to get a good result. When my mom dries her hair, she just quickly dries it. If she would keep that dryer going just a wee bit longer, the dryer would start to smooth the hair. This leaves less styling time after the fact. (And a much smoother result.) It also ensures that the hair is fully dry, so the dampness doesn’t creep back into the hair and ruin all of her styling work later. But she doesn’t take those extra few minutes when she’s drying. (I mean, can you blame her? She never had extra minutes to spend on her hair. She was busy mom-ing and stuff.)

The other thing that really smooths her hair is products. Good styling products make a difference. My mom wasn’t really convinced that there was a difference until just a few years ago. She was at a hotel and realized that she forgot her good hair products. (I had been hooking her up for years since attending cosmetology school, but she didn’t really understand the difference.) So, in a bind, she used the stuff that was at the hotel. Once she started drying, she figured out that was a bad idea. She then went to the grocery store and bought a few things hoping that it would be a little better. Nope. Disaster. I think the contrast really proved the point for her. She only likes the good stuff now. The thing is, products are continually updated with new technology that works better and better for whatever issue you might be having. In her case, frizz. Even in just the past 3 years I have seen huge developments in products that tame the frizz. It’s a whole different ball game than it was years ago when it comes to styling. At least my mom has good products on her side, and a solid testimony of those good products.

Finally, one thing my mom does right when it comes to her hair… She trusts her stylist with the color. And that stylist has never steered her wrong. (I know, because I am that stylist.) When you have a stylist that you trust, let them steer the ship (with your input) on your haircolor. A good stylist knows what color looks good on you, what cut and style fits your face shape, and what kind of hair, in general, fits your lifestyle.

Over the years, as my mom has aged, we have gradually lightened her hair to match her skin tone. We have kept her color low maintenance (she drives to another state to have her haircolor done, so low maintenance is key). Even her own sister wondered why she isn’t greying like the rest of them, and my mom said, “I am, I just color it.” Her sister replied, “But it looks so natural!” My mom was a brunette growing up and now, as she’s gotten older, she is a blonde. As you can imagine, I take that as the ultimate compliment when her own sister doesn’t notice the major shift in her color over the years but just thinks she isn’t greying. (If I had a mic, I would have dropped it here.)

My mom is 78 years old and still gets lots of compliments on how good she looks. I can’t take all of the credit for that. I mean, she does keep herself looking good. But I will take credit for her hair. Well, I will take full credit on days that I do her hair. I’ll let her have credit on the days SHE styles it. ;)

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