View Full Version : Starting over: the big shave

April 8th, 2015, 06:32 AM
So I decided, for reasons partly practically but more emotional than I cared to admit at the time, that I was going to cut off 27 inches of hair and start from scratch. All the way to skin.

After having a really traumatic and grief-stricken reaction to bleachig and dying my hair, a couple people asked me to post about my experience. All those things are in this thread:


I shaved my head December 6th, after arriving in London and basically rebooting my life. It was kind of a scene; I had a couple beers in me, a cigarette in my mouth, and a struggling, hard-suffering beard trimmer to my head while my best friend peaked at me from around the corner. I wasn't in any mood to hide that I was hurting, and this was catharsis to me.

By that point, my hair was a disaster. It had reacted terribly to the bleach, and clenched its way practically into dreads every day despite my best efforts. It was fried -- impossible to comb, several inches shorter just due to the amount of it that was tangled into itself and refused to be un-matted, even when I combed it and immediately put it up.

My feelings as my hair came off in tangled clumps were very different from the feelings I'd had when I first rinsed the bleach and dye out of my hair. That time, I had almost started crying in the shower with immediate regret. This time... this time felt good.

In fact, it felt better and better the closer to skin I got, because the damage was going with it. When all the sickly yellow and pink was gone and there was nothing but a fine mist of my natural dark brunette, it was a sigh of relief. There wasn't much on my head, but at least what there was, was healthy.

Once one side of my head was pretty much de-haired, my friend commented that I had a nice head shape. I took a moment to actually look at myself. Hey, I did, didn't I? I had been a little worried I'd look horrible with a shaved head and just wind up wearing hats until I had something a little less weird. But actually, I thought I looked pretty good. I genuinely liked what I saw.

I went down to about 1mm with an electric razor. I am prone to ingrown hairs, so I didn't want to shave it with a safety razor and risk getting bumps. It's bad enough when it happens on my legs!

When I put down the razor, I felt lighter. Part of me missed my long hair. But part of me was enjoying all that history off my head, and how much of a focal point my eyes were with my mane gone. I felt slightly self-conscious -- a bald woman stands out, let's be honest. But not so much that I dwelled on it for more than a moment when I went outside.

I had grown about 2.5 inches of hair since then. And I have quit smoking. And I'd repaired my relationship. I'd done a lot since that "reboot." And a couple days ago, I had a cute and slightly tossled pixie.

Since I bleached my hair, my scalp had been in revolt, and I've spent the last several months battling dandruff so bad I had to get prescription products (which finally appears to be settling down). I had decided I was eventually going to cut off this couple inches, which has been covered in all kinds of fun corrosive things in my attempts to deal with my scalp.

But that cut came a little earlier than expected. I attempted to shape my 'do into something else, and it turned out... well, I nicknamed myself "Bieber fever" during the 12 hours I took to think about whether to just deal with it while it grows out. In the end, I wound up going back to a buzz cut -- that was the only way to fix it. So now my hair is a little under a centimeter long again.

This time, I felt a little sadder re-buzzing it, even though I only had a couple inches in the first place. I guess just because, this time, I was hoping to grow it out. But once again, I liked what I saw in the mirror and I've been enjoying rockin' it in the warmer weather. I actually think it looks better without a hat than with one, so it's nice for it to be warm enough for that.

I am now back to growing out, and my goal is waist. That is going to take a good several years to accomplish, but I have kept every one of my hair toys in preparation to reach my goal!

I hope everyone's been well, and that this was interesting to someone.

April 8th, 2015, 07:13 AM
Thanks for sharing your experiences. It seems such a scary prospect, not only the actual shaving your head but wondering what kind of reactions you would get from others. But you obviously needed to do this and it's great that it was a cathartic moment and has paved the way for other positive changes in your life. I have damage, and I haven't even got the balls to chop to shoulder to get rid of it so it was a hell of a brave thing to do! :) You have a blank canvas to start again on, to have hair that is healthy and makes you happy and that's great. Keep us posted about your progress.

April 8th, 2015, 07:23 AM
Hi Lilin, I read both threads (this one and the one you linked). Its interesting how cutting off your hair actually helped with your grief process.

I'm sorry that you lost your 2 inches, but on the brighter side, I'm sure you will grow beautiful, fully virgin hair now

April 8th, 2015, 08:34 AM
I sometimes do play with an idea of shawing my hair off... just to start over again, just to see all the stages of growing hair which I had never experienced. But I KNOW in the end for me that would probably be a nightmare. But maybe one day I will be brave enough ;)

My youngest sister actually has a very beautifully shaped head. I know this from her childhooh when her hair was shaved off ( she cut her own hair at about age of 3-4 and only the shaving could save it ).

Belle Paix
April 8th, 2015, 09:06 AM
Good luck to you on your journey! It's funny how much of our emotions can be tied into our hair. I went through something similar a few years back, and it can be truly therapeutic to do what you've done. :blossom:

April 8th, 2015, 01:35 PM
I just wanted to say this: happy growing! :D

April 8th, 2015, 01:52 PM
I started from bald too! It's a good big change and allows fresh healthy hairs to come in! :)

April 8th, 2015, 06:18 PM
Yay! I want pictures!

April 8th, 2015, 06:40 PM
ooh. Sounds like a very good experience. I have always wanted to shave my head for the experience but im too attached to growing my hair now and i wouldn't ruin it on purpose. But if the right opportunity ever arises...

I second the call for pics I wana see what that "good head shape" is haha

April 8th, 2015, 06:49 PM
I had a very similar experience in 2008. I have since grown my hair out. But, you made a wise choice. Although my hair is no longer virgin (semi perm. color) it is healthy now. I know it can be sooo freeing to cut off frazzled hair!!! I wish you very happy growing!

April 8th, 2015, 08:37 PM
Reading both of your posts and knowing everything you went through...wow. I understand exactly what you mean about needing to cut away the hair that held those terrible memories - I did the same thing several years ago, but not nearly to the extent of your cut. I know it must be hard cutting off your re-growth, but keep that bright, positive attitude and enjoy treated your hair the right way from the start. I just recently cut off 8 inches of damage that I should have just bit the bullet and done years ago, but I couldn't bear to lose the length of it, so good for you for having the strength to do that. You're going to have gorgeous hair and I'm sure you'll meet your goal before you know it! Best of luck.

April 8th, 2015, 09:02 PM
I startrd bald! Two years ago in July. it was the best i ever felt about myself. in fact i plan to do it again...someday.

April 10th, 2015, 08:52 AM
It sounds like starting over was exactly what you needed :) I'm about a year out from a half inch shave myself

April 10th, 2015, 12:04 PM
I did the same thing Dec 31st of 2010. I had emotional reasons for mine too. Amazing how much can really go into our hair. I got to BSL last November and got bored and cut back to chin. Im growing again and happy about it. Happy growing!

April 10th, 2015, 12:36 PM
Wow. This is such a wonderful story and you're so strong for continuing on and finding a way to move forward. Good luck and happy growing :)

April 12th, 2015, 12:35 AM
I did that as a Buddhist for about 10 years. The odd thing was that everyone always assumed I had cancer!
Everyone loved it though. Definitely tempted to shave down again someday but not anytime soon. :)

OP, I'm glad it helped you feel better.

April 12th, 2015, 01:09 AM
lilin, thank you for sharing this very touching story. Best of luck in navigating all the transitions life is throwing your way, and many years of happy growing :)

I believe shaving one's head during mourning is a custom in a number of different cultures. I wonder if there is something universally cathartic about it?

April 14th, 2015, 11:20 PM
Thank you guys so much for all your kind words. :) Yes, it is cathartic. I've enjoyed it more than I expected to.

Here's a pic maybe a week or two after I shaved it -- maybe a quarter inch of hair or so. My scalp gets dark in a hurry! The first inch felt like it happened so quickly because it looked different almost every day.

https://gm1.ggpht.com/Pj3eLUGAu9LLST4DtYp8wE8XutedBOpcq1ar5QBF5VwTogU-4nQtYJ66n_5WwrseYclkeNv2R0uw4rcDvZeI5XdwfjthtCo1CU KtSvUQP_ymGbVn9C9b7An3ytfb_mTrq8WqxLPLQEKzcKZmLr-AenYw72DR3ophAbnm_--aKShg7S1wschMTdSnjzxXtoSEvXWs5VZ0J7-wZ45An_07MIsMUTUUOfjcEn3hto4oJQJY9YwHcs57lrpHTMI_B zoBWgIWfH1VSzdCgLpghFrpNSMEnR-ZkmHvD1cg07ZM9fgVayrdfvZjczSUIDIsMaaJSLU5xPwM8yjK9 s1kZiU9djGtvUz9dFjN1okc8ZEIn0DM3t4S0WayUhiVBB4RvMe 8J3YS_3LdH8mB1tFliZCWTyDl28mli2g8YLNMAp7R_MxGuPt8T nuEp67slFKIas0_aNc9UxT7qQTkYLRGPyAgMkcCmxZR-ZKUTvdE86VTKKUmV2Ic-m9FY75_uewp0dhS2wk0xwb-ifHCyriup2LlUkylKlB3MKjDN_0TxzJcin8SfKP22SmnuM06Dn FRqElkiWNSpvtY=w1893-h784-l75-ft

April 15th, 2015, 10:58 AM
I'm happy that you're happy about the actions you took <3 I wish you well and hope that you continue to enjoy yourself.