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After college, I started a full-time job, and entered the ulcer-friendly work-world of the late eighties. What I wanted was hair-armor that would give me an edge when I rode out onto that merciless career battlefield. As I worked at attaining an intimidating level of follicular volume and control, I decided that I needed to find something mathematical and precise--the perfect hair formula--to do the trick.

I experimented with salon shampoos like Paul Mitchell, Pantene, Biolage, and Matrix. When women in white lab coats on T.V. commercials told me what to buy, I listened. I began going to a trendy hair salon, where I was instructed by my chic hairdresser, Marc, that hair had a physics all its own. He also told me that I was a redhead at heart, and that I should go "warmer" with coloring. So I did, of course, somehow figuring he knew my heart better than I did--or at least my hair.

In the nineties, I decided I'd consumed more than enough black coffee-and-cigarette breakfasts, and made the transition from steely career woman to gentle earth mother. I returned to my roots. I became more concerned with health than with beauty. I stopped seeing Marc, and reverted to my old brownhead self. I bought wide shoes with low heels and air-pillow insoles. And at night, rather than cramming for my next meeting at work, I'd light a couple of naturally-scented vanilla candles and lie down on the sofa to relax to some harp music.

I became more concerned about the health of nature as well and, as a result, began seeking out fruit and vegetable shampoos, which contained fewer toxins than those I'd been using--or so I thought. It was my goal to nurture my spiritual side and, in doing so, to get in tune with the cosmos. I frequented environmentally correct, back-to-nature beauty shops. I brought home banana hair putty, carrot shampoo, papaya shampoo, passionfruit, grapefruit, raspberry...