Meet Melanie Paris-Arum, Program Director at the Ohio State Center for Personalized Health Care. For years Melanie has been able to make subtle changes with her hair, especially by playing with color, while at the same time maintaining a professional appearance and training for marathons. Here’s her story.
Un’ruly: Tell us about your hair.
Melanie: I really love my hair. I love that I can wear it super curly, as I do most of the time, blow it out to change my look completely, or to wear it up occasionally. I also like to try new things with color. My hair is naturally dark brown, but I find that highlights are important to add more definition and dimension to my curls; and the fact that highlights works when my hair is straight, too, is a bonus. I have been light brown, dark brown, blonde, and red (I look terrible as a red head), but I like it most the way I wear it now: dark brown with bleach blonde highlights. I also keep my hair cut in layers, with a long swooping bang. Layers are important for some curly textures to avoid “pyramid hair.”
Changing my hair is important to me, but only to give a subtle new look. I need to have a professional appearance, so I try to go only as far as I can in my work environment. I like changing my look to stay fashionable, but I like to be unique too.
my hair through the years
High School 1988: Relaxed, layered, and HUGE
Everybody had big hair back then… the bigger, the more hair spray, the better. My inspiration back then were all the cool ladies in pop culture at the time: Vanity, Sheila E., Paula Abdul, Karen White… everybody!
Miss Excel Ball in 1989: Dancing with My Dad
I’m wearing my natural color here (super dark), while my hair is relaxed and curled inward. It was a special occasion and I did my own hair, as usual (I rarely went to a salon because I always liked my hair better when I did it myself). I was inspired by R&B singer Pebbles for this look. She always had the coolest and most versatile looks back then and I thought she was super cool.
Curls and Highlights in 2010
I’ve been natural since 1992 and it’s definitely been a journey. I get stopped a lot by women of all ethnicities about my hair; how I do it, etc. No two people have the exact same hair texture, so it’s a matter of knowing and appreciating YOUR hair and getting the best products, technique, cut, and color to make it look its best.
My BFF, a photographer, took this picture in Columbus, Ohio. It was winter, so I wanted my hair darker with some highlighted pieces. I also wanted it layered and full with a sweeping bang, which is my usual look!
2012, Hot Summer Days in Columbus
Here’s my natural texture, but with a lot more allover blonde! I chose a blonder look for summer because my skin gets more color and I like the contrast! I like keeping my hair natural because I have a 12 year-old daughter who I want to continue being proud of her God-given hair. I have always kept her natural and she has a tremendous amount of confidence in who she is and loves being natural too.
My Blow Out in 2012
I grew my hair out over the winter, then blew it out in the spring for the first time in months. It was very long and very blonde. My hairdresser told me that my hair had grown so much. So I told her to blow it out to let me see and I loved it! I wanted to see the result of taking care of my hair by using very little heat and getting regular trims.
Right now my hair is layered and shoulder length with super bright blonde chunks around my dark hair. I like this look because it’s a little edgy, but still professional. I like volume and length, so I’m trying to grow it longer, but keep the layers for summer. I probably won’t be blowing it straight for a long time because I’m starting up more intense training for an upcoming half marathon and for possibly a full marathon in the fall. That requires a lot of running and a lot of sweating too, so I’ll most likely stay curly through the summer because it’s easier to care for.
Photos courtesy of Melanie