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The Modern Domestic Woman: The ‘very best me’ involves being a redhead

"In my efforts of becoming the 'Very Best Me,' I decided to go red, one of my favorite hair colors," writes columnist Elizabeth Rago. "I always felt a bit sassier and spicey-er with a cherry and cinnamon crown."
"In my efforts of becoming the 'Very Best Me,' I decided to go red, one of my favorite hair colors," writes columnist Elizabeth Rago. "I always felt a bit sassier and spicey-er with a cherry and cinnamon crown."

“You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good,” my stylist, Laura, at Ginger Root Hair Salon in St. Charles told me in May. She rested her hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes through the reflection of the mirror, a sound and supportive voice in the middle of all the guilt running through my mind.

“You don’t need your hair colored; it’s a waste of money,” Guilt said. “Just dump a box of grocery store color on your head and be done with it.”

“There are a thousand things you can spend this money on,” Guilt reminded me. “Groceries. Get a leg up on a bill … and remember, this isn’t just a one-time event. Coloring your hair is super expensive and takes a lot of time each month to maintain.”

Guilt rested her hand on my other shoulder reminding me of how I was shirking my responsibilities by even being at the salon. I looked at myself, at least 5 inches of dirty blond/gray outgrowth screamed to the world that I was soon to be 40 years old and had officially let myself go.

I justified letting my hair grow out because, after all, ombre was in style. Plus, I was an eccentric writer, so I had an excuse as to why I was disheveled 24/7. I had no time to tend to my hair because I was a mother, and I have a job, and a house to clean and a husband to fit in somewhere between preschool drop off and after school cello practice.

But the truth was, I had finally grown tired of polishing my mess of a look. After a few years of a rough season in my life, I was ready to take care of me a bit.

Plus, I was turning 40!

In my efforts of becoming the “very best me,” I decided to go red, one of my favorite hair colors. I always felt a bit sassier and spicier with a cherry and cinnamon crown.

Blessed to cross paths with some amazing stylists, I truly believe that everyone has a calling, and as simple as hair is in life, a good/bad cut can make or break a day.

Miss Laura at Ginger Root in historic downtown St. Charles is my answer to a personal style reinvention. While she keeps up with everything trending in the world of beauty and fashion, Laura doesn’t let that limit her when she’s working with a client. She’s all about turning women into their very own style icon.

Whoever said living in the suburbs isn’t glamorous?

Here are three tips I’ve learned from my favorite stylist at Ginger Root:

1. “Work with your hair, not against it”

This is Laura’s mantra. Of course, she will work with your hair to defy the odds of styling, but the magic happens when you move in tandem with your follicles instead of trying to wrestle them into submission.

2. It’s not as pricy as you think

Sure, it’s a monthly investment, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars each pay period to achieve a fabulous look. Be honest with your stylist! Laura is amazingly nonjudgmental and super savvy when it comes to making my hair work despite my ever-fluctuating budget.

3. Don’t be afraid to stop washing
your hair (Wait, what?)

I absolutely LOVE red on me, but the honest truth is that this vibrant hue fades uberfast. Laura introduced me to dry shampoo, which is a God-send to faux red heads. It works by keeping the oiliness at bay, similar to the old wives’ tale approach of shaking cornstarch on your roots. I personally like the Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo (stocked at Ginger Root). Packed with ultra-fine, oil-absorbing rice starch, it removes buildup, leaving my hair fresh and super vibrant.

Allowing guilt to overtake my mindset only holds me back from being the very best me. It’s an underlying fear that taking care of myself is somehow selfish and wrong, yet I am gradually pulling free from that annoying inner critic. My latest read is Tara Mohr’s book “Playing Big,” in which she thoughtfully addresses that voice in our heads insistent on restraining us from everyday victories:

“It turns out you don’t have to find a magic source of confidence, dig deep into childhood wounds to find the roots of your insecurities, or figure out how to permanently banish that critical voice in your head. Instead, you simply need to learn how to live with the inner voice of self-doubt but not be held back by it, to hear the voice and not take direction from it.”

P.S. I’m feeling fantastically liberated with my new red hair.

Smitten with domestic life, but not to the point of unhealthy obsession, “The Modern Domestic Woman” author and St. Charles resident, Elizabeth Rago, is a freelance writer who spends her days writing for PB Kitchen Design in Geneva. You can visit her blog at or connect with Rago on Facebook at Feedback can be sent to

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