Hair: Gail Lowrance

It’s the one part of our physical appearance we get to choose. Eye color, skin color, face shape, height — all of those are determined for us, but our hair. Our hair.

That is all ours.

The length, how we cut it, how we style it, the color(s) we choose for it to be. If we fix it, or if we let it go free.

It carries social connotations, religious symbolism and historic meaning. We as women bond over it; dyeing, cutting and styling it are reasons for us to gather in each other’s homes and beauty shops to share the stories of our lives. With it, we get to choose the way others perceive us; how we control it (or not) tells the world something about who we are.

Curly, straight, kinky, wavy. Long, shoulder-length, pixie-cut, faux hawk. Natural, dyed, braided, dreaded: no one has hair exactly like you.  

Let’s embrace our hair, look in the mirror and call it beautiful.

Let this Southeast Missouri woman inspire you.



Gail Lowrance

Why do you love your hair?

I’ve had so many spontaneous, incredible encounters with total strangers from coast to coast because of this crazy hair … and I love that! People will stare first, then comment or ask questions. Females will often lament they wish they had the courage to “let their hair go and stop coloring it.” That sometimes launches a teachable moment of how to make that happen. Not too many years ago, it was a rarity to see a woman with white hair, unless she was really, really old. I’ll be 64 in August, and mine has been completely white for decades. It’s hereditary, and I’ve never dyed it. It was a non-conforming statement for most of my adult life, and that fits my personality. In a way, it’s almost a trademark.


How do you take care of your hair?  

I’m really lucky that it’s naturally curly, but the right layered cut is essential every six weeks. This is hard to imagine, but I’ve gone to Gary Stroder at Karen Oliver and Company for more than 40 years. He understands it. I’ve never had a bad experience there. White hair can easily take on a yellow tinge, lose its shine and become coarse. I use Pantene Sheer Volume shampoo and conditioner, followed with Roux White Minx mousse to eliminate the yellow. Then I attack the fuzziness and coarseness with Biolage Gelee and top it off with Biosilk Silk Therapy to add shine. The big weapon is a diffuser attachment to the hair dryer and volumizing hair spray called “Freeze It.” The whole process takes about 30 minutes each morning.


What is your favorite place in Southeast Missouri?

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised in Caruthersville, Missouri. Any country road throwing up dust and gravel makes me happy. I drive in the country when I need to think, sort through things, talk to God, unwind, calm down, make decisions or just need to see new places and feel good.


What do you do for fun?

Getting real mail out of the mailbox is pure joy for me. FaceTiming with my three children and those they love, along with our conference calls, are some of the best moments of my life during the week. We all gather for the Lowrance Family Vacation (LFV) at a different location around the country/Canada each summer and rent a big house or apartment, so we really do live together. This will be our 12th year to do it, and the anticipation already has me hyped up. I love to go junking, stalk houses that are for sale, have meals with friends, read, write, decorate spaces and watch slurpy love movies.  


Tell us a story.

My Granny (Annie) Sides took care of me as my mom went back to work when I was six weeks old. She had seven children, and of those that lived, raised them on a farm through the Depression while a young widow. She loved her church, never drove, planted a huge garden, rented out her farmland, never moved, always wore an apron and cooked almost everything in a black cast-iron skillet. One dark afternoon, a big hail storm came through and stripped all the cotton stalks. She stood at the window, looking at her crop, now ruined, and I still remember her shoulders shaking as she silently sobbed. She was kind, fierce, Godly, stubborn, gentle, loving, generous, funny and a terrific grandma. I miss her every day, and she died more than 30 years ago.


Anything else you want us to know about you?

I taught special education for more than 30 years — mostly behavior disordered, emotionally disturbed and autistic children. My former students are getting older or are all grown up now and have children of their own. It’s really awesome running into them … even if they yell, “Hey Blizzard Head.” After I retired, I started managing Annie Laurie’s and work there full-time. It brings me a whole bunch of happiness to meet the customers and become friends to the point of feeling like family with our regulars. I’m selling my house and downsizing for the second time in my life. It’s a cool house, and I want someone to love it so then I can love living in an apartment and be Southwest’s favorite customer. I’m almost deaf without my hearing aids, and I’m legally blind without my contacts. Maybe that’s why I love old people. Able to relate.


Tell us something you’ve learned in life.

Keeping up with the Joneses is way overrated and unnecessary. People matter most. Friends, family, strangers. And all ages matter. I read that as you get older, you should really try to cultivate a relationship with people from every decade and maintain those friendships. Good really does get good, and bad really does get bad. Life is too short to be unhappy about anything. It’s good to have a relationship with God … like a real relationship.  


Tell us something brave you’ve done.

I raised three children as a divorced, single mom.  


Tell us about a few things you’ve done that you’re proud of.

I’m learning to be a grandma, and I want to be incredibly amazing at that. Not there yet, but I’m trying. My children live in California, Maine and Tennessee. We all love each other. They each have jobs where they make a positive difference in the lives of others. They get what it means to be loving, appreciative, well-read, polite, smart, kind, hard-working and generous, and if I could have dinner with anyone living or dead, I would choose them.  


What is something beautiful?

A postcard waiting for you in the mailbox with just these words — “Wish you were here. I love you.”


What is beauty?

Beauty is something you cherish in your memories. Something that makes you so happy to be alive. And that’s different for everyone. A child’s smile. Big, old, weathered barns. Two old people holding hands. Sunflowers and daisies. Perfect mammogram report. The Clydesdales.  


Location: Ebb & Flow Fermentations in Cape Girardeau


  • Lisa
    Loved the story of my friend Gail- she is loved by SO many& gives it back in return. She makes me not dread aging- I see how she embraces it. Her laugh,smile& personality-it is a pleasure knowing her. Our world needs more Gail Lowrances!
  • Debbie Kellogg-Hinkebein
    And THIS is why I love Gail!!?
  • Erica D. Robbins
    Gail, I just fell in love with you all over again! You are a true beacon of light and such an inspiration to anyone who has, is, or will ever be in your presence! :) <3