1.29.2009

The Saga of My Hair


Note: it should be stated that the nameless hairdresser featured in this post is both beautiful and talented. I've seen her other clients and they all have lovely tresses. It's obvious that she can do hair. Just not mine, apparently.

A few months ago, my husband exchanged services with a hairdresser. Seeing as J has no use for a cut and color, I became the beneficiary of the exchange. 

It all started out well. She came to my home {no need for a babysitter! Bonus!} and I filled her in on my hair preferences: partial {very fine} weave, level 10 bleach, cool tones, and a bob cut. "We can just put level 10 blonde haircolor in, and it'll be less harsh than bleach," she advised. She got to work. I read a Domino magazine

The result was slightly blotchy and more red than I was accustomed to. She graciously came back a week later to fix one of the larger blotches near my temple that prevented me from tucking my hair behind my ear. We agreed to use bleach the next time, since the haircolor seemed to turn out far too warm.

Fast forward several weeks. This time when she arrived, I had detailed photos of what I wanted. "See the blonde on Reese Witherspoon?" I pointed out, "That's more of what I have in mind." I wanted to go lighter for the holidays, but it had to be that cool/white blonde. She reassured me that she could do that. We chatted happily while she folded my hair into foils. When my head looked like tin antennae, she set the timer, packed her things, and said, "Just wash your hair out when the timer goes off." 

I was taken aback. "You're not staying?" I asked,  "What about the bleach?" 

"If the strands look orange, just let it process a little longer," she replied. "They should look kind of pink and blonde. I mixed some blonde haircolor highlights in there, too. It'll add some depth. But that can't over-process. You'll be just fine." I was acutely conscious of the fact that she'd already spent the entire morning working on my hair, and that I'd had her come back a second time after the first appointment, so I was hesitant to push the matter. She left with a wave and an admonition of, "Don't leave it in too long! You don't want white hair!"

Um. Great.

I checked and re-checked the foils. Is it too orange? Is it too white? It won't stay pink, will it? Curses, I have no idea what I'm doing! When the timer went off, I washed out my hair and crossed my fingers. 

Result: brassy as Joy Behr.

I was too shy to call and have her come back again {how high maintenance would that make me look?} so a friend loaned me some purple shampoo that helped tone the warmth down a little. I made it through Christmas without any odd looks.

When I could no longer ignore my roots, I called for another appointment. "Let's just take it back to natural," I said. "We can weave in some darker blonde pieces to match my roots, and for the lighter weave, just use bleach. Obviously, the haircolor always pulls far too red and orange." No problem.

Again, hours of foils. When at last I felt like a metal Medusa, she set the timer and packed. "Please stay," I begged. "I'm just worried about the bleach. I need someone to make sure I'm pulling it out at the right time." She showered me with reassurances and platitudes. I started to feel bad about taking up her entire Saturday. And then she left. 

J poked his head in the shower whilst I was lathering my hair with shampoo. "Mind if I join you?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows up and down suggestively. 

"Yes!" I snapped, and then felt guilty as I watched his face fall. "Sorry," I offered lamely. "I just can't relax until I see what my hair looks like." 

"I'd say it looks kind of striped," he said, taking a gander at my hair as I turned off the water and started to towel off. When I looked alarmed, he was quick to say, "I'm sure it's what you were going for. Don't judge it until you've dried it."

It was striped, all right. The bleached parts looked almost white. The darker blonde was more of a grey with a green tint to it. The rest of the strands contrasted sharply, all brassy and warm. I felt seasick just looking at it. "What the.... I can't... Oh my--!" I couldn't even complete a sentence as I blow dried, combed, and attempted to find a style that would cover the majority of the green blotches. 

J came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.  "I'm sure it can be fixed," he said soothingly. "Just not today. Do you really want to let it ruin your weekend?" Grudgingly, I admitted that I did not. 

So, I bought a hat. I wore it to church, where I received compliments galore. J coached my on keeping my chin raised. "You have to own it!" he said, "You're wearing a hat because it's stylish, not because you're hiding. Don't allow yourself to tell anyone a sob story. Just say thank you when they mention your hat." It was great advice. 

In the end, only my friend who previously loaned me the purple shampoo saw through me. She cornered me in the hallway and instantly demanded, "What did you do to your hair?!" When I confessed, she informed my other dear friend, who happens to also be a hair stylist. We found a secluded spot where I cringed and showed her my seaweed locks. "It can be fixed," she stated confidently.

And fix it she did! After a week of wearing a hat, I sat in her kitchen and spent a few hours getting tin-foiled yet again. The result is blonde, cool toned, and utterly natural. I am both relieved and grateful. 

Moral of the story: I am a vain, vain creature and will probably cry when I start to go grey. In the meantime, I'm stocking up on hats.

{Edit: No, she will not be coloring my hair again. I'll probably have her cut it, though. She's done a great job with the cuts. And although this post sounded kinda melodramatic, I actually found the experience to be quite funny once I got over the initial shock. :)}

12 comments:

LisAway said...

Oh dear. I completely understand that feeling of not wanting to come across as being fussy, but really needing something. What a strange experience(s). So glad your friend was able to fix it! And the hat is so darling.

The Queen said...

Well I hope you are not going to let her do your hair again!!!

Stephanie said...

AAAAGGH! What kind of stylist leaves before rinsing and seeing the final product? I'd be upset too. (Although I saw your hair around Christmas time and I thought it looked great.) I wouldn't let her near your hair again. Free cut or not!

Em said...

Do not feel bad about taking stock in your hair. There is nothing wrong with caring about your hair and holding some confidence in how your it looks.

I gotta give props to you blondes. It's stories like this that cause me to take comfort in my boring black hair.

And you OWN that hat! Absolutely own it, it's so cute.

And--I LOVED the Joy Behr link. Hilarious!

Lindsay said...

Please, please tell us where you got that adorable hat! I've been searching high and low for something just like it!

MelancholySmile said...

Lisa- strange indeed. But that's what makes it a great story, I guess.
Thanks for the compliment{s} Steph!
Em- I've always wanted black hair. Nothing boring about it!
Lindsay- the hat was purchased at Target for $4! Gotta love the Clearance isle. They also had it in black and purple.

liz stanley said...

WHO is this stylist? i want to find her and drop kick her

Spymommy said...

Just two days ago I pondered what it would be like to be bald - I was that frustrated with my hair. You and I actually seem to have similar hairstyles and color preference. Being a natural turned dishwater blonde is frustrating for me. No one can get the color to where I think it should be. And, add in that in the past year two small colonies of gray have invaded . . . it's enough to make a girl go buy a cute hat!

Shawn said...

Well, this is why I started doing my own hair 15 years ago and have never looked back! Its a hassle, but I have it down to a science now, and the over the counter colors are so much better than they used to be---so voila---I'm happy with it!

**There was one time, though, when I was going through my red phase, that my hair ended up that purple auburn and I was wearing a hat for two weeks! Aaahhhhh!

Check out my hair at www.swaneesinger.blogspot.com and feel free to critique it!

Janae said...

What a story!! I can't believe this hairdresser. You definitely gave her a chance--not your fault at all for asking her to come back. Good thing you're gorgeous in that hat!

miggy said...

Vain? No, you paid for a service and the service was not completed to your satisfaction. Multiple times.

Also, if you are slightly vain, you're in good company as I've been known to cry and throw air punches over a bad haircut... it can easily ruin a weekend, or longer.

Becky said...

I wouldn't use her again as well. What an awful experience--and I do not think you are vain. Every woman I know would have felt the same way. I would have ditched church, though.

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