I am a woman who is obsessed with her hair. If my hair looks really good, you could drop a house on me and steal my Ruby Slippers and it would still be a good day. If my hair looks lackluster, the day will be fine. If I’m having a bad hair day, I will need donuts–lots of donuts–and if you don’t have donuts, well, just put the HAZMAT team on standby because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Recently, I spent 8 months growing out a bad bang trim. I was finally loving my hair. So of course, it was time to cut and color. Isn’t that always the way?
It had been over a year since my last color, so I asked for this:
The colorist and I had a miscommunication. It was both of our faults really. And the result was that I ended up with my natural color, which I have been hiding away with dye and highlights since I was 14.
It looked something like this:
It wasn’t what I wanted, but in retrospect, it looked fine. Just dark. And it was a big change that seemed to emphasize everything that I don’t like about my skin and hide away my favorite feature by making my hazel eyes look dark brown.
What I should have done at this point, was go back to that colorist and ask for a change, but when it comes to hairstylists, I am too impatient for my own good. So once I realized that avoiding all reflective surfaces for the next two years while my hair grew out would be a real challenge, I dropped $235 on highlights at another salon. Hoping to end up with this:
Instead, the second colorist made me look something like this:
Once the foils were removed, it was easy to see that things were not going as planned. I asked her to tone the highlights to take away the harsh, chunkiness. She agreed. Problem solved, right?
Well, toner needs to be left on for 10-20 minutes to do it’s job. She left it on for less than 5 minutes. And when I asked her to tone it again, she nicely advised me that I should try to live with the highlights for a while and then come back the next weekend.
Thinking that she might be right, and that maybe I was overreacting (I’d just had two different people dye my hair in less than 24 hours, evidence suggesting that I was not on an even keel), I decided to take a breath and wait a week.
Then, I ran into a friend who looked at me and said, “Wow. When did you decide to go blonde?” This was not a good sign.
So I sent Miss M a cell phone pic. ”Well, I don’t think [the highlights] are awful. But nobody’s really doing visible highlights anymore.”
When my parents called that evening, it was clear that I was in a full hair meltdown. The kind of nuclear disaster not experienced since the summer of 2006 when I decided to get extensions and nearly wound up in a padded cell under a suicide watch. So I sent them a photo hoping they could soothe my nerves.
My Father’s exact words were, “Maybe you can bring hats back into style? Kate Middleton wears them.”
My reaction to that statement was to show up at St. Germain without an appointment, beg Teri’s forgiveness for ever going to anyone else and let Anna do her best to save my hair. It was a valiant effort, and a major improvement given that the highlights were overprocessed in places, had bleed marks in others and weren’t touching the roots. The end result of her hair magic looks something like this:
Do I hate it? No. Do I love it? No. Am I able to leave my home and walk amongst the living without fear of being recognized? Yes. In short, it’s good enough for now.
So class, what have we learned today?
Lesson 1: When you get your hair to a place where you like it, don’t change it. Even if the ends are split and some of the highlights are bleached out, do everything you can not to change it.
Lesson 2: Always bring a picture to the salon. You and the colorist speak two different languages. Ask to see swatches, ask to see photos, never pretend you understand a damn thing that he says, because you don’t. And miscommunications lead to an unhappy result.
Lesson 3: Never go to another salon unless you are afraid something catastrophic will happen if you return to the first one. Because it is very likely that something catastrophic could happen at the second one (see above photo).
Lesson 4: Condition, condition, condition. If you have to recolor your hair (esp. three times in two days), you better slather on the conditioner like the life giving oil that it is or else you’ll wind up looking like Sinead O’Connor.
Lesson 5: When people tell you how wonderful the hair color that you loathe with every fiber of your being looks, smile sweetly and say thank you. And then remind yourself that it’s only 38 more days until you can dye it back to something that doesn’t make you want to grab a fire axe and go Jack Nicholson on a mirror.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am taking the rest of the day off. I think Jesus was trying to teach me an important, $700 lesson about vanity and patience and I, and these bottles of Piper Sonoma, are going to spend the entire three-day weekend pondering this opportunity for personal growth. Capitol Hill Style will be back on Tuesday. Hopefully, my sanity will be back with it.
Editor’s Note: The first colorist was Roberto at Bang Chinatown. He was competent and skillful, but we had a miscommunication. I should have gone back to him and asked for a redo, but I got impatient, and that’s on me. He does The Princess’s hair and it always looks great.
The second colorist was Nancy at Andre Chreky. That did not go well, and I would neither go back nor recommend that other people go there. She was nice and polite, but I’d rather let a Banshee style my hair than wind up with highlights that would have been fashion forward in Oklahoma in 2003.
The third colorist is Anna at St. Germain in Penn Quarter. She is my new best friend. She was sweet and calming, and fixed things as best as anyone could have under the circumstances. I’m sure that in 38 days, she’ll be able to do something lovely with my color. Until then, the unholy darkness reigns. Deep breaths.