19 October 2013


I went to get my hair colored at the same place I have always gone here in State of Happiness: a training school for an international company. My hair hasn't always ended up perfect there - they are students, after all - but usually it all goes pretty smoothly.

I haven't gotten my hair colored since May of 2011. It's pretty much all grown out to just a little bit of gold on the ends of the strands. (Periodically people would think I was doing ombre on purpose. Nope! Just lazy.) I was ready to go all out and get it all cutely highlighted.

I used to think of myself as not super picky about my hair, but I have learned two three things: 
  1. The right side of my hair grows faster than the left, and it needs to be cut shorter than the left at the beginning. It doesn't look longer when you just look at it after cutting them what looks like evenly, but trust me, there is a cowlick or something going on there, and if you hold the two sides next to one another, the right side is longer.
  2. I hate it when the framing layers around my face are huge and chunky.
  3. I do not want my highlights golden. I do not want the yellow blonde. I want the ashy, almost grey blonde. Otherwise my face looks a funny color.
This was basically my mantra today: I want an ashy blonde. No, really, really ashy. If you have to choose between having variation of color in my hair or making it more ashy, I want it as ashy as possible.

For someone who is graduating next month, the girl who was doing my hair seemed a little clueless. Nice, but clueless. For example, she wanted to do all the foils with bleach, take them out, and then tone every other piece of colored hair to make it more ashy. (The instructor: "That is basically impossible. Once you take the foils out, you will never find the sections again.")

She set out putting foils into my hair. They were kind of weird, though. I've had them march straight back from the front of my hair, and march up the sides of my hair, but she had a triangle in the front and then pie slices up the side. It wasn't until she was finishing the pie slices that I asked if it was a problem that so much of my hair right at the visible top of my head wasn't getting color. 

"Oh, no," she said. "We can't get right to the scalp anyway."

Erm. Not what I was asking. It was more that the edges of the section of hair were right where my part goes, but were about an inch outside of the foil, meaning that the middle of my head wasn't going to get color.

When she took out the foils, I almost cried. My hair was that awful, brassy, bottle blonde that one associates with cheap Clairol dye kits from the local drugstore, where a woman with her hair that color is sitting smoking on the stool at the soda fountain. 

But. I have faith in the products of this international chain, and the toner was yet to come (toner adds a blue tint to your hair to take away the orange), so I remained calm.

I did tell the story about how I turned my brother's hair that brassy bottle blonde in the summer of 2000, right before we went back to Liberia the first time, and while he and I rode around in the open bed of the pickup we were using (we couldn't stand to sit inside - the shocks on that thing were terrible and bouncing around was less nausea-inducing when you were out in the open air), the kids would laugh and point at us. 

"They are laughing because I have orange hair," my brother kept saying.

"They are laughing because we are the only white people around," I said. "Your hair has nothing to do with it."

"No, they are laughing because I have orange hair," he would say.

My hair was toned. It looked substantially better afterward, and I paid and left.

Then I had a breakdown in a clothing store over whether to buy a coat or not (I've been needing one to wear to work that is not a raincoat or a soft shell or a winter coat), and if I did buy a coat whether to buy the longer waterproof trench-like one that was on clearance or the shorter one that basically offered no protection that was also on clearance.

(Spoiler alert: I bought one.)

(Additional spoiler alert: I bought the trench.)

(Further spoiler alert: I did not buy the $400 slightly warmer trench, but I will have my eye on it when it goes on clearance in January.)

(In my defense for even looking at $400 coats, all three of the considered coats are made by a local company that cares about the environment, blah blah blah, stop it, it's the cheap clothes that are destroying the earth and this sustainably made expensive one will last me forever so there.)

Then I realized that my breakdown was because I was too hungry to think, so I put the trench coat on hold because it was the last one of its kind and I went to a tea place nearby and waited an inordinately long amount of time for a sandwich on gluten free bread. (Waiter, after I have been sitting with the menu closed for about 10 minutes, looking at him impatiently. "Oh. Are you ready to order?" Yes, that is what the STARING YOU DOWN WITH MY EYES means, sir. It's not because you are pretty.)

I found my reflection in the tea shop bathroom mirror a little startling. Why was the hair right around my face so... orange?

I went back to the coat store and bought the trench and got into my car and looked at my hair in the rearview mirror in the light of day and I was horrified. It was dreadful. I looked like I'd seriously misread the instructions on the bottle of peroxide. The rest of my hair wasn't so bad, although my roots are already an inch long because of the weird placement of the foils, but those brassy sections near the front were truly terrible.

I called the place and tried to make an appointment to get it fixed (the answering service told me it had already closed), but they wanted $45 for it, so I went home to pee. Then I caught sight of myself in the mirror, gasped in horror, and googled the place. They were not yet closed.

I got in my car and went back. By the time I walked in the door, I had maybe been crying in my car just a little because, I don't know, I was embarrassed to be seen in public with hair like this? 

Okay, that was a little bit of an overreaction.

But my appointment to get it fixed isn't until Tuesday and in the meantime? I'm embarrassed to be seen in public like this.

The women at the school gave me some blue conditioner to use on the front strands, which is supposed to tone it again. I sat here with the conditioner on my hair for fifteen minutes after I went on a shopping spree to try to solace myself for my hair.

It's really bad. And I have no idea how they are going to fix it. I'm just really disappointed, because I was so excited to go out and make my hair cute again, and now I may have to cut it all off and start over.

No comments: