Monday, 22 February 2010

Bad hair days



Yesterday with the help of friend Lynn, I set about "doing my roots" (this may be one of those expressions that doesn't travel well, e.g. to Australia). Actually, I merely sat still and Lynn did them; I am not methodical enough to produce an acceptable result or to avoid dyeing my ears in the process, and she is.

I had unmistakeably grey roots in my currently mid-brown hair. Mid-brown was not the shade I chose when I decided to bypass the hairdresser. The box said "Light Golden Brown" - a shade that might not show the grey too distinctly as it emerged at its usual alarming rate. Wrong! There was a crisp borderline of brown and grey. Should have gone lighter. 

Why bother? you might ask. I sometimes ask the same myself. Such vanity. I am fine with my wrinkles, crow's feet, the evident power of gravity, the crepey neck (well, less fine with that one, but I'm growing resigned), but going grey gracefully is something I can't find it in myself to embrace. I have very dark eyebrows, and a serious, somewhat grumpy face (a lifelong affliction; don't let it fool you!) and ending up as a photofit version of Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown is just too much to risk. 

Why not let my hairdresser do it? is another good question. Well, I'm looking for a new hairdresser, and not from one of those salons that turn out endless young blonde clones who are happy to spend a months' wages on their highlights and to endure three hours of top-volume chit-chat over the blasting music. 

I thought I had found the ideal hairdresser last year, fairly local, a somewhat older, slightly arty-eccentric woman, who is an excellent colourist, but although she doesn't ask me if I'm doing anything nice tonight (yes, putting my slippers on and sitting down in a quiet room) or where I'm going on holiday this year (nowhere - my holiday fund is being spent on getting my hair done), she does pour out, in graphic detail, her considerable personal problems. 

And when she's finished with those, she tells me all about the personal problems of her exquisitely made-up trainee, who disregards her advice to ditch his violent boyfriend. Sometimes it's more than I can face, to sit through this catalogue of woes;  they are then recounted to the next customer while my hair colour develops, so I get to endure them twice. I don't fall into the advice/counselling trap - I know others do, although they are never listened to - and I emerge with great, natural-looking hair colour, but feeling emotionally wrung out, and wondering if perhaps I should have been charging her for the listening session. 

Who thought that fighting Nature - expensively too - would be so challenging? The price of vanity, it seems to me, is a complex and sometimes punishing combination of elements, not all of which appear on the till receipt. So it was time to take economy measures while attempting to thwart Nature's cruel way with my hair: home dyeing....

And yes, tonight I will be doing something nice, I'm sure. In slippers, true, but without reference to holiday brochures or more intimately-detailed information about other people's personal lives than I need to know.

Hmmmm....vain and callous - perhaps I deserve that grey hair!

19 comments:

jinksy said...

I couldn't be bothered to try to escape grey hair, as it's bound to win eventually - but I wish I knew how to stop it getting thinner! Did enjoy your take on the hair dresser free-counselling session. I cut my own hair, and avoid the hassle! LOL :)

liZZie said...

Brilliant! We have much in common, but as a former 'colour of a new penny' type I'm going white. Eeeeeek. Later today I plan to comb through a little hair titivation in the form of something that comes in a box and stinks terribly, but it makes me feel better. Joanna Lumley is my role model when it comes to hair. I suppose if I was to follow through on what politician I could look like if I didn't bother, it would probably be Michael Heselitine! More eeeek.

Anonymous said...

I've never been brave enough to try doing my hair at home, not since the Henna incident some years ago, which redefined "flaming auburn". So I have considerable respect for you and your decision to avoid ordeal by hairdresser.

Jan

PS How does Lottie get her tasteful streaks?

judy in ky said...

Maybe you could get an ipod (or some similar device), plug in earphones, and listen to music to drown out the tales of woe at the salon. I've been lucky to find a nice, normal hairdresser who is a mom with kids and no drama.

Kitty said...

No, neither vain nor callous. Totally with you on both counts - I'm not quite ready for grey hair (despite the fact it's more than ready for me, it seems) and I dread the droning gossip at the hairdressers. Like you I have avoided the 'massage chair and a latte' option (being that it normally costs in the region of £40 for a cut at such places) and have sought the local small business (£16 for a trim, much more my budget) but they gossip shamelessly. And this is a small town!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

I use L'Oreal 'Castings' Creme No. 800 (which is one of the 'blondes') and it comes out a very natural-looking, light, mousy brown. I slap it one about every six weeks. The conditioner that comes with it is excellent and lasts me until the next time I colour my hair.
It costs less than £6 a time. I leave it on for 30 mins though and put a plastic shopping bag on my head, secured with a bulldog clip, as it seems to help the colour to develope and gives DH a laugh!

Paddy Paws said...

In my (vain) experience, if I'm not happy with my hair, I'm not happy at all. I can recommend Belle Colour 7.3 (probably called something like 'golden light brown'). It covers most of the offending grey (with 30 minutes 'cooking') and fades after a few washes to a flattering light brown/blond, especially in the summer. Don't forget to use old towels!

valct4joy said...

I had a good giggle reading this post and strongly identified with your hairdresser "true confessions" experiences. I'm a blonde by inclination and have gone the do it yourself route and the salon route. Currently, I go for differently coloured highlights which don't show such a demarcation line, so that's something to think about!

Kate on Clinton said...

An experienced (i.e., older) colorist is a treasure. As for the emotionally draining diatribes, I have a suggestion. Bring a good book, and immediately tell her that you MUST read this book during the session because your book club is tonight and you are way behind. Self-coloring never had the natural look that I get with my wonderful (but geographically difficult - 3 subway trains!) stylist.

mollygolver said...

That was fun. I really enjoyed reading your blog. My hair is my worst despair - very fine and floppy. I have given up 'colouring' it now as I usually end up with an ash blonde scalp instead so its WYSIWYG. My hairdresser usually talks to her assistant while she's doing my hair so I just try to be non-plussed!

charlotte said...

I thought your hair was a lovely colour when I saw you Saturday. You should dye your hair green like me, it's fab. Even after 3and a half hours, 2 hairdressers, a colour technician and Wella trying to fix it, it's still quite greeny. I think it was one of those Perfect 10 colours that are double the price of any other box. The pic on the box looked like Cheryl Cole, I didn't look like Cheryl Cole. Luckily the purple beret hides it quite well until I get paid x

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I sometimes wish I had never started coloring my hair. Now I can't figure out how to let it go back to a natural graying state. When it starts to grow out, the roots are so obvious I have to touch them up. I've done it at home the last couple of times - so much cheaper.

Rattling On said...

I only have a couple of stray greys and can get away with yanking them out for the moment. But it'd definitely be home colouring for me.
I've cut MrH's hair for donkey's years, and have been known to do my own in the past when particularly skint.

Linens and Royals said...

Yes,Yes! I am in Australia and I know exactly what 'doing my roots' means. Though I have given up doing mine and have not had a hair cut in 8 months as I was tired of inventing an exciting life when asked ' what are you doing this, or last weekend.. so am looking a bit neglected here-like a mad cat woman, which I am. Could afford botox but for my expensive 2 cats.

herhimnbryn said...

Hallo there,
Thankyou for the comment you left on my blog.

I have greying hair now...my badge of courage!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'm full of admiration for the stamina shown by all who choose the hair colouring route . I couldn't face the torture so just went white , unreasonably early too .
I have the black eyebrow handicap too ..... but dyeing them paler might be as much effort as doing my hair in the first place !
Let's face it , short of pegging out in the prime of life , one's going to look a bit crinkled..... though just how crinkled does come as a surprise sometimes !

Isabelle said...

Ah well, as you saw when we met, I don't bother battling the grey. The upkeep would be too much for me. But I do envy your wonderful eyebrows! Mine have faded into insignificance over the years. I'd go to the hairdresser if I could get eyebrow extensions!

laurie said...

i think the photos shows a nice bending job, gray and blond and light brown all together. it looks natural.

i'm lucky that my hair is so curly the gray just kind of winds in around everything else and isn't too noticeable...or so i tell myself. (i can't see the top of my own head anyway.)

i *hate* going to the salon and go twice a year, no more than that, for highlights, which i do love. but the visit is so incredibly boring that i just can't go more often than that, even though they "recommend" every six weeks.

ah of course they do

my croft said...

I recently started dying my hair brown -- left to its own devices, it's bright red. I wish I had done this decades and decades ago and kept it up. I am so much happier not being constantly braced against having absolute strangers ask; Is ALL your hair red?

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