Color Catastrophe

Just because you can do something yourself, does not mean that you should.  For some people, that means home remodeling.  Plumbing and drywall come to mind.  For others, it applies to sewing or baking.  I’m thinking wedding cakes.  In my case, I’ve learned that I must never again try to color my own hair.

As I neared the age of 40, I noticed the roots of my hair turning gray.  At first, I tried to yank them out one by one.  Each time I saw a gray, I would pull out the trusty tweezers and give it a yank.  After a while, there were just too many for me to handle.  Once I started seeing scalp, I realized that I was losing that battle.  The one thing worse than a gray head is a bald head.

I decided that I would have to color over the gray.  How hard could it be?  Based on the enormous selection of hair color that I see at every CVS, Target and Kroger store, millions of women must do it.  The girls in the L’Oreal commercial never seem to have a problem.  

I went to my local Walgreens to find my perfect match.  I was certainly overwhelmed by the array of choices, but finally settled upon a medium brown shade. I then headed home to wash that gray right outta my hair.

My sister helped me apply to color and reach the tough spots in the back.   We followed the directions to the letter, set the timer, and waited for the magic to happen. 

Thirty minutes later, I rinsed out the color and all seemed fine.  It wasn’t until my hair dried that I realized we had a problem.  My medium brown was now a brassy shade of copper.  I was one shade darker than Ronald McDonald.

Maybe it will look better in the sunlight, I assured myself.  Nope.  The natural light only enhanced the brass.

I Googled brassy hair, and realized that I was not alone!  Plenty of women with brown hair also suffer from penny head.  Maybe I should have done this research before I applied the color.

The web recommended other shades that might cover the damage, but warned me to wait a few weeks before coloring again.  Of course, I ignored that advice.  By the end of the week, I had about four layers of bronze on my hair.  More shades of orange than a large box of crayons.

Desperate for help, I called on the experts!  My hairdresser said she could help, but we would have to wait a while!  What!?  No, please!  I tried to bribery, but she wouldn’t budge.  It must be some professional oath.  Or, maybe that just want to make sure we amateurs truly learn our lesson.

She would see me in a few weeks and try to cover the damage.  In the meantime, frequent washing might help the color to fade.  I shampooed morning, noon and night, but sure didn’t notice any dulling. I think it got brighter! 

Years later, my hair has been restored to a more natural brown, and I am committed to professional products and a skilled hair dresser.  I call that period my orange phase, and consider it a lesson learned.

But now, the gray gets worse with each passing year.  Like a lawn full of dandelions, it’s taking over the entire area.  Of course, that more frequent (and pricey) visits to the salon. 

Take my advice ladies.  Start saving while you’re still young.  After you’ve established a college savings account for your kids, and fully funded your 401k, you might want to set up a savings plan for all the coloring in your future. 

The retirement savings experts never mention this, but someday you’ll thank me.  Start saving now before the gray has taken over entirely!

If you’re naturally blonde or black, you may have an easier time coloring your own hair.  This will certainly save you some money. 

But, if you’re a brunette,  learn from my mistakes.  Do not try to color your own hair. Like plumbing, or auto repair, or juggling knives…hair color is not as simple as it seems.