Sunday, June 1, 2008

A really bad hair day

Ever have a really bad hair day?
I went to get my hair done last week, my usual every six (or eight) weeks color and cut. This time, I decided I wanted a little change. I felt my hair was getting too blonde. Not that there’s anything wrong with being blonde. Although I do have my blonde moments – like the time my office was having the carpet replaced and I had to pack all my stuff up. The next morning, new carpet in place, I went to unpack and discovered that I had packed my scissors in a box and sealed it up with tape. Or the other night when my husband was working late and asked if I’d be awake when he got home. I told him, “If I’m not awake I’ll be asleep.”
My natural color is a sort of light auburn, and highlights over highlights were making me too blonde, so I told my hair stylist Olivia I wanted it a little darker, maybe with some streaks of light brown, like a caramel color. She was so happy! She was like an artist, brushing on different colors. When she finally removed all the tinfoil, shampooed, cut and blow-dried, I looked at myself in shock.
The back of my head was its normal reddish-blonde color but the underneath layer of the front was a dark chocolate brown, and the top layer was a very light, bleached blonde. I looked like a tri-colored skunk.
How could I tell this artist that her work of art was ugly and horrible? I couldn’t do it. I tactfully told her it was a lot blonder than I wanted, that I was trying to be less blonde. I guess she realized I wasn’t sure about the new look so she told me to give it a few days to get used to it and if I still didn’t like it, to come back.
I went home and looked in the mirror. And I cried. The blonde was too blonde and the brown was way too dark. I’d never in my life had such dark hair. It was so not what I’d wanted.
So I went to the drugstore. After spending about two hours examining every hair color product in the hair aisle, I selected a highlighting kit and a low lighting kit.
I went home and first tried the lowlights. I thought if I blended the blonde in with the dark color it might not look so bad. After another blow dry, I cried again. Now I looked like Morticia.
My husband, after twenty-three years of marriage, wisely knows what not to say about my hair. He would never say it looked awful, but he also knew better than to try to tell me that it looked nice. I sobbed on his shoulder.
Then I tried the highlights, trying to blend the dark in with the light. Another shampoo and blow dry, another facing of the mirror. Well, I could live with it. At least I looked more like myself. I didn’t do too bad of a job, if I did say so myself other than a few weird sideways stripes, and the underneath part was still way too dark and looked a little strange, but now at least I could go to work and face people.
The next night night, Olivia called, checking to see how I liked my hair. I was totally busted. What could I say? I couldn’t lie, unless I never wanted to return to her salon. I’ve been with Olivia longer than I’ve been with my husband, so breaking up would be hard to do. So I told her I’d done “some stuff” myself.
She was horrified. What kind of stuff? I told her what I’d done. You should have called me, she told me, very upset. She got me to come in the next day so she could see what I’d done and if she could fix it. I felt terrible, like I’d betrayed her, but I’d been so reluctant to tell her I hated it.
Olivia told me that as a client, I am her walking advertisement. If my hair looks good, it reflects well on her (and vice versa - she didn’t say that, but I know she was thinking that I was walking around with amateur highlights and lowlights and people were holding her responsible). She said she would rather I told her if I was unhappy about something to give her a chance to fix it.
When she looked at my hair, she was very tactful and she redid the color and highlights completely and didn’t even charge me.
I’d like to say the moral of the story is that being so upset about something like your hair is superficial and vain and I’ve learned that appearance isn’t everything. But …no.
Have you ever cried over a bad hairdo? Do you rush home from the salon to wash and style your hair yourself? Try to fix something you don’t like with dye or even - yikes - scissors???


Previously posted at Wicked Wenches
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