Monday, October 29, 2007

To dye or not to dye, part 2

I finally took the plunge and colored my hair for the first time yesterday.

I went with a brown henna, one that Blackbird talked about this summer. I chose it for two reasons:
  1. I wanted something that would fade with time and not show roots. I don't have much gray now, but I will eventually and I don't ever want to have to deal with roots if I can help it. (Wishful thinking, I know.)
  2. I try to avoid bringing harsh chemicals into the house because of Graceful's Tourette Syndrome. The research on whether or not chemicals can worsen tics is incomplete, but I'm not taking any chances, so an organic hair color is a must.
Oh, and this henna? Super easy, which is important because I am completely and totally incompetent where hair and make up are concerned. I kid you not. This is just one of those areas in which I am ignorant and unskilled. I know I could learn, but it's just not my thing. I suspect that one day in the future Elegant is going to look at me and say, "You mean you've never waxed your brows?!? My god, you are just so old fashioned!" (For the record, I have naturally fab brows that need minimal care.)

As for the color, I went with chocolate brown, which I thought would be close to my real color. I really and truly only want to cover the 17 gray hairs that shine like Christmas lights on my head, not test out the theory that blondes have more fun.

Plus! Think about it. CHOCOLATE brown henna. How could I resist? That's like telling me not to buy Hershey's shaving cream or M&M deodorant or Ghirardelli body lotion.

Here's what I learned:
  • That chocolate brown is too damn dark. Next time, I'll try a lighter brown. Seriously, this henna color should have been called Dark Chocolate and what I really need is Milk Chocolate. (In many ways.)
  • That Melissa, the other half of the Dynamic Duo of Shoe Shopping, is truly the greatest friend. When I called her asking if she knew how to speed up the process of removing henna from hair -- getting a one month process down to, say, one day -- she quickly found the necessary info online and emailed it to me.
  • That I need to slather Vaseline all over my hairline before doing this again because I spent several hours with a lovely assortment of light brown spots that yelled, "Incompetent woman who can't color her hair without making a mess!" Luckily, an email to Blackbird provided me with ideas for fading dye from my skin. I was concerned that I might need a power sander to do the job.
  • That it wasn't difficult to do and that I shouldn't be afraid to take risks like this. In fact, it's not really a risk. Yes my hair is too dark right now, but so what? I can laugh about this and it's not permanent and it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Seriously. A botched boob job? That's cause for concern. Hair that's a bit too dark? No big whoop.
  • That my husband -- having been gone all day and not knowing about my chemical experiment in his absence -- will not notice for at least an hour and, when he finally does, is nice enough not to come right out and ask if I'm channeling Kelly Osbourne. (Better than Ozzy. I say.)
  • That women who spend two or three hours at a salon having their hair colored are GODDESSES. 45 minutes of walking around my house with a plastic bag on my head was more than enough for me.
  • That I am more vain that I care to admit to myself.
  • That I will do this again, I'm sure of it.
Best of all, as far as I can tell, my 17 gray hairs are now incognito. Sort of like I put them in Halloween costumes.

Updated Monday afternoon: I had lunch with a college student today. A 21 year old guy. The first words out of his mouth were, "Jen! What's up with your hair?" Now, go back up a few paragraphs and re-read that part about my husband's powers of observation.


Family Adventure said...

Hi Jen,
You are too funny! I'm glad the hair dyeing experience was not too traumatic. And you're so right, there are worse things in life than darker-than-normal hair.
I was reading your previous post as well, and your daughter is adorable. Not to mention HER hair colour is fabulous!
Heidi :)

Linda and her Surroundings said...

Well done - despite the too dark colour. Now it is a lifetime of colouring - once you cross that line it is all over. Henna is great while there are only a few grey hairs. Some people go grey so nicely - you may well be one of them so don't panic yet!

MizMell said...

I admire those who can color their hair and get the desired results.
I am definitely not among them and have found a great hairdresser in Lynchburg. Want his number?

blackbird said...

Sounds like it will work for you!
The color charts on those boxes are very tough to decipher - so don't feel too bad about the color. When mine comes out differently I just shrug it off, but, keep in mind that it could get a little darker each time you use it.

The Hotfessional said...

Jen, it took me being completely (and I do mean completely!) gray at 44 before I got the nerve to go sit for 2 1/2 hours and get chocolate brown (with caramel highlights! how could I not?). I love it. I actually liked it gray until I looked in the mirror and saw my mother. Seriously. I wondered how she found out where my salon was.

Happy Working Mom said...

Yep, I'm one of those women that spends 2 1/2 hours in the salon :)

Also, to get the dye off your skin? Rubbing alcohold takes it right off! When I get my hair colored I always come home with some on my face, and just a swipe of the stuff takes it right off!

Can we see pictures??? Pretty please???

Suzanne said...

I give you credit for attempting this yourself. I'd be afraid I would end up with orange hair or something equally awful. However, the gray hairs are continuing to proliferate, and some day soon I, too, will be sitting around with a plastic bag on my hair.

countrymouse said...

I can't be certain, but there's a very strong chance that you and I are actually twins (except for the part about me being a skosh older than you. Biotch ; ) And as for the incompetence with the hair and make-up thing? Wait til your beautiful girls are teenagers, you'll learn a lot.

"Hershey's shaving cream or M&M deodorant or Ghirardelli body lotion" Hilarious!

I am paying close attention to this story. Won't be long for me, what with my refusal to get old and all . . .

Sue said...

There is no way I would color my own hair - the results would NOT BE FABULOUS. I'm a salon lifer too. 17 GRAY HAIRS? I have an insane amount of gray hair, more than my mother.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Family adventure: Thanks! I think my girls are pretty darn cute too and they both have GORGEOUS hair.

Linda: I'm going gray exactly like my father did, and at about the same time, so I'm pretty sure how this is going to play out. Without dye, my hair will get mousier and mousier as the gray hairs proliferate. I think I'd be 70 or thereabout before I actually go to the "silver fox" stage.

Mizmell: It's bad enough I'm going behind the Hair God's back and doing this my own damn self. He'd scratch my eyes out if I left him for someone in Lynchburg.

Blackbird: Good to know about the getting darker thing. I've already put light brown in my shopping cart for next time.

Hot: I'll never look in the mirror and see my mother because my mother has been a lovely natural bottle blonde for quite some time.

Happy Working Mom: I'll try to get photos up soon, before I shampoo my hair 27 times in an effort to hasten the fading process. For now, think Kelly Osbourne. Not a great picture, I know.

Suzanne: It took me almost a year to get my nerve up. Now I can't understand why I was such a 'fraidy cat. Oh, the Kelly Osbourne look, that's why.

Countrymouse: If I ever do actually find a Hershey's skin care line, I'll probably roll around in a vat of it.

Sue: It's actually a tad more than 17 gray hairs, but those are just the ones standing up and demanding to be noticed.

Suzanne said...

Welcome to the Dark Side (no pun intended!)!

Mrs. G. said...

Your color will mellow as you are braver than me. I splurge and go to a salon because of what I call the disaster of '99...a bad home dye job (picture Big Bird yellow)that could only be fixed by cutting it off. I stick with highlights and, luckily, only have to go 3-4 times a year. I just chill in the chair and read People magazine.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

You fared better than I did one time -- thought it would be fun to go red. Note to self and anyone else out there -- never try red outside of a salon. Nope. I made Rick go out that night for a box of brown and immediately covered it up and just dealt with the split ends! :-)

alison said...

I'm firmly in the salon camp. I go twice or three times a year for highlights -- she uses the cap, which blends my grey back to blonde.

I go to the salon ever since the time long ago that my then-husband went on a fishing trip and I invited my friend over for a girls' night -- dinner, wine, a movie, wine, and a home hair highlighting session for me. Note that wine was mentioned twice. The pulling the hair through the cap went OK. But then we decided to watch some of the movie while the bleach was working on the hair. We were drinking wine. We got so involved with Jerry Maguire that we forgot the time. I ended up looking like a low-rent Madonna with more split ends. So, it's the salon for me.

Flutterby said...

Hmmm.. husbands and their observational powers, or lack there of... some time I will have to tell you all about the time it took my husband months to notice a six by four FOOT brass framed mirror in the dining room of our new house in Texas...