Monday, May 28, 2007


You know that SunSilk shampoo slogan, “Get Hairapy?” I need it... but not in a bottle.

I have always been fickle with my hair. I change the style and color pretty often, but for the last five years or so I have been in a rut. My stylist, with whom I have a 20 year relationship, has always enjoyed the fact that I like change and as a result of our rapport I have had very few bad hair incidents. Usually bad things happen when I ask her to do something that she tells me my hair won’t do... and I tell her to try anyway.

So on with my story. Last week I decided to change my style and color for spring/summer. I meticulously found pictures of Reese Witherspoon from the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” (it was on TV all this week) online and decided to brighten up my naturally dark brunette hair with chunky gold highlights.

I strolled in bearing my pictures (my stylist has an inch thick stack of my picture requests from the last 20 years) and she started to cut. The cut went well, lopping off a good 4 inches or so in the back. I liked it. Then came the color. The regular highlights in the back and sides were fine, but the chunky ones on top turned... *shudder* orange. Yes, the “O” word. A word no woman wants to hear from her hairdresser’s mouth during coloring. Not Lucy orange, mind you, traffic cone orange. So she reapplied the solution and I sat, eyes watering, under the dryer. When I emerged, the orange had turned white. Not good. My stylist then continued through 4 more procedures, ending with my highlights not only still white, but breaking off in chunks. This led to the other “O” word no woman wants to hear at a salon: Overprocessed. After five hours at the salon, I did not handle this well. I insisted on handing her a check and I left, crying.

I have notoriously low self esteem and my hair is the one thing that I actually like about myself, so this was a real blow. I fretted and sulked and considered my options. I could don a red string bracelet and shave my head a la Britney; Buy some lovely robes, shave my head and declare Hare Krishna in the local airport; Fake cancer (okay, so I couldn’t really sink that low, but it did cross my mind) and lament the side effects of chemo. In the end, I headed to the store and purchased $40 worth of moisturizing and repairing hair products. I knew my problem was well beyond the scope of these mere mortal treatments, but I had to try.

As I sat in my bedroom, my head slathered with “revitalizing damage reversing” goop and ensconced in a lovely plastic shower cap, my stylist called. She was very upset. She apologized profusely, swore she would return my check and offered twice weekly deep conditioning treatments for free. She felt horrible. I, of course, felt worse because the evidence of the incident was currently pasted to my scalp. But we verbally kissed and made up, amidst numerous apologies from her and comforting yet still slightly stunned about my hair remarks from me.

I have spent the last few days conditioning twice daily and perfecting an art of deception that would make "Mata Hairi" proud. I purchased ten pair of decorative bobby pins for swooping the unaffected hair over the stubbly remains of my highlights. A wide headband works wonders for covering that nasty broken area. Thank God for whoever decided that zigzag parts were a good idea...

And when all is said and done, I am facing weeks of continuing counterfeit hairdos, all designed to conceal the shame of the previously orange, overprocessed, remains of my highlights. So, does anyone out there know a good hairapist?



Mando Mama said...

Oh my dear Lucy.

I'm very self-conscious about my hair. Not only is it fairly fine and on one side thinner than the other, but I'm all but entirely greay, a fact of which I'm reminded as soon as there is any new growth, leaving an Aisle of Grey down the middle of my otherwise color treated head so that I look like some ex-Metal groupie. Sometimes I have dreams about my hair coming out in chunks. I am so sorry you are living this nightmare. Fodder for your personal mythology.

The thing is, it will grow out and off and will go away and you'll have your old head back. Bandanas and caps are a standard at the pool here in Twinsleburg, so invest in some serious SPF, ditch the chores, and hang out at the pool with good reads. And keep us posted.

Not Your Mama said...

Temporary hair color, you know, the shampoo-in, shampoo out kind. that sould be gentle enough not to damage your hair any more than it is.

Or do what I did when I burned off the entire front part of my hair in a hair straightening mishap (my hair DID come out in chunks),make it into a style so utterly ridiculous everyone knows you had to have done it on purpose. Buy a few extreme outfits to go with your "new look" and be really snotty to anyone who dares to critique it.

Women on the Verge said...

Two mamas with good advice... my lucky day!

I've been sporting a hat on weekends, and am getting pretty creative with my parts and barrettes... Thank goodness my hair grows fast!


Pursey Tuttweiler said...

I cannot read this story without seriously questioning your hairdresser. My colorist would never ever make a mistake like that, she knows her stuff inside and out. She is also a color correction specialist, that is how I found her. Someone had turned my hair an awful color, and she made me wait a long time with special conditioners before she would even attempt to correct it because of the effects of over processing. So, long story short, I suggest you seek a color correction specialist and avoid that hairdresser like the plague. Sounds like you are doing a good job covering up the mishap!

TomCat said...

Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do! {{hug}}

Is Ethel OK?

Women on the Verge said...

pursey, I know... but after 20 years together it's hard to go elsewhere. This is the first real disaster, and based on her current state of mind, it will never happen again.

tomcat, ethel is fine, just waaay overbooked. She had a public speaking engagement related to advocacy for the learning disabled... and she doesn't particularly enjoy public speaking. She has some stories brewing, so keep your eyes peeled! And thanks for the hugs - did I poke you in the eye with the stubble?


busterp said...

I hate bad haircuts. I do the 11.95 cost cutters about once a year (slow growing). I've had some marginal clip jobs but for some stupid reason I keep going back. Maybe I forget over time. Anyway, I feel for you. Chunks of hair must be scary.

pissed off patricia said...

And this is exactly why I do not color my hair. I detest going to a salon, which is why my hair is so long.

I guess I'm missing some female gene or something but going to the hair salon is some weak form of torture to me.

Mauigirl said...

I feel your pain. One thing I've learned now that I'm older, however, is that no matter what happens, your hair does eventually grow out!

In the meantime you may want to try this product to try to blend the colors in together if you need to. I used it when I was growing out my dyed hair (I am now proudly going gray and very happy I did it!). This color shampoo really works in terms of coloring in the unmatching hairs! It also seems to add body and conditioning. There is a great conditioner/sealer that you can get as well.

Jales said...

And this is why my favorite words are: Just TRIM it...touch nothing else! Hell, if I can get by with it I hand hubby the scissors and say "Keep it even" LOL

two crows said...

so sorry Lucy--
I know how it is with problem hair [mine is baby- fine and thin and breaks if you look at it hard].

I don't have any solutions really except to say I love my white streaks [natural]. I impatiently waited for my gray and love it now it has finally arrived. [had perms for years so couldn't color it, too, though I wanted to streak it white, years ago.]

maybe it's time to go au natural? it can be liberating!

Jamie said...

Oh you poor dear. May I suggest a series of dramatic hats of the floppy brimmed "scarlet" variety. You could start a fashion trend until it all grows out and then start another when you suddenly go hatless as this is now passe.

Gledwood said...

I once put Sun-in on my hair. It was winter. We used hairdryer to kind of fix it. Several months later via friend of friend I got into student hair thing they do anyone's hair M/F/black/white any type of hair & they're v good. But the prices are about 1/5 of normal... I said ok then do a colour job on it all. They insisted on doing a bloody stupid strand test... just because they're students with a supervisor breathing down their neck you know? Glad they did. This young girl came back kinda white-faced saying WHAT did you put on your hair?? When we did that strand test it MELTED and then SMOKE started coming out of it!!!
Well that's what she told me.
I don't know what words of consolation to offer..? It sounds like one of those horrible things that happens more than "negligence"....

Take care!

Catmoves said...

Lucy, please listen: I am a male who has always judged people on their intellect, not the color of their hair (well, maybe if it was Orange, I'd think that over).
Your wit and wisdom are what endears us to you. No sympathy, dear lady, just a thank you for making light of an awkward situation.
Please do keep us informed as your hair changes colors. :)

Women on the Verge said...

You are all so kind to comment on my disaster. Who needs a hairapist when I have you?

two crows,
I would go au naturel if only there were more women in my family willing to go with me. My sister no longer colors her hair and I envy her... a little, anyway.
Love the idea... Although starting trends in our burg would be seen less as trendsetting and more as eccentric.
Thanks for your kind words. Right now I think orange would be much prettier than white stubbles...

The hair update? If I part it straight, I have a lovely white mohawk down the center of my otherwise "Sweet Home Alabama Reese Witherspoon" hair. I could really start a trend if it was still the 80s... I just know it.

savannah said...

i feel your pain, sugar...ok, not literally, BUT...your story just completely put me off dying my hair .. a haircut will be enough...

Housewife said...

I have great hair.

One word - Kerastase

It's a fortune and it's worth every penny because even though my triceps long ago sprouted wings I do have great hair.

Try the oleo relax leave in masque, it fixes dry!