I’m a budget savvy gal – more from necessity than choice, but all the same, I like to do things as cheaply as possible. While certain things are easy to cut back on, like fresh vegetables or dental care, others are harder to eliminate from a modern lifestyle. Hair colouring, for instance.
My natural hair colour falls between “deer mouse” and “dish water” on the colour scale, and once you add in some grey at the roots, and it’s a bit of a horror show. I haven’t bought make-up in months, and still use a roll-on deodorant, but I will fight gray hair with the strength and conviction of an army from someplace that has a really strong and convinced army.
Legal salons run by qualified staff can charge upwards of $100 for a good hair colour. If you’re like me, and instead think of all the Pearl Jam iTunes downloads you could buy with $100, then home hair colouring is for you.
But if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. So use my experience, and take my advice. The public will thank you.
- First, put the booze away. Failed wine pairing? Cabernet Sauvignon and home hair colour.
- Don’t pick a shade after a breakup or other major life change. You’ll be tempted to go Midnight Black when you’re a natural blonde, or vice versa. If you must make a big decision to mark this new phase in your life, choose something without consequence, like quitting your job or adopting a baby.
- Pick a colour that sounds like something you’d either eat or sleep with. If possible, try for both. Example: Rich Chocolate Mousse? Check! Dark Mystery? Check! Yellow Puddles? Nooo.
- Don’t forget to do the back. Hey, it happens.
- Wear appropriate clothing, because you are going to drip. I like to wear the dress from my first wedding. If you’re happily married and love your wedding dress, wear it anyway. You’ll be extra careful because of the obstacle and probably won’t spill a drop.
- Plan ahead and buy a funky hat. Or a pretty hat. Or a crocheted beer can hat. You’ve saved at least $100 colouring your hair at home, so go on; treat yourself!
- Do not buy your hair colour from the drug store discount rack or a garage sale. Anyone who has 14 boxes of Clairol “Big Red” 344 on a folding table in their driveway had less than appropriate plans for it and you don’t need that karma on your head. Literally.
- If possible, colour your hair in natural light. I prefer the front porch. This also allows me to yell at neighbourhood children, and garner colour opinions from passerby. That’s called “multi-tasking” and that’s why I am awesome at giving tips. You’re welcome.
- Like any fun at-home activity, rubber gloves and Vaseline are a must.
- Double check that your timer works. I had to live with bright orange hair for a weekend once when I accidentally pressed “Side of Beef” instead of “Popcorn” on the microwave timer.
- Rinse your hair well. A fast food restaurant Pokémon cup and the kitchen tap aren’t going to cut it here. Let your kids use the garden hose; if you’re following my advice you’re already outside anyway.
Now go show off your new colour to the world! If you’ve observed my tips then you’re wearing a pretty dress and have a new beer can hat, so you’re pretty much set for any occasion.
I am too cheap to pay for services I can perform myself. With Google and eHow, who needs professional help anymore? Thanks to the internet, I can now do things previously requiring 7 year apprenticeships and actual skill. And everyone knows that everything you read on the internet is completely true and 100% accurate, so nothing bad can happen, right?
After an hour of so of internet research I consider myself well versed in several vocations. Oh, the money I’ve saved! I’ve heard it can cost upwards of $150 for a cut and colour at a salon. Who pays this kind of money for something they can do themselves? Probably the same suckers who use oil change shops and dentists. Why, with the internet I can diagnose health issues, overhaul a transmission, deep fry a turkey in a recycled 55 gallon toxic waste drum, cut and colour my own hair…
Sound needle scratching record.
Look; my stubbornness has paid off in many ways. My determination to see things through has resulted in accomplishing things I never would have thought possible – things like pursuing a University degree in my late thirties and letting my screaming baby live inside the house. But I have faced my Waterloo, and I attacked the enemy armed with no more than a box of L’Oreal Preference CB415 and Revlon EZ-Cut Hair Scissors…
…and I lost.
I should never, ever cut and colour my own hair. But I swore it would be different this time. I bought professional scissors! I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last time and use sewing scissors. Yeah! THAT was the problem! This time I Googled “layered home haircuts” and carefully studied the steps. I applied a colour stripper and had a new dye at the ready. Everything looked good as I took the first step.
I felt confident, cocky even. Pity the poor saps who pay only for salon atmosphere and plastic bibs! I let the colour remover process while I did some dishes, took care of the laundry, watched TV. In fact, I was feeling great until my son asked me why my hair was turning a funny colour. Say what, little man?
THIS. IS. NOT. GOOD.
In a panic I rinsed the stripper out and immediately applied the dye. Except that the stripper must be massaged out because it’s chalky, which explains why my hair KEPT GETTING LIGHTER even after I put the new dye in. I would have known this had I read the instructions, except I don’t read instructions because I HAVE THE INTERNET.
I tried to fix the blotchiness by hiding the bad bits with a creative layering effect. (Note: unless you are a professional, leave getting “creative” with gift wrapping and Mexican cooking.) Now it just looks b-a-d. And I don’t mean the “good” bad, like “Girl, your hair is bad.” I mean it in a “Girl, your hair is bad and I think you have some serious underlying issues you should explore and seek out help for” way.
If I ever need heart surgery, please disconnect my internet and hide the knives.