D(on’t)DIY: A Cautionary Tale In Hair
It shouldn’t have surprised me when my four year old daughter (Happy Birthday Wee!) cut her own hair for the third time last fall. In November, after a suspiciously quiet ‘nap’, she proudly emerged from her room with bangs cut to the scalp and half of a mohawk - punctuated by two bald spots gleaming above her left ear. Once I got passed the shock of her new ‘do, I demanded to know where the scissors were (she had hidden them under her mattress pad, like a prison shiv) and began going about the process of berating myself for leaving the scissors out on the sink where she could easily obtain them. Sure it was she who did the cutting, but I knew I only had myself to blame for making it so easy and irresistible for her. I wondered what prompted her time and time again to go at her head suit with the shears, but I should have known…she gets it from me.
You see, I myself have a long, rich history with DIY hair-cutting and coloring – with all but one of the attempts culminating with the desired (but not attractive) results. Besides giving myself some spectacularly unfortunate-looking hair cuts, I’ve dyed my fringe black and blue, pink and red, platinum blonde and strawberry blonde - once I even tried to get back to what I think my natural color would be (my only success story – the color was called ‘Tweed’ but a friend described it less generously as ‘AIDS RAT’). I’ve used Kool-Aid, Manic Panic, Henna, magic markers and drugstore dye – each time reaching new and hitherto unrivaled levels of ugly. It speaks volumes of my short-term memory (and stupidity) that I continue to make these bad decisions regarding my appearance, the most recent being the most expensive one to correct to date.
In the end, I was prompted to color my hair at home – after a six year hiatus - out of spite. After my husband balked that I had hired a babysitter so that I could get my hair done (properly, by a professional) thus adding to the expense of an already pricey salon visit, I cancelled my appointment and drove to the nearest Target. My intentions were to find a brownish-blondish color that would artfully mask my visible roots and I found a box of dye on sale that seemed to fit the bill. I won’t reveal the name of the brand, but color was called something along the lines of Toffee Splode, Butterscotch Boom or Caramel Collision - and I didn’t see how could I go wrong with sweet, candy goodness virtually exploding on my head. I drove home giddy with an inflated sense of thrifty genius. THIS time will be different, I thought to myself. I know what I’m doing NOW, I thought.
When I did the deed, the results seemed fairly understated so I colored it AGAIN and waited to be impressed by my new found coiffure talents. Either no one really noticed at first – or they were too polite to say otherwise – so I asked a friend to look at my hair and tell me what she thought. Her exact words were:
‘It’s cute! It’s like a pink or rosey color huh? Just on top? I like it – I would never have the balls to do that myself.’
Friends, these were not the words I longed to hear. I am 37 years old and having ‘ballsy’ hair is not something I strive for. Furthermore, the words Butterscotch, Caramel and Toffee are not used to evoke shades of pink and rose. Clearly I had been swindled and tricked. I was too lazy to do much else about it, so I took small comfort in the fact that I am a gal of above average height so the chances were slim that very many other people would notice that my hair was jacked. I probably would have kept it too, had I not taken my daughter to the salon after her last scissor episode. My friend (and very talented hairstylist) Nancy looked at my daughter to assess the damage, then at me, then back at my daughter, then back at me. She knows, I thought…she knows that I colored my own hair and now I look so stupid. I quickly confessed by blurting out that YES I had done this to myself and it was a huge mistake and I needed her help to fix it, pretty please. Her exact words were:
‘Oh thank god. I was so afraid I had done that to you and I felt awful….’
Suffice it to say, a color-correction appointment was swiftly booked and Nancy has since restored my hairs to a color that is not only found in nature, but also not out of place on an actual human head. ( It is also worth noting that at this stage it would have been much cheaper to just shell out the cash for the baby sitter).