There’s a certain reality that comes with dyeing your hair at home, that nobody talks about. It’s a well-kept secret. I’m here to blow that secrecy out of the water, and talk about what colouring your hair at home is really like.
1) First, picking the colour. You can pick any shade existing in nature, and many that don’t. Read the box carefully, because some of this stuff, you need to dip your head in a vat of bleach to get anything close to the colour on the box. Or, you can just figure, “Meh, good enough.” and go with it, hoping that you don’t end up looking like an anime cartoon, or Ronald McDonald. Unless that’s what you’re going for, of course. Also, picking up an extra box might be in your best interest. Unless your hair is über short, the potential to run out of dye part way through is something you DON’T want to be risking.
2) Pick a time where you won’t be disturbed. That may mean the wee hours of the night, when the kids are asleep. Or ship them off for a play date. Hire a sitter. Put the husband in charge, under penalty of death if you’re disturbed before you’re done. Nothing says, “I’m a mom” like a head half-dyed, because someone had a diaper blow out, or needed a snack.
3) Now, you’re safely locked in the bathroom. Fan going, window wide open, if you have one. Scuzzy, ready for the trash clothes on, because hair dye is messy stuff. Crack open the container. The stench of home hair dye cannot be exaggerated. It reeks like something from Satan’s bowels. Your nose hairs instantly crisp, your eyes water, and you find yourself wondering, ‘I’m about to put this crap on my HEAD?! My BRAIN is in my head. Will it eat through my scalp, my skull, and start dissolving my brain?!” But, vanity is vanity, so put on those plastic gloves, and get going.
4) There is no bathroom, known to man, that will have enough air flow to clear out the fumes from hair dye. Sitting in the middle of an empty football stadium might work. Might. Count on having that stink seared into your nose, and burning into your chest for a few hours.
5) Have a spotter. No matter how long your hair is, your arms are going to get tired. Having another person to check things out and ensure that you’ve got all the hair covered is a good idea. So is supplying them with their own respiratory protection, but hey, if you can suffer having that crap on your head, they can handle being in the same closed room. Misery loves company, right?
6) Now, after the proper time has elapsed, it’s time to wash it out. And that’s a whole ‘nother ball game. First, I don’t know how it happens, but the hair dye doubles or triples in volume from when you put it in. Count on the hot water tank running out before you’re done.
7) Once you’ve FINALLY got all the dye rinsed out, your hair has the delightful texture of straw. You reach for the special conditioner, sending up a silent prayer that this stuff is more than special, it’s freaking MAGIC and will turn the mass on your head into something resembling hair again. And it does, glory be, it does. BUT…God help you if you drop any. Conditioner in the tub is like spraying it down with oil. You will slide from one end to the other, pinwheeling madly, and praying you don’t end up clinging to the edge of the tub like a fat, demented, mostly hairless, spider monkey, trying to gain enough leverage to launch yourself over the edge and onto the floor. The other alternative is that you’ll lose your grip, and slide down, where you’ll stay…until a family member finally wanders in and discovers a naked, bloated, pink raisin flopping around helplessly in the bottom of the tub. With freshly coloured hair.
8) Check yourself out in the mirror, once it’s dry, and figure out if you’ve missed any spots, and if the colour is even close to what you picked out in the store.
9) Swear that you’ll never do this to yourself again, that you’ll pay someone to do it for you.
10) Repeat steps 1-9 in a few months.
Me? I think I’m going to give the salon another shot. Anything to keep from becoming a demented monkey, turned pink, fat raisin. Time for a new category in YNAB.