My daughter’s hair was propelled into a state of shock and awe. She decided to to dye it. Don’t all women color their hair, these days? So, if she wants to join the traipse into high fashion, why not?
We went to Walmart, a fabulous local boutique for stylish makeovers. Since I had groceries to buy, my grandson helped her pick the color, a dubious decision. She later told me they picked a color by holding the boxes up to her face and choosing the picture that most looked like her.
As any real expert can tell you, hair color is tricky. It has a way of not coming out as the crown of glory you had intended, especially when you do it yourself. It’s nature’s revenge on the hair industry, I suppose.
When it was time for the deed to be done, she was nervous. “I’ve never put permanent color on my hair before. I always use the temporary kind.”
I offered to assist with the dastardly deed. We took a chair into the bathroom and played Barbie’s beauty shop for half an hour. We then wrapped it in an old
towel, and thirty minutes later she shampooed.
I heard a scream from the bathroom.
“My hair is BLACK!”
Good grief, how can brunette be black? She is probably over reacting. Surely it would be a lighter color when dry, I thought.
We are talking black here, as black as the mulch at the garden center, as black as the soot in your chimney. Think Morticia Addams, Cher, or Elvira. When you looked at her, all you could see was black hair, like a negative image on film.
“What can I do?” She cried. “I can’t go around looking like this.”
“Maybe we can get light brown dye and try again?” I responded with the hopeless situation of my vampire daughter beginning to sink in. We tried it, but it didn’t work. I found out later that you can’t take out color with more color. You can go darker, but not lighter. In other words, she was out of luck.
“Maybe you will get used to it?” I suggested.
We went back to Walmart for an expert consultation with the resident gum-chewing beautician whose bleached blond hair failed to inspire much confidence. The beautician shook her head. “What did you do to it? We can strip out all the color and then recolor it. You might want to enhance it too.” I could see the digital dollar signs flashing in her eyes.
It seems there is not a lot you can do as a home remedy when things go this far astray. If you try to strip it with peroxide, it turns flaming orange. If you try to cover the orange with brown, it turns putrid purple.
Black is bad enough.
Other people offered horror stories of their own instead of any actual solution. It seems the best advice when you can’t afford professional treatment is to learn to love your hair the way nature intended it.
But it was a little late for that with midnight madness pulling out her roots.
We turned to Google for advice and found that a clarifying shampoo will make a dark color fade faster. We bought a bottle. It closely resembles Drano and will unclog the drains as a side benefit.
She is washing it daily now and conditioning it. Maybe it has faded a little bit. Maybe. Or maybe we are just getting used to it.
All I can say is to try a lighter shade first if you want to color your hair at home — unless, of course, you’ve always dreamed of looking like Morticia Adams.