Bad Hair Day


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.

It wasn’t.

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.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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9 Responses to Bad Hair Day

  1. The Desi Butterfly says:

    poor kid! I only hope *Drano* doesn’t damage her hair.. my hair is still frizzy from my last dye 4 months ago…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. energywriter says:

    Many years ago, I tried to spruce up my red hair. The hair was about the same, but my scalp was red. Same remedy – shampooing daily until it came out – after an EON. Never tried again. My best advice was given to me by an older woman. I asked why she didn’t color her hair to it’s former shade. She said, “When your hair changes color, so does your skin tone. If your face looks 50 and your hair looks 30, it just doesn’t match.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Authoress51 says:

    I did black before I went Purple. It took forever to get out. I actually liked black but Purple is more fun for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheila Moss says:

    You might be able to have the gray matched up and color it gray all at once. It would definitely be a big shock, though. I sometimes think that going gray would be easier, then I see women with gray hair and how much older they look and change my mind.


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    Oh, I’ve learned…always go lighter! I’d love to let my hair go gray to the horror of my husband. I’m afraid of the growing out process though.


  6. sniderjerry says:

    You think you have trouble, I tried to put some moose on my hair but I couldn’t get my hat on over the antlers – go figure. Jerry


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