Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's Just Hair

Friends, I dye my hair.  If you actually know me that should not come as a big surprise, as the hues tend to vary over time.  I started going grey when I was 21, and it was right in the front of my hair -- thanks for those genetics, Mom!  I'm all for aging gracefully, but 21 is too young for grey hair.  It is especially noticeable when you have naturally dark hair and it is right on the front of your head.  So I started dying it.  I've been dying it ever since.

I think the craziest color I ever went for was burgundy, and it was not nearly as bad-ass as you may imagine.  It basically looked dark, and in certain light I had kind of a purple glow around my head. Normally, I stick fairly close to my natural color, but a bit darker.  There is good reason for going darker.

I won't mention any names, but back in the heady days of youth, when we were about 13, a friend decided to trying lightening her hair.  The product of choice?  Sun-In Hair Lightener.  She had naturally darker hair like me, so I was intensely interested in how this came out.  It came out orange.  Orange.  Not beautiful blonde or coppery highlights, freaking orange.  I knew then that I would never try lightening my hair at home.

I've also had two professional hairstylists have issues coloring my hair.  Apparently I have a lot of red highlights, and my hair takes the color red really easily.  They did not even let me see what it looked like before they started redoing it.  They told me about the red problem like it was just an interesting fact, and then said they had to "do some adjustments".  The more helpful of the two told me that when I dye my hair at home I should always go a shade or two darker than my normal hair color, and try to opt for hues without a warm base to it, as my hair is going to pick up the red anyway.  Good to know!

The problem with dying your hair darker, or at least my hair, is that it builds up after a while and it starts looking really dark, especially on the ends.  There's not much you can do at that point.

1) Keep dying it dark, for all eternity.  Eventually it will be black, and may look very, very fake.
2) Get it professionally bleached and colored again.  $$$$
3) Grow it out, and eventually dye it lighter, resulting in multi-colored stripes around your head
4) Cut if off.  Go short and start fresh again.

I've been getting bored lately, and the idea of going for a lighter color or just chopping it all off has been kicking  around in my head.  I do this.  I grow it out, get bored, chop it all off, and then grow it out again.  I've done it my whole life.  It's just hair, after all.  It will grow back.

This was all floating around in my brain the other night as I was watching television, when I saw a commercial that fascinated me.  It was for Color Oops.

Can remove permanent and semi-permanent hair color?  Let's just see.

I was intrigued.  I mean, even if it didn't actually work it was still a heck of a lot cheaper than going to the salon.  Worst case scenario: I end up getting a hair cut, which I had been considering anyway.  

And then it hit me: why not document the process?  Whether it works or not, other people who aren't quite as laid back about the state of their hair might be interested in knowing.  Or maybe you don't give a crap, in which case you might want to stop reading now.

Still here?  Excellent.  It's going to be fun, I promise.

First I suppose you need a "before" picture.  I'm not really keen on the whole selfie thing, but I suppose in this case it is kind of required.

I woke up like this

Well, not quite.  I've got my contacts in, as trying to dye your hair while wearing glasses is a recipe for disaster.  Just trust me on that one.  Messy.  Also, not flawless.  I'd like to thank Beyonce if you actually finished that caption with that word.  If you actually meant it, then you are a sweetheart.  Delusional, perhaps, but sweet nonetheless.  

As you can see, I have a shit-ton of hair (technical measurement).  I bought 2 boxes of Color Oops to make sure I had enough to cover all of it.  I did not want to look like some strange patchwork quilt of hair colors because I did not have enough to get even coverage.

This is what you get in the box.

Honestly, I thought it would be a little different.  This looks pretty much like hair dye, which makes sense.  The big difference?  This stuff is runny as all get out.  It is nowhere near as thick as hair dye.  Do not wear anything you value while using it.  

They also give you this stylish cap to wear while it sets.

Seriously.  They call it a f%^king cap.  It's a weirdly shaped bag, and it could barely contain all of my hair.  It's made out of the same stuff as the gloves they give you, and feels less sturdy than a sandwich bag.  Also, a slightly troubling moment: the stuff smelled an awful lot like Nair for a few minutes during application.  I may be very willing to experiment with my hair, but I don't want to entirely remove it.  That was never part of the equation.  

That's the cap in action.  Notice my hair trying to break free.

Now you get to sit around for 20 minutes while it processes.  They are very clear about not going any longer than 20 minutes.  Oh, and you also have to, "Be certain that the room is NOT cold and be certain that you are not sitting near a vent blowing cool air."  

So I've got to sit around and wait for a bit.  Time to multi-task!  I'm having lunch with some friends tomorrow, and I am in charge of making dessert.  I had decided to make peach and nectarine crisp -- even went to a local farm and picked the fruit fresh with my own little hands. I might as well make corn muffins too, since I think we are going to attempt to barbecue.  My hair is going to take time, and baking takes time.  Why not do both at the same time?  

This will either be a stroke of time-management genius, or a train wreck.  Possibly on multiple fronts.

The hair?  What a pain in the ass! The Color Oops was runny before, but now that crud is running and leaking out from the edges of the cap.  Keep some tissues nearby if you do this, as you will be wiping gunk off of your neck and face repeatedly. My shirt may never be the same.

Bit of a digression here to say:

WTF Jiffy?

Yeah, I bought the "vegetarian" version on purpose, since someone who will be eating them is vegetarian.  I have to wonder about the other box that wasn't labeled vegetarian.  What the hell was in that stuff?  It's corn muffin mix.  Shouldn't it be vegetarian to begin with?  

Back to the hair.  

I really should maybe have read all of the directions before jumping right in and pouring this stuff on my head.  The next part of the process is "Rinsing", and it is time consuming.  You know the lame excuse someone gives in a television show about not being able to go out with a guy because they have to wash their hair?  It would be a legitimate excuse if they were using this stuff.  The next step is is going to take you about an hour, no lie.

Transcribed below, for your reading enjoyment

  • Rinse with warm water and shampoo, then rinse for 15-20 minutes.
  • Shampoo again and rinse for another 5 minutes.  Repeat two more times.
  • Additional rinsing is needed for longer, thicker hair.
  • This step is very important for desired results.  The more your rinse the better your results.
  • Apply a conditioner.
As a bonus, if that didn't remove the color as much as you wanted, you can repeat the entire process 2 to 3 more times.  What fun!

I wasn't about to repeat this whole thing.  It either worked or it didn't.  I can tell you that after shampooing and rinsing for an eternity, my hair felt like straw.  I've poured many a chemical on my hair, and it has never felt like this before.  I've screwed up before with a poor color choice and had to dye my hair twice in one day (which you should really never do, for the record), and it still didn't feel this dry and frazzled.

In the directions it says that before recoloring, which you can do the same day, you should check your hair and you may need to do a deep conditioning treatment first.  No shit.  My hair feels like straw.  I don't plan on dying my hair again today unless this goes horribly wrong, but my hair definitely needs help.

I don't have any deep conditioner, so I decided to use my regular conditioner, and leave it on for another 20 minutes. I had an extra little cap since I used 2 boxes, but that thing barely fit the first time.  Screw it.  I'm using a Walgreens bag.  It will work just as well and it will hold all of my hair.  

 I'm looking so classy in my Walgreens bag!

My conditioner, just in case it is going to make a difference in the final result.  I know you care.

My conditioner kicks ass!  My hair felt so much better after doing that.  No more straw.  This is what it looked like fresh from the shower.

Dark hair is dark.

To be fair, everyone's hair looks darker when it is wet. Can't really judge how well it worked at this point, although it does appear to be a bit lighter on top.

And now you, Friends, get to fast-forward in time and skip the drying process.  I don't own a hair dryer.  Try not to die from the shock.  I mistreat my hair enough as it is without adding on the torture of a blow dryer.  Plus, it still takes a ridiculous amount of time to dry it, and it just makes it too fluffy. Volume is never something I need to worry about adding to my hair -- it's fluffy enough all on its own.  

For those interested, I spent the drying time making the fruit crisp...and then I had a beer (Oculto is delicious!) and watched the sun set.  I figured I might need a drink before I saw the final result.

I won't drag this out and bore you any further, assuming you are even still reading at this point.  Here is the final result!


Somewhat anti-climatic, but there you have it.  It's obviously much darker on the ends than it is on top.  I don't think it had to do with the application being uneven.  My best guess is that the ends have just been dyed so many times that even Color Oops couldn't get it out. Maybe I should have repeated the whole process again.  Honestly, I'm kind of impressed with the fact that I was still relatively close to my natural color.  It kind of does a slow fade to a darker color on the ends, but I don't mind it.  I may change my mind about that in the morning, but as of right now it's not bad enough to make me want to dye it again immediately.  Maybe I will just get the ends chopped off.  

Aside from the straw feeling, and that worrying moment where it smelled like Nair, I'm actually amazed this worked as well as it did.  Messy?  Hell yes.  But it actually worked like it said, and if it can work on my hair that has been colored many, many times that should give you some confidence using it on your own head.  Good job, Color Oops.  I went into this with low expectations, but you surprised me.  

P.S. -- the baking is done!  I am a time-management ninja!  Train wrecks avoided in all areas!

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