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the follicle follies ["is it supposed to look like that?"]

so after a couple of years with black hair, i decided it was once again time to go lighter. the intention was to eventually get back to blonde, which is where i've spent most of my adult life. in theory, one is supposed to see a professional for this, but i'm kind of like the guy who's absolutely convinced he can fix everything that's wrong with the house without having to pay someone who actually knows what they're doing.      

also, the last time i forked over for a professional dye job- just before we started shooting "conversion", when i wanted to make sure i looked purdy for the camera- was a sort of beauty catastrophe. i'd gone to "queen of the world" hair salon on ontario street [that location has since closed] for a cut and colour, got a quote on the job and figured it would be worth the money. i was a little put off by the fact that the hairdresser spent a lot of time complaining about how she kept getting stuck with old clients- people in their thirties- and even more by the fact that she took a break from working on me in order to do a cut from a "regular client". however, that might have been worth it if i'd come out looking good. instead, i came out looking sort of like my own frumpy aunt [which i don't have, because my aunts all go to hair salons where the purpose is to make you look good, not make you feel guilty for continuing to consume resources past your best before date], because somehow, i'd ended up with a matronly round cut and ashy grey hair. and not cool grey in that silvery moonlit way that we all wish would happen naturally, either. grey like the before picture on a box of cheap dye. oh yeah and when it came time to settle the bill, it cost almost double what she'd originally said, because she'd done a "special second process" to achieve the meryl-streep-in-ironwood look i'd been left with.

so that was it for me and professional dye jobs.

nonetheless, i'm aware that black hair dye isn't the easiest to remove, even when you do know what you're doing and i once caused some pretty eye-popping damage to a friend of mine because i was insistent that i could get the black dye out if i just applied more bleach. LOTS MORE BLEACH. to this day, i'm amazed he has any hair left at all. or any brain cells, for that matter, since something had to be absorbing all of that bleach.

now, since i knew how difficult getting black dye out could be and i knew that there was no way in hell i was going to do to myself what i so happily did to my friend back in college, i figured that i'd be reasonable in my expectations. and i knew that i'd need two products- a stripper [something to remove the first dye, meaning a chemical agent, not that you actually need to hire a stripper to do it for you. that would be prohibitively expensive, or at least expensive enough that you might as well go to a professional salon, maybe even one that didn't abuse you.] and a new dye colour. i was even clever enough to get a dye labeled "ash blonde", because i knew that when the original colour came out, there would be a lot of orange tones in its wake and i would be best off selecting something that would help tone those down. i felt very clever and i figured that i'd end up with a sort of medium-toned colour that i could gradually edge towards blonde over the course of a few months.

and, if something turned green, or melted together [meaning the hair] i always had the two magical fashion escape hatches available to any woman: more black dye and/ or the pixie cut. there's relatively little you can do to your hair that can't be cured with those remedies. but as an absolute last resort, i figured i could just give myself a britney-style bad shaved head and show up screaming at a mental ward until the government agreed to give me crazy person money. no one would argue with their decision.

the thing is, what i got was way more interesting than anything i had envisaged and, like most slightly odd looking things that end up in my house, i decided i wanted to keep it. see, what i failed to consider was that the colour was going to come out on a sort of gradient- a light copper shade on top, but getting darker until it remained black at the ends. from a certain angle, my hair now looks like lava that's started to cool around the edges, which will be awesome if i can stretch this until halloween, because it's like a built-in costume i can do for cheap. 

of course, i'm not quite sure the world is ready for this. and by "the world" i mean potential employers or business contacts, because not everyone is used to seeing colour that changes from top to bottom and no matter what anyone tells you, businesspeople are actually really, really reluctant to embrace new things and it doesn't help that you can point to celebrities who have done this sort of look on purpose, because if you have to tell them, you sound like you're making an excuse, or they think that you're making fun of them for being out of touch [which maybe you kind of are, but you don't want them to know that]. but this is a chance i'm willing to take. also, i figure that if they're really naive, i can tell them that if they give me large sums of money, i can prevent the volcano gods from destroying their houses and places of business.

all this to say that i've now entered the post-black hair era and am, for the moment, more or less, a redhead. in most lights. although because the red is really concentrated at the top, it's kind of difficult to get a proper shot [especially when you have arms proportional to your sub-average height]. also, natural light photos tend to look too subtle, while flash photos look too stark. the end result is something in between.

but here is a quick peek at what i'm dealing with now:

natural light, no flash

with flash
as with most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in between.

so the rest of the world be damned, this is what my hair is going to look like for the next little while. at least until the bad shaved head and crazy person money starts to look like a better option.

Comments

PerilouslyPale said…
I have removed colour from my hair several times using Color Oops and Color Fix. They aren't bleach but lift remove the colour from the hair. I've used these when my hair has gotten too dark and I wan't to go lighter. I picked them up at Sallys or even Canadian drug stores carry Color Oops. I think I preferred the Color Fix though. Shoot me off a message if you want to know more!
Wendy said…
This looks really good on you, I'm definitely diggin' it.
Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks for the kind words. I'm still getting used to it, but I do like the overall effect.

I used a store-bought hair dye remover first and then a regular dye, but I guess it is just about impossible to get black dye out in one shot. Thanks for the names of those products- I'll definitely use one of those when I'm ready to have single colour hair again :-D

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