Skip to main content

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

as long as you're here, why not read more?

wrong turn

as some of you are aware, i have a long-term project building a family tree. this has led me to some really interesting discoveries, like the fact that i am partly descended from crazy cat people, including the patron saint of crazy cat ladies, that a progenitor of mine once defeated a french naval assault with an army of scarecrows, that my well-established scottish roots are just as much norwegian as scottish, and that a relative of mine from the early middle ages let one rip with such ferocity that that's basically all he's remembered for. but this week, while i was in the midst of adding some newly obtained information, i found that some of my previous research had gone in an unexpected direction: the wrong one.

where possible, i try to track down stories of my better-known relatives and in doing so this week, i realised that i couldn't connect one of my greatĖ£ grandfathers to his son through any outside sources. what's worse that i found numerous sources that con…

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home…

eat the cup 2018, part seven :: oh, lionheart

it all seemed so magical: england's fresh-faced youngsters marching all the way through to a semi-final for the first time since 1990. everywhere, the delirious chants of "it's coming home". and then, deep into added time, the sad realization: it's not coming home. oh england, my lionheart.

now, if we're being really strict about things, my scottish ancestors would probably disown me for supporting England, because those are the bastards who drove them off their land and sent them packing to this country that's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. and indeed, shops in scotland have sold through their entire stock of croatian jerseys, as the natives rallied behind england's opponents in the semi-final. however, a few generations before they were starved and hounded from the lands they'd occupied for centuries, my particular brand of scottish ancestors would have encouraged me to support england [assuming that national football had even…