Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Color out of a box

One dilemma you face when you move is finding a new hair stylist, which is even more of a problem when you move to a new country where you don’t speak the language very well. If it was only a haircut I needed, then I would have put it off because I wear my hair long and straight, but the inch-wide stripe of gray along my part was bothering me.My first gray hairs sprouted in my early twenties and not even ten years later I was a regular in the salon chair. Now without the hair dye, I’d be almost completely gray. While I have toyed with the idea of “rockin’ a head of natural gray” like Jamie Lee Curtis, my stylist convinced me that I’m too youthful looking to go that route just yet. I may be “cursed” with the gray-hair gene, but I was blessed with the “no-wrinkles” gene. I’d definitely choose gray hair over wrinkles.

Since I’m 6000 miles away and not wealthy enough to fly my stylist out for a cut ‘n color (wouldn’t she love that and wouldn’t I love being wealthy enough to do that?), I decided to color it myself. Yes, there are salons here, and I probably could find someone who speaks English, but I just don’t feel confident yet to go ask. I’m shy, ok? I’ve done my own color a few times when my schedule didn't mesh with my stylist’s and it couldn’t wait, but the difference this time is that I didn’t have the exact same dye she uses. I used L’Oreal Excellence to Go 10 Minute Cream, which I was able to get on base (we have access to the nearby army base for shopping, which is a nice perk). And yes, there is a salon on base but I still chose coloring my hair myself over taking trains and buses to get there.

So the results? I miss my hair stylist. I do – she is a good friend now. But I also miss just sitting back and having her make my hair pretty again while we chat. The gray is mostly covered but so are most of my highlights. I tried to only cover the roots but I didn’t want a stripe of a different hair color either so I “mooshed” it in a bit like my stylist does every so often to merge in the older, dyed hair and avoid a stripy “tree ring” effect. All in all, it’s not bad…a little darker than I wanted (left it on too long I think, fearing that it wouldn’t cover the gray), but not bad. When I was in the store, a young, blonde woman was also looking at the hair color on the shelf, but when her mother came by and briskly warned her repeatedly that “it’ll turn your hair orange”, she gave up. My hair did not turn orange. Maybe it’s because I’m not blonde but maybe it’s also because I had some guidance from my stylist before I left about which color to choose.

In theory you should be able to achieve the same results from a box of dye bought from the drugstore as you do from a salon, just what L’Oreal and Garnier and Clairol want you to believe too. After all, it’s pretty much the same stuff they use in the salon. However, you don’t have the ability to see your own head from above and behind to make sure you get the dye everywhere it needs to go. Also, the reason I pay my stylist is for her to choose the right color and apply it correctly so that I don’t look like I just dyed my hair.

I will probably dye my hair myself again – I have one more box of the L’Oreal dye, but I will also work on my confidence to go to the salon here. Pretty soon I’ll be wanting a haircut too and I won’t do that myself. Well, maybe my bangs.


  1. If you have a Salon you are thinking about going to, I could call and ask if they do have a hairdresser, who speaks English :) Mine does but I'm a bit off from your place too :)

  2. Danke! Thanks for your offer to call the salon for me, Tini. We'll see how my German is in 2 months, when I'll be out of box dye and maybe ready for the salon.