I waltzed into the hair salon with the giddy anticipation of a woman on the edge of a personal transformation. “What are we doing to the color today?” the stylist asked, and I raised my hands and sort of waved them around my head as if my barely-contained excitement was pulsing out of my own follicles in crackling-static waves. I used words like DRAMATIC and TOTALLY DIFFERENT and LET’S JUST CHANGE THIS WHOLE THING UP. Blonde, baby, blonde. I hear they have more fun.

We came to an agreement and even did a mini high-five to celebrate the New Me who would be walking out of the salon with, like, Betty Draper hair (but not the whoah-black-Betty, bam-ba-lam version in season 6), and for a very very very long time she did her thing: foils, foils, more foils, a thousand and one foils applied in meticulously painted crinkly folds as I thumbed through a stack of women’s magazines and did the embarrassed fast-flip past the articles titled 10 Surprising Sex Moves That’ll Leave Him Begging for More (appropriately enough, surprise #2 is always stick your finger in his ass).

Eventually she rinsed everything clean and led me back to the chair and before I had a chance to look she said, “Soooo. Um. The color didn’t really turn out like I’d hoped.” The mirror confirmed it: the roots were lighter, but everything looked mostly the same as it had before. Sort of brownish. But with a new unattractive yellowy-gold tone that added a deeply sallow note to my complexion.

She apologized, said she’d made a mistake with the bleach or dye or whatever it was and that I wouldn’t be charged. I stared at my reflection and worked to suppress the horrifying watery sniffle that I could feel aching in the back of my throat. I mean, who cries over an imperfect highlighting job? Sometimes a salon error is just a cigar, I lectured myself. Stop thinking about tigers and their stripes.

I left feeling vain and stupid and disappointed. A week into it, my new hair — somehow darker than before, glinting with a cheap brassy hue — seems more and more like a metaphor for bad decisions. Not exactly the glamorous fresh-start New Me I’d been hoping for.

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Birdy
Birdy
10 years ago

Been reading since before the babies….I had a similar experience in Eugene (college) 23 years ago. As the stylist called it “Ohhhh SCREAMing Yellow.” :( Definitely find the professional who will get it put right for you…sometimes we need a little guidance as we embark on our big trips…a shove-off, if you will. And God-damn are you deserving! I adore and support you, my stranger-friend!
~L

Jessi
10 years ago

First off, when you posted pictures recently, I wanted to comment on your hair length. It looks great on you!
What a let down, though. I’ve totally been there. Agreeing with everyone else – find someone to fix it.

Dianne
Dianne
10 years ago

You’re so BRAVE.

Jenny
Jenny
10 years ago

Ooof, this reminds me of the time I asked for “something different” and came out looking like a freshly shorn sheep. Good luck getting it corrected. I would try not to interpret it as a Sign from the Universe (other than to not go back there again, I mean).

Jo
Jo
10 years ago

Call the salon, explain what’s up – they should have a “master stylist” or whatever – who will make it better.

Or look over yelp and go to someone who has a lot of good reviews.

Go fix your hair girl. No need to live with something you don’t like!

Trippy
Trippy
10 years ago

My first colour job turned my hair orange (from its natural black). One day before my sister’s wedding. And to top it all off, my outfit was also orange. OY.
I let mine grow out since I was afraid of getting anything more done to it. Had a number of memorable nicknames at college around that time, too.
Get it fixed, I say.

jools
jools
10 years ago

We’ve all cried about it. It is the worst.

Return to that salon but honestly, there is no shame in driving to another city to get it fixed. You don’t have to live with it.

I once had a hairdresser give me second degree burns on my neck during an perm. Result: Bad perm, crispy neck.

Shannon
Shannon
10 years ago

I home-dyed my hair once without my parents permission (age 12). Instead of a lovely auburn, my waist-long blonde hair turned fire engine red! A neighbor came in as I was frantically rinsing my hair in the kitchen sink with bleach (I was THAT desperate!)and exited quickly “before your father comes home and sees this”.
As punishment, I was not allowed to have it fixed or cut until it grew out entirely, which took over a year. At the worst point I had three bands of hair colour- fire engine red, pinkish, and blonde going down my back which clashed horrificly with my rainbow-coloured coat. I cannot express to you the humiliation!
FIX IT NOW LINDA!!!!
And also relate to mystical power of hair transformation—was hosting a major corporate meeting today in my office on a critical new initiative when my hairdresser’s number came up on my phone–I had been waiting for an appt for weeks and omg I was going to miss the call!!! . For a flash of a second I seriously thought about stopping the meeting! If it had been an all women meeting, I might have, as they would have understood. Good hairdressers and the power of a good hairstyle are like unicorn- horn!

NancyJ
NancyJ
10 years ago

I have been there in the past where I think “I want this change – I want to change ME! – This haircut/new outfit/new whatever is going to make me (somehow) better (or sadly “good enough”)”.
It never did….it was the inside me that didn’t change even though the outside me looked a little different.
I don’t think it represents bad decisions as much as you feel like you need to change YOU. Just be you – I think we’d all agree we love you just the way you are.
I’ve finally learned (and I’m probably 15 years older than you) that I have to be happy with me inside because no matter what I do to the outside, if I don’t, I won’t be happy.
Oh so deep on this evening! xoxo

jen
jen
10 years ago

There are some good purple shampoos that can really help brassiness. Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Save Silver Shampoo saved me once.I sympathize.

Gaby
Gaby
10 years ago

Oh, dammit. It takes so much effort sometimes to haul ourselves out into the world (or to the hair salon), to have pep talked ourselves into trying something new, to allocate the time that it’ll take to achieve this new thing (and giving yourself permission that you deserve to take this time just for you), and then for it to not work out? Heartbreaking.

Sure, you can try to tell yourself it’s just hair, it can be fixed, but now you’ll have this extra baggage associated with the next appointment, and that sucks. Now you’ll wonder if it’s worth it, if YOU’RE worth it, if it’s all just a big waste of time because you’re never going to change…suck.

I’m sorry it didn’t work out. I hope you’ll feel brave enough to try something new again. You DO deserve it.

Gaby
Gaby
10 years ago

Oh, and hey! SPOILER ALERT on the “10 Surprising Sex Moves That’ll Leave Him Begging for More” article! I hadn’t gotten to read step #2 yet ;)

melanie
melanie
10 years ago

Go get it fixed – you don’t have to live with hair you hate. And then get your nails done or a 15-minute chair massage or something, to make yourself feel even better. Seriously. I read a great article by Lauren Slater about sprucing yourself up to feel better inside – it’s not just makeup or hair or clothes, it’s a little bit more confidence. Seriously:
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Depression-Makeover-Lauren-Slater-Essay

It totally resonates, and you realize, hey, I am worth it. I am worth good hair and eyeliner and cute shoes. You totally are!

sara
sara
10 years ago

Girl, get that fixed! You DESERVE to feel fabulous! And trust me, its not being vain to wanna look (a little) good! I have two kids, 2 and under, and i didn’t get my hair done for the better part of 3 years cause i was either pregnant or i had a newborn and it seemed like a waste of money and time etc etc.. FINALLY i went back to highlighting my mousey hair and it really does have an effect of my mood that i dont look totally awful! I think you’d look great as a blonde and that it’ll be a nice pick me up!

Mandy
Mandy
10 years ago

I think that is totally something worth crying over!! I mean, sure, not the end of the world, but still very disappointing.

Jolie
10 years ago

The first time I got my hair ombréd it took three tries and two stylists. I cried twice because I was like, “THAT JUST TOOK THREE HOURS FOR NOTHING AND THIS IS YOUR JOB HOW CAN YOU NOT GET IT RIGHT.” I totally get it. And I saw your hair in the newest picture on twitter/IG and thought it looked really good :)

Frannie
Frannie
10 years ago

I’m SOO glad you’re doing something bold. I know you’ve got that in you. Believe me, it’s tough finding the right colorist, ideas, the stars from five different galaxies have to come together and align..my hair is dark brown-so when I say, Make me Blonde..I know it’s a) a process that takes a couple sittings and b) experienced colorist. I am glad she was professional. Good luck. ♡

Frannie
Frannie
10 years ago

I try to be kind to hairstylists though. It’s a tough job trying to make everyone pretty, and dealing with people on a level where their image is at stake. I’ve cried too though.

Maggie
10 years ago

I feel your pain! My sis wanted ombre highlights and she and I looked it up on You Tube and I did hers for her to the tune of about $7. I decided I want them too, but I will let my fancy stylist do them, I can afford it. Well $200 later and I looked like Dee Snider from the Twisted Sister days. It took 2 more trips to the salon and even getting a cut to get it anywhere close to what I wanted. Should have done it at home!

Lena
10 years ago

This wouldn’t help with the color, BUT it seems to work well in reducing the brassiness and add shine.
http://www.maskcara.com/maskcara/2013/09/03/4027/

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