Thursday, March 12, 2009

DIY hair

It seems that my hair dilemmas will never fully be resolved. I recently concluded that I was not ready to endure the awkwardness of growing out my hair, thus committed to a cute, short haircut. I was happy with said haircut save two regrets.

I wish I had asked her to do something fresh with my long bangs (I don't think she even touched them and I felt like they needed some style), and I wanted to do something bold with the color. Since I had not requested this service beforehand, there wasn't enough time.

This is how my hair recently became a do-it-yourself project. I'm not sure that hair is a project well-suited for DIY.

When I left the stylist with her next appointment, I was suddenly latched on to the idea of dyeing a purple or red streak in my hair. Spontaneous impulses such as this are difficult for me to repress, so I drove to another salon a few blocks away (I think there are 3.1 salons per capita in my tiny town). The stylist there could see me right away, only it would take about an hour and I had to be at another (non-hair-related) appointment in half an hour. Who runs to a salon expecting significant service with only 25 minutes to spare?

She convinced me to make an appointment for the next day, but I was already pretty sure I would cancel it. I was there because I wanted it done now, and when I learned that she would charge $35-40 for ONE STREAK of color, I started re-calculating my plan. I figured if I was going to have to wait a day or two anyway, I could return to the stylist who had just cut my hair and get a better deal since my friend got a full weave from her for only $55.

In the meantime, I spent my 25 free minutes going to Safeway, where I purchased a box of Garnier soft black hair color for all of $4.99. I had hoped to get the materials to do my own colored streak from the grocery aisle too, but apparently it isn't sold to the public in a convenient box at the local supermarket.

The next day I called my stylist to see about coming back for some color (and some work on my bangs, I would ask at the appointment). Unfortunately, she was taking the rest of the week off for her upcoming wedding, and was booked the entire following week. When I set my mind on a change like this, I want it done. Now. Plus, she was going to charge the same amount as the new lady. So it became time to take matters fully into my own hands. Although I did give up my desire for a $35 purple streak. For now.

A few days later I finally had time to work on my project. I started with the bangs. I know most stylists will cut bangs for less than ten dollars. But I didn't want to pay more money when I had just paid to get a haircut, yet was too impatient to wait two weeks for my own stylist, who would probably have fixed them as part of her original service.

A lady in my Moms Club recommended watching YouTube to learn how to do your own childrens' haircuts as a way to save money. I had never really thought of YouTube as serving a practical, educational purpose. Of course it is more than just bicycle stunts gone hilariously awry, but I hadn't thought of using strangers' videos for instructional purposes. However, I tried her advice last week in preparation for my daughter's first haircut. I simply showed Madelyn a video of a toddler getting a haircut before we went to the salon. I think the images helped her understand and remain calm.

That process gave me an idea. So I tried a new search: "how to cut your own bangs" and came up with hundreds of video results, of course. I spent about 30 minutes perusing the clips, watching different techniques until I felt like I had a good grasp of the process to achieve the style I desired. Of course I had to wade through copious ditzy girls in front of mirrors, but there were a few useful ones.

Then I draped a towel over my sink, pulled out a pair of dull scissors, and started sculpting. I am not very good at cutting hair, or following directions, it would seem. Like a painter who ruins his masterpiece by adding too many strokes, I find it difficult to STOP cutting. Thankfully I did not end up with a spiky tuft of hair where my bangs used to be, but they are definitely not the picture of trendsetting style that I was going for. My punishment for trying to save a few bucks.

Next I worked on the color. Since I wasn't able to get a colored streak, I decided that my bold style would come from a two-toned look. I colored only the bottom layer of my hair with the soft black, so it would peek out from the shorter layers. The dark color is really beautiful, but my hair is already dark, so the difference in color between the layers was not as striking as I wanted.

So I went back to the store the next day and bought a lighter color for the top half of my head. It was a very dark blonde, which I knew on my dark hair would result in a light brown. Doing this color job was very tricky, because I had to keep the color away from the bottom layer that I had already dyed, and I had this wild idea to leave the my bangs naturally colored.

After rinsing out the dye and blowdrying my hair, I was disappointed. The color wasn't ugly, it just wasn't noticeable. After all my hard work, I didn't want it to look plain and natural, I was going for bold and fun. So I took a chance and dyed the entire section AGAIN, and left the color on twice as long as instructed, since it had already been sitting mixed up in the bottle for about 45 minutes. I didn't care if it came out almost blonde--that would be better than the dark brown it currently was.

After the second rinse and blow-dry, and the color is much more noticeable. But it isn't really the right color; too red. Oh well. If I keep going like this, I'll have spent more money than I would have for what I originally wanted at the salon.

Now I'm mainly struggling with styling my bangs. They are a little too short to look right with the side-swept style, but that is what I usually go for. Now I am insecure about my hair, noticing everyone else's pretty bangs and hoping no one is internally criticizing my self-serve job. C'est la vie for the hopelessly self-conscious.
I do actually like this picture; it is the better side of the 'do. Thanks to my friend Barb for working some camera magic to make me (and even my hair) look decent.
Here you can see the red tones overpowering the color, and also how my bangs look as though I am wearing a helmet.
This is a new style I tried today, flipped out with the bangs pulled straight forward. I'm not really feeling it.
Aaaaah! I hate my hair.


The Kings said...

I think it looks nice! I like the second pic with it kind of swept to the side - pretty! I'm lucky that my best friend is a hair dresser and does my hair for free :) I once did the red streaks - I think it was two really bright red streaks and everyone loved it - I wasn't so sure - was just something different and fun.

Bridget said...

I really like the second picture, too. You are brave - that's for sure.

Annie said...

Ahh, you're too hard on yourself. Your hair looks fine. The bangs look fine. You are fine. And you learned a very important lesson about hair color: always call a friend (an intervention if you will) before you color. Remember: Friends don't let friend color their own hair :)

The Georges said...

That was a riveting story! I couldn't wait to see the pictures. I think it looks really good. Stylish, yes. Bold, not so much. But, I don't like purple hair anyway!
Now, what should I do with my drab, long hair?

Mikael said...

I am hating my hair too!!! I want a new sheek style. But the hair girl I go to now ($35 for hair and color, her price lures me in) doesnt have it in her. She is too mainstream. I want DRAMA!!!! I want total BLONDE BLONDE with bangs and sheak. So what do I do??? Who do I see?? This is a problem
I wish I could just have a couple wigs and put those on!
But I think you did a good job yourself!


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