Tracey’s Curl Up And Dye*

When I was a little girl, I had blonde hair. Realllly blonde hair. And even though it got a little darker as I got older, I could keep it “touched up” with highlights once or twice a year. It was a pretty inexpensive solution – I’d sit down in my stylist’s chair, let him or her wrap the top of my head in foils, and 45 minutes later I’d have lovely light blonde highlights to accent the only somewhat darker blonde hair.

And then I got pregnant. Them young’uns, I tell you – they change everything.

For some reason (and I’m sure there are many scientific theories but you know that science, it does not interest me), my hair got much darker and much straighter as a result of my pregnancy. I thought at the time that, once Alex was born, my hair would magically lighten and curl again, but such was not the case.

As a result, I was forced into an expensive bi-monthly highlighting habit. And the stuff in the box or the bottle? It wasn’t an option. Oh, several times I tried to self-highlight, but the results were always disastrous: my hair would turn out orange-ish, streaky, brassy, and one time in particular, somewhat green. I usually ended up back at the salon I was trying to avoid, with my home-highlighted head hung in shame. I would be reprimanded by my stylist, spend 45 minutes with color strippers and re-activators and de-activators on my head, and then, with some semblance of normal blonde color restored, I would pay my $140, promise to never darken Walmart’s hair color aisle again, and go about my bottled blonde business.

For the last year or so I’ve been a good little hair salon girl. I’ve left the highlighting to the professionals, and I haven’t so much as eyeballed a box of Nice and Easy or Feria or whathaveyou.

But this past weekend, I fell off of the wagon.

I should tell you that for the last couple of weeks I’ve been bummed out by my hair. The cut is fine – but the color has looked mousy and dull and boring. It’s hard to get an appointment at my salon, and besides that, I’m cheap. I haven’t wanted to spend the big bucks. I figured I’d go with the natural look for the rest of the winter, then brighten myself up with some highlights in the spring.

That was before I saw several of my friends this past weekend. I couldn’t help but notice the way their highlights framed their face, or the way their color expertly covered the gray, or the way they looked bright-eyed and radiant because they had something other than dishwater blonde hair falling onto their foreheads. And Friday night, in a fit of spontanaiety, I said, “Hey! Who wants to highlight my hair?”

Tracey was all over it. She couldn’t get to CVS fast enough.

And that is how Tracey and I found ourselves at Katy’s kitchen table at 11:00 Saturday night – me with a plastic cap on my head, Tracey with the little plastic tool that enabled her to pull my hair through the openings in the cap, Katy asleep on her couch and completely oblivious to both of us. Oh, we had a large time, with a great deal of our conversation sounding like what you’d hear in any Southern beauty shop: “And then I told her…well, I didn’t believe it at first, but honey, it IS true…can you believe that? I could not BELIEVE that…yes, and he is her second husband – wonder what she’ll do to her third?”

You get the idea.

I was fairly apprehensive about the whole process, what with Tracey not being a trained cosmetologist and all. I do give her great credit, because she was as thorough as could be, even if I did let out a few “YEEEEOWWWW”s as she tried to get various tangled masses through very small plastic holes. Then she mixed up the solution, put it on my hair, and for 27 minutes, we waited.

Imagine my surprise when I washed and dried my hair and discovered highlights that were the perfect shade of blonde. Not brassy. Not orange. Not green. Just a light, pretty blonde color – exactly what I would’ve wanted and expected if I was shelling out $140 at a salon.

And you know what it cost? $9.99.

Plus tax, of course.

I think Tracey may have found her post-mama calling.

*This weekend I learned that Curl Up And Dye is the name of an actual salon outside of Memphis. Only in the South, y’all.

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  1. Believe it or not, boomama, I have actually heard of that beauty shop…..that’s what we call them around here. Well, the working class folks, anyway, the society folks may have salons, I guess……I’ve never been to one, lol. Congrats on the successful “do”, and welcome home again.

  2. I had never been in a “salon” until we moved to Baton Rouge – I grew up in beauty shops. :-) My mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law still go to the beauty shop and hold court once a week – they get their hair done on Friday so it’s good and set by Sunday. If those walls could talk (well, first they’d have to get a word in edgewise with my mother-in-law on the premises)…. :-)

  3. T missed her calling! I would like to correct you in that we purchased said dye at the Albritton’s grocery not the CVS. We went to three drug stores after our visit to the Cadillac Cafe Saturday before going through Taco Bell and having “beauty shop”. She did you right but made me look like Joan Jett with that flat iron.


    Seriously, your hair looked GOOD. I think you’re just used to a little more volume, is all.


  1. […] And then, last year, the most unexpected thing happened: I did just do just as well with something from the drugstore when my friend Tracey highlighted my hair. I LOVED IT. The color last until the beginning of summer, when my hair gets naturally lighter anyway. When I got ready for some touch-ups back in the fall, I coerced someone else into giving me highlights with a home highlighting kit. It didn’t look quite as good as it did when Tracey worked her magic, but it was fine. […]