Me And My Hair-Brained Ideas

Y’all, we really, really need to talk about my hair.

I mean, I know you have other stuff to do like “making cookies” and “eating chocolate” and “cutting out paper hearts,” but I’m having a bit of a hair crisis, and I don’t know what to do.

Here’s the deal.

The natural color of my hair is dark blonde. At least I think it is. I really can’t be sure since I haven’t seen it since around 1998, but as best I can recall, it falls somewhere along the darker end of the blonde spectrum.

And for many years, I have enjoyed the luxury of going to the salon, sitting in a chair, and letting a talented color specialist apply golden blonde highlights while I thumbed through the latest issue of InStyle.

Sure, there were moments of home hair color weakness, moments when I couldn’t bear to fork over the big bucks, moments when I convinced myself that I could do just as well with a $10 kit from the drugstore.

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 lasted 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.

About three weeks ago, I pushed my luck and tried to go the home hair color route for the third time in a row. I talked a friend into doing the whole pull-my-hair-through-a-cap deal, and the results were, well, iffy.

With “iffy” being a really generous term.

Because now my hair is way too blonde on the ends, way too dark on the top.

In fact, I look like someone dipped my head in light brown dye, flipped me over, and then dunked the bottom half of my hair in a vat of bleach.

It’s a really attractive look, in case you were wondering, and it’s especially convenient when you’re trying to coordinate your hair with an ensemble (as I know so many of us do), seeing as how you have the bottom way-too-blonde part, which is great for those cooler-toned spring clothes, and then you have the dishwater-brown-etched-with-gray top part, perfect for those warmer-toned winter separates.

(I’m trying to rationalize. Indulge me.)

But then. But then.

But then you catch a glimpse of yourself under the flourescent lights in the Lifeway restroom. And you realize that OH SWEET MERCY, something has got to give, because OH SWEET MERCY, there’s no way to ignore your the horrific state of your hair affairs for even one more second.

And that’s exactly what happened to me this afternoon.

So do you know what I did?

I made my way to the front of the store, quickly paid for my Lifeway purchases, grabbed my child’s hand and said, “Come on, baby. Mama’s got to get her a little hair color at the Walmarts.”

Because no kidding, people: I look like the “before” picture in some gigantic magazine spread entitled “OUR MOST CHALLENGING MAKE-OVERS EVER!!!”

So here’s my dilemma.

I bought some hair color at Walmart today. Not highlights. COLOR. It’s some kind of temporary deal – Natural Instincts Coastal Dune. Clearly it’s a high-end product because it does make reference to the beach, and I’m certain that if I use it my hair will instantly acquire an artfully-tousled look, almost as if I’ve just walked in from, well, the coastal dunes (not to be confused with the non-coastal dunes, those piles of sand that have magically appeared in densely-populated metropolitan areas).

And here’s what I’m thinking.

It’s pretty much a given that I’m going to have to do the Home Haircolor Walk Of Shame into my salon at some point in the near future. The guy who cuts my hair hasn’t seen me since I received the latest round of ill-fated highlights, and you can trust me when I tell you that he. will. be. mortified. if I walk in there with the color looking like it does right now.

Which leads me to think that maybe I should try this Coastal Dune business, primarily to see if I can’t get everything a little “evened out” color-wise. I’ll still have to the do the Walk Of Shame the next time I get a cut, but maybe the Coastal Dune-age will cover up everything nicely enough that R. (my hair guy) won’t immediately throw me in a colorist’s chair and charge me an arm and a leg so that he can get everything back to normal.

(And by “normal,” of course, I mean, “my usual totally fake color.”)

OR – should I just go ahead and be a big girl, make an appointment, confess my home highlighting sins, and let R. fix it? I SO don’t want to spend the money. But girls, you KNOW – especially if you’re a big-haired girl from the South – when the hair doesn’t look good, it wears on you. Oh yes ma’am it does. It takes a toll on the ole self-esteem, and OH MY WORD I know that as Christians we’re not supposed to be concerned with self-esteem, we’re supposed to be concerned with God’s esteem, but I am not kidding when I tell you that what’s going on with my hair right now GRIEVES THE HEART OF GOD.


Come to think of it, we might need to have us a hair tragedy altar call, y’all. Can’t y’all just see it? First we’d insist that every head be bowed, every eye be closed, and then we could minister to the hurting: “YES, Sister. You right there in the back. You tried to perm it yourself, didn’t you? And you, sweet sister. Over to the right. Thought you’d trim those bangs on your own? And ooooh, sister. A banana clip? Really? Bless you.”

And just so you know? I’ll be the sister up at the front. Holding a box of Natural Instincts Coastal Dune in my hands. Waiting for some divine direction from my bloggy sistah hair accountability partners about what to do next.

Preach it in the comments.


Preach it.

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  1. Well, I can’t believe you need one more comment but: Please just call your stylist and tell him you were desparate and used a home product and your hair is a mess and you need help. He’ll fuss and gripe and then make you beautiful. I can’t believe you did it three times. After the first, really beautiful home job you should have thanked God and then when you needed to do it again not pushed your luck.
    Probably what happened this last time was, the hair didn’t get pulled all the way through so that the ends were highlighted but the part left under the cap weren’t. Thus the two tone effect.
    Mama Bear

  2. Just a thought- I too am a dark blond girl who highlighted and then dyed my hair lighter and lighter for years and years. I also have fair skin like you and I have blue eyes (which I think I remember you have too). Well, this fall I tried something totally new- I went darker! I chose a warm, caramelly brown and I have been so pleased with the results. First off, it is a lot easier to go darker than lighter in terms of damage to you hair and potential for horror, so you really can do the darker color yourseld. Second, I thought the dark would make me look paler, but I found the exact opposite to be true. I have a lot of pink tones in my skin and the warmer color brings those out and makes me look “peaches and cream” instead of “get thee to a tanning bed”. Also, the darker color really makes blue eyes pop- I have had more people comment on my eyes since I dyed my hair than in just about my whole life before. And hey, you know you might have to make the walk of shame, so even if you go dark and hate it, you’re just back where you started. Good luck on all this- I know how big a deal hair is!!

  3. I have no advice but I couldn’t help but delurk to tell you that I about fell out of my chair by the time you got to “A banana clip? Really? Bless you” Thank you for the laugh. :)

  4. Oh my! I am laughing so hard! I once got the brilliant idea to highlight my hair myself. It was really short at time, and I just didn’t think that the hair I was pulling through the holes in the cap was enough to make it look good. So, I decided to try and “chunk” the blonde on my brown hair.

    I got chunked all right! My hair had giant blonde patches. Of course, my then 7 year old DD took one look at it and said “That’s cool Mommy!”

    I realized that I did not want to chance the correction of this disaster to anyone but the best. So, I frantically called the 2 top salons in town. One was not open, and the other one could squeeze me in in 2 days. No way I was wearing a ball cap for 2 days!~

    I finally got in a Beauty Brands, and the lovely Larraine salvaged my botched attempt at being hip. What was funny was when I asked her to please tell me that I was NOT the only person to ever come in with a color disaster, her response was this – “Oh no! Especially on Mondays, because people have WAY too much free time on the weekend and they try to do their own color!”

  5. Oh, one more from me. I won’t elaborate because this will tell you all you need to know – if the hair color package says “Vivid Red” – believe it!


  1. […] Go on over to BooMama’s site and read her story about hair color. I laughed until it hurt. BooMama is one of my favorite bloggers. […]