Sometime between age thirty-five and recently, the gray hairs started coming in fast and furious. I’m assuming it was age-related, and not a result of being a stressed-out mother of two kids, a dog, lizard, chinchilla, and assorted fish. But I was less concerned with why the gray hairs were there then how to get rid of them. At first I yanked them out, but soon there were too many and I was fairly certain that bald would be a worse look for me than gray.
A lot of my friends were already part of the hair-coloring club. They trekked off to their salons every six weeks or so and paid gobs of money to get a single process or double process or foils and lowlights and who knows what other chemically-toxic, natural-looking fake color in their hair. Since I just wanted to cover up my gray hairs, I thought it would be easy enough and more cost-effective to just do it myself.
Of course, I once also thought I could save money by cutting my hair myself. I ended up looking like a tumbleweed that had electroshock treatment. Not having learned from this mistake, the first time I decided to color my hair, I bought one of these permanent hair colors off the drug store shelf. Just picking the color was actually pretty overwhelming: There were dozens of brands and hues to choose from. I stood for ten minutes examining the dizzying array of browns such as Light Golden Brown and Medium Ash Brown and Natural Medium Rich Dark Brown (which was clearly the choice for idiot brunettes like me who can’t make up their minds). I finally settled on a brown that looked like my own hair color… sans the gray. The box said Medium Brown. The picture on the box looked like medium brown. But after I applied the hair dye, the color on my head was clearly, no bones about it, black. Really, really black. Because it was permanent and because it was so dark, I couldn’t lighten it. So for a month I had unnaturally black hair and my kids called me Elvis.
This time around, I decided to be smart and get one of those hair colors that washes out in 28 shampoos.
For temporary hair color, they have fun names like Nutmeg, and Chocolate Shake and Cocoloco. The problem with this was I still couldn’t figure out which one matched my hair color, and all the names made me hungry, to boot. I ran out and picked up a donut and coffee and then came back and settled on another medium brown tint with reddish brown undertones. Then I came home, colored my hair and looked in the mirror.
The gray was gone.
So was the brown.
My hair was pink.
It was actually more of a fuschia tone, if you want to be exact. Apparently the reddish brown undertones were more vibrant in reality than one would be led to believe from the description on the box. Apparently they were not undertones at all. Apparently they were overt tones and now my hair was pink.
Clearly, I was not that excited about this new look. First of all, pink hair is not a good look for a suburban stay at home mom who is not in a punk rock band. Second, I knew the pink would clash with all my red clothes. And third, as my daughter pointed out, while I no longer looked like Elvis, I did resemble a toy Troll, which is really not much of an improvement.
I quickly made an executive decision, jumped back in the shower, and washed my hair a dozen times.
My hair was now squeaky clean… and pink.
Finally I went back to the drug store, pondered my options, and finally settled on a foolproof remedy:
A baseball cap.