Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Science of Hair…who knew?

Mary Sullivan

In my quest to stop fading away, to push against the ticking clock of the relentless onslaught of ever more stubborn grey hair, I decided I'd like to become a redhead. My hairdresser responded with a great big, "Yes! Love the idea! Let's do it!"

She chose a really gorgeous colour, not too phony bright and not too fake-looking, and I was truly happy with the results. It actually looked natural because it suited my skin tone. A great success. Then came all the warnings...

Apparently, red hair fades. I have to use special (red!) shampoo and conditioner, I can't wash my hair as often as usual, I have to go back to have it coloured more often than with the light brown/dark blond we were using, and I have to wear a hat when I go outside, especially on sunny days. Oh boy, just what I want in my life. Hair that needs to be coddled.

Despite my best efforts, it faded after a couple of weeks. At the next visit, she made it slightly darker and it's lasting longer because it's the second time, but still I can see that it is fading. The third time it should last all the way through because she's building up on the bit of colour that's left between visits.

She explained that the problem is that red doesn't get absorbed into the hair follicle, but rather sits on top of it. Who knew? I thought colouring hair was a relatively straightforward process. I learn a lot from my hairdresser. I know I could make something profound out of this, make great huge stirring metaphors about adding colour in all areas of my life, but alas, it's too early in the morning. LOL

I'll keep moving forward with the red, because it really is lovely. A woman (a stranger) stopped me in the park the other day to tell me my hair matched the leaves of a tree turning red and told me I should have my photo shot against the tree. It was nice that my hair stood out and that she mentioned it, but it isn't as bright a red as that incident makes it sounds. It is more fussy than my old colour, though, and that's a fact.

I must admit this isn't the strangest thing I've ever done with my hair. Remember those big old perms of the eighties? Yep. Did that. I shudder now.

What is the strangest, or fussiest, thing you've ever done with your hair?

9 comments:

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I have dark brown hair and once I had someone highlight it blond with the cap on my head with the little holes they pulled my hair through (that hurts!) Of course it looked terrible.

mary sullivan said...

Tammy, oh my lord, I've done that cap with the little holes! It REALLY hurts when they pull your hair through. The one time I let my hairdresser do it, my eyes were watering. No wonder you only did it once!

Claire McEwen said...

Mary, Welcome to the redheaded world! I've colored my hair some form of red for almost my whole life! I started going grey really young and decided I just wasn't ready for that. But red fades, for sure! In the past few years, maybe because my 'real' color is now white,the red fades to blonde. So my hairdresser and I finally decided to just go with it, and only color my roots when I visit. which is why I now have hair that is red on top and gradually fades to blonde on the bottom. It's a little different, but I like it!

Olivia Loch said...

The coolest thing I ever did was have it all cut off, shaved up the sides and the back with a couple of inches on top, and then bleached out white blond, Annie Lennox style I loved it! I went to a Billy Idol concert and someone commented "Cool you've got matching cuts" (referring to Billy Idol at the time) These days I'm happy if I can keep the grey from showing and have more on my head than down the shower drain. :)

mary sullivan said...

Claire, red is a great choice! It just seems to need more nurturing than other colours! LOL

Your hair sounds and looks wonderful!

mary sullivan said...

Olivia, LOL on more on your head than down the drain. I know the feeling.

Wow, on the Billy Idol look-alike haircut! Kudos to you for being daring!!!

dstoutholcomb said...

in the 80s, sprayed sun-in on my dark hair--after a couple of days it became very horrible looking.

Mary Preston said...

Had the perm & went back for seconds. I blame my insanity on the chemicals they used.

Laney4 said...

When I wed 34 years ago, my older sister insisted on using a curling iron on my short hair, despite it being covered with a veil. I hated it. Had the wedding and stepped outside. People threw confetti (allowed back in 1981). I shook my head back and forth to get rid of it and lost all the curl. Had a wonderful time after that.
It should be noted that I have grown up since then. I had several "friends" tell me this year what I should do for my daughter's wedding last May - from spiking it with neon-coloured tips (which would poke my husband's eye when we danced - so I asked them if I should get a tattoo too, LOL) to getting a perm - and do you know what I did (with my daughter's permission)? I kept it short and straight - and it looked absolutely wonderful. I told people the only thing I did differently was blow dry it for oomph, rather than my usual 5-minute air dry....

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