I’ve always fancied myself the rare unicorn of a person who is both incredibly obsessive and methodical about the state of my hair, but who is also open to experimentation without completely losing it. To put it differently: although I love my blonde hair and treat it with a great amount of care and respect, I never thought I would be the type of person who would cry in a hair salon over it (because it’s just hair, right?).
Well, I did.
Let me back up a bit. This past December, after weeks of traveling and putting off a much-needed root retouch, I broke my longest EVER streak of colorist monogamy and made a hair appointment back home in Columbus, Ohio, with a different colorist. For years, I was the most lax fake blonde in all of New York City; I casually frequented Salon Apprentice, and I chased down different deals every week on Lifebooker and Groupon, all to save money and live that player lifestyle.
Though I was able to scrimp and save, this lifestyle ultimately proved unfulfilling to me; I wanted something more serious. And, the many different colorists led to years of varying levels of highlights in varying shades of blonde, but yeah, let’s blame it on my craving for emotional stability.
My philandering ways were finally changed this summer, when Will Francis at Sally Hershberger in Soho turned me into a platinum babe and got me to settle down with one colorist. Once Will had masterfully brought me to the perfect baby-blonde, Disney-princess platinum (without double-processing my hair, I might add), I was sold. I went to Will whenever I needed anything — from the time my hair turned green from a hot tub to the time I just wanted to look blonder before a summer music festival.
Yet, despite my new found stability, I guess old do habits die hard. When I was faced with dwindling time before an event and my holiday travels prevented me from getting back to the city, I went to a new salon in Ohio. The salon was perfectly lovely, but as soon as I entered, I was nervous. Would someone be able to make my hair look as nice as Will always did?
These lingering doubts (the type of which I’ve never really experienced in a hair salon) should have been my first clue.
My biggest mistake, when I sat down in the chair, was that I was too focused on how Will dyed my hair (that’s the problem with cheating, right?). I directed the colorist to do exactly what Will did: hand-paint my hair, darken the roots afterwards, and tone out any brassiness. But because I was so focused on directing the colorist to emulate Will’s specific process, disaster struck. She didn’t seem fully comfortable with what I was dictating, but she assured me everything would be fine.
Immediately, when she began to pull the plastic wrap off of my hair, I knew something was wrong. Her lips were tight.
“I think I’m going to do another, darker, ashy toner on the roots,” she said.
“Wait, what? Can I see it?” I said, clearly, you know, panicking.
I took one look at my hair, brassy orange at the roots and gray-purple in the middle, and instantly, and without any control, burst into tears.
Completely embarrassingly — maybe it was PMS or maybe it was just how brassy my roots looked — but once I started, I couldn’t stop. I was soon surrounded by three salon managers and my original colorist, each trying to figure out a way to simultaneously color-correct my hair and stem the flow of my tears. The worst part was, I didn’t really blame any of the salon employees; they seemed utterly mortified as I continued to try and assure them that I wasn’t that upset through my floods and floods of tears.
Finally, it was determined that a different colorist would take another pass at my hair so that it was at least appropriate for the outside world. She darkened everything and put a few highlights in around my face to distract from the brassiness. I left the salon still sniffling, refusing a blowout because all I wanted to do was go home.
Luckily, after a frantic Instagram message to Will (what can I say, I was that desperate), he was able to fit me in the next week, and my hair was soon returned to its beautiful blonde ways.
No harm, no foul, right? Wrong.
The first thing I learned is that it's completely ridiculous to get upset about your hair. I knew this already, but once it happened to me and I was forced to explain to my mom and friends why I was puffy when I returned back from the salon, it was made even more evident to me that having a healthy relationship with my hair and appearance is something I maybe should work on. I’m obsessed with my hair but I’m also not trying to be the person who cries over it, you know?
The biggest lesson here is, if you’re a fake blonde with extremely particular hair-color needs, just don’t cheat on your colorist. And if you do cheat, do it because you actually want something different.
Photo credit: Maryanne Braine