I think auburn might be the hair color that makes me feel the most "me."
Shortly after I added some subtle gray tones to my hair a couple months ago, it became painfully obvious that it wouldn't stay the cool, "mousy" shade I'd hoped for. No matter how many purple shampoos and conditioners I tried—and I tried some of the best ones, from Davines, Philip Kingsley and TIGI—the super-warm tones from my previous color insisted on pushing through like a One Direction fan in a crowd of other autograph-seeking One Direction fans who's sure she's the biggest fan and deserves to be in the front.
I trust my colorist, Nikki Ferrara at Marie Robinson Salon, implicitly, so I posed a question to her: Should I try to do a more all-over gray, match my roots and go dark brown, or try a doesn't-grow-out-of-anyone's-head color, like a dark, almost-teal green? She must have sensed, since I already had a such a specific doesn't-grow-out-of-anyone's-head color in mind, that that's what I was itching to do the most, so she enthusiastically put her vote in for that. It was all the encouragement I needed to go green (not in the Al Gore way), so I booked my appointment with her.
To my surprise, when I arrived at the salon, Nikki pulled four Manic Panic jars out of a bag. I figured a fancy salon like Marie Robinson had, like, fancy green dye or something, but Nikki felt she could get the most ideal green by custom-mixing the old standby for experimental teens and twenty-somethings.
Except I'm 36 and I've never, ever used Manic Panic. I got through the Manic Panic key-demographic years without so much as twisting off the lid of one of their instantly recognizable containers. The most unnatural color I've ever had was a barely discernible magenta from Kool-Aid when I was 13, applied not in a salon (duh), but in my childhood home's guest bathroom with my mom's help.
Although it suddenly made total sense to me to use Manic Panic to achieve my green goal, I was relieved that I wasn't doing it myself. Even if Manic Panic is DIY-friendly, I am not DIY-inclined—I am, in fact, DIY-impaired—so having one of the best colorists in New York (and her awesome assistant, Mae) doing the mixing and applying is obviously a better option.
And that's especially true because Nikki wanted to lift the darker areas of my hair to more closely match the blonde highlights I already had, as well as darken my roots beyond the length they'd grown in, in order to create a bit of gradience. I definitely couldn't have done that on my own.
After my base color was done cooking and my hair was dried, Nikki painted a generous amount of her custom Manic Panic concoction—Green Envy, Venus Envy, Enchanted Forest, and Raven—onto my hair and mushed it around before putting me under the weird, rotating heat thingy for about 20 minutes.
After a most excellent blow-out from babyfaced Xanadu fan Johnny Rackleff, my vibrant new color emerged.
I cannot even begin to accurately express how much I love this color and how unexpectedly flattering it is against my skin tone. I'm currently planning a citywide tour of rooftops from which I will shout my joy.
The hues change in different lights, and the color will likely lose some vibrance over the next few weeks, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing all of its variations, included a faded version. I'll be maintaining the cool tone either by ordering some Overtone color-depositing conditioner in teal or just by adding some Enchanted Forest to a regular conditioner.
I'll also be picking up some dark towels on my way home from the office tomorrow for my first post-color hair-washing. After seeing the green aura left on the white sweater I wore to the salon—I know, duh, why did I wear a white sweater to get my hair dyed green, especially on a rainy day?—I think it's safe to say a little color will be coming out.
But it's totally worth it! My mother asked me what my next color will be after this green, and after I thought about it for a second, I felt pretty confident that I'll be sticking with this for a while.
- Has your salon ever used Manic Panic on you?
- What's the wildest hair color you've ever had?
- Am I gonna end up on someone's "Green Hair" Pinterest board?