Hairgate

What is the tried and tested, perfect response to a stressful time? An impulsive hair decision, of course! However, after ruling out several other options – slashing my waist-length hair into a pixie cut, dyeing the whole lot pastel pink at home – I decided to take a more sensible approach to the impulsiveness; the next week, I was booked for a hair consultation.

My brown hair already had a blonde ombré, which had primarily outgrown, but I didn’t want to just have that redone. I could do that at home! No, I wanted a radical, full-head change.  The whole lot a sunshine blonde. If you’ve ever seen Teen Titans, I was essentially aiming for Terra’s hairdo.

The consultation went swimmingly. I was asked over and over if I was sure (which I was, I confidently assured the woman), and finally, she conceded.

“Salons don’t like doing full-head colonies,” Mum had told me, “because it’s a shock for the client. You have to be very firm.”

So against my nature, I was. And a week after that, I giddily entered the salon and confirmed my wishes, then we were off. This is, inevitably, where things went wrong.

A junior stylist came over. Now I have nothing against junior stylists, and they have just as much potential to be incredible at their jobs, but. But… I wasn’t fully sure about her. Nonetheless, she was qualified and I am not, so I felt I had no place to question. Even when she started dividing my hair as they had done for the ombré prior, and leaving large pieces untouched.

Politely, I asked, “Why are you doing it like that? Sorry, I don’t understand hair, I’m just a bit curious.”

“Well, that’s just how we do highlights,” she eventually answered, sounding slightly put out.

Now truly, I wasn’t trying to be a pain. I just had a hunch there had been a misunderstanding, so I questioned if we were doing the whole head, because that’s what I believed. Growing irritated now, she warned me that I would have a line of roots in four weeks if she just painted it all on, and I hushed up to avoid angering her. After all, I probably didn’t understand her properly. I had been clear, she knew what she was doing; it would be fine.

It wasn’t. Of course it wasn’t, or I wouldn’t be telling the story.

We rinsed it off, and I was faced with disaster. Jarring streaks of blonde glared amidst the muted brown, with a block of pure roots down my parting. Wonderful. Anxiety (boosted with painful disappointment) flared through me, and for some reason I was struggling not to cry. Imagine you had built yourself up for this extreme and daring change, signaling a new point in your life and a willingness to take risks… and then your first risk falls to shambles. You can probably picture my heartbreak. That, combined with the fear of having to live my life with this shoddy look after how much I’d bragged about being blonde, was not good for my brain.

The stylist panicked at my scrunching face, and fetched her manager. He was tragically unhelpful, completely flabbergasted at how I was unsatisfied. In tears, I retrieved my-mother-the-lawyer from work to argue my case, and received a patronizing explanation and finally a second appointment. You see, apparently the stylist has the right to ignore their client, because although it’s your hair, they clearly know best. I didn’t really want all of it blonde – I’d obviously desired streaks instead! Though with a painstaking sigh, they obliged to dye it as I had originally asked. How selfless of them.

I was furious. In teary-eyed despair, I boarded the bus home, fully intending to gobble a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ASAP. Thankfully I had pinged a message to my best friend, who intervened with her puppy and a trip to the TT fairground (possibly more on that soon?), and I resigned myself to my two days of sad hair. And in sheer honesty? It grew on me (pun intended). Although I had no intention of keeping it, I found myself able to leave the house and see people without an anxious meltdown, which was an interesting personal step for me.

And currently, my hair is as blonde as I’d dreamed of it being, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been with it. So there is a happy ending to this tale. My rage at the salon has dissipated, and admittedly, I will be returning for my roots. My most recent stylist was a senior, and she was bubbly and chatty and made me feel welcome. Plus, the ‘do was complimentary after the previous mix-up.

There are no dramatic life lessons in this story, unfortunately. I just felt like sharing. Maybe it’ll give some hope to someone whose hair has also not gone as planned.

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