I am shocked at how gray my hair is. For 20 years I've had the random single wiry gray that pops out like a jack-in-the-box, and in the last three years, the grayness has spread like an infectious disease, starting with great anger at my temples and tempering out as it reaches the back of my head.
My temples are solid white. Did you hear me? My temples are solid white, and I'm only 43. What the hell?
Yes, there are far larger problems in the world, and I'm all about sympathizing with the tornado victims in my home state of Ohio, being outraged by the oil in the Gulf of Mexico, wondering if the fighting in Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq will ever end ... but at the moment, I want to whine about my hair.
Before my gray days, I could stretch trips to the hair dresser to four times a year for highlights. Now that I'm living in Arizona, the growth rate of my hair seems to have doubled, and my roots demand attention every two months, and $60 to $80 every two months gets expensive.
Last weekend, someone I know said she has been coloring her own hair for years. "Really?" I said. "How long does it last?" Eight weeks, she said.
For three days, I've been thinking about her words. I can cleverly part my hair only so many ways and only for so long to disguise my gray temples. Eventually, they win, and I can't hide them.
I have no idea which formula to buy. Maybe the one that Sara Jessica Parker hawks? Garnier something? She's a Midwest girl; she wouldn't speak for something she didn't believe in, right?
At Walgreens, I am overwhelmed by the choices: Clairol, Garnier, L'Oreal. And within those brands, more choices: ammonia-free, 10-minute formula, cream, foam. The prices range from $3.99 to $14.99. I dismiss the low-price figuring you get what you pay for. The Sara Jessica Parker brand is near the low-end of the price spectrum, so I dismiss that too, remembering an interview I read where she spoke of her frugality. Not that that matters. But, I'm NOT spending $60 to professionally color my hair, so let's not go overboard with this living lean thing, I tell myself. I dismiss the most expensive brand because it comes with some confusing looking combination basting brush/hair pick.
I decide to use the same technique I used when I used to drink wine: look for cool labels, catchy names and pretty bottles.
I settle on L'Oreal's Feria Hair Color Gel, because I liked the name, and the art on the box doesn't look outdated. Feria. I have no idea what it means, but it sounds so stylish. And "every strand shimmers with 3X highlights."
If my hair-coloring adventure turns into disaster, I have a plan: I'll wear a hat tomorrow, call in sick and book myself with a professional. I look good in hats.
I follow the instructions to the letter, and I am happy to say, my first attempt at self-coloring my hair was a success. I am amazed at not only how easy it was, but also how quick and inexpensive!
I had a similar experience a few weeks ago when I bought Sally Hansen's wax strips to remove unwanted facial hair. Easy and cheap, cheap, cheap!
Maybe next I'll take on learning to change the oil in my car ...