Sunday, December 5, 2010

Taking Frugal Too Far...

When we left San Diego, I knew there were things I was going to miss - family, friends, perfect weather, shops, hair dresser.

Erin was and is an amazing artist with hair. She's an organic color specialist and owns her own shop on the 101. We met ten years ago during my last home color experiment.

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I color my hair - left on a desert island I would have the perfect camouflage - assuming the island was lush with mousy-brown-mixed-with-grey foliage...maybe one of those rocky islands - less palm trees more granite.

Ten years ago I was combating the mousy brown by inserting blond highlights. I must not have been too bad at it because no one said anything and one friend even asked if I would do her hair.

We were co-teaching so had become as close as sisters so coloring each other's hair was a natural offshoot...except the results were anything but natural-looking!

I resembled a sepia-colored skunk when we were finished. My co-teacher was in tears over the state of my head - I was just anxious to get it fixed before school on Monday.

I went to the nearest salon and the guardian angel of hair color disasters had noticed me (no doubt because of my skunky blond stripe) and made Erin work that Sunday.

She had me fixed up fast and didn't even laugh (at least not in front of me) and I became a loyal client.

Now that we've moved to AZ driving 250 miles for a hair appointment that costs $120 is beyond my unemployed budget...however, Erin has become a dear friend and so gave me explicit instructions on how to buy, mix, and apply color to my own head.

She also made me promise to call her when I was ready to do it for tech support. Which I did...

I have learned:

1. It's normal for hair color to have no color when it's first mixed.

2. It's also normal for it to stain everything it touches which is why a cape would have been smart to wear.

3. It's mostly normal for it to itch like crazy when it touches your skin which it's not really supposed to touch.

4. I have no natural ability at beauty treatments and would surely flunk out of cosmetology school if they were stupid enough to accept me in the first place.

5. I don't look good in plastic wrap and may have frightened Dave (who knew he could squeal like a girl?)
Plastic wrap is not my best look

The first coloring went okay - except I didn't use enough color so it didn't really cover the grey.

The second coloring went better because part way through I got to slather it all over my head so that hides the "line" of new growth or in my case the "crappy color application line".

So today was time #3 and you would think I would have gained some skills...or some sense....

So I didn't actually have enough color left in the tubes for the original formula Erin gave me...but it's all fractions right?

I can do fractions - heck I used to teach fractions - how hard could it be?

So I used some scratch paper, calculated the ratios (2 color tubes and the developer) and set to realizing that maybe it was Sherril who did all the fraction teaching...sigh.

I worked a little longer attempting to find the ratio between 1 1/2, 2 1/2 and 4 oz so I could scale it back to teaspoons when I discovered that the reason I had less color in one tube than the other was because it represented the middle amount not the smallest...sigh.

So I gave up on the fractions, and just tried to guesstimate the amounts...and then I painted it on my head...nervously.

More lessons learned:

1. It's harder to paint on hair than you would think.
My hair sticks to the brush and then gets EVERYWHERE!

2. It's harder to put plastic on your head than you think.

3. It's harder to rinse your hair in the kitchen sink than I thought.

Erin had said, "Get Dave to help rinse your hair...taking this pic was all he was willing to do..."
4. Dave was no help - but I think I knew that before I started.

5. Praying works.


  1. Very sultry ;) I need numbers, baby....10 percent developer, x ounces of color, how long should I leave it in :)

  2. Haha! The recipe is: 3/4 oz 6a + 1 1/4 oz 6n + 2 oz No. 10 Developer - mix, apply to roots then leave on 30-35 minutes. Every other time leave on your roots for 20 minutes then pull through the rest of your hair and leave on for 10 more minutes.