At the age of about 14, I made a couple of important life-changing decisions. The first was that I really didn’t want children. Mission accomplished. The second was that I would go towards middle age anything but quietly and preferably kicking and screaming.
Vision has started to age – need to get glasses which help me with the really really small print. So – I get a funky pair (other peoples’ description) of varifocals. Problem sorted. Grey hair sneaking in? No problem at all – get out the hair dye. Brown can be so routine though. What about pillar box red highlights? Yeah, that’ll do. Mix ’em in with blonde highlights and you’ve got an interesting mix. Did that for a year or two. Nowadays it’s purple – not screaming purple but “cyber purple” – y’know – really dark brown with a deep purple hue. I love it.
The only thing I don’t love is the night of the recolour. So much messing around. And mess.
So. You open up the packet in preparation and lay all the items out on the counter. Mix up the colour and the developer solution. Weird – this is supposed to be purple, yet the developer is white and the colour comes out of the tube a sickly yellow hue. This should be your first indication of some of the trouble to come.
Put the cap back on the bottle *securely* and shake it all up. OK. That was easy. Now you’re ready to apply it onto your dry, unwashed hair.
Here’s a tip – strip from the waist up. Take off glasses, watches and any other jewellery. Trust me on this.
Put on the supplied clear plastic gloves, which never ever fit unless you’re some sort of malformed giant with chipolatas for fingers. Start applying the mix. Massage it in. Realise that it’s changing colour and that you now have purple temples, ears and forehead. Hmmm.
By the time you’ve finished squeezing out all the stuff, there will have been a fair amount of air squelching out with some of that stuff and you’ll realise that it serves to spread little purple droplets of hair colour all over your sink, counter top, white tiles and anything else in the firing line.
You’ll also realise that there’s no way in hell that your hair will *not* fall down somewhere onto some untarnished pink bit of skin (this is why I said to strip from the waist up) and even if you’re not wearing glasses, you’ll still see these purple splodges everywhere. You have to find a way of getting the gloves off without smearing hair dye all over the place – not an easy task, especially as your eyes will undoubtedly also be watering from the stench of the stuff.
Now you get to wait 20/30 minutes until you get to rinse it all off. You can’t see anything because you’ve taken off your glasses. You can’t time anything because you’ve taken off your watch and either can’t remember where you’ve put it and, even if you could see where it was, the chances are that you can’t read the dial because you don’t have your glasses on. This is where some sort of kitchen timer comes in handy (can you tell I’ve done this before?)
Now, wander around your house or apartment naked from the waist up trying to find something to do while you wait. Can’t use the internet coz you can’t read the screen without squinting with your face 2 inches from the monitor. And you don’t want to do that anyway because the chances are that some of this damned stuff will drip onto the keyboard. Today I washed the dishes while I was waiting.
So – the allotted time passes, the timer sounds and it’s time to wash it off. Except there was only one pair of disposable gloves which are covered in purple goo and turned inside out anyway (which was the only way to get them off without more stainage). The instructions say “add a little lukewarm water to the hair and work into a lather, massaging around the hairline to prevent staining” OK. So now my nails are purple as well.
“Rinse thoroughly until water runs clear” – who the frig are they kidding? There isn’t enough water in the world (or time) to rinse until the water runs clear – trust me – I’ve spent flippin ages running it through and I’ve *never* seen the water run clear! I eventually give up, squeeze off the worst of the water, apply the conditioner supplied, wait 2 minutes and rinse again.
Once my hair is wrapped up in an old, very dark blue, towel and I can once again think about putting on my glasses, I look around the bathroom …
Uh-oh. Purple splashes all over the bath – that’s to be expected. Splashes, dots and splodges over the sink, countertop and tiles (as previously mentioned). Somehow the stuff always manages to get around 3 feet above the level of the bath, again onto the white tiles. There are splashes on the bath mat (oops) and on the floor tiles which, of course, you’re bound to step in while you’re spending three hours waiting for the water to run clear, thereby spreading hair dye all over the bathroom floor and anywhere else you want to walk. And did I mention the purple toes?
So – hair looks great. Love the colour. Have spent half an hour going around the bathroom with tissues, wiping down surfaces, detecting and removing errant splodges which, by the way, breed while you’re not looking. Some even hide until you’ve cleared everything up and have spent the rest of the evening doing something else, only to reappear the next time you walk into the bathroom.
I tell you – there are times when I don’t know why I do this to myself but go grey – never!