Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Not to Look Old....

I bought a book by that title, recently because it's not as easy these days. I vacillate between going au natural and covering up the color my hairdresser sees. When I considered going gray DH* told me, and I quote, "I see no reason for both of us to look like old farts."

I took that to mean he preferred the younger looking version of me.

Sometime back I mentioned in a post my hairdresser shared haircolor tips. A reader, who is seeing early gray asked me to share what my hairdresser told me:

Buy a permanent hair color. The box should say "provides long-lasting gray coverage". I buy L'oreal Excellence.

Keep a few ugly towels on hand, and spread them liberally before you get started. Permanent hair dye does not come out of carpet, or toilet seats or shower curtains or counter tops.

Keep an ugly outfit or two around. (See point above.) Unless your house is on fire, do not answer your door during this entire process. Nobody loves you enough to see you in this state. And never, ever do this when your husband is home to see you. It will kill any shred of romance remaining in your marriage, after going through childbirth together.

Hairdye stays active for about 40 minutes. It doesn't matter if you leave it on for two hours, it won't turn your hair a funky color. If you remove it too soon, however, it might. Gray hair takes longer to grab the color.

Wash your hair the night before, and do not condition it. Color adheres better to clean hair.

Wear the gloves. Trust me on this.

Keep a wet washcloth nearby for cleanup of your ears, neckline and close to the hairline around your face. It will get ruined the first time you use it, which is better than being out in public with blue-black earlobes that look like you have a touch of bubonic plague.

I have a tri-fold mirror in my bathroom, so I can see the back of my head. I don't do the all-over color because, at $3 each, I prefer to keep my highlights as long as possible.

Start with the hairline and temples. After I apply the haircolor to the hairline and temples, I take a makeup brush and move it around a bit to be sure everything is covered. Then I part my hair in 1/4" parts, applying the color with the tip of the bottle. I do the top, then the sides, then the back. If you've done this right, when you're finished you will resemble Kramer on Seinfeld. (See point above. If someone knocks on your door HIDE!)

Once I've finished applying the color I go over my hairline and temples again with the makeup brush and a bit more color. I'm not going for the dignified, gray temple look.

After 40 minutes, I wash it all out in the laundry tub, with warm water. Then liberally apply the conditioner provided in the box.

Do not wash your hair for at least two days - that's probably the biggest tip to help your color last.

Use a haircolor preserving shampoo and conditioner. (I use Tresomme.) Regular shampoos have a different pH that will strip the color from your hair.

So there you have it - my $9 version of 'how to cover gray myself'.

P.S. For those of you who have asked, "DH" = Dear Husband. His first name does begin with a "D" - it's Don. Our last name does not begin with an "H". It's "Gibson". I just happen to like calling him 'DH'. :-)


Anonymous said...

This might come in handy for me at some point. For now, I'm content to hole up in the bathroom for a night with a pair of tweezers.

But WHAT do you do for those 40 minutes before you can wash it out. That seems endless to me! Curious minds want to know!

Kelly said...

If you can imagine, my dad even helps my mother color her hair to be sure she gets it all. He finds her so entertaining that I think the laughter they share balances out the horror of seeing her in such a state!

(I used to have my hair foiled in a salon in the mall, complete with large plate glass windows. The humiliation of shoppers staring in at me lingers 15 years later- ugh!)

Bev said...

I dont generally comment on my own posts, but Dianne - I usually come work at my desk, doing paperwork, or writing a post :-). There's nothing in my office that can get ruined by flying haircolor! I avoid upholstered furniture as much as possible. If there's no paperwork, I curl up at my desk with a cup of tea and whatever book I'm reading and that makes the time fly, or I call one of my kids and when the timer goes off I hang up!

Gretchen said...

As immortalized in one of my favorite schlocky movies, Steel Magnolias:

"It takes some real effort to look like this!"

"Oh, I can see that."

The things we go thru. :)

Suzanne said...

My husband has also helped me color my hair many times. Of course, we also have to buy two boxes of hair coloring because my hair is so thick.... and that's the best excuse to have his help! :) I know I'd end up with uncolored spots if I did it myself.

Barb said...

Well, DH does sound better than DG. :-)

Yep. This is exactly the way I do it and I learned all the lessons you warn about, including going to the door when this is in progress. One shocked mailman, let me tell you.

I've said for a couple of years now I'd let my hair completely grow out because I honestly don't know what color it is any more, or rather, how gray it is. One more haircut and I'm completely natural.

I have every intention of stopping at the store for my L'oreal Excellence on the way home from that haircut because I'm too young to look this old. LOL