Okay, so the title sounds a little bit existential, but it’s really not.  Forewarning: this is a report on the DISASTER that has been the blue hair adventure – a DISASTER that I did not fully appreciate until last night.

I’ve wanted blue in my hair for about a decade.  Due to finances, mostly, and special circumstances, I didn’t get blue hair until this past May.  It was a SUPER exciting day – dreams of chunky blue danced in my head.  However, the appointment was canceled by someone in the store.  So, I show up, say I have a 12:30 appointment and they say I canceled.  We finally got it figured out when, while going over the price, I find out I was low-balled in a SERIOUS way on both time and money.  At this point, I’m frustrated and angry, but I’ve taken the time off work and I will just figure it out.  I let the stylist lighten the streaks, criticize my gray hairs (yes, I have plenty), bake blue into my hair (more on that later), and try to convince me that it was actually blue . . .

. . . But it wasn’t. This was the result:

Not so much, huh?

Blue? Not so much, huh?

So, I cried a bit and moved on.  Eventually (after vigorous washings and forcing tons of excess dye to come out), it DID fade to a really pretty blue that I enjoyed having in my hair, even if the streaks were a little less chunky than I wanted.  I finally had blue hair.  And people really liked it, so that was a bonus! I was getting more compliments on my hair than I had on my entire appearance the two previous years combined.  It was doing WONDERS for my self-esteem.

Fast forward to now, if you please.  Just under four and a half months later, my roots were getting a bit long and the blue was fading a bit to a color I didn’t like.  And next weekend, I’m going to a wedding.  I did not want the blue in my hair to look nasty and gross.  And, frankly, I wanted more of it for a LOT of reasons. One – awesome.  Two – when I do eventually lose the blue, I wanted to make the transition easier and more even.   After a quick check with Momma to make sure I wouldn’t be rocking the boat too much if I did a blue-on-top peek-a-boo for the wedding (no, though expect some comments from the Grandpapala), I went for it . . . with a new stylist.

This is where the trouble began. Thankfully, I DID know my stylist, Alison. I knew her as the wife of a roommate of a friend that I had gotten to know at the wedding of said friend. Come to find out, she was also the amazingly awesome and supportive sister-in-law of another friend. SHE WAS MY SAVING GRACE. If it had not been someone I knew, someone I had things to talk to about, someone who was anxious to please, and someone who I had a prior established relationship with, I would NOT have made it through everything that happened last night without tears and a huge, giant meltdown. Instead, we both stayed positive and helped bolster each other (this was a traumatic experience for the both of us).

You see, Alison is a student stylist. And while last night was a REALLY GOOD learning experience for her, it was tough.  A two, maybe three hour process turned into a four and a half hour run against the clock before closing time.  Three supervisors had to get involved (one of whom I also knew), because of the nonsense.

It started off as you might expect, putting lightener on my super dark hair so that the blue would show.  First highlights in foils, second painting on the roots.

Then, my scalp started *burning.*  I probably held off saying it was hurting for too long, but soon it was REALLY apparent that something was VERY wrong.  Very. So, to the sink we went to do an emergency wash of my scalp to get the chemicals off and pondered WHY IN THE WORLD I was reacting this way.  I’ve always had sensitive skin on my scalp, but it’s never been this sensitive.  I’ve done home dyes, I’ve had perms, I’ve had highlights, the works.  There is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that I or Alison could have guessed this would happen and having it happen was VERY frightening.

Let me be clear – I do not blame Alison or her school or her student status.  They did everything right and I would highly recommend her specifically and the establishment in general. (It’s Paul Mitchell School, for you Colorado Springers.)

Thankfully, by the time we were washing out, a lot of my hair had lifted to an acceptable base color. My roots were still too dark, but, as one of the supervisors definitively stated, “we don’t mess with chemical burns.” There would be no more lightening and we would just have to work with it.  I’ll admit, I was a lot less concerned about roots in that moment than I was about BURNING HEAD NARROWLY AVERTED.  Pondering why this was happening because history was NOT repeating itself, we went on to the next phase: the spot test.

The spot test was completely and totally not a phase we would normally do.  But, since my skin had reacted so violently to the lightener, we were not going to screw with this nonsense again. So, Alison mixed the first layer of blue dye – lowest volume of potentially abrasive chemicals – and put it on a small spot on my head.  We waited the required ten minutes.  All was well – not a blip on the radar.  Universal application started and the BURN came back a second time.

As my family, friends, and former roommates can attest – I am no wimp. I have a truly ridiculous pain tolerance (hence the delaying saying something earlier in the evening). But I IMMEDIATELY covered my eyes and said, “It’s burning again!” because – at this point – I was scared out of my poor little wits. Once was bad enough.  Twice, after a successful spot test, was truly terrifying.  What was wrong with my head that it was acting like this?  Second emergency wash out of the night. So, we got my scalp clean again and went to a different dye that was not as long lasting but WAS safe to put on even the most sensitive of heads.

Right around this time, Celessy called for our nightly call.  She is the daughter of a hair dresser.  In chatting with her, while my head was in the sink, something in my head shook loose and then fell into place in the fore of my puzzled conscious.

Remember this line from earlier: “I let the stylist . . . bake blue into my hair (more on that later).”

Here’s that later.  So, the first stylist who did my hair put the blue dye (which was a harsher brand to begin with) on the lightened streaks, wrapped it in foil, put me under a hair-drying hood for more than TWICE AS LONG as the product says to leave it on the hair WITHOUT heat.  Yes – this first stylist flagrantly flouted the rules laid down by the product AND her training.  When I remembered that I had gotten a bit uncomfortable under the heat and had to ask to get the heat taken off, I mentioned this to Alison.  Whose jaw dropped, literally.  She explained, in layman’s terms, why something that had seemed so innocuous was actually really bad.  And, of course, there was my burning scalp to stand as witness.  This was the ONLY THING that had changed between the last dye job and this dye job. It was pretty clear – after discussing the details of the first blue hair dye job – that the previous stylist had committed a pretty nasty act of hair and scalp damage.

With MY hair and scalp.  If this is something that this stylist does to her own hair – fine.  Break the rules on your head.  Apparently, without the consequences I suffered.  But don’t you dare, don’t you dare, screw with the heads and hair of other people like that.  Full disclosure, this woman works at MasterCuts in the Chapel Hills Mall.  I am mostly VERY happy with the staff there when it comes to cuts.  But don’t ever, ever go there for dye jobs.  This may happen to you.  The stylist assured me this is how she did her hair herself and I think it’s great she’s found a system that works for her . . . that hasn’t lost her her hair or scalp yet.  But to do that to me KNOWING, as she did, that this wasn’t just an unsanctioned system of dyeing hair, it was a flat-out COMPLETELY AGAINST PROTOCOL system of dyeing hair, was unconscionable.  And, in doing so, she damaged my scalp.  We don’t know for how long.  But it is still super-sensitive.  I’m going to have to be really careful about washing it for a while – gently and in COLD COLD water.  My head and heat are not friends right now.

Thankfully, after a mess and a half, I got my blue-on-top peek-a-boo:

This is under bad light and I'll try to get something better soon, but it'll do for now.  I love it.

This is under bad light and I’ll try to get something better soon, but it’ll do for now. I love it.

Alison did a wonderful job on the dye and the cut.  I love all the blue.  We’ll see how the family (and Grandpapala especially) like it in a week and a half.

So, please, to anyone who has a skill and uses it for others: FOLLOW THE RULES.  Don’t screw with the system.  If you want to do that on your own time and your own projects GO AHEAD.  But don’t do it to some one else.  I’m lucky.  I still came home with the hair I wanted.  But that could have possibly not happened.  We may have had to stop mid-dye if there hadn’t been this second option.

And lesson to me: ALWAYS USE ALISON.  Thanks bunches, hon.

In the mean time, I’m going to love on my sassy blue hair and take a shameful amount of selfies until I’m happy with one. And then I’ll make it the profile picture of all profile pictures.  I mean, seriously, people.  BLUE HAIR.  It is AWESOME!


Many, many thanks to Jessa, Heather, and Rhonda (the supervisors) for coming when called every time something else went wrong with my hair and keeping me calm and collected as frightening things were happening. And of course, thanks again to my wonderful stylist in this whole adventure who helped me keep my chin up.