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Why I Think Hair Dying Is Best Left To Professionals And Gays

Updated on September 22, 2009


Do you remember the old television commercial for I think Ogilvie perms? It showed a person with a great looking perm and then the voiceover said, “Salon Perm or Ogilvie?” Well, I never tried to give myself a home perm (that stupid I’m not, although I did allow so-called professional hair people to talk me into getting perms throughout my life with only disastrous results – there were several of them because I’m obviously a slow learner  but allow me to give you just the highlights in this digression – 1. Turned my hair three shades lighter, you could see the rod marks in my head because my hair is so thin and I looked like a crazed twelve year old Shirley Temple, 2. A “root perm” that was supposed to give me “lift” from the root but actually just made the hair closest to my head seem like a matted mess with long straggly straight ends  - think Michael Jackson in the “Bad” years, 3. A “Body Wave” that made my hair look like a fifty year old woman’s hair from the 1950’s – set, teased and brushed out.) So the first few times I had my hair dyed I went to a professional. But I soon started worrying about getting that hair that seems only reserved for old men. You know, the ones who have dyed their hair so much that they finally end up just looking as if they’ve got shoe polish on an old Brillo pad that used to be hair? So I went to a demi-permanent hair color which just coats the hair shaft and doesn’t really “dye” the hair as much as it just “dresses the hair” in a different color. As this type of color fades out in a few weeks (instead of growing out leaving roots like permanent color) it began to seem increasingly stupid to pay all the money to a professional to put this semi-color on my head and so it came to pass that I convinced my partner to do it for me. After all, we’re gay so it should be no problem, right? Why I think hair dying is best left to professionals and gays – Don’t Get Me Started!

The first few times we did it, it looked fine but due to certain stubborn areas of gray hair at my temples and the fact that it wasn’t “permanent” color, it didn’t really cover the gray for more than ten minutes. This was a problem as this is why I was dying my hair to begin with so the next time, I told him to really cake it on, making it as thick as possible. It became apparent from this technique that while it was more successful at covering the gray hairs, it also (how shall I put this?) it also “stained” shall we say, my scalp. That’s right, looking something akin to the way that Eddie Munster looked, it was as if someone had taken a Sharpie pen and drawn in my hairline. No matter how much scrubbing I did with the special “color off skin” solvent, the color remained. The lesson learned here was two-fold, 1. Only dye my hair on Friday so my scalp had the weekend to fade a bit and 2. Baseball hats can truly be worn with anything if you have to go out somewhere.

So this past Friday I had decided it was the time to try again. With a new type of semi (or demi, whatever they’re calling it this week) hair color, I prepared my hair, the chair and my partner for the task ahead. “Just pour it on” I instructed from the chair clutching the old towel around my shoulders. Then it was time to wait to see the results. Well, it occurred to me (as I’ve always felt if a little is good, then a lot is better) that instead of leaving it on for the fifteen to twenty minutes that I should instead leave it on for forty minutes.  

As I leaned my head forward over the side of the tub and began rinsing my hair, I could see the brownish/black water staining what had been my newly cleaned tub. After several minutes with the blood rushing to my head and I was almost passing out, the water was still only light brown. I knew I had to continue the rinse cycle but my arm and constitution was getting weaker and weaker. I yelled for my partner who began to shove his hands through my hair, forcing water through it and squeezing my head to get the excess color off of my hair. Finally, I could come up for air and as I towel dried my hair and was hanging the towel up to dry I noticed that my left hand (that was going through my hair doing the scrubbing part of the rinsing while the right hand scooped water over my head) was completely brown. That’s right, my left hand suddenly looked as though it was my hand that was being dyed, not my hair at all. As my gaze went from my hand to the mirror, there it was. I pulled up my bangs back and there it was, color all over my scalp. Oh, not just the Eddie Munster on the hairline this time but as I separated the hair on the top of my head, my scalp actually resembled a leopard, filled with dye spots all over my scalp. As I scrubbed with the special solvent to get the color off of my skin to no avail and my scalp got redder and redder, I just stopped what I was doing and accepted my fate. I was now someone who had dyed hair AND a dyed scalp!

The up side to all of this is that my hair has never looked thicker but then again, my scalp was never the same color of my hair before. And so I think there’s a product in there somewhere for someone who is an actual professional. For those of us with thinning hair, if someone created a type of henna dye like they use for henna tattoos, then those of us with thin hair could have much thicker looking hair because our scalp would be, in essence, dyed with this other product. I’m not suggesting that if you have no hair or complete bald spots that this is a solution but for some extra depth for just thin hair, I think it could work. Not in the hairline as much as on the top of your head.

Well as the weekend went on each day I would shampoo, rinse and look. While the color looks good (though I’ve discovered that I have no idea if this is actually what my natural hair color was or if I just look like a dyed hair old man) my scalp spots seem to have not faded one bit. Ugh. So I think maybe next time, I shouldn’t rely on just the gay part but get a gay professional. Why I think hair dying is best left to professionals and gays – Don’t Get Me Started!

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