Sorry, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and my gray roots now reach halfway to my ears and the cut that looked so nice 12 weeks ago now looks like something from a horror film or something the dog’s been chewing on. Not a good look, but my options for coloring my gray hair aren’t good. Even now that most states loosened restrictions allowing salons to open, I question whether it’s safe for women of a certain age (yes, that’s you) to spend hours surrounded by too little social distancing.
I mean, I like to look good, but I’ve never been a believer in the old adage “leave a good looking corpse”. I got stuff to do.
What choice do I have?
Coloring my gray hair: Problem
Sure, I can cover the whole mess with a hat or, I guess since I’m not really seeing anyone but myself and my dog, I can just let the whole thing go until I’m completely gray. But that’s not me and, from the number of you posting on Facebook and Pinterest asking for advice, I’m guessing you’re not gonna go down without a fight, either.
After years of hair salons producing questionable results and a number of DIY failures, I still struggle to do something with the thin, gray mop on top of my head.
See, here’s my vision of me:
Notice the full head of thick, red hair. Well, that was never the real me and even farther from the real me during a pandemic, where my hair badly needs a cut and color and my face looks like a teenage bad dream with acne from wearing my mask every time I leave the house.
OK, delusional, I know. But here’s the reality.
I won’t go to the salon. And, maybe, I won’t feel comfortable going to a salon until there’s a vaccine for the virus. Call me chicken or a snowflake, I’ve been called them all by folks disturbed (somehow) because I started wearing 2 masks after a trip to the beach in NC. I’m not sure how me doing everything I can to protect you makes me a snowflake, but hey, to each his own.
Coloring my grey hair: Solution
Luckily, my daughter lives about 45 minutes from me and we’re a pod — a group that spends time with each other but doesn’t see others outside our pod. I feel safe with her (and the 3 grandbabies wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t visit once a week).
I ordered hair color from Madison Reed and, with the help of the 3-year-old, my daughter applied it to my head. I used another company’s products before. I even had a friend back when I was a grad student and we applied color for each other since neither of us could afford the triple-digit price of a salon. I wasn’t too happy with the flat color that resulted. Of course, the bottles of wine we consumed while coloring each other’s hair might have contributed to that. [Come to think of it, when you added in the cost of alcohol, a salon might have been cheaper … but definitely less fun]
Back to my story.
I’m really happy with the results.
How it works
So, Madison Reed has a tool that takes your hair color, the amount of gray you have, and other factors from answers you provide to suggest hair colors. I don’t think this works at all. I’ve tried it twice and never ended up with the color I was going for.
Instead, start with the colors — browse through the colors matching what you’re looking for, such as reds (my fav), blonds, etc. Each shows what the color looks like on particular natural hair colors. This got me closer to the color I wanted.
Next, put on old clothes you don’t care about because the 3-year-old will cause hair dye to go everywhere. And, if she doesn’t, by the 3rd glass, your substitute stylist will get dye on everything. I ended up with dye on my shorts the last time.
That goes for the spot you choose for the application, too. Go somewhere easily cleaned.
Before you apply color, put the packet of gel around your face or use Vaseline. Otherwise, your face and ears will look like you come from another planet where people have 2-toned skin.
If you’ve had color before, you know they start by applying color to the roots and working the color through the rest of your hair in the last few minutes. Separate your hair into manageable clumps and paint the roots. I find Madison Reed gives you plenty of dye (although my hair is thin), so don’t buy two boxes of color, which the company pushes in their efforts to maximize profit. Also, they push the subscription to deliver additional boxes of dye on your preferred schedule, which reduces your cost a few pennies. You can change the color with the next delivery so it saves a few dollars to go ahead and subscribe. Just remember to cancel when (if) we ever go back to feeling safe at a salon.
Leave the color in a little longer than the directions instruct if your hair is grayer, then wash your hair thoroughly with the enclosed shampoo and conditioner. I usually buy the Pro Boost Seal, but my daughter usually takes it before I can get it home. I guess she considers it payment for her services.
I try not to wash my hair for a few days after the color to retain the reds a little longer. I could go into the science behind how coloring my gray hair works but then I’d put you to sleep, just trust me on this. Besides, we don’t have anywhere to go, so why bother.
OK, enough for today.
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See you back here soon.