Friday, October 8, 2010

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Frugal Friday - Hair Color

When we moved to Louisiana, not only did I lose my favorite hair styler (who had been styling my hair for over 20 years), I lost a few brain cells also. Apparently, I forgot the "If it ain't broke" saying, and decided that I needed to do something different with my hair.
First, let me say that I have covered my gray colored my hair for many years. I'm not too proud to admit it.  Nope, I don't have any plastic anything in my body, have never tried botox, but when it comes to color, I count that as makeup for my hair.

When we lived in Tennessee, I used to purchase some semi-permanent color from my hair dresser, and take it home and do it myself (much easier than asking the kids to be still in the salon).  I soon discovered Natural Instincts at the drugstore.  I asked my stylist about it, and she assured me that it should not turn my hair bright orange, green, or some other undesired color (not bashing those of you who do it). Rainbow colors are cute on some people, but I'm not one of those people.  So, I bought the drugstore box, took it home, and tried it out, knowing that if some disaster occurred, I could always make a trip to the salon to try and fix my flub as much as possible.

It worked great, and I started a routine.  I would even find deals where I could get the boxes for 50% off. I'd buy 4 boxes at a time, and I still would visit my hairdresser for a nice cut when I could (we moved to another town, but I would travel to see my trusted stylist).

Soon after we moved to Louisiana, I grew tired of the color ritual every 8-12 weeks.  I decided I needed to do something different.  I started (by the advice of someone close to me, who shall remain nameless), to buy permanent hair color.  Now for those of you who don't know what the difference is between permanent and semi-permanent, let me explain.  Permanent means will fry your hair.  Just like a permanent which can curl or straighten your hair, permanent hair color has some smelly stuff in it when you start dousing the stuff on your hair. It has ammonia in it, which not only makes your hair stink to high heaven and think you've gone on a field trip to a chemical plant, but also does a tremendous job of drying out your hair.  Goodbye soft smooth hair; hello, breaking hair and flyaways.

So, I met a sweet girl here in Louisiana who works in a high-end salon several months ago. I was frustrated with the condition of my hair, and I needed a haircut badly. I thought about trying something different, like adding some highlights.  Well, she had some lovely suggestions, and I scheduled an appointment for a cut.  I was pleased enough with the cut (took some getting used to, and I am still not a fan of using the razor cut scissors on my hair) for me to schedule an appointment for a color.

When I went in for the appointment, it ended up being a 4-hour appointment with lots of layers of color and highlights.  It was a bit of a pampering session, and luckily, my 2-year-old, who was along for the ride, slept through part of it.  However, my kids, as a whole, were not happy at all staying at the salon for 4 hours.  I was pleased with the immediate results of the color, though, and my hair looked as natural as it had in high school.  I was a little taken aback (ok, shocked), when I got ready to pay, and the price was $170.  That blew my entire personal hair budget for over a year.  I could have bought a year's worth of color and gotten several cuts from my former hairdresser for that same price. 

Now, there are some ladies that need the salon lifestyle, thrive on it, and see it as a refuge for pampering, socializing, and great products. I know the gal who colored my hair did so with love, good intentions, and a true belief and love for what she does, and the products she uses.  That just can't be me with my family and my budget.  We have too many mouths to feed, and I began to think of how many groceries I could have bought with that same amount of money.

After investing that much money in one trip to the salon, I was very careful to use shampoos only for colored hair, and faithfully use conditioning and strengthening treatments to help keep my hair moisturized and prevent breaking.  However, I'm now convinced you can't put that many chemicals on your hair for that amount of time without suffering some damage.  (I've always begged my mother to let her hair grow out and not go every 2 months for a color, cut, and perm.  Her hair style has changed very little in 25 years, and I think it's thinning because of the abuse it has suffered.)  I thought my at-home pampering would help my hair, but it continued to break, and I was losing more strands in the shower than normal.

Finally, after 3 months, my hair had begun to grow out, and I needed to color again.  I was not willing to spend another $150+ on color, and so I went back to what works for me.  I bought my trusted Natural Instincts for $8 (no coupon or specials), took it home, and followed the directions.  My hair is softer than it has been in a long time and isn't coming out of my scalp as much.  My hair feels like it's returning to it's normal state again. 

Lesson learned, hair.  No need to fall off in gobs in the tub anymore. 

Change is not always bad, but not when you realize you have made things worse, it's time to go back to what works.  I need to put a big flashing sign up on my desk....

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Thanks for making me smile!

I covered my gr-- I mean, I colored my hair for my son's wedding a year ago, and thought I might now have the time to keep up with it...

It's back to gr-- I mean natural... :)

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