Monday, July 25, 2005

The Proverbs of Carrot Top

I am to be dubbed with a new nickname now, thanks to this evening’s hair color misfire. Carrot top. It’s my new name and it suits me. Oh, it suits me. It is a frighteningly accurate new description, and yet in a bizarre twist I am extremely calm about it at the moment. But it's dark outside and darkness hides a multitude of hair color sins. I'm sure the glow of the morning light and the continuous brightening of the harsh afternoon spotlight will change my calm demeanor. It's permanent color, you know. I didn't pick something that would wash out. I wasn't thinking. I WASN’T THINKING! WHY WASN’T I THINKING?!!! This is my hair we're talking about.

At first, when I applied the color I was feeling good. I was sort of looking forward to being darker, much darker even. I had a little hint of "Mary hair" going there for a bit, with a darkish, hinting-at-the-thought-of-a-semi-reddish quality. All was well. The excitement of new hair and a new me was building. Step two, apply highlights. The little photo shows tender strokes and few of them. I am a direction follower, so I tried that, but I have a creative streak too, and opting for a natural look and a broader stroke, I took liberties. One must be cautious with their liberties. Liberties are not to be slathered around willy nilly. No. These things I know... now. The color lightened ever so quickly and the strands seemed to bleed into the entire top of my head somehow. They promised on the box that this wouldn't happen. I didn't really do THAT many, but I guess the excessive, stubborn gray was playing it's evil tricks and plus I was trying to highlight Casey’s hair in the midst of doing mine (not recommended for best results) before I had finished the back of my own, and I stopped timing, getting all confused about how to time it starting at the end of the application if one is also applicating another’s hair at the same time which adds exponential minutes to the process. And besides, you know how I am with numbers. Enough said. Next thing you know, catching a glimpse of the sudden process acceleration in the mirror, I'm rushing in a panic to the tub to rinse, realizing that much more time has elapsed than my directions indicated would be beneficial. No denying, they were clear on the 15 minute limit. Feeling much like a handful of old Santa Fe in the-summertime-straw now, my hair received a rinse and a continued rinsing and I slathered it overabundantly with gooey conditioner. I was hoping to reinfuse life where the highlighter had sucked it out with a cruel vengeance. I was trying to undo the effects of leaving highlighter on too long as it bleached holes in my hair like a black shirt in a clorox spill. I had visions of looking somewhat in the neighborhood of what’s-her-name who does the Jenny Craig commercials now. The pretty one who got hefty... I can't think of her name and I didn't aspire to look like her size-wise mind you, and esp. not with one of those bulky other-era dresses on; it was her hair, her hair I was after. I was so close, really I think I was within only a few mistakes of really nailing it.

Sort of darkish warm butterscotch golden blond with lighter streaks... It all seemed so simple really. Cough up $18.00 at K-mart and rush home clutching my box of new hair life, a little smile escaping ever-so-quietly from my lips at the thought of how cute my hair would be in just a few short hours. And yet an hour and a half after opening pandora's precious hair box, I have decided to cast myself into seclusion. The escaping smile has been replaced with a wrinkly lipped look and squinty eyes staring hard at the mirror, trying by sheer force of will to see what I had so hoped to see there shining back at me at about this time. But my eyes aren't lying to me like my little box of "black (orange) magic" did from the K-Mart shelf. So it has come to this. I will be banned from human contact for an appointed time, isolated, shunned to live a solitary life until all my hair grows out or falls out. It matters not which. In a bold stroke of "luck?" it happens to be falling out in large wads as of late anyway, perhaps in preparation for this very event. Perhaps I'll grow new hair like that little doll who's arm you used to wind or crank while you pulled the pony tail. It would grow magically. Magic would be welcome.

So what could be worse than being dubbed Carrot Top at the plastic-gloved hand of one’s own ineptitude? Well, I just went to look at the coif now that it is pretty well dried by the fan blowing on me. The ends where I was careful not to apply too much color, they look sort of ashy and bland like the old hair. The orange didn't make it beyond the crown. Woe is me. Now I'm elevated to Carrot Top Supreme, a title reserved for only the worst offenders. It wasn’t quite so bad when I thought my whole head was a carrot, but now I am a freak carrot on top of it all. At this rate I will have to add insult to injury and put my hair in a pony tail to avoid small children's innocent but nevertheless rude comments. And I know Elyse will sigh and shake her head at the sight of me. I can't take the color in a box lecture. I was gonna so rise above that. I have always been a good girl, I have. It was my first offense. I don’t think I can handle the disappointment.

So becoming a hermit for a few months is the only answer. How long can I go without working or seeing people, I wonder. I have to water the yard, but this can be done under the cover of darkness. You know, this follicle fiasco is a testament to why hairdressers say not to color out of a box. But certainly then, they beget the mishap by always pretending to worry about getting color on the ends when they do it, citing a mysterious need to make sure the hair doesn't get too dark there. Hah! That's just to trip us up so we'll fail when we do it ourselves. And then we will be enslaved to their professional touch for life. I'm thinking maybe just for the heck of it I’ll throw Carrot Tops to the wind and try it again. I’ll try it again one day and prove that I can learn, I can master the art, that I too can live nickname free.

The worse thing is that in my haste to clean up and get that colored goo out of here before we stained something with it, I rinsed the bottle out. I could’ve ransacked the trash and done a semi-fix up to make the ends match the top. There was a ton left. But I didn't just throw it away, I was my thorough self and rinsed it down the drain. Gone. The highlighter mixture is as dry as dust now or I'd go back and just bleach the heck out of my head with a bunch more streaks to tone down the orange. Big dummy. All the way around. Just a big dummy. I should have been happy with solid colored hair, flat and plain looking. But no, I was wooed by the “simple two-step color application process.”

Now what? Cruel fate. I just wanted a nice head of hair for heaven's sake. Is that too much to ask in this life? It must be. That's it, it must be just too much. So I ask you, now what? Please advise on solutions for permanent hair color fixes. Someone must have volumes written on what to do when seduced by thebox. I guess I need a tone-down application. I just wish I hadn't thrown my bottle of color away. Boo hoo. I don't even have anyone to go out in my place and buy something to remedy my hair color woes tomorrow. I don't want people gawking at me as I carry yet another box of color through the store with my head glowing copper colored like a duracell battery. Cally will be at work, I'm supposed to be at work, and casey doesn't drive yet. I lament that. When children are really young, the thought of running errands in a car is equated with a road trip to Disney. Once the license takes up residence in their wallet, errands are relegated to a place likened to having to go to work every day at McDonalds wearing a hair net. Worse yet, at Burger King. Time and perspective change things. I am hoping that tomorrow I will awaken with miraculously darker, less "hot" and more evenly colored hair. It was supposed to be warm, not hot, and I assure you it wasn't anything remotely red on the picture on the box. Nothing whatsoever. Nada. I am going to send the company a photo of MY hair to use on the cover of the next batch of this color/highlight two-step combo. If they choose to use it as the "don't photo" with a black bar across my eyes, so be it. I feel that if I can serve humanity in some way, no matter how humbling, I should do my part. And let that be a lesson to us all. Somewhere in here there is a lesson. A turning point. A brilliant orange moment of sheer insight. I'll let you know if one comes to me. Perhaps it would be something like, “The inept should never be left alone with a box of hair color and a dream.” The Proverb of Carrot Top.


  1. If I am to give good advice, a color photo would help. I should write a self-help book on how to self un-do those self made disasters. At a guess, what you need is a TEMPORARY, ash color rinsed over the whole deal. I think this would make it better. The actual color should be in the same intensity as your underlying (new) color, but rather than reddish, make it ash. It will also tone down the brash highlights. Why, I ask, would you not concentrate on your own head when doing your hair yourself for the first time? Sigh. There are no answers for these things,but as Wayne Dyer is fond of saying, "for every hair problem there is a solution" . Well, those weren't his exact words, i may have amended them a little for your situation, but he wrote a whole book about it, so he's probably right. Plus, if you're not up for more hair color (which would be a good idea nonetheless), you can always cut it short or shave it. Run to KMart with a baseball cap firmly over your red tresses and get back to work!

    And I couldn't find your old e-mails to see if any had Peg in the send to line 'cause I'd just deleted them all. Drat.

  2. My heart goes out to you as nothing expresses the real you or me or anyone in the whole wide world [ OK you can count out 3rd world countries as they have more important things to think about like food], so let's just for accuracy's sake say " nothing expresses the real you or I, " as what does our hair look like today ?"
    Mary's advice sounds like the voice of experience, tho a bit technical for me so until you have managed that process, I suggest wearing what you're wearing in the photo below until that follicular disaster grows out and you can start anew, or you could have a few piercing's and just go w/ it.

    grey lady


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