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Friday, April 16, 2010


The TODAY SHOW just aired a segment called BAD HAIR, BAD MOOD. Apparently 44% of the women polled said that if they have a bad hair day, they're in a bad mood. I don't believe that for a minute! I think if I polled most of the women I know, the percentage would be much higher if not 100%.

The TODAY SHOW segment was very timely for me; I had a really really bad hair day last week. In fact, I had a really bad hair WEEK! I don't know if it's because Spring is here or because I just wanted to shake off the winter doldrums but I decided to change my hair a little.

I was in Connecticut for two weeks and there is a lovely young lady, Lisa, who just finished beauty school (do they still call it that?). I know her from her waitressing job at NOAH'S, my favorite restaurant in Stonington.
She started working in a salon in Mystic and I thought I'd make an appointment to have her cut my hair.

Off I went on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. Lisa gave me a beautiful haircut and I was really happy. So happy in fact, that I made an appointment to have her add highlights, or lowlights in my case, on Friday, April 9th. As you can see from my blog photo which was taken about three weeks before "frosting" my hair (as they used to say in the old days), my hair is naturally white....very VERY white and has been since my mid to late 30's. I prefer to think of it as platinum blond, but in any case, adding any color is going to be really noticeable.

Since this is the perfect segue, I have to do a sidebar here about noticing color in my hair. Back in 1999 my youngest son was in middle school in Mendham. The eighth grade class traditionally has a Shakespeare night. I don't know what it had been like before, but when Bill was in the eighth grade, it was quite a big deal, or as I felt, an ORdeal. Everyone dresses up in their interpretation of Shakespearean era costumes, even the parents, who spend quite a lot of money on very fancy rentals. All this to have dinner in the gym?!?! YIKES!! A lot of planning goes into this event and I found myself heading for a meeting to discuss who was bringing what to the gala.

I was only (ONLY?!) in my early 50s at the time and had this Spring urge to change my hair. At the time, a lot of young girls were walking around with blue or pink streaks in their hair and I just LOVED it! I'm a little cautious about going too crazy so I actually called L'Oreal customer service to ask if any of the temporary avant garde hair colors would still be considered temporary when they were added to my hair. Unfortunately for me they advised against it because with such a light base, there would be a color residue that would have to grow out.

On the day of the meeting I went to Bloomingdale's with my good friend, Candace, who also had an eighth grader. AND THERE IT WAS! The Chanel makeup counter had color hair wands similar to mascara brushes that came in every enchanting color and I wanted them all! I picked a nice shocking pink and we were both laughing as we left the store. When I got home, I added the streaks to my hair and set off for the meeting. Pink hair on an adult is not a Mendham look. No one at the meeting said anything negative. Actually no one said anything about it at all as if I wasn't standing there with pink streaks in my hair. I had Bill when I was 37 years old and was considerably older than the other mothers of eighth graders so they probably just thought I was getting a head start on becoming a Red Hat Lady. Guess it wasn't a surprise I was assigned to bring paper products. They probablly didn't trust me with a recipe.

Back to my recent hair debacle, my husband recently quoted from an article he was reading that stated a woman will change her hair when she wants to make a major change in her life. After reassuring him, I drove over to visit Lisa again.

Lisa and I discussed at great length the look I was trying to achieve; brightening and adding depth to my own hair but not making it dark and not having to deal with roots. She picked out a great color and we were all set. At least we were all set until two more experienced stylists decided that the right color to add would be something called NA-8 or NA-9 (love when people talk in code). Having a beautician for a mother, I should have known what NA meant. I'm blind as a bat without my glasses and at this point my glasses were off and I didn't take the time to look at the color they recommended. I sure should have.

Women know the drill; highlighting requires about three hours and lots of aluminum foil. Finally, I was done and Lisa washed the dye out of my hair and walked me back to the styling chair.! It was horrible. My wet hair looked like the color of a very dull nickel., what was I going to do? I was trying really hard not to cry while the two stylists who advised Lisa to use NA stood around saying how wonderful it looked. Yeah, if I wanted to look like I had salt and pepper hair.

Lisa felt terrible and I felt worse; not just for myself but for her to have such a terrible customer experience when it wasn't her fault. I went up to the front to pay and the owner asked what they could do. I told her, "Nothing. I just want to sit in my car and cry for a while." I did let her know that it wasn't Lisa's fault, her instincts for color had been right and she knew what I wanted. It was the two extra voices of experience that had made it a disaster, plus my not checking or knowing that NA is shorthand for NATURAL ASH. Ash as in dark gray fireplace ashes....UGH! They didn't charge me, but I gave Lisa a very large tip and left. I called my husband and warned him not to say anything negative when he saw me. He was a good sport, he didn't and actually told me it looked nice. But he's not a good liar.

My youngest son showed up on Saturday and the first thing he asked me was, "Why did you make your hair gray?" That was it for me. I called Cecil at the Mendham Spa in New Jersey and made an appointment for Tuesday, April 13th for a "fix" and spent the rest of the weekend feeling like I had just driven over my own foot.

Thank you, Cecil. On Tuesday he painstakingly went through my hair and bleached out most of the UNnatural ash tone and added a light beige blond and VOILA, a color that looks terrific. He conditioned my hair to death and I left the salon FEELING GREAT, with shiny, bouncy hair that reminded me of the old Breck shampoo commercials. Ooh La La!

So, Hoda and Kathy Lee, tell me again how 56% of women AREN'T in a bad mood when they have a bad hair day? Guess they haven't seen the Chris Rock documentary, GOOD HAIR.

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