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Monday, September 12, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

Subtitle: An Ode to Clairol's Nice 'N Easy

I discovered my beloved haircolor brand when I was 14. Like many teenage girls, I found fault with a part of my body and wished I could change it. In my case, it was my hair.

I'm convinced my hair is mildly schizophrenic. When I was a baby, it was red, then it went blonde, then dishwater blonde (such a lovely name - gag) with some brown, then eventually a much darker brown - about a shade lighter than Pirate Munchkin's. I can probably blame the light to dark phenomenon on my father's genes. The men in their family start out platinum blonde, then go dark brown around the time they hit puberty. (Which is why Pirate Baby could eventually become a brunette.) My sister used to claim that she had found every color of the rainbow in my hair, sometimes pointing out a blue or green hair.

Anyway, when I was 14, my mother agreed to let me change my hair color. I wanted a true blonde. We selected a pretty blonde shade of Clairol's Nice 'N Easy haircolor and went to work on my hair.

It came out red.

I decided I liked it, and stayed a redhead for years.

My ex, among many of his other weird issues, didn't approve of me coloring my hair. But after we split up, I went right back to playing with my haircolor. Aside from the occasional professional jobs, I've usually done it myself - with my beloved Nice 'N Easy.

With the help of some friends, I've managed to find some places to get free coupons and free samples of products. It's become a game to me to see what stuff I can get to show up in my mailbox that I didn't pay for. So when I saw an offer for free haircolor, I jumped at the chance.

We're limited to a lot up here in Northern Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota, so my little local store doesn't even carry this particular type of haircolor. And even though this particular style of haircolor has lots of color options, I didn't have a lot of choice for colors where I COULD find the style. I usually go with a lighter brownish red, a little darker than strawberry blonde. I couldn't find anything in that color range, but I did find a darker brownish red that looked good. So I used my free coupon and took it home.

I decided I would make a spa day of it, in celebration of school starting up again. I did a pedicure and did my hair that day. My toes looked gorgeous, but my hair...

Let me just say, you get what you pay for.

First of all, my hair is long - about halfway down my back. I usually have more than enough color in the bottle to completely cover my hair, plus a little extra. In the case of this new stuff, I had just finished covering my scalp when I realized I didn't have any color left in the bottle! I was not about to leave the house with half-finished hair. Plus, even if I could make do temporarily, I would have to drive another hour away to pick up a second box. On top of those issues, Pirate Baby was crying and needed me NOW! I did my best to lather all the color in and went to soothe my little boy.

Nice 'N Easy has you leave the color on for 25 minutes. I was happy to see this new one was only 10 minutes. When the timer went off, I jumped in the shower to rinse it out. You're supposed to rinse your hair until the water is clear. But the water never did run clear!!! I probably could have stood in the shower for an hour, and it STILL wouldn't have gotten all the extra color out. I blow-dried my hair like I always do, so I could see how the color turned out, and...

I had leopard spots.

The old color and new color were drastically different, and the new color had not covered all my hair. I had patches of light brownish red mixed in with this rather odd red. (Surfer Pirate referred to the new color as Gothic Red - meaning it looked like the kind of red a girl who wore gothic clothing would dye her hair.)

I called my mom for advice (she's been coloring her hair for decades), and she suggested washing it right away with dish soap to strip the color out, and conditioning the heck out of it. I followed her advice. The dish soap did nothing. For the last 3 weeks, I've kept it pulled back or braided to try to hide how weird it looked. It faded a little, and the patches weren't quite so obvious.

Meanwhile, it took a week before my rinse water ever ran clear. My towel has reddish colored stains on it, and even my beloved Ikea chair has red streaks on it from where my hair dripped on it. (Hopefully they'll come out next time I throw the cover in the wash.)

And then yesterday, standing in the sunlight streaming in my bathroom window, I noticed my hair had taken on a rather PINK hue.

Um... yeah.

Not happening.

This morning, as soon as Pirate Baby went down for his morning nap, I fixed my hair. It's now a very pretty darker brown with some red highlights in it. I love it. I can't stop looking at it.

As far as the free stuff is concerned, I was sure it would be fine. It wasn't like I was trying some weird brand I'd never heard of. It was just another style made by Clairol. I won't use the name because I won't have it linked to my blog and I refuse to come across as endorsing it. But I will say that my Instincts tell me that someone thought if they put the word Natural on the box that people would think it was good for their hair.

By the way, I am not being paid to endorse Clairol's Nice 'N Easy. But if Clairol WANTED to pay me or send me free boxes of the stuff, I would love them even more than I already do!


TheUnicorn said...

I'm sorry, but that made me laugh my butt off the whole way through! It wasn't nearly as bad as you make it sound, it looked fine... but your whole dilemma and description of it hit me funny today-and I need funny! ;) Love it!!

MTGrace said...

Glad to provide your funny today!