There have been many memorable ad slogans over the years to sell hair color. There was L’Oréal’s “Because you’re worth it” and Clairol’s “Does she or doesn’t she?” In the 1950s, Clairol’s tag line was considered quite risqué for advertising, so they added a sub-head, “Hair color so natural only her hairdresser knows for sure!”
I have been coloring my hair for many years. And for all those years, I’ve been leaving it to my professional, well-paid hairdresser. The only time I ever colored my hair myself was back in high school. I was trying to make my hair color match the description on my fake I.D. In the seventies, driver’s licenses didn’t have your picture, just your height, weight, eye color and hair color. I needed to match my I.D. so I could get into the bars and dance the night away. I certainly had a drink or two, but it was the dancing that was the real draw for me. Well, that and the boys.
But now it is 2020. Hair salons are shuttered and I am quarantined! Like so many others, my roots are showing. When Pennsylvania pushed their shelter-in-place date until June 4, I decided it was finally time to take matters into my own hands. An internet search for the best at-home hair dyes listed several alternatives and I decided to try the one listed as “you can put all of your boxed dye fears at ease.” Many other women must have had a similar plan because the shelves were pretty picked over.
I carefully selected my desired shade from those remaining, light brown with hints of gold. Once home, I read the directions over several times. Despite my novice status as a colorist and my stress with the procedure, I was surprisingly pleased with my outcome.
At the beginning of quarantine, I did wonder if it was time to simply go gray, to let Mother Nature become my colorist. I have played with the idea off and on over the past few years. Why do I color my hair? I am not uncomfortable with my age, so I don’t think it’s about looking younger. In the past before the wide availability of home hair coloring products, women often felt going gray made them look dowdy. Now you can be pink, purple, green or gorgeous gray. Today there is a new appreciation for a stunning mane of silver. Eighty-five year old Dame Judi Dench is on the cover of June’s British Vogue looking fierce and fabulous.
I will muse a bit longer on whether or not to go gray. But in the meantime, I think I will continue to color my own hair. It is more affordable, I don’t need to book an appointment weeks in advance and I don’t have to tip!
C’est la vie.