Heat Wave 2020
I don’t need to dye my hair. It’s been a choice for me, a preference, for at least a couple of decades, to change my natural shade of dishwater blonde (in the summer) or dirty blonde (in the winter, what I used to call the winter darkies) to what has been glowingly described to me as VERY natural, more natural than my natural hair tone.
I’ve got the Scots red undertone in my Dutch blonde locks, and so I have to be very careful about the warm vs. cool undertones in any hair dye. Any color labeled “warm” or “golden” will turn my hair flammable and brassy. The descriptors, “cool” and “ash”, neutralize the red-hot in my hair to subtle strawberry blonde nuances. It’s not an exact science, but I have worked hard to perfect it, after long and horrific experiences!
About ten years ago, I went to a hairdresser who assured me that a warm blonde choice she’d picked out would be better than the ash-blonde I’d chosen. Twenty minutes later, my hair was carrot orange. The hairdresser immediately plopped a gallon of toner on my once-healthy hair, and then it was ash, very ash, blonde. In fact, it was dead. (Although technically speaking, the structural protein known as hair keratin is already dead.)
The mere sight of it so traumatized the secretary at my husband’s office that, for years to come, she checked and double-checked with him to make sure that She didn’t go and do that again to her hair.
I then began to do the At-Home Hair Dye, with excellent results. Copper Penny returned to my life. I say “returned” because I first used that wonderful shade in the mid-1990s, when I lived in the Suburbs. The results were fantastic.
Unfortunately, some of the goop dropped onto the rug in the master bathroom. Excellent result there too! I’d always thought that wall-to-wall carpeting in the bath was very impractical, anyway, and so that area became tiled, in alternating ivory and dark green squares. Added a lot to the selling features and price!
I did return to a hair dresser for a few years, until my hairdresser moved away, out of California. I then drifted around, from one salon to another during the early 2000s. Dear Daughter sometimes accompanied me, perhaps to protect Mom! As an adolescent, she was willing to try new styles, along with her coiffure-experimental Mom.
The junkyard-dog salon, in a strip mall along State Highway 49, nearly put an end to the Mother-Daughter hair salon duo. The hair of teenaged Dear Daughter got chopped into a pixie-style that I found chic, but she found hair-raising!
I quickly returned to the self-hair-beautification route, a path to loveliness that went fairly smoothly during the late 2000s. There was, however, one time when I tried a burgundy shade, thinking it would turn out like the shade on the box, a lustrous dark auburn. No, it was not dark auburn!
Dear Daughter thought that “eggplant” looked great on me. It was a unique change that really brought out the blue in my eyes. I told her that I refuse to go out in public, at my age, looking like a 20-something. A wonderful product named “Oops” got applied to the aubergine tresses, and, after 40 minutes in the shower, my hair was returned to its natural sandy-blonde shade, and my skin was super-soft!
I finally settled on a Medium Cool Blonde hue, sold by one of the major conglomerates. Every 4-6 months, I freshened up my look, once in a while opting for a Medium-Toned auburn. I had “my look” down. Life was good. What could possibly go wrong?!
Nothing is nice and easy anymore.
During the summer of 2015 or so, I began to experience enormous difficulty in finding my “hair color” in any brand, stocked in a brick-and-mortar store. Online, it was not available, and, if it was, it could not be shipped to California. Proposition Warnings, you know, because, until COVID-19 came into the Golden State, Californians were going to live forever.
I figured there were security concerns attached to that abundance of caution, leading to an abundance of non-existent merchandise, which, if available, still could not be purchased in the Paradise of California.
When our President took office in 2017, I opined that he was taking care of a lot of the major crises, but he needed to get to work on re-stocking 7.5A Medium Cool Blonde in the stores or even online. For whatever reason, that shade had vanished, and, to this day, it has not returned.
Hair dyes (and highlighting products) in pink, green, blue, violet and neon tones had taken the place of the humdrum traditional female hair spectrum in the mid-tone range. Morticia-black and White-Peroxide Blonde pretty much sum up the choices for those females (girls, as well as women) who do not want flaming red or eggplant.
Nuanced hues are just not done! Nuances are not selling! The holes in the Hair Color Chart correspond with the perceived hole in the Ozone Layer.
Men are not experiencing this hair debacle. For the guys, Just for Men, from what I understand, is still just for men. At present, pink moustaches are not “in” and the Guy-Fieri bleached goatee does not seem to have taken off. A Samoan colleague of Dear Husband says that he goes through a lot of Just for Men.
I therefore attempted the perilous path of buying the separate chemical components at a local beauty supply store. Coppery-Blonde (as seen in my “American Exceptionalism” essay of November 2018) looked terrific, until it quickly faded to carrot-blonde. Clearly, the quality of the product is not what it used to be. Last winter, I chose the demi-permanent option, with a corn-mealy granular concoction, a medium auburn tint that looked good but swiftly turned my hair crunchy.
The mix-it-yourself highway ended early this year, in a near collision with the Millennial at the Cash Register. This sales - “girl” with the 3 nose rings and full-body tattoo could not take the time to find a shade of reddish-blonde that did not make a social statement. On the other hand, perhaps the store really didn’t stock such traditional products.
Hair coloring is now a social protest statement. The concept of tweaking a shade or two of your natural hair tone, or beautifying your appearance is so passé, so Western Civ! And The Corporate Blob, on this very day, is far too busy with much weightier matters. They are racing to change their just-recently-changed product labels, along with any “socially offensive” packaging, to slavishly appeal to the consumers who probably still will not buy their products. Or who might Label The Corporate Pigs as the corporate pigs they are!
Hair-dye-nightmares of my past pale in comparison to the online review-horrors of the ghastly cheap stuff being peddled here and abroad to the broads who really do deserve much better beauty products.
As for me, I’ve already been cutting my own hair for almost a year now. I was ahead-of-flattening-the-curve on that one. That curve got clobbered here in my locale by the hiring of the very inept loudmouths in all kinds of service sectors. Evidently, “sales” is not for marketing or merchandise anymore. It’s all about peddling puritanical hypocrisy.
Boredom and the need for a refreshing change are the major drivers of my more frou-frou purchases. And I will undoubtedly become sufficiently bored with my natural-born hair tone that I’ll boldly venture forth, seeking out a Surviving Hair Salon in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California.
With hope unabated, I can mosey on into one of those Botox and Bubbles menageries that might still offer a swipe of the overpriced shears on the overgrown hair follicles.
I shall enter, unmasked, to enhance the unadorned appearance of this lover of liberty. Maybe come November! From what I am seeing out there on the un-policed streets of America, ash blondes might soon go to ashes!