01 March, 2015

Ugly American (ombre).

So, I've never been super picky about my hair.  If I got a bad cut (and I've had a few) I figured I could either cut it short and start again or wait for it to grow out.  No big deal.

However, I never paid big bucks to get it done.  If I wanted the colour changed, I did it myself.  Sometimes Himself helped.  I went through just about every colour of the rainbow in my twenties, including blacklight sensitive shades, just ask The Mimi.  *grin*

Anyway, I decided that for my 35th birthday, I wanted to try the ombre thing.  Sister Two has had the blonde version for a while, and I like the way it looks, but I've never been one to do anything halfway.  Purple was the way to go.  I trawled Pinterest for a good picture to show the stylist and settled on the below.

Cute, right?  I know, I've not got fringe, a thin face, or a swanky hat, but I figured it was a good jumping off point for the shade of purple I liked.  You'll notice, the colour starts below her chin...

We were going to Texas for Christmas, and I thought that would be a good time to have it done.  I've been frequenting a certain Aveda salon in the Highlands since I was pregnant with Madam and the lady who cut my hair the last time we were stateside had mentioned she was good with colour, so I called and booked an appointment for the day after Christmas.

I showed her the picture above, we had a conversation in which she detailed that the colours she was going to use would blend together into a mix of purples and blues much like the picture, but that it would start out more vibrant and fade to the lavender in the picture so it would be less high maintenance for me.  Score, I thought, and we got started.

After almost five (five!) hours, we were done.  Now, it had occurred to me that she'd mentioned she had another appointment coming in at two, but it didn't occur to me that another person coming in would mean I'd be shorted on the work I'd paid for.  Turns out, that's exactly what it meant.  She didn't have time to dry my hair fully, which has never been an issue as I normally let my hair dry naturally anyway.  Of course, it didn't occur to me that I wouldn't see the true colours in my hair when it was still damp... the picture below is what I left with.

Go on, compare that to the picture I'd shown the stylist.  I'll wait.  Oh, you're back already because it didn't take two seconds to realise that my hair looks NOTHING LIKE THE PICTURE?  Yeah, I saw that too.

I decided to give it a couple of days, wash and dry it myself, see what it looked like.  Funnily enough, it still didn't look anything like what I'd wanted.  If you can see, the bottom edge and various other areas are still totally brown.  The colour starts way above where I'd wanted it to.  When I called in (totally uncomfortable about complaining, because as I'd mentioned before, I'd never cared enough to do so) and made another appointment to get it fixed, the stylist told me that it looked brown because the toner had cancelled out the bleach and that eventually it would have faded to blonde.  It didn't sound like a sensible explanation to me, but hey, I'm not a stylist, so I let her apply the purple again and leave it longer (her reasoning was that it hadn't been left on long enough to soak in).  Of course that didn't address the huge purple spot on the back of my head, or the navy spots to either side, nor did it help things that she spent the first five minutes of the second appointment pretending she didn't think it looked bad (maybe hoping I'd give up and go home?) before she realised I wasn't backing down and she was going to have to fix it.  I know, I know, believe me when I say I know better now.  However, this time when I left I looked like this.

Awesome, right?  Yeah, it's really dark, but it was meant to fade to the lighter purple and at least it's even.

Of course, then I flew home.  After several washings (which in my life only happen every six or seven days) it looked like this.

Yeah, that bottom edge is brown again.  Not to mention the totally separate patches of navy blue and purple.  At this point I hadn't worn my hair down in a while, I was so conscious of the uneven colour.

After several promptings from various sources (including a stylist here in London, who when she saw my hair down asked why I'd tried to colour it myself), I emailed the salon.  I won't go into much detail about how frustrating my interactions with them were, will just say that polite emails got ignored and firm to rude ones got responded to within hours.  After three weeks of condescending emails, pictures sent and delayed responses I was offered a refund.  With the funds back in my grasp, I made an appointment with a local salon here in London and went off to hopefully get it sorted out.

The result?

I went from this:

To this:

It's still not the shade I hope to end up with, but it's already fading to a pretty pastel purple.  It's still higher on my head than it's meant to be, but we couldn't fix that without dying my roots and that would totally undo the whole low-maintenance thing.  The next time I go in, she's going to lighten it a little more, which will make it possible to get the true pastel purple I was going for in the first place.

The moral of the story?  Just because someone says they've been doing their job for sixteen years doesn't make them good at it.  When it comes to spending a lot on something as subjective as colouring your hair, make sure the person doing the work not only understands what you're asking for (and apparently clear language and pictures shown don't cut it for some people) but is capable of providing it.  It's a real shame, the stylist in Texas had done such a great job with the cut both times, and I've been going to that salon exclusively for the last four years, and now I can't see myself walking through those doors again.

Of course, the main thing is that Madam is happy with it.  (She is.)