When I was going to Evil Genius, my hair looked like this. Medium auburn, not-too-obvious highlights. Good stuff.
When she left, I started seeing the Means Well stylist. Means Well had worked in the Evil Genius's salon, and I had high hopes. The first time I saw her, I told her I needed my hair to be at least shoulder length when curly. I ended up with hair that was barely shoulder length when straight. Which meant it was chin-length when curly. Whoops. I kept going to her for a couple of years, even though I never got exactly what I wanted. The last time I saw her, I told her my highlights were getting out of control, and she said "let's give you some lowlights for winter, and then you can be lighter again for the summer." And this is what I ended up with.
You know what this is? It's blonde. It's freaking blonde. And this is my December hair. I wonder what her plan was for the summer?
So I just laid low and did nothing for a while. I tried using color enhancing shampoo to tone it down a bit, but by April I was fed up and had to do something (I had noticeable dark roots and also had resorted to cutting my own bangs, which is a Bad Thing). I decided I was tired of paying $100+ and not getting what I wanted, and if my hair was going to be a crap shoot, it may as well be cheap, right? So I went to a local cosmetology class and put myself in Snazzy Boy's hands. "Help me!" I said. And he did. I ended up (4 hours later, I kid you not) with this. The highlights/lowlights were a big less subtle than I prefer, but I still liked it. And it was a huge improvement over the blonde mess I walked in with. And cheap! Snazzy Boy was my hero.
By my third visit to Snazzy Boy, I had decided the highlights/lowlights were too complicated. I told him I wanted to go back to my base color with subtle highlights. I showed him this picture, from my Evil Genius days, and said "I want to look like this."
"Oh," he said, "that will look great on you. We can do that." We went through the swatchbook and he showed me the colors he was going to mix. It should have turned out perfect. But after the color, when he was drying my hair, this is the point where he is normally saying "Oh, Tracy, this looks beautiful, you're going to love it." And he was completely. silent. When it was dry, we both looked at it and said "Um, no." It was very dark. Very dark. And it had those fake wine-colored undertones that I despise. But that's okay, we can fix it. He applied a toner to warm it up, and while it was still quite dark, the color was at least natural. "How long has it been since you wore your hair this dark?" Um, never, since this is darker than my natural color. "Sleep on it," he said, "and if you want to lighten it up we can add some highlights. Try not to wash it for three days, to let the color set." I left, satisfied that within a week or two, it would fade to the point that I was perfectly happy with it.
Until I got home and looked in the mirror and Oh. My. God. Why did it look so much worse at home? Why was it a shade darker, and still had that horrid bluish-red undertone? I jumped in the shower and washed it twice, not with my gentle color-preserving shampoo, but with Boo's regular shampoo. And it was still freakishly dark with burgundy highlights. Well, it was a couple of days before Halloween, so I could pretend I did it on purpose and be Goth, right?
(You know what's funny? Only three people who don't live with me even noticed - or noticed enough to comment. One coworker, my sister, and the drive-through cashier at McDonalds. Yeah, that's probably a very bad sign.)
Anyway, I called Snazzy Boy the next day and said "OMG, so dark, so wrong, can't live with it" and he rearranged his schedule so I could come back in and get it fixed - but not for four days. Four long, dark days. "Since you said shampooing would fade it," I asked innocently, "what if I use a clarifying shampoo just to speed that along?" No, don't do that - it will fade the toner and just leave that red color you don't like. Oops. It was actually darker than his picture, and the iPhone can't really show you the horror of that burgundy color.
When I arrived, Snazzy Boy and his instructor said "It looks great, maybe you're just not used to it." I said no, I'm used to the darkness by now, but it's the red/wine/burgundy that's bothering me. I know it looks better in here, but it looked better in here last week too. The lights in here just don't show it. So we went outside into natural light and yes, they saw it. We discussed several options and the best solution was to use this horribly noxious color corrector to suck the color out. OMG, that's some nasty stuff. But the result was good. Not exactly what I wanted - still dark, still an almost unnatural red - but I knew it would soon fade to the right color. Again, it was darker and redder than this photo.
I hate starting over. Some day I'll write about all of the gynecologists I've run out of town. It's a long, sad tale as well.