By Chris Armstrong
When your best friend tries to non-chalantly ask you, “have you ever considered coloring your gray,” you know it’s time.
I was lucky enough to not only inherit early graying, but apparently I also inherited “hard to color” gray hair. Or at least that’s what the folks who make hair dye would like me to believe. Maybe none of their products actually cover the gray…no matter how long you leave it on.
I started coloring my hair at the age of 30 when MY best friend (whom I won’t mention here, but her name starts with the letters “SHARL”) asked me that question in the first paragraph. At first, I went to the beauty salon to get it done. I didn’t realize that it would cost me a fortune to color hair the length of Florida. They charged me for three boxes of hair color, and then extra for actually doing the coloring. I guess that means I have as much hair as three “normal” people. Whatever that is.
It didn’t take long for me to start scanning the aisles of Walmart to look for a better solution. I figured I’d go broke paying the beautician, but I really didn’t know what I was getting into. There are about 40 different kinds of hair coloring all doing different kinds of things. Some with ammonia, some without ammonia, all different levels of permanance, 100’s of shades that are hard to distinguish between (am I “chestnut” brown or “moca” brown or “golden medium” brown or how the heck do I know????), and all these beautiful faces staring back at me from all those boxes. Maybe I just need a facelift instead…
Little did I know what I was getting into. It takes almost an hour for me to do my own hair, and then I never really know how it’s going to come out. After 10 years of experience, if you want to call it that, I decided to try Just for Men. I couldn’t resist. I have to admit it was all the television commercials: takes only 5 minutes and as easy as shampooing your hair. Wow! Why don’t they make this for women??? Are we just that stupid that we’re willing to pay twice as much, take 10 times as long, and put ourselves through a process that is nowhere near “just like shampooing” our hair.
I went to Walmart with my husband. Obviously, I needed a decoy. It didn’t take long to find my color – there are only 11 shades of Just for Men. It states that right on the box. Are men just easily overwhelmed, or do manufacturers think women need 45 different shades to choose from with fancy names? And lucky for me, the cost of Just for Men is less than just about every brand of haircoloring for women. Of course!!!! Men wouldn’t pay as much as women to color their hair!!!
When I got home, I read the directions and was eagerly waiting for the moment to try it. And so the next morning, I decided it was time. I re-read the directions and prepared myself for 5 easy minutes to haircolor that “targets only the gray.”
I put a towel down on the floor, took off my clothes, and started in on mixing the hair color. After mixing the two bottles of stuff together, it started oozing out the top of the applicator as soon as I removed my finger. Maybe spouting is a better word. I had to immediately put it on my hair so I wouldn’t lose any of the precious hair color. The only problem???? I didn’t have both gloves on yet. Maybe that’s why the directions state to put both gloves on before mixing the product. In my defense, it wasn’t listed as a Warning. I managed to get the gloves on quickly, but then discovered how slippery the applicator bottle was with the gloves on. The bottle promptly launched itself out of my hands and plopped onto the floor…twice! I didn’t know I needed to hermedically seal everything within a 100 foot radius before I got started.
With the timer set for 5 minutes and all the hair coloring on my hair, I stepped into the shower to finish the job. There wasn’t quite enough product, so I added a little bit of water and started lathering up my hair. I caught a glimpse of myself in my husband’s shower mirror and saw that I had the hair coloring all over my forehead and temples…and all over the shower, shower curtain, shampoo bottles, and everything else in the shower! I managed to clean everything up, and then thought five minutes was probably up. I tried to peek out the shower curtain, but then realized I couldn’t see the timer without my glasses. I had to step out of the other side so I could get close enough to see. Five minutes were definitely up…and the directions said to make sure to leave the product on for ONLY five minutes.
I started rinsing my hair, and then heard my husband announce that I had hair coloring all over the sink and floor. Uh, yeah, I know (rather impishly). The bottle jumped out of my hand (couldn’t help it). I’m on a timed mission (any chance you’d clean it up???). He got some paper towels and cleaned it all up for me!!!
My mission complete, I now only had to wait to see the results of my “5 easy minutes of targeting only the gray.” After my hair dried, all of my hair was one color EXCEPT for the gray, which was still there. I guess it was my mistake that when the product states it “targets only the gray,” it doesn’t specifically say what it does with the gray. I mistakenly assumed it would color the gray. I don’t know, maybe it enhanced the gray???
Well, it was worth the experiment. My hair does look good. The color matched my natural hair color well, and it was easy to apply, and the results were just as good as any of the other hair coloring products I’ve paid twice as much for and spent 10 times as long applying. My husband told me maybe I should try leather dye. I’m thinking a wig would be cheaper and easier. ;-)