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Dear John Frieda,

About a week ago, my nearly 3-year-old niece was brushing my hair. Well, really, poking my head with a small white plastic comb.

But she had the idea.

We were chatting, and I was asking her questions. Was my hair long or short? “Long.” Straight or curly? “Straight.” She may be a hairstyling genius once she gets the whole combing thing down.

Anyway, when I asked her what color my hair was, she sweetly said, “Brown.”

She paused for a second, then added, “and white.”

Hilarious, but ouch!

I DO yank my gray (grey?) hairs out, but a few must have slipped past the goalie (go Rangers!). I used to go to a professional salon to dye my hair. But I never loved the results -- or the $250 price tag. So I began to DIY about twice a year.

What my niece was trying to tell me was the L’Oreal Feria Natural Light Brown #60 (with 3x the highlights!) I applied around Thanksgiving had grown out.  I had roots down to my ears.  And not the sexy kind that they now call "ombre."  This was ugly.

She was right!  I needed a hair-ntervention.

Fast-forward to Wednesday night. I was on the phone with my mom watching Revenge and your commercial came on. It was a sign from the Advertising Gods! Huzzah! I went to your website. I took your color quiz. I believed I could achieve true salon-quality color at home. With a foam!

I wasn’t going for anything crazy. Just a nice shade of brown that was a better version of my natural color. I’ll admit, I was indecisive in the hair care aisle at my local CVS. So I bought 2 of the shades your picker recommended.

Sure it was a little more expensive, but I’m worth it (sorry, L’Oreal).

One was medium brown with warm tones (Brilliant Brunette Medium Golden Brown #5G). The other had neutral tones (Brilliant Brunette Medium Natural Brown #5N). Typing it now, this seems like a meaningless distinction.  But it seemed important at the time.

Anyway, at 11pm last night, after a WILD Saturday evening of L&L (laundry & Lifetime), I made the game-time decision to apply #5G to my head.

I poured the “colourant” bottle into the developer bottle, taking great care not to shake it, as instructed. I gently tilted the bottle no more than 5x to combine the dye. I squeezed tennis-ball-sized blobs of foam into my gloved hand, starting at the root. I applied the whole bottle in this fashion, and gently massaged it in to avoid tangles. I waited 20 minutes for the color to develop. I hopped in the shower and rinsed my hair with lukewarm water until it ran clean. I applied the ultra-nourishing conditioner, and let its healing Babassu oil and rice milk soak in for 5 whole minutes.

Then I dried my hair.


Also, I think “Babassu" oil is a made up name!

The first clue I’d gone offtrack was the reddish hue the dye had when it came in contact with my forehead. Hmmm. Next, was the foam’s refusal to stay white and foamy on my head, like it is the diagrams. Instead mine was like… creamy dirt. Okaaaay. The final clue was the jet-black appearance of my wet hair. I know, hair is always darker when wet, but this was a shade I’ve never seen before.

Uh oh.

No medium. No gold. No brown.

This shade is more like brownish-black with a flourish of burgundy when the light hits it a certain way.

Truth be told, I might actually like it. Now my ample brows match my hair. I have no more roots or grays, which was the original goal.  And my eyes look a little greener.  But this was a very RISKY game to play, Johnny Boy!!

Particularly since I’m headed to LA tomorrow on business, and I don’t own any hats.

So, would I have achieved a different result with #5N? Maybe. But I’ll never find out. I’m through with YOU, Mr. Frieda!  There is nothing precise about this color.

(Formerly Golden) Brown-Haired Girl

PS: L’Oreal, my hair is very sorry it cheated on you. It won’t happen again.

tags: beauty


Anonymous said...

Be glad youre hair didnt go green.

Chris said...

How could you not post a picture???? Im sure it looks fine despite John Freidas best efforts to ruin your hair :)

Anonymous said...

I would never die my own hair.

Jenny From The 'Brook said...

Anon #1: Yes, I suppose that is something to be thankful for. I'm guessing you weren't so lucky?

Chris: Ha, thanks. I'd post one now, except all the color's washed out and now it is like Joseph's Technicolor Dream Hair, with brassy red undertones. Sounds just as pretty as it looks.

Anon #2: Me neither! I'd never ever EVER die my own hair.