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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Cheap's" Not Always Bad

I've had my hair dyed by a professional only a couple of times. For the prices they charge, and the way it looks afterwards, but really mostly since I'm such a cheap bastard, I no longer go to the sassy salon where I've always felt uncomfortable anyway.

Whenever I would go to "the beauty parlor" I felt like I had to style my hair before I went there to get it styled. This is the same reason why I don't have a maid come to the house...I spend too much time cleaning it before she comes to clean it. Before heading to the salon, I'd make sure to put makeup on just so it could smear down the sides of my face from the water and/or dye splashing all over it. I'd always get dizzy with my head lower than my shoulders hanging in the sink, and dreaded the cold drips down my back, soaking my t-shirt, which wasn't bad in the summer, but during winter cuts it sucked. Not one for small talk with a total stranger, unless you're a reader of this blog, I don't have the patience to answer questions about my accent, if I was married, how many kids I had, blah blah blah. Then after having the stylist snip off more here, shape it better there, clean it up all over, I'd have to lie when the hair cut and dye job was finished..."Oh, that's fine, it looks great" and try to control myself from sprinting out of the chair and bolting outside, after I pay the ransom's fee and hefty tip, no matter how lousy it looked. And anyway usually if I happen to find a stylist I love, you can be damn sure the next time I call to make an appointment she'll be gone!

Once I even had my eyebrows waxed here in the Roanoke Valley...remember Uncle Leo in the episode when he burned off his eyebrows and Elaine drew ones on him? Yeah, not such a great look on me, and it took forever. I even tried some weird string thing in Valley View Mall. Ouch and swollen for days. I'll just wait until I get back to New York to do them again. When I get them done in Brooklyn I'm in and out in two minutes, it only costs $5, and the technician doesn't even speak English.

Now that my daughter knows how to wield a pair of scissors, first practicing on her own hair for months until she got her "I'm not Scene or Emo!" haircut down pat, she has become my beautician. I bought her a good pair of shears from Sally and she dry cuts my hair. "With your curls that's the way you're supposed to do it." She's very quick and very messy. Wherever the hair falls, it falls, and it's my job to clean it up. There's no small talk with her other than the slap to my head once in a while or the "What is your neck on roller skates?" or "I said look-up, not down at your magazine!" Maybe about once a week I ask her to straighten my hair. Actually she usually volunteers to do it after watching me attempt it myself. "Ouch, that burns! Why is my hair sizzling?" Shhhh, I act totally inept while doing it so she will come to my rescue. If she doesn't burn me while doing it I'll throw her a couple of bucks. And it is pretty amazing how she does get my pseudo-afrocentric hair so smooth and straight.

She won't do my eyebrows, "Ewww, gross!" but she did buy me eyebrow gel. The other thing she doesn't do for my hair is dye it, except for that one time. That's left up to my devices. Recently the girl got on my case about the brand I was using, the $2.99 box of Revlon Colorsilk. "Can you at least splurge on a better brand?" Hey, I need two boxes minimum with my head of hair! I used to use Preference from L'Oreal when I had midnight black hair but once I became so heavily grey and went blonde it didn't seem to take as well and at $9.99 a box that was unacceptable. Since CVS was having a sale on the brand my daughter uses, Feria from L'Oreal, I thought I would give it a go. I bought a color, Starlet, which was darker than the one I normally use. It looked dazzling on the box and my only concern was what would become of the blue-gun metal grey that resided underneath some of my hair, and was once Cowboy blue, thanks to my daughter. While she was at school I used up the two boxes, excited to show her the new look when she got home.

Unfortunately the new look looks worse than the old look. "What did you do to your hair?" was the first thing she asked. I used your crappy, I mean expensive, brand of dye! She didn't believe me. "Let me see the box. The color looks nothing like it." Well, duh. The new color looks freaking white. I pointed to underneath my hair. "Ugh, the blue is yukky brown now." Yeah, I noticed. And by the way where are the multi-faceted shimmer colour 3x highlights the box promises, huh, huh? "You should go to Onyx and let my stylist fix it for you." Yeah, what's that gonna cost? We'll see, but first I see that Walgreen's is having a sale on Colorsilk...$1.99! Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's not good.


  1. i buy the cheap stuff too. i hate going to the hair place... and as far as eyebrows go? i go to the people that don't speak english and it costs me $8.... but i'm not overly picky about that.

  2. Elena, there are two good eyebrow people at Azario on Brambleton -- Stephanie and a new lady (can't recall her name. Onyx is the best salon in Roanoke. I go to Jeannie. She doesn't require small talk if you don't feel like it. We don't talk much. She's a pretty blonde covered in tattoos. She is the only stylist I let touch my hair in Roanoke. I had a brow job done in NYC earlier this year for $10. It was one of the best. It's too bad we can't get that kind of thing here. As for more personal forms of waxing (although you didn't ask), I feel this post would not be complete without saying that the *only* person who does it right in Roanoke is Flora at Bodatious.

  3. My daughter goes to Onyx. I did too until the last horrible haircut which my daughter said was my fault because I didn't bring a picture. Maybe I'll try Jeannie. Flora, huh? Roanoke's such a small town I'd be worried about running into her at the supermarket or something ;)

  4. Flora's cool. She's been running that salon for years. She's in the middle in the back row: You would not care if you ran into her anywhere.

  5. Dontcha love the "Look happy & delighted" mantra you have to repeat to yourself as they turn you to face the mirror. I'm pretty certain I never manage to pull it off.
    I have to use 2 boxes of dye too, so I tend to use the cheaper stuff as well. Although, I am wanting to try henna instead.

  6. Carrie, I remember the days of henna, the smell, the grit, the red mud of the 70s. I can no longer use it...too grey. That's why I went so light blonde, but now I'm bored of it and want to try something new.