A Recession Resolution You Can Keep? Hair Dye, Baby

Too late to talk about New Year’s resolutions? I think not. Some of us have already broken our official (or unofficial, cough, cough) promises to ourselves for the coming year.

Just the time, then, to take a peek at the always clever Mary Elizabeth Williams Salon.com piece on one resolution you can keep, even in this icky — to say the least — economy.

Like the lady says: Some (most?) of us are bound to fail at that diet, or kicking the nail-biting, or reading that book, or learning a new language. “There’s no such thing as a quick route to self-transformation … unless you’re talking about hair color.”

There’s a reason why nearly every ugly duckling romantic comedy features the heroine triumphantly emerging from the hairdresser’s chair, why Susan Boyle ditched the gray after becoming a YouTube star, and why Carrie mended her broken heart by going brunette in “Sex and the City.” Because that shit is real. If one in three women (and plenty of men as well) are regularly submitting themselves to the indignity of slathering their heads with smelly goo, it’s because there’s no cheaper, stronger mood enhancer outside your local meth lab.

Williams notes the “lipstick effect” of past recessions, that is, folks purchasing small “comfort” products rather than going all out for a new outfit or car as they might in better times. But a new tube of lipstick isn’t going to stick, she says, better try a new dye — and indeed, home color sales have increased in the U.S. of A.

Back in the day, Williams went red and never looked back:

Emancipated from the shackles of home, Catholic school and anybody who knew me as that somewhat chubby brunette in the back row, I reinvented myself. In the space of one hour in the dorm bathroom, I had killed that shy schoolgirl under a gallon of peroxide and developer. Though I never became the Rita Hayworth-esque titian-haired siren I’d aspired to, I never looked back.

So what do you think? Is a $10-a-month dyeing habit the key to a new you in 2010? Or do you fear the professional salon bill that might follow a hair-dye fiasco? As a blonde who’s been-there-done-that, I might have to stick with the new lipstick …

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16 thoughts on “A Recession Resolution You Can Keep? Hair Dye, Baby

  1. I’ve been dyeing my own hair since I was 13. I done highlights, low lights, and right now I have blue, pink, and purple stripes. I’ve done the salon route and found it to be so expensive and the results really not that great. Plus then you have to keep going back every 4-6 weeks and forking out that kind of cash. No thank you.

    I dye my hair when I feel the crushing need for something new, although I’ve developed some patterns: blonde in spring, no dyeing in summer, red in fall, multi-colored in winter.

  2. That’s actually a bald spot on Fergie’s head. She has some female balding, and normally wears a hair piece. That is another topic you might want to delve into – female balding. The effect on women is something you can’t imagine until you’ve been there. You don’t realize how much of you is in your appearance until it suddenly starts to fade. Even strong feminists tend to cover it up instead of exposing their hair loss to the world.

  3. Doing my hair a new colour (or indeed colours) is an instant pick-me-up. In the last hour I have just decided to have red and copper streaks put in – I’m bored of the blonde ones I had done before Christmas, and I know that it will make me very happy (for a few weeks at least).
    I wouldn’t do it so often if I had to pay salon prices though – I’m very lucky in that one of my mums’ oldest friends is an exceptional hairdresser who does us for a heavily discounted price.
    Changing ones hair is relatively quick, cheap and easy with the potential for amazing results – and if they’re not amazing then you can just dye over it. Voilà!

  4. I haven’t dyed my hair since senior year in high school (4 years ago) but I’ve heavily considered doing it since. I just wish semi-permanent hair dye was easier to find. I hate the hassle of keeping up with the color and I do like to go back eventually. But it is indeed quite fun and a quick makeover.

    • Have you tried any of the permanent ones in a box? Some of them really don’t stick around all that long. A permanent dye only lasts about 6-8 weeks on me, it’s very rare for me to get any noticeable re-growth at all. Of course it can go the other way. My sister can get several inches of roots from a temporary 3-wash dye before it comes out.

  5. Tomorrow I’m going to the hairdresser’s to dye my hair AND I CAN’T WAIT!! :D :D I have been denied every single scholarship under the sun so this year I’ll eat many noodles and drink much beer (which is goooooood), but at least I’ll have killer hair!

  6. I’ve died my hair a few times, but I never want to keep up the habit of redying it over and over, and I hate the way it looks when your hair is growing out!

    Generally I prefer a really nice cut to getting it dyed.

  7. Another good option is to visit a beauty college. Sure, it takes a little longer. Last time I went it, it was $40 for a cut and color. Not bad at all! I’ve been going for years, and have never had a problem with quality at the beauty college. Supercuts is offering color now, but they are the only salon that has ever butchered my simple hair style. Wouldn’t recommend getting color there!

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  9. People really find it so thrilling to dye their hair? I’m missing something here…
    I’m happy with the natural colours I was born with. I’ve never seen the thrill in dying – let alone strange and foreign colours…

  10. Oxidizing agents are usually hydrogen peroxide, and the alkaline environment is usually provided by ammonia. The combination of hydrogen peroxide and the primary intermediate causes the natural hair to be lightened, providing a “blank canvas” for the dye. Ammonia opens the hair shaft pores so that the dye can actually bond with the hair and speeds up the reaction of the dye with the hair.:,

    Kind regards

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