Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

I Just Paid Someone $100 To Torture Me

The last time I got my hair done before leaving Chicago was July 2nd. That’s not crazy by standards for those of us with locs, but it was getting rough for me. I try to get my hair done every four weeks.

That meant one of my top tasks after arriving in New York was to find a place to get my hair done. I wanted to stay close to home if possible.

All the places I looked up charged way more than my hair lady in Chicago. But there were several options close by. The first place I sought out was the very closest. It is literally right around the corner from my brownstone.

You can surmise by the title of this post that this trip to the new hair place didn’t exactly go well. So here’s what happened last Saturday.

My appointment was for 10AM. I arrived at 9:56, there was no one there. I rang the bell a few times, but no one answered. Finally, around 9:02, I called the lady I made the appointment with. She answered almost immediately to let me know that she was pulling up.

She looked out her window and me and smiled apologetically as she parked. I let them know it was no problem, and that in the future, it would probably be me that was running late.

We got inside and they offered me juice and fruit and water. I took the juice and settled down while they cleaned up. I’d never been to a shop before that cleaned up first thing in the morning as opposed to last thing the night before, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

After a while, they asked me to sit in the chair. They let me know they got a strawberry red color to dye my hair and also a honey blonde color. I had previously told them that I needed a strawberry blonde color for my hair to turn out the color it currently was.

I don’t know how much you know about dying hair, but it’s probably two more things than I know. I could barely describe what my hair lady in Chicago did, so I went with it. When they were describing to me what the different hair dye components do, I tried to let them know that all of that mean nothing for my hair.

My hair doesn’t take color easily and it never turns out the color expected. Even a trained colorist has to pull out all the tricks when it comes to my hair.

They have me all the “OK”s and “No problem”s, so I thought we’d be fine. That much confidence needs to be backed up with something right? I mean, how many people walk into a shop swearing their hair reacts unexpectedly to color and have verified this with every person who’s ever done their hair?

So anyway, she starts with the strawberry color. She applies it and I looked in the mirror and said, “this looks very very red.” She said, “I know, but when I rinse it out, it will tone down.”

When she rinsed it out, it didn’t tone down.

I sat in the chair, looking at a mirror, assessing my options.

Option #1: Slap her and then slap the other lady who vouched for her.

Option #2: Cry and run screaming from the shop straight to small claims court.

Option #3: Make the best of it because I live right by here and she is just hard-headed as hell.

Of course, I chose option #3. I assessed the color they dyed my hair. I had these red ass roots and the rest of my hair looked super blonde next to it. My hair is not even a little blonde, but that’s how it looked in comparison.

As red as this hair was, it was pretty flattering next to my face. So I said, “take note of this color because the next time I decide to go red, this is the color!”

The girl laughed and looked relieved that I didn’t choose option #1.

Because I doubted whether or not I’d actually be back to this shop, I grabbed one of the empty bottles of color so I could find it again.

So after dyeing my hair and awesome yet mismatching shade of red, she decides she’s going to put the honey blonde on top of it. So she does.

Show of hands, who thinks it worked?

Anyone?

No?

You’re all right. It didn’t work.

After she rinses it off, only the baby hairs at the very edges of my scalp look like they might be the right color. All the rest of my roots just looked—no not orange. My roots still looked the same damn red.

At this point, she looks concerned. Her concern increased after I told her she had two options.

Option #1: Figure out a way to fix my hair because I wasn’t leaving the shop with my hair looking like that.

Option #2: Dye all the rest of my hair this awesome red and I’d just be a redhead from now on.

She considered her options and knew that she’d have to eat a lot of profit to cover the cost of coloring my whole head red. So she decided that she could definitely fix the color.

Her first step was to bleach the hair she’d just processed two times.

I’m telling y’all, I was watching my hair like a hawk, prepared to backhand any and everybody at the first sign of my hair falling out.

I’m lucky I have strong hair, but I won’t be repeating this assault on my hair ever again.

After she bleached it, then it was orange. So off to the beauty supply store, for the third time that day, she went.

She returned with a color that she said had a swatch that was closest to my desired hair color. At this, I was even more frustrated. I had already explained that my hair doesn’t take color well.

That means whatever the swatch of hair is colored in the store, my hair won’t look anything like that when we’re done.

The actual color was this coppery color that was pretty. Just not pretty on me. You try to put a reddish-blonde color on my hair with golden undertones and it turns copper. Good to know.

After she was done with that, she said, “I see what you mean now about how strawberry blonde was probably the best color to use.”

If I were even 1% more violent that I am in my natural state, I definitely would’ve slapped her. It’s just so frustrating that she didn’t listen to me once in this whole process. That coppery color looks crazy next to my scalp line. It’s just too orange for my complexion. I can’t wait until it grows out and I can fix it.

So after I resign myself to having these coppery roots, We get down to the business of rolling my locs so they look fresher.

This part was lovely. I remember being so apprehensive because my scalp was sore by this point. All the color processing had made me quite sensitive and I was concerned I was going to be in a lot of pain.

But there was no pain. She moved quickly and efficiently. I found myself thinking I actually preferred the way she palm rolled my locs over what my Chicago hair lady did.

She put me under the dryer and then oiled my scalp before I left. I like the way my hair looked, if I ignored the roots.

I paid her the cost for rolling the locs and dyeing the roots and left. At this point, it was ten hours after I’d arrived to the shop in the first place. Ten freaking hours.

On a normal day, even with hair color, it shouldn’t take more than four hours from start to finish.

Because I’m crazy (remember my response to the virgin sacrifice apartment?), I actually thought about returning to the shop. It’s just so close to my house and I really liked the way she rolled my hair.

Then two days passed. And I realized the rolled my hair the wrong way. I’m not sure how to fully explain this. When locs are palm rolled, they are rolled between the palms. As the hair grows out, you roll the roots in the same direction while it’s wet. Then you put a hair clip in to hold it until you can dry the hair. Once the hair is dry, it stays rolled in that direction and the hair continues to lock on the same pattern.

This chick rolled my damn hair in the opposite direction!

My hair hangs to my shoulder blades. So I’ve got almost a foot of hair that is quite obviously rolled in one direction.

But she didn’t care.

All she wanted was to stick with what she knew.

She rolled my hair in the direction I assume she rolls everyone’s hair.

So now my hair is starting to look a little funky at the point where the locked hair meets the newly rolled hair.

So that settles it.

I’m not going back to that shop.

And I’ll give them the side eye when I walk past on the way to another shop to get my hair done.

Except…

I left my umbrella there.

So I’ll go back, but just for that.

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