No mirrors were harmed in this experiment.

If you’ve hung around my bloggy home here on the internets for a while, you probably won’t be surprised by this little factoid: I’m not one to be particularly adventurous when it comes to my hair.

And here’s another tidbit about me: I’m even less adventurous when it comes to hair color.

You see, for me, the purpose of hair color treatments is to match or enhance one’s natural hair color, or at least the color one thinks her hair should be.  I’ve never understood the desire to dramatically change hair color just for fun.  It seems to me that the color you’re given is the color you’re meant to have.  Now, I get it when those who were blond as youngsters invest in color treatments to try to maintain the color from their youth, but as a brunette, I’ve always considered myself lucky that I never “needed” to invest in pricey hair color treatments.

That is, until I turned 35 and started going gray.

I tried to hold out as long as I could, but this year I finally joined the ranks of the color-treated hair brigade. When I decided it was time to cover my gray, I did what any unadventurous responsible girl should do, and I went to a trusted hairdresser and asked her to match my hair as closely as possible.  I stressed that I wanted something that had dimension and life so that it didn’t look artificial, and most of all, I didn’t want it to look like black shoe polish.

She did a fabulous job.  I loved it.   It looked natural but also glossy and fuller than it had in ages, so I went back 8 weeks later to get my color freshened up.  It looked just the same as it did the first time, and I was delighted once again.

Fast forward to last night.  It was well beyond the 8 week mark, and my hair was beginning to show shades of red.  I had made an appointment with my hairdresser, and I arrived promptly and settled down in the big leatherette chair, draped and ready to be beautified.  I told her I liked the color she did the last two times, but I also mentioned that I’d noticed it leaning red in the last few weeks, but that’s probably just what color does when it’s wearing off, right?

She agreed, and went to mix color.

After I was processed and rinsed and cut and dried, I looked in the mirror to see ELVIRA.


Photo credit: D Livingston/Getty Images

Okay, so it’s possible that I’m exaggerating just a tad.  Remember that I said I’m not very adventurous with color?  But it WAS notably darker than normal.

On the car ride home, I schooled myself to stay calm and told myself that semi-permanent color washes out, and besides, I’m so over hair melodrama.  I’ve spent way too many sleepless nights upset over a new haircut that I grew to like (grew? get it?  HA!) or at least learned to live with until it grew in, and needless to say, no one ever thinks the change is nearly as significant as I do.

I was doing pretty well keeping my hysteria in check until I walked in the door at home and my husband took one look at me and said, “Get your hair colored?  Isn’t that kinda dark?”

It also didn’t help that I hadn’t reapplied makeup all day and my summer glow has pretty much worn off so my skin looked pasty-white compared to my dark tresses when I washed my face and took a good look at myself in the mirror.

Still not willing to let this little snafu get the best of me, I went to bed and told myself I’d think about it in the morning.  I reassured myself that I’d rather have bad hair color than a bad haircut.  Semi-permanent color wears off faster than hair grows, right?

So this morning I woke up and washed my face and applied my makeup — a lot of it.  Because I figured, if your hair looks like someone took black shoe polish to it, what better way to divert the eye than with heavy eye liner and three coats of mascara?

With no time to wash and style my hair, I swept it up into a clip and then stood back and surveyed the scene.  And you know what?  It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.  In fact, no one I saw today seemed to even notice it, at least, no one said a word.  Of course, it could be that it looks so bad, no one could come up with something nice to say about it, but I’m going to quell my flair for the dramatic and go with the former explanation.

Throughout the day I took a glance at myself in the mirror here and there, and surprisingly, none of them cracked from the shock of my newly colored mane.

And you know what?  By the end of the day, I decided that I think I rather like it.  I’ve always admired super dark hair, and with a thorough application of makeup foundation and a good bit of bronzer, I don’t look too horribly washed out.

And besides.  It rather compliments my new pedicure.

Okay, so a picture.  Don’t expect to see a striking difference.  The camera doesn’t pick up tones of brown too well.  And as I said, it’s not THAT dramatic anyway.  And I’m not thrilled with the hairstyle.  I’m trying to grow it out a bit, and it’s at an awkward stage.  With that disclaimer, here goes:


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33 Responses

  1. So where’s the picture?? 😉

    Glad you are growing to like it! I actually went back and had mine done again once. They were so sweet about it – they usually want you to be happy so you will keep coming back!

  2. I’m one of the one that colors mine for fun. I never do anything too dramatic, but I do like to highlight it. And it definitely gives your hair more body. That is the number one reason I color mine.

  3. And so where’s the picture? LOL A story like this needs a picture!!! LOL
    My friend and I have been talking about hair color for a year now because we both seem to be graying at the same time. We have virgin hair and are a little scared because once you start you can’t stop. AND we don’t have the money to go to a hair dresser each time so we would have to experiment with a box which is way more scary!
    Oy the things us women have to worry about. Men get better looking and more distinguished when they get gray and women just look older! LOL

  4. Well it is better than egg plant purple or midnight blue. I usually go for a reddish shade when I do dye mine but my husband talked me into jet black once and I grew to love it, although I didn’t like it washing out of my hair super fast and staing all of my shirts and towels.

    Glad you are growing to like it too. Give it a few more days and you may grow to love it.

  5. Your hair is probably great…and I agree we need pictures. I have been highlighting for a few years and have learned my girl makes it lighter in the spring and summer and darker for the fall and winter. Kinda like a natural progression. HA!!

  6. You tease with talk and no picture.

    I’m not adventurous with my hair either. I’ve had essentially the same short cut forever. My only real option is to go shorter, like pixie short, and that just isn’t happening. I’m too impatient to grow it out and Husband likes it short. I try to mix up my highlights a bit, but nothing radical. Blond and blond in the summer, and a light reddish-brown in the fall. Dull, but it keeps me happy.

    The importance of good hair cannot be overstated.

  7. Seriously, we need a picture.

    I’m curious, are you doing all-over color? I’ve got a good 10 years on you, and my girl insists that I still only need partial highlights. I keep asking her if I’m ready for all-over color, and she keeps saying no. Hmmm. I’m heading in there tomorrow, in fact!

    Anyway, I wonder if a few carefully placed highlights might help soften the look for you. But then again, no need if you end up liking it!

  8. And again, where’s the picture? 🙂

    I actually have very similar hair color to you and have the gray issue these days. I went jet black for a time a while back and I actually enjoyed it. Sometimes my husband asks for it back but I’m trying to hold on to my God-given plain brown hair before not one bottle on the Earth can replicate it 😉

  9. I wanna see a picture!
    And listen – going to a hairstylist isn’t unadventurous. My motto is – “You hire a plumber to repair your toilet, go to a hair stylist to get your hair done.” They’re the professionals, and if nothing else, if they do mess up, you can blame it on them!

  10. LOVE the hair. It looks very natural and goes great with your skin (okay…maybe makeup), but it still looks fantastic! It actually looks a little lighter to me than your profile picture, but it could be the lighting that’s making the difference. Looks VERY good!

  11. You are so funny! It doesn’t look any darker than the picture at the top of your blog. I am an adventurous hair girl. I will try anything once. I figure if I don’t like it I can either re-color or it will grow out. Over the years I have come to realize I do prefer my natural hair color so I stopped coloring or highlighting it a few years back.

  12. I agree with Michelle–your profile pic looks darker! And, I think you hair looks fabulous. Stop fretting:)

  13. I know, I know. I warned you that it wouldn’t look dramatic. Although, as I look at that photo, it looks lighter than in person, I think. And the profile photo was shot in natural light and then photoshopped, so I don’t think the hair color there was very accurate. It’s always looked dark to me in that photo.

    But I’m not fretting. I really do like it. 😀

  14. Must have been a day for “I don’t like what you did to my hair!” –

    Now mind you, MY DAUGHTER is my hairdresser, but it doesn’t mean I can’t complain (just ask her! LOL) I got a TRIM AND my chunky highlights and lowlights touched up- while I LOVE MY color – she cut my bangs WAY too short (and when will she remember, MOM doesn’t like “textured” bangs!- I’m 43 for goodness sakes! LOL) AND I’m trying to let the front grow a little longer, and I’m pretty certain, it’s significantly shorter than when I went in!…….
    Needless to say, I’m not feeling to pretty today either! LOL

    But you Ms. Jo-Lynne, look MARVELOUS! I know the picture doesn’t show the true color, but it does look beautiful to all of us! ♥


  15. I do an all over color maybe twice a year, with the semi too. It does always seem to be darker that first week, then fades right where I want it. Don’t know how they do it, but okay. lol

    I like the color, even if we don’t see all the glitz of it.

  16. I like it. And I’ve always like the dark hair with pale skin look, but maybe that’s just because I’m white as a ghost and have a naturally boring medium to light shade of ashy brown hair that I’m constantly dying to combat the boredom. Okay, long sentence. Sorry. But love the hair!

  17. Looks great! I know what you mean about natural color. I to have dark hair and over the years have had it colored close to my natural color to cover the grey that has become more and more. I have gone a shade lighter than my natural color because I liked it better. And a few times I have had hi-lights but even those were just a 1/2 lighter than my natural color. But now nail polish…that’s a whole other thing…OPI is my fav and bring on what ever color strikes me. I’ve had dark red to neon yellow but only on my toes!

  18. From the pic, I like it. I think the Elvira reference is funny, but I don’t think your hair is anywhere near hers….but it is October so you could probably get away with it……just say you are prepping for Halloween. LOL

    If you take the prenatal vitamins, it really seems to help hair and nails grow stronger, and since there is less breakage it seems like they grow faster.

  19. I’ve been dying my hair FOREVER because I started going gray at 16 (no, I’m not kidding). I’ve found that the first 48 to 72 hours after getting it dyed it always looks much darker than it really is. After that, it lightens back up and looks more natural.

  20. Your hair looks great, but I know what you mean about your husband commenting on your hair. Mine hardly ever says anything about my hair, but once in a while he’ll say, “Aren’t your roots getting kind of dark?” and I know they must really be obvious, and in serious need of a touch up. Otherwise he’d never notice.

  21. I think it looks great!! And I even like your cut. I have had one too many bad color treatments. I don’t know how many times I have told a hair dresser, please just stay away from red tints. Every single one gave me reddish brown tints!!

  22. Now I used to be adventurous until the time I colored my hair red…only it came out nearly fire-engine red and that was sooooooo wrong on me! It didn’t wash out for months! Now I stick to my blonde and boring tresses.

    Love your hair cut though! Am thinking it might work with me–I have naturally straight hair where no amount of shellac will keep to curls.

  23. You’re hair doesn’t look super dark at all! I like it 🙂

    I’m a firm believer in the natural color too – the ONE time I tried to add a few highlights to my hair…it took 2 years for me to grow everything back out to normal LOL

  24. Yeah, I don’t think it’s too dark. I’ll never forget when my mom went from the blonde she had been wearing ever since I could remember back to her natural brown.

    Except walking in from the salon, it really DID look black. Her hairdresser had assured her it would fade, and after several washings it did — turned out to be her natural color and he was right. I was in junior high at the time… she’s been a brunette ever since.

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