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: David 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: