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The Times
  • Lost in Suburbia: Orange you glad this didn’t happen to you?

  • Since I have extremely short hair, it never made much sense to me to go to the salon to get my hair colored. I knew my roots would show almost immediately and I’d have to shell out a bucket of money to re-do it less than three weeks later. I thought using one of those “washes out in 28 shampoos” colors at...
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  • Since I have extremely short hair, it never made much sense to me to go to the salon to get my hair colored. I knew my roots would show almost immediately and I’d have to shell out a bucket of money to re-do it less than three weeks later. I thought using one of those “washes out in 28 shampoos” colors at home was a better plan because a) it was a lot cheaper b) the returning gray would be more subtle because it would show up gradually and c) if I screwed up the color, I only had to live with it for a month.
    That said, one does not necessarily want to live with pumpkin-colored hair for a month.
    Did I say pumpkin-colored? Yes, that was the color of my hair after deciding to try a “warm” version of my regular hair color.
    Who knew “warm” was actually a euphemism for “orange?”
    Now, this was not the first time I have messed up my hair color. One time I went so dark the kids started calling me Elvira. Another time I ended up with something in the fuchsia family that made me look l was trying out for the role of an egg in an Easter basket.
    Then there was my attempt to go blonde, which instead left me with a green coif that made me look like a real life Chia pet.
    I had a bad feeling even when the mixture was on my head that the resulting color was not going to be good. It might have had to do with the fact that as the color set, I noticed that my head was starting to resemble a cantaloupe.
    When my hair dried it was even worse. Think an overripe cantaloupe with a face. Not a good look for a fruit, much less a 40-something-year-old woman.
    Although my impulse was to go get a darker color and repeat the process, good sense intervened when I realized there was a chance that two days in a row of hair coloring could leave me with an even worse result:  no hair at all.
    So I called the Hair Color Emergency Hotline. Yes, there is one.
    “I’m calling to report a hair color emergency,” I said.
    “What is the nature of your problem?” asked the Hair Color EMT on the other end.
    “My hair is orange,” I reported.
    “Is it brown with orange highlights or full-on orange,” he asked.
    “Full-on orange,” I responded.
    “Is it cantaloupe orange, geranium orange or sunset orange?” he wondered.
    “Cantaloupe orange,” I said.
    “OK!” he said. “That is a 242 Orange Hair Color Emergency!”
    “You have orange hair color emergency categories?” I wondered.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Oh yes,” he said. “Green, too.”
    I remembered my own foray into green hair and shuddered at the memory.
    “OK, well, I need a hair color intervention,” I stated.  “I want to be medium brown not cantaloupe orange.”
    “No problem,” he assured me. “You need to go purchase the Ash Brown hair color, mix it with 1/3 shampoo and reapply to your hair.”
    “Is that it?” I asked, relieved that my stint as a jack-o-lantern was about to come to a close.
    “Oh, and don’t leave it on for more that 15 minutes,” he added.
    “What happens if I do?”
    “Then we will have a Passion Purple Hair Color Emergency.”
    Follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyinSuburbia.
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