There’s something about having a baby and the following attempts to regain a not-sharing-with-another-human body that makes one want to change things up a bit.


You know, like put on makeup even if one is NOT leaving the house.  And wear clothes that aren’t two sizes too big.

And especially try something new with one’s hair.

The closest I’ve ever come to dying my hair was a demi-permanent sorta-haircolor  – that was the exact same shade as my natural hair.

Because I’m wild like that.

But since I’ve been feeling CRAAAZY, I decided it was time to really dive in.


I called my normal salon and asked how much it would cost to highlight absurdly long hair.  After recovering from my near stroke, I decided I might be too practical to get CRAAAZY after all.

Then I remembered that my friend Ashley had a good (and very affordable) experience at one of the teaching salons in town.

I looked it up, and sure enough, it was going to be about a fourth of the price of my salon.

So I called.

I made an appointment.

And I started a downward spiral into complete and utter nervous hysteria.

I ALMOST cancelled, but I managed to pry my fingers from the phone.

So I showed up at the salon, feeling very guilty about cheating on my normal hairdresser.  She has long, dark hair like me, so I feel like she knows how to cut and style my hair from personal experience.

Maybe my student hairdresser will have long, dark hair…

As I was in mid-thought, my student hairdresser walked up.

Bleach Blond, boy-short.

And she looked like a deer in the headlights.

I mean – she really looked like a deer.  She had huge doe-eyes, skinny stilt legs, and looked like she was going to bolt off into the woods if I looked her in the eyes.

Deer took me back to her chair, and we began to talk.  I showed her a picture of what I was thinking, and she headed off to find her instructor.

Which gave me ample opportunity to stare at myself in the mirror and completely second guess my the choices that landed me there.

And, of course, I was having an AMAZING hair day – like, the best in ten years.  Why screw it up??

The instructor came over and I re-explained what I wanted – highlights, but done underneath the top layer of my hair so that when it grows out without being touched up (and it WILL MOST DEFINITELY grow out without being touched up – Noah doesn’t allow me many trips to the salon), my roots won’t show.

Apparently, Deer had never done this procedure before.


The instructor showed her how to do it, and Deer began her work.

When I finally felt comfortable enough that I had made enough small-talk to make my concerned question seem a BIT more casual, I asked Deer how long she’d been in school there.

A year – she was 18 days from graduating.

I spent the next few minutes imagining how frightened she must have looked on her first day.

I also asked her how the school worked – did she get paid for cutting my hair?

Nope – she pays tuition for the privilege of cutting my hair, and I pay the school to let her.

(Mental Note: Open a cosmetology school.)

After three hours of foiling, waiting, and rinsing, she began to dry my hair, and I began to notice streaks of what appeared to be Pamela Anderson’s hair mixed in with my dark, dark, dark brown hair.

Not EXACTLY the look I was going for…

The instructor came over.

She watched for a second.

I watched her watch.

Then, she ever-so-tactfully said to me, “Did you know it’s ALWAYS easier to darken than to lighten? It’s totally worth an extra fifteen minutes to get your hair the way it SHOULD be than for you to wait and get it corrected the next time you come in.”


After the drying was finished, me, Deer, and Instructor inspected my hair.

I strongly resembled a Zebra.

Deer looked at Zebra.  “I think I might have rinsed out the toner* too quickly.”

And so Deer began to reapply toner to Zebra.

Rewashed, redried, restyled, and I once again resembled a human.  Nearly four hours had passed since I’d met Deer.  Or four years – it was hard to tell.

But besides the day killing and the temporary species change, it was definitely a worthwhile experience, and I’ll probably go back again.

(Especially since I feel too guilty to go to my normal hairdresser with the evidence of cheating all over my head.)

So now, the Results:

BeforeAfter copy
Err… hard to see in a photograph.  But they’re there – I promise!

It’s easier to see with the top layer of my hair pulled back:

SideShots copy


And that, my friends, is this week’s CRAAAAZY.

* Being that I’m a hair coloring ignoramus, I had no idea what toner did.  According to Wikipedia, it “corrects or deemphasizes unintended hair coloring outcomes.”  Thank GOODNESS Zebras can be deemphasized**.

** The author does not discriminate based on species, but does prefer to remain in the species in which she was born.

34 thoughts on “In Which I Became Student Work.

  1. They look so good! I’ve never been to a salon to get highlights, my mom and I always just use the boxes. I love the way it looks for the first few weeks but then I get annoyed when it starts to grow out. You’ll have to tell me if it works to have it under the top layer.

    I am SO ready to do something crazy with my hair. It seems like every few months I start to hate my same old same old boring hair. But then I never get up the nerve to do anything about it and if, by chance, I do end up getting it cut or something I usually don’t like it. :P Maybe I’ll just re-highlight. :)

  2. It looks good Rachel! When I dye my hair to cover up the gray one (I have had since I was 16 but didn’t start dyeing until I was 25), I always pick a color as close to my natural one as I can so I am just as wild. Although I dream of going either blond or black. I read that since I was blond as a baby I would look good as a blond now but I am not brave enough to try, and black is because I think raven black hair is so pretty, but I don’t think I would look right and would not want people to think I went Goth. I have thought of highlights but am scared to do something so dramitic but I like yours maybe I will look into it.

  3. Leanna and others- why be scared? Going blonde can be reversed immediately if you decide you hate it so I’d say give it a go! (and leave it a couple of days to see if you really hate it).

    If you’re just going to dye your hair back to the same colour it was originally then you can easily do it at home for not much money (about $18NZ – no idea how much US hair dye costs – probably less). I’ve got a few greys so I’ve been dying my hair at home for a while – I promise it’s easy and just as good as the salon (as long as you pick the right shade for your skin tone).

    Dyed black hair is harder to get rid of but it is possible and you can always try a short term rinse to see what you think.

    Go on – live a little! :)

  4. Ahhh, the Hormonal Hairdo!

    I applaud you for your courage… I would never have the guts to let a student work on my hair, but then I have extremely high maintenance hair. I’m quite sure my hair stylist cringes every time she sees my name pop up on her appointments.

    Your highlights look great!

  5. Your highlights look good. I’m just crazy enough to occasionally buy a box of Revlon #47 (Medium Rich Brown) and get Jeremy to dye my hair. I’m just not brave enough for the highlights, especially because I’m cheap and I don’t have time to maintain the look.

  6. I think it looks really pretty. I want to color my hair, or at least do highlights, but Mark has put the whammy on that. One time I tried to color my own and it turned copper red. I ended up having to spend mega-bucks to get it fixed. I’m so glad yours turned out pretty though.

  7. Love it! I have a niece that is going to the XCell Academy (Paul Mitchell) and I’ve let her do my hair a few times. LOVE THE PRICE!

  8. Gorgeous! Looks like you been to the south of France! I’m all about giving those students practice. They don’t let them test on animals. ;)

  9. Funny…I had the same experience with the demi-permanent hair color, also almost the exact same shade as my own. It was completely disappointing at the time.

    I’m so proud of you for having the courage to tryout the highlights. I’m too lazy now to try coloring. I’ll wait till I have some gray hair to cover then I’ll give the coloring and highlights a chance.

  10. You’re a braver woman than me… Not because you went to a teaching salon, though. I’ve totally done that. But you took the highlights leap… I’m really impressed. I always worried that I wouldn’t look like “me,” but you look great!

    1. Thanks! It IS different. I keep going back and forth about whether I want to “keep them forever” or “go back”. I’m not usually this indecisive, but hair color is a big deal!

  11. The end result looks great! I’m not brave enough to try something drastically different with my hair. I do get highlights or lowlights on occassion, but I stick with a shade lighter or a shade darker than my natural color. I’ve had the same cut for about 10 years now. I keep telling myself I want to do something different, but I never work up the courage.

  12. I’ve only done highlights once and my hair was already very very short (and it was an improvement) but since then I haven’t had a desire to. I have a hair stylist that I love and trust implicitly…any time I’ve gone anywhere else, I probably look like Deer. So way to go for being brave!

  13. I was just thinking the same thing! I want to go to a salon and get highlights. I thought it was because of spring fever, but maybe it is a postpartum thing. I might be able to use the postpartum excuse to get hubby to pay for it. Hmmmmmmm.

  14. Looks great! You are so right about needing a hair change after a baby, I”m itching for one…haven’t had my hair cut in 7 months so any small trim would be big for me :)

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