Earlier this year I had a few unfortunate visits to the salon, that made me get a little weird about my hair. I started having panicked visions of it all melting off my head during a bad bleach job, like this:
I can’t even look at that without wanting to faint.
After my bad salon experiences, I didn’t want to go back. Not just to my hairdresser, but to any hairdresser. Mystery writer Melanie Jackson — Oh, interruption here! That reminds me, Melanie hired me to do some line-drawing illustrations for the new reissue of the first book in her Chloe Boston mystery series, “Moving Violation.” The reissue is coming out August 8, 2014, with artwork by me!
Back to hair business. Melanie told me about eSalon, where you fill out some forms about your present hair color and what you need from a dye, and then they send you the proper mix. So I ordered. And I got a lovely kit of dye.
Which I stared at. And had visions of that YouTube horror above. My last visit to the salon, she’d tried to bleach out a dye mistake, and it angered my scalp and did who-knows-what to my hair. I was paranoid about using any sort of developer on my fried locks.
I couldn’t bring myself to use the kit (lovely kit, really, and seemed like a better bet than something off the drugstore shelf), and instead wandered the internet until I found…. Henna.
Henna! Yes, hippy-dippy henna.
I read everything I could bear to on the Henna for Hair site.
And then I read oodles on the Long Hair Community forums.
And read science-y stuff about hair care at the Science-y Hair Blog.
I read more stuff about hair and DIY and home remedies at Ktani’s Hair Sense.
And found lots of useful advice on hair care at Curly Nikki.
And through it all I knew better than to bore my husband with too much talk of it. Although I did share that the reason I was buying catnip was to make a tisane for my hair. He looked a little worried about me when I confessed that.
Back to the henna.
I ordered some from Henna for Hair, mixed it up with apple juice, let it sit for twelve hours for the dye to develop, then my husband opened the doors to his garage salon, and applied it for me. That orange cart usually holds the drill press, by the way. The glass container with the brown sludge is the henna… about six cups of it.
Once the mass of gunk was in my hair, he wrapped up my head in plastic and I went upstairs to watch a couple movies while it did its thing. Henna is supposed to make your hair stronger and silkier, as long as you ONLY buy pure henna, like they use in body art. NOT henna that comes in a box with other ingredients. Just FYI, if you decide to go down the henna path. Don’t run out to the natural food store and buy a box without doing some research first.
When a few hours had passed, I filled the tub with water, swished my hair around in it for several minutes until it looked like a giant vat of lentil soup, showered it all out, and had glowing orange hair.
Which is normal. Henna starts out glowing orange, but over the next few days it oxidizes and turns to a richer, browner color. My final result:
And a close-up on that fabulous spiral hair toy, from Nicholas and Felice:
Did you know that Etsy is full of people making wonderful hair ornaments? I didn’t. But I do now. I chose this one because I wanted something to celebrate the upcoming release of “Slave Girl.” The heroine, Nimia, has spiral tattoos on her body (in shocking places), and I thought that the swirls here were a pleasing echo of that.
Another Etsy favorite is Puppycatmeow. She makes hairpieces and braids, custom-matched to your own hair color (she sends you free packets of sample hair, which you can mix together until you get a shade that matches your own). Here’re the fake braids I bought, in use:
Thanks to all my reading on hair care, I’ve now given up not only the salon, but also the hair dryer and all heat tools, and have developed an obsession with learning esoteric braids and how to imitate hairstyles in Game of Thrones. Did you know that you can make an 11-strand braid? Yes, 11 strands.
I’ve also been tempted into buying things like a Tangle Teezer, which is apparently the best thing ever for snarly hair. I don’t know yet; it’s still on its way to me.
All that money I’m saving by not going to the salon, it’s okay to spend some of that on hair toys, right?
If you’ve had your own doubts about returning to the salon, for whatever reason, take a look at eSalon or at the hair links above. In the end, doing things yourself could save you a pile of money, and possibly also give you healthier hair and scalp, depending on the route you choose. The Henna for Hair site will tell you about plant dyes you can use for blonde, brown, or black hair, as well as the usual henna red.
Book promo time! My heroine Nimia, besides for her spiral tattoos, has long, luxurious black hair that floats to erotic effect when she dances. Read Chapter One, and find out all about it:
Available at all e-book retailers.
1,001 Erotic Nights
Part 1: Slave Girl
Slave girl Nimia is in erotic training to become the sex toy of her Roman master, while around them the last vestiges of the Western Roman Empire fall into barbarian hands. It’s a barbarian prince, Clovis — the future King of the Franks and founder of France — who steals her virginity from her jealous Roman ruler.
Part 2: Barbarian’s Concubine
Fleeing her master, Nimia runs into the cold, calculating arms of power-hungry Clovis and learns how barbarian desires make the Romans look refined.
Part 3: Siren of Gaul
Nimia is sent to seduce the Visigoth king Alaric, in order to capture a key Roman general and change the course of history… as she also changes Alaric’s perceptions of morality. A repressed Visigoth is no match for a siren trained by the most depraved of Romans.
Summer 2014, from Simon & Schuster