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That one time I shampooed my hair with food coloring 8 times in 24 hours

I tend to be impulsive when it comes to creative things. It’s not that I have an aversion to pre-planning, it’s that I go from idea to action in 60 seconds or less. It’s how the Pinterest wall was born. That was good.

It’s also how I came to have red hair.

That was not so good.

If you are looking for a definitive location for The Spur Of The Moment, you will find it in my hair dresser’s salon chair. That was the place where she asked, “What are we doing today?” and I responded, without an ounce of premeditation, “I’m feeling kind of feisty. How about red?!”

How about red.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I would trade my caramel ombre for an auburn ombre, something that would easily transition into the fall and winter months since I get my hair done approximately once every never. I really didn’t think twice about it (because apparently thinking once is not something I’m fond of, let alone twice) until my freshly dyed hair was being blown dry. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw wisps of very red hair and started to question my decision making skills.

But even when I saw the results in the mirror, I didn’t think it was that red. Primarily because, along with being good at jumping hair-first into impulsive creative decisions, I’m also really good at denial.

Which is why I didn’t realize I had red hair – red, red hair – until four days after it had been dyed.

Four full days. As in one day longer than it took Jesus to rise from the dead.

That is the level of denial I’m committed to.

Necessary disclaimer: my hair dresser is phenomenal. She works wonders. She did exactly what I asked her to do, and she did it well. I just wasn’t prepared to have red hair. It should come as a great surprise because clearly I had thought through this situation in it’s entirety.

Once I realized my hair was really red and I was really not even kind of on board with it, I decided to consult Google to figure out how to have hair that was less red without pulling a reverse Anne of Green Gables hair dye horror story. Ironically, I chose the one solution that sounded like it had the highest potential of turning me into an actual Anne of Green Gables hair dye horror story.

Multiple sources told me it was a good idea to mix a few drops of blue and green food coloring with dish soap and shampoo. They said the blue/green food coloring counteracts the orange/red dye. While it makes sense on a color wheel, I was less confident that it would make sense on my head. But the prospect of remaining a very red redhead seemed like the greater evil, so I mixed away and went to work.

2014-07-06 18.32.22

Yes. That happened.

I tried the concoction out on a small section first – one of the better decisions I made in the 96 hours in question. Since it didn’t turn my hair Green Gables Green, I decided to try it out for real. I shampooed with the food coloring mix, shampooed with just shampoo, and blow dried my hair with a level of intensity that would have frightened Attila the Hun. I was fairly anxious to see the results.

And the results seemed promising! I couldn’t tell if it was optimism or denial or reality, but I thought the red looked a little bit darker!

So I did what any normal person would do. I repeated the process seven times in less than 24 hours. You are thinking that sounds crazy, and you are correct. It was crazy. It was also crazy effective.

I’ll let the photographic evidence take it from here.

Progression of hair events.jpg

From left to right: at The Spur Of The Moment, later that day (holding Dylan!), after a few washes, after all of the washes. I hide it well, but I was mildly relieved to return to being brunette, now with a hint of auburn.

Note to self: make fewer impulsive decisions that require long-term commitment. And aim to completely avoid those that require the aid of food coloring.