Professional Help was Not Enough to Head Off My Hair Disaster

I don’t know what it was that possessed me, but several years ago I was traveling out of town and had a figurative “wild hair” and found myself in a strange salon with a newly licensed hairdresser. My hair disaster could have only occurred in this matter, as my regular beautician would have never let me do this to myself. She would have recognized my irrational mood and talked me out of it.

As a child I had long strawberry blonde hair that grew darker, becoming a chestnut brown with auburn highlights. When I was diagnosed with a cancerous blood disorder in 1993, I would lie awake at night in fear that I would lose all of my hair. Several months passed, chemotherapy ended and I was declared in remission. I left the doctor’s office wanting to celebrate and went to the mall. Lured by glossy photos of luxuriant hair I entered a salon. I told the stylist that I wanted to do something completely different with my hair, and this was the beginning of the nightmare.

She took me back to a chair, strapped on the cape and applied the bleach according to the directions. The gasp that she made as she rinsed my hair should have warned me that something was wrong. She left me reclined back at the sink, and I knew something was really wrong the way the next stylist began striding up the aisle, shaking her head and blowing through her tense frown. The original stylist kept flapping her hands nervously as though she could fly herself out of there.

At this point I raised my head to look in the mirror. My hair was now as white as snow with a few green and bright orange streaks and as dry as straw. The older stylist patted me on my hand and told me not to worry. She then asked me if I had ever “treated” my hair and what sort of hair products I used at home. She remained puzzled. She then asked me, “Honey have you been on any sort of medication in the last year?” I told her about the chemotherapy treatments I had recently ended. “Oh,” she said, “this is bad.”

She explained to me that due to my medication, once bleach was applied, my hair would not hold color and it would be dangerous to try to add permanent coloring back to my hair. She cut my hair short and suggested that I cover my hair up daily with a dark temporary colored mousse, or rinse, until my hair grew out. I learned that for the best hair results it is important to find and stick with a regular stylist as well as to make certain that your hairdresser knows about all of your medications and diet before you use any chemicals.

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