Erica Ehm Exposed!


To Dye or Not To Dye

Three Hours I'll Never Get Back

by: Erica Ehm

I knew it was "time" when my husband casually mentioned that I "may" want to visit the hairdresser. Every 2.5 months I get that rather unflattering skunk-like growth around my part that screams "Dye me!" What it's also whispering is "Time is passing," "You're starting to look your age" and "It's not time to go natural."

I started to dye my hair when I was a nineteen-year-old punk rocker. My evil plan was to look edgy. My brown hair turned rock'n roll after each awesome orange or crimson colour job. This fashion statement had little to do with altering perception of my age and all to do with attitude. So I'm used to sitting in a chair manned by an expensive colour technician, letting the hours tick by while I read out-of-date trashy style magazines.

But yesterday it bugged me. As usual, I sat with my expensive colour technician and, as per normal, we schemed on what shade we should go with. But this time, the discussion was more about covering my grey (there, I've said it), rather than the fun colour quotient. So I rebelled.

Of course I'm all about camouflaging what the years have done to me, but this time I wanted to feel like that edgy nineteen-year-old rock'n roller.

"Let's go purpley-red" I blurted out.

Expensive colour technician looked at me calmly. Clearly she's seen this kind of impulsive behavior from aging women before.

"Are you sure you want to go that route?" she asks carefully.

"Sure. Go for it. What's the worst that can happen?" I laugh like I don't have a care in the world. Cuz I was going to be a nineteen-year-old punk rocker very soon.

And so the process began. The bleaching, the foil, the painting of colour, the fumes, the waiting....and waiting....and waiting as my hair cooked. Then more painting, some washing, some more colour applied, the dryer for fifteen minutes, more washing, a quick rinse and I was done.

I headed to the mirror and started a messy blow dry—excited to see my freak flag fly. But Holy Crap. There were bright red stripes in my hair! What was I thinking? I looked like a hooker trying to hide her age—not a nineteen-year-old rock chick. How did that happen?

Expensive colour technician sees the look of panic on my face.

"Too bright?" she asks carefully.

I couldn't even speak. I was too mortified. I just nodded.

"No problem. Let's go deepen it up for you."

And so she did. She painted on more colour, I waited, she added a gloss, I waited some more, and finally, three hours later I had brownish hair with very subtle—yet playful—reddish, purplish streaks. Perfection.

Three hours and a big dent on my credit card later, I headed home. Not exactly rebellious teenager. More tortured cerebral artist deep mahogany. At that moment, my hair was a reflection of who I was. Actually, it was a reflection of who I want to be.

But in the back of my mind, I can't help but wonder if it's all worth it. Should I just "let myself go" and let my grey grow in au naturel? Would that mean I'm giving up on my beauty? Or can I make a statement that I don't have to look young to look beautiful?

As much as I'd like to be able to answer those provocative and important questions, right now I'd rather look at my gleaming eggplant-inspired hair in the mirror. For now, it was worth the three hours I'll never get back.

Do you have problem styling your hair like I do? Check out this video on how to tousle your hair! Long live messy hair!