Picture my hair as expensive salad

By Mir
April 8, 2006

It is amazing what twelve hours of continuous sleep followed by a bowl of off-brand Froot Loops will do for your outlook. I’m still sick, but now when I cough up chunks of stuff I sort of feel like maybe I am just clearing out the remnants of whatever virus this is, rather than puzzling over each bit of production and wondering if I would recognize actual lung tissue if I saw it.

I… hope you weren’t eating, when you read that. Sorry.

Anyway, I was so busy being sick this week, I forgot to tell you all about my trip to the salon before the illness swallowed me whole.

Here is the thing about me and hairdressers: If you are an infertile stylist wanting to have a baby, you should come cut my hair. I have magical baby juju for hair people. I have no idea why.

Every time I find a stylist I really trust, she gets pregnant and disappears. I’ve been using the same salon for six years but was on my THIRD stylist there, and I swear to you that the last time I went in? She was sporting a bump. Seriously.

I loved the first stylist. She cut my hair for a couple of years, then got pregnant and subsequently decided not to come back after the baby was born. Fine. I moved on to another stylist there, whom I grew to love, and who already had a baby (I figured I was safe) and then SHE got pregnant again. To add insult to injury, she had hyperemesis and even before she went on maternity leave she could no longer straighten my hair because the chemicals made her barf. (How selfish of her; what about MY NEEDS?) I just assumed that she would go out on leave, never to be seen again. In the meantime, it was on to stylist number 3.

Far be it from me to speak ill of a stylist who suffers through my inane chatter and puts up with my constant “well how about trying this?” and “are you sure that’s right?” sorts of questions. Stylist 3 was fine, really. I mean, yeah, there was that time when she straightened my hair that she combed so hard, most of the little hairs along my hairline broke and I had stubble there for a while, followed by crinkly, wavy little untamed hairs. And then after I let her cut my hair short there was that time that I said “a little shorter than last time” and she gave me a crew cut and I cried for a week. But. Um. Other than THAT….

Well. Stylist 2 finally came back from maternity leave, and the planets aligned and Stylist 3 was away on vacation, so I was able to schedule an appointment with Stylist 2 without having to face Stylist 3. Perfect!

It was a tearful reunion. Mostly because she’d probably thought she was rid of me. But we caught up and discussed my new short ‘do and she led me back to the sinks to wash my hair.

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “We have this FABULOUS new shampoo and conditioner in… you will LOVE IT! I’ll use it back here and I bet you’ll want to buy it. It is AMAZING!” I nodded as best I could with my head balanced on the lip of the sink. She chattered on about how great it was while she lathered my head, and I caught a pleasant whiff of it and stared at the ceiling and tried to imagine I was in a jacuzzi with Viggo Mortensen rather than at the salon being lectured about my shampoo choices. “I’m just going to leave that on for a couple of minutes to soak in. I’ll be right back!” my reverie was broken as Stylist 2 left me there with a wet head. Hrmph.

When she returned–still chirping about how these hair products would cure cancer and end global warming–I asked to read the bottle while she rinsed me out. The front of the sleek container interspersed lots of French amongst its many important declarations, such as “All Organic” and “Never tested on animals!” and “only the finest gnome dung extracts.” Turning it over to read the ingredient list, I discovered “extract of organic crimini mushrooms” was one of the first items on the list.

“Crimini mushrooms? Like, the ones you EAT?” I asked Stylist 2. She had a visible paroxysm of glee and said that yes, isn’t that AWESOME, so many of the finer products are discovering the benefits of mushrooms for the hair, and I would be astounded at how shiny and gorgeous my hair was going to be, etc. I finished scanning the list and handed the bottle back after she wrapped my head in a towel. I was feeling dubious about the whole mushroom thing, but decided to humor her and ask how much it cost.

Now we were back to her chair, and she was rubbing my head rather briskly with the towel, so at first I thought maybe I hadn’t heard her right. I asked her to repeat.

“Yeah, I know, it’s a lot,” she admitted. “But fifty dollars really isn’t that much when you consider how long it’s going to last–”

“Wait,” I interrupted. “Fifty dollars for BOTH, right?” Her eyes darted around for just a moment.

“No,” she admitted. “Fifty dollars for each bottle. So, um, a hundred dollars for the set.” I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help it. She again started talking about how it only takes a dime-sized blob to do the entire head, but I wasn’t listening.

I was thinking that if I was going to pay $100 or even $50 for something involving mushrooms, it had best come with a free bong and maybe a good mix CD.

She was a pretty good sport about my having no interest in purchasing the mushroom shampoo and conditioner, but did keep remarking on how soft! and shiny! my hair was, now that she’d used them on me. My feeling was that my hair had pretty much been that soft and shiny when I came in, thanks to my cheap drugstore hair products which contain lots of chemicals tested on defenseless lab rats.

Anyway, we then settled into the discussion of What To Do With My Hair. I pointed out that I’d begged the other stylist to please just thin it out some, on MULTIPLE occasions, and she’d kept assuring me that this wasn’t the way to go. “I like it this length, that it is now,” I told Stylist 2, “but it’s just so BUSHY.” She nodded knowingly and started taking scissors out of her fancy case. “I don’t know WHY she was so unwilling to thin it out,” I added. “It would be FINE if there was just LESS OF IT.”

“Well…” she paused. It’s a nice salon, where I go, and one of the things I like there is that the stylists all seem to get along and there is none of the cattiness I’ve seen elsewhere. “She was probably nervous to do it,” she said finally. “She doesn’t have a lot of experience with texturizing. But lucky for YOU, it’s one of my favorite things to do. We’ll get you thinned out.” And with that, she grabbed a hunk of the back of my hair, and started hacking away.

I looked down at my lap and tried to breathe in even, calming breaths. *SNIP* *SNIP* *SNIP* from behind me, and every so often I could feel a blade VERY close to my scalp. Breathe, pray, breathe, pray….

The end result was nothing short of a miracle. The overall length is almost identical to what I went in with, but I have half as much hair. The burgeoning afro has been replaced with lots of wispy bits here and there, and it only takes me about a minute to style. She, of course, spent twenty minutes futzing with it when she was done, and flat-ironed the front and pushed it this way and that poofed it and sprayed it. I don’t know why stylists feel the need to do that. I went home and washed it immediately (oh no! mushroom extracts down the drain!) to remove all traces of the Cruise Director hairdo, but it’s a great cut, overall.

I’m even going to forgive her for stopping midway through and ruffling the top and remarking, “Where did all this GREY come from?” For a split second it occurred to me to feign surprise and blame it on the fancy shampoo, but in the end I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Life.”

If she comes up with a shampoo that stops the grey, I might buy it. But only if it contains 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and is only tested on skinny French people.


  1. Erin (erin-erin-bo-berin)

    My hair has been every color that occurs in nature (the excpetion being black, and I even had it shaved off for my 21st birthday. One thing I’ve learned: it’s only hair. It will grow back.

    Glad you laughed at the $50 a bottle shampoo. I would have asked if now the haircut would be more expensive!

    No offense to France, but skinny French people are all rats, aren’t they?

  2. Brenda

    It’s really best that when you change stylists, you change salons.

    Kudos to you for not buckling and buying the $100 shampoo and conditioner. My stylist doesn’t even bother asking me anymore.

    BTW, I’ve started using L’Oreal’s new Natural Match hair color. No ammonia, no horrifying odor, and it covers the gray without frying my hair. I’m hooked. I should start charging L’Oreal for all the recommendations I give when people ask who does my color.

  3. Jenn

    OMG that is freaking hysterical.
    “Only if it comes with a bong and a good mix CD” Yeah, there went my Diet Coke right out my nose.

    You are my queen, Mir. (But you knew that!)

  4. bob

    If you cough up anything green looking kinda like broccoli then you’re in trouble. anything else and you’re okay. Ever since my wife had the sinus infections from hell (two, count ’em, two operations) we’ve all had an obsession with the color & form of what we expectorate. (We are a couple much in demand…)

    I’m glad to here you are feeling better.

  5. Sheryl

    Yay for good haircuts! I’m glad your feeling better.

  6. bob

    hear, dammit, not here. you need a reverse switch on these things.

  7. Kris

    Maybe since she ragged on your gray, she’ll get pregnant again. It’ll serve her right. Bwa ha ha.

  8. Em

    I have a few comments. #1 – What? No picture?

    #2 I have seen parts of lung coughed up and it looked like elbow macaroni. (maybe more like canneroni)

    #3 How do you find ONE hairdresser you like? I have been at the same place for 6 years. The girl is very VERY nice, very inexpensive, has me rolling on the floor laughing, tells me all of the best gossip but her hair cutting skills? Eh. I always come out looking like my mother. As a result, I have told her I am “growing it out” and I can hear my grandmother’s church lady friends whispering about the girl with the long hair “She’s over 30, isn’t she? Tsk tsk.” Tell me – how do you find a good one??

  9. Susan

    Yes, I’m with Em! Where are the pictures? Don’t torture us like that.

    I am agonizing over an eye cream that costs $100.00 an ounce, but as it seems to be Youth in a Tube, it’s probably worth it. Not so much with the shampoo, though.

    Pictures! Pease!

  10. parodie

    Just for the record: my chemistry prof in University (Joe Schwartz at McGill, in case you want to check that he really exists *grin*) said point blank that the only real difference between the different shampoos is the smell. So find one with a smell you enjoy/can put up with, and don’t be swayed by the 50$ shampoos. :) They’re all the same basic chemical – sodium laureth sulfate.

  11. blackbeltmama

    The whole pregnant stylist thing is exactly why I go to a man. I never have to worry about it. And, what is it that when we want to switch to a different stylist, we feel like we’re breaking up with a boyfriend or something. It’s so weird if you think about it.

  12. Niihaus

    I believe I would’ve called Bull Shiitake on the hundred bucks! ;-)

    Besides, everyone knows it’s mayo that makes your hair FIERCE!

  13. Mary

    Yeah for a haircut! I just got one today, too. My haircut (and your $100 shroom shampoo) reminded me of the time I went to a salon recommended by a friend and had my hair cut and highlighted.

    To the tune of $325!

    I almost crapped when she told me how much it cost, but I was too embarrassed (and possibly hung over) to say anything other than, “Do you take checks?”

    At that time, the hairdo cost only slightly less than my monthly rent. Needless to say, I did not go back.

  14. Contrary

    Oh, I routinely spend 50+ bucks per bottle of shampoo and conditioner.

    I also like to throw 100 dollar bills into the garbage disposal for the air freshening benefits.

    You’ll have to excuse me now, I need to visit the little girls’ room. Now where is that stack of fivers I leave around for just such an occasion?

  15. wendy

    I, much like black belt mama, always go to a male hairdresser – a hetero male hairdresser at that for the following reason: Men? They see beautiful much different than women. And if I want to look beautiful to attract a man (even my husband), wouldn’t it make more sense to then get your hair cut by a man who would know what was attractive to a man? It only seemed logical to me.

    Of course, that didn’t stop him from having a twin brother die in a freak motorcycle accident and therefore take an extended leave of absense to deal with the loss. I’d much rather think I had the ability to impregnate people than to cause the death of their loved ones.

    …that leaves one with much to ponder.

  16. chlortence evelyn jones

    There is no reason for you to think that changing back to your original stylist is a bad thing. I totally want to see the hair now though, you know that, right?

  17. chlortence evelyn jones

    Oh, and the secret to finding a great stylist? If you see someone with hair you really think is goregous, ask them. Nothing is more flattering and wonderful than having someone admire and ask where you get your hair done. Personally, I’m smitten with my stylist…sorry for the comment after a comment. :) i promise there won’t be another comment after this comment.

  18. JuJuBee

    Uhm..did I cut your hair recently?

  19. ozma

    They’re all the same basic chemical – sodium laureth sulfate.

    Hell, no! That’s just the drugstore brands. There are kinds you can buy at the salon with green tea and angel pee and many other mystical ingredients. These have not a trace of sodium laureth sulfate. There’s even one blessed by a special prayer said over them by Rod Stewart.

    Pfft! Shampoos! All the same!

  20. Amy-GO

    Happy new hair! I too am a fan of the short cut and having it thinned each time is an absolutle necessity. And try Paul Mitchell Super Skinny shampoo & conditioner. It’s 8 bucks a bottle and completely controls my frizz…of which I have a lot. Great stuff!

  21. Aimee

    Picture, please? I’m glad your stylist is back — one of the hardest things for me moving from Boston was leaving my stylist, who was just magical. Still haven’t found anybody out here to compare.

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