Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Very Long Hair Story - Part Three

**Note this was originally published on October 12, 2011.  Not sure what went wrong, but somehow it's disappeared.  I can see the post in my list of postings but it doesn't appear on my blog at all.  Original comments have been lost, so sorry!**

I was upset with the results of the second appointment. I didn't want to call and talk to Amy or the owner and ask for a refund, or even to say that I was unhappy. I didn't want either of them to ask for the chance to fix the color. While I had known all along that the black might be tough to remove and it might take multiple steps to get me to my goal, I never imagined how miserable I'd be. Yes, my hair was sort of red. But it was the coppery red I didn't want, a mish mash of colors, damaged, and much shorter than I wanted.

I wanted Donna's advice on what to do next. I was at the point of buying a box of black dye and covering it all up, but hesitated because I didn't want to make an emotional decision. I'd invested so much time and money, and wondered if it was possible for anyone to get my hair to a red shade, even if it meant going burgundy/super dark red. I was worried that trying to continue to reach my goal shade was going to make things worse.

I spent hours looking up other salons, particularly those who specialized in corrective color. I didn't want go for multiple consultations, and I didn't want to risk having someone promising me they could do the job and fail. My hair was damaged enough, how much more was I willing to put it through?

I wrote my "What Do You Look for in a Salon?" post three weeks after my second appointment. It was therapeutic, even though I didn't want to tell everyone exactly what was going on at the time. I'm not usually so girly about my hair; you guys know it's usually messy and I don't bother with it much. I think the hard part was that I lost my confidence, and I just didn't feel like me.

Amy's salon was gorgeous - very plush, big place, very busy. Some of the salons I looked up online were similar, and I was afraid to end up in the same position, being shuffled around and not having the colorist/stylist pay careful attention to my hair. Amy's juggling clients is what the main problem was, IMO. She was so busy trying to work on several people at a time, and I ended up sitting too long and overprocessing.

I'd spent six and a half hours the first visit, three and a half the second, so I did see many of salon's customers. While I never like judging a book by its cover, it was obvious that I was not their typical customer. Red is super popular right now, so I didn't think I was asking for the impossible. Perhaps I should've brought in specific photos or given exact color names/numbers that I was looking for. Did Amy simply forget our consultation and what we discussed at the start of each appointment, wing it when it all started to go wrong, or reinterpret my requests to conform to those of her other clients?

I found three possibilities. One salon used Pravana, and I thought that perhaps going there, the staff might know how to handle my black Pravana better, and get me to the Pravana shade I wanted. I thought basing my decision on a brand wasn't a great idea.

The second looked ok online - a big place with full spa, remodeled, every amenity. I asked Donna if she'd ever heard of the place and she had, and gave me the name of a colorist there. I looked up a little more info and found a lot of negative reviews. I know enough to know that you can't necessarily trust online reviews. People might give an unfair review for any number of reasons, from dissatisfaction to being just plain crazy. We've all seen makeup reviews where someone slammed a product for ridiculous reasons, so you all know what I mean. Was it one or two people leaving the same poor review everywhere they could, or multiple clients? Many of the reviews were negative due to pricing - when I looked at the prices posted online, yes, they were high, but they were also the going rate for a decent salon.

I asked another friend about the place, and she told me she'd gone about 8 years ago. She also said to make sure I scheduled an appointment with the owner. Many of the bad reviews were about the owner, so this made me worry. There were several reviews that expressed dismay at the staff's overly sexy attire, and one reviewer claimed she had worked there and the staff gossiped about the clients while they were in the chairs. I know salons are gossip havens, but I don't want to read that the staff is talking about me while I'm right there. Jeez, at least wait til I leave! I was also concerned that a posh salon meant the stylist's rent would be higher and I didn't want to take the chance of having another overbooked stylist not giving my hair the attention it required.

I decided to drive over and check it out. I found the place, but was unable to pull into the parking lot because a delivery truck blocked the entrance. There was on the street parking, but no available spaces due to other businesses in the same building. I saw several clients, in gowns, with their hair either under caps or in foils, standing in front of the door smoking. I realize people smoke, but shouldn't the salon have somewhere for clients to smoke? Isn't there a designated smoking area inside or on the side of the building, or somewhere other than smack in front of the entrance? I don't want to walk through a cloud of smoke to get inside. I know that's a dumb reason to reject a place, but it was the nail in the coffin for me.

I continued my search and found another salon. This place had a good amount of info online, and the reviews were great. There two lukewarm reviews, but the concern was pricing. Their posted prices were comparable to other area salons. I looked around for it but realized later my Google directions were wrong.

I finally called one afternoon. I spoke with the receptionist and told her I needed to schedule a consultation for corrective color. I gave her the condensed version of trying to go from black to red and the fright that was currently on my head. She was really nice and very informative so I scheduled the consultation.

I got there 30 minutes early, since I wasn't sure about the traffic during rush hour or exactly where the place was. The traffic was minimal and I found it right away. I parked right outside, which was nice since it was pouring rain. Went in and was instantly greeted by a staff member who walked to me (instead of having to wait at the front desk for someone to look up and acknowledge me). The receptionist took my coat, offered me a beverage, magazine, and a seat, since I was early and the stylist was finishing her previous client.

This was a small salon - 4 chairs, and a small bench. I thought, this is great. They can't schedule multiple clients at a time because there's no where to put them! The salon was nice, an older building with gorgeous wider plank floors, lots of character but without being forced. It didn't need all the rich pillows, wall art, or jewel toned paint colors on the wall. It was simple, clean, bright even through the downpour, and had just enough of a funky vibe. The staff members were neatly dressed, stylish without looking like they were going pole dancing. Their color bar was great, all the bottles lined up on shelving so I could see them mixing it up, instead of in the back room (at the other place, when the door to their color room swung open, I could clearly see dye splattered on the wall and overall messiness).

The stylist, Samantha, finished up and came over to talk to me. I gave her the rundown and she listened, really listened. I told her the whole sad story and my mixed feelings on what to do. She looked through my hair, checking all around. She must've been doubtful that a professional had worked on my hair, because it sure didn't look it. She agreed that there was damage to my hair, and she didn't want to push it further. She agreed that going darker would be a good option, but felt dark brown would be a better option for me than black.

We talked about adding a second color, and she felt she could give me some red to satisfy my initial urge for red. She felt a violet based red would be best, which was what I wanted originally. She offered to put color on immediately, but I couldn't stay. I felt very pleased with the consultation, and set up an appointment for two weeks later. I really looked forward to the appointment - this was one misadventure I wanted behind me once and for all.

Wow, this is an epic novel. But there's an ending in sight, I promise. Part Four to follow.

Very Long Hair Story Part Four - click here.

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