Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gray Hairs Gone

I made it to my three-hour hair appointment despite the pouring rain and flooded roadways.  The experience of having a new hair stylist got me thinking about how hard it is to have to change everything when you move out of state.  I had the same hair stylist for 15 years in Nevada.  She never raised her prices on me during all that time.  I looked forward to my appointments with her because she was so gentle, had a relaxing personality, and was very intelligent.  We had some fascinating conversations over the years and each time I learned something new about her, I respected her even more than I did before.  Her fiance and my father both died of cancer, so we spent a lot of time talking about life after death philosophies.  We had similar tastes in books and recommended readings to each other.

I agonized all summer over where to go to get my hair done here in Arizona.  It's not so much that I'm obsessive about my hair.  It's more a matter of me looking for a similar experience as the one I had at my salon in Nevada.  Whenever I was out running errands and spotted a salon, I'd stop in and look around.  I'd also get some prices.  One place had this open floor plan concept with very modern equipment, which kind of makes getting your hair done a very public experience.  They wanted $115 for what I needed to get done.  I used to pay $60 for it in Nevada.

At another place, a lady told me that the color would be $50, the highlight would be $50, and the cut would be $45 on top of that!  $145 all together!  Ugh.  And you are expected to leave a decent tip too.  I called a salon closest to my home and they said they had a lady who could do it for between $70 and $100, so I set up an appointment.

I prefer the privacy of a booth, but they seated me in an open space right by the front door, so everyone walking in and out had to comment on my hair or try to strike up a conversation.  I was hoping for a relaxing pampering, but instead felt overstimulated by various people talking at me from different parts of the salon.  The stylist was abrasive and very rough on my hair.  She actually pulled out several clumps of my hair by accident through man-handling my head.  She also kept poking me with her belly, she smelled of cigarette smoke, and she was so short that she made me slouch in my chair and contort my posture into various positions to make it easier for her to see the top of my head.

She kept dropping her tools on the floor and then picking them up and using them on my hair.  She spilled the activator to my coloring and scraped it back up into the mixture she put on my head.  I know enough about cosmetology from the time I attended school in a beauty salon to know that is against sanitary regulations to do that.  Anything that lands on the floor gets sanitized or thrown out.

She wouldn't let me wear my glasses because of the dye, but kept handing me all these reading materials that I couldn't read.  So, I just looked at the pictures and the large print.  Throughout the appointment she kept changing course, saying we should do this instead of that, etc.  I asked about price, and she said the color would be $50 and the highlight would be $40.  I thought the total was $90, so I agreed.  She asked if I wanted some color on my eyebrows.  I did.  My old stylist used to just do that automatically at no extra cost.  The end product was fantastic, but she forgot that I said I wanted to grow my bangs out, and she cut them when I was distracted by someone else.  The total somehow grew from the original $90 to $115 plus a tip.

She then said I would have to come back in 6 to 8 weeks.  I gave her a skeptical look.  I can't afford to pay that much for my hair to be done that often.  I usually just get my hair done once or twice a year.  She said, "You could probably get away with every 12 weeks."

I said, "How about if I call when I'm ready?"

She said, "How about if I call you to remind you when you are due?"

This is why I don't like requesting new services.  People are always trying to rope me into a schedule and I like my freedom.  I don't like being tied down to my calendar.  I'm thinking that I also want to keep shopping around for a stylist whose demeanor works well with my expectations for a relaxing, pain-free experience.

This stylist asked me a lot of personal questions that I really didn't want to answer, so I admit that I was a bit aloof.  I tried changing the subject to her, asking the same questions she asked me, and she talked about herself for a while.  Then she started talking about her other clients, revealing information that they probably told her confidentially, not expecting her to make their personal lives the topic of conversation with the next customer, which made me all the more confident that I was right not to discuss too much of myself with her.  Hair salons are notorious for being gossip shops.

When she dug it out of me that I was from Nevada and owned horses, she said, "Oh, that makes sense.  I had a real cowboy in here the other day -- spurs, chaps, hat and all -- and he said he was from Nevada.  He came to Arizona to buy a horse.  He was really quiet and I couldn't get much more than that out of him."

I said, "Yeah, most of us who work with animals learn to be quiet.  It's the way we like it."

She looked at me funny and went on talking in her Long Island accent saying that her Eastern mobster ways tend to intimidate people.  I thought, "A cowboy intimidated by a New Yorker?  I doubt it.  He probably just wanted her to shut up so that he could daydream about training the horse he just bought."

I overdid it in the pain killer department before my appointment, taking my blood pressure pill, and anti-anxiety pill to prevent my head from shaking while she worked on my hair, two aspirin and a Midol to deal with cramps and thin out my blood.  So, by the time she started blow drying my hair, I fell asleep with my eyes open.  I became aware that the lady in the chair next to me had been talking to me and said to her hair stylist, "I guess she's not interested in conversation."

The stylist said, "Don't worry about it.  She's been like that all day.  She's from Nevada.  They like things quiet over there."



TeresaA said...

lol I loved the last comment. :)

It's stressful to find a new hairdresser. What I have found to work best is when I find someone who's hair I like I ask them who they use.

Rebecca said...

I have been cutting my own hair for a while now, granted it is long and straight so its pretty easy to upkeep, just to be to avoid the cost of going to the salon. Especially every 6-8 weeks! I'd rather put that money towards horse shoes haha. :o)

Bet your hair looks lovely though!

Reddunappy said...

Hope you at least got a good style out of the experience!!

The salon I went to for 10+ years (Perfect Look) closed and I was forced to go somewhere else. I hate having to make appointments. So I choose to go to a walk in place.

It has taken me a couple of years, but I finally found a young gal that cuts my hair how I like it,(at Supercuts) and listens to me! I hope she stays!!! And she has an easy name to remember! LOL Jacque with a Q! LOL

Anonymous said...

I have a lady that comes to my house and cuts my hair when I call her and I color my own hair, mostly because I don't like going to a shop and having people think I am there to make friends.

Paint Girl said...

Since I have naturally curly hair, I have never trusted anyone to cut it. If a stylist cut it too short I would look like a poodle. So I cut my own hair and have been doing it for 20+ years. It curls up at different lenghts so no one can tell if I mess it up! LOL! I have gotten my hair colored at a salon but I haven't done that in many years. My hair color is natural with some sun bleaching.
Hope you can find a better stylist! That is why I stick to cutting my own hair... I don't have to worry about all of that! But not everyone can get away with cutting their own hair!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I used to cut my own hair too, but once it started turning gray I needed help giving it color. My husband says I look ten years younger when my hair is colored. Why do you think little old ladies go to the salon every Friday? It's because their hair would look like a rat's nest otherwise. When you get older, your hair starts falling out, turns gray and gets wiry. It sticks out in all directions.

K.K. said...

Uff, This is why I hate going to the salon! I lucked out when I met my best friend years, and years ago, that she happened to be a hair stylist. She does my hair in her kitchen, for free and I don't have to deal with super awkward conversations with a stranger. Those converstions are the worst.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I can remember going to the salon with my mom and having her stylist Bess do my hair. Then she retired and we would go to Bess' house and she would do my hair. When she finally stopped working on others, I began cutting my own.

Only because every time I used someone else- they didn't listen, cut it shorter than I wanted, did it the way they thought it should look and altogether messed it up. I had to live with it until the next time around...

At least if I screw it up- it's my own fault. But I have always gotten it right or close enough. Because I know what my hair does, how it behaves or doesn't and what to expect.

Ask Joan who does hers. Or I can ask my SIL too. I don't color mine so I am no help there.

Crystal said...

Oh I'm so glad to hear all these people cut their own hair too! I did mine a few times cause I couldn't get in to the girl I like and I have always dyed my hair myself, but I was brave and did hilites (not quite right, but not real bad, it'll be better next time) But all the people I see in real life look at me like I was crazy when i said I cut my own hair, lol.

Lee Anna said...

Hi - I live in the east valley and know a gal the does hair - (cut, color, highlights, etc) on your schedule, and stays in the price range you're accostomed to. Only 2gals in the shop, quiet but fun conversations.
Hair Candy,
Guadalupe Rd & the 101
Laurie is who I go to - tell her I referred you. Lee Anna

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I used to always feel bad when I told anyone that I've been cutting my own hair for the past 20 years. It embarrassed me somehow. So, I'm really glad to see in your comments that other gals cut their own hair, too.
I also color my own hair and have been doing that myself since I was in high school almost 30 years ago.
My hubby asked me just today if I had any grey hairs, because he went to his 30 year high school reunion this past weekend and told me that everyone looked so old and most people were grey.
I laughed and told him that when I've let my hair grow out, I have seen a grey hair mixed in my roots, but I just recolor my hair and it's gone! lol! I think he appreciates that I don't allow my grey hairs to take over. :)
He and my 3 kids also appreciate that I cut their hair, too. My daughter has never had a professional hair cut since she was born over 9 years ago and my sons have only had a couple of professional haircuts in their 15+ years. My sons and my hubby prefer me to cut their hair over going to a barber or hair salon.

And after reading about your experience, I understand why. I will never feel bad about cutting my own hair (and my family's hair, too) ever again! :)


achieve1dream said...

Wow, I don't think I've ever had a bad hair cutting experience.... Of course I'm very vocal and flinch dramatically if they hurt me (very sensitive head) so they are usually very gentle lol. I'm also very outgoing so that's normally not a problem. If I tell them I'm tired or have a headache they are a lot quieter and just let me listen to other conversations going on. Now I feel very fortunate. I didn't realize so many people had such bad hair salon experiences. I would have thrown a huge fit if she had picked something up off the floor and tried to put it in my hair!! I hope you can find someone better for your next appointment!