Last year I made the uneasy decision to get my hair dyed blonde—uneasy, because even as I sat in the chair getting pungent bleach applied to my hair, I was still on the fence about it. Just a couple of days before, I brought in a photo of tame, honey-blonde highlights to William Francis, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City, and by the narrowing of his eyes and slight head tilt, I realized I wasn't getting highlights; I was getting whatever William wanted me to get. In that moment, I felt an exhilarating rush, a strange mix of helplessness and bravery.
Thus came a brightly blonde Chanel.
Cut to last week, when I walk into another salon, this time Pickthorn, a corner shop in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Owner Chelsey Pickthorn gives me a bright, confident smile as I sit down to await my hair-color destiny. Instead of picking a general shade, I give Chelsey complete authority to choose for me.
Somehow I haven't convinced myself to get the heck out of Dodge.
As she explains the process of bleaching my hair, the following thoughts run through my head:
"I will die if this turns out to be orange."
"Ugh, I hope it's not some gross-looking green."
"Oh, maybe it will be pink!"
"Why am I doing this to myself?"
I have a colorist who's done hair for the Princess of Dubai working her magic on me. What can I really complain about?
Snapping back to reality, I smell the familiar chemical odor of bleach and, I don't know, maybe the fumes have gotten to my brain and convinced me that this whole thing might actually be exciting—because I no longer feel afraid.
What doesn't kill you (like burning bleach) makes you stronger.
Think about it: I have a colorist who's done hair for the Princess of Dubai working her magic on me, I am sipping a refreshing ginger ale (which the shop provided), and I am going to walk out with a dope hair color. What can I really complain about?
We pass the point of no return—because once bleach is in, it's in—and Chelsey gives me some clues as to what the final product will eventually look like.
Living my life like it's golden.
She explains that in order to get the desired color (mind you, I still don't know what that is) that she has to apply a yellow bleach. This type helps with darker colors, and I want to ask if maybe there is a purple hue in my future, but instead I bite my tongue. The bleach turns my hair a crisp gold. Maybe I'll consider that for fall.
At the rinse bowl I breathe a sigh of relief as Chelsey cleans the bleach off of my burning scalp. But, almost immediately after, she puts another substance in my hair, which I assume is the real-deal color. As Chelsey rubs in the dye, she mentions that the color often appears one way before application, and how it magically transforms as it sets. That's when she lets slip what shade she's dying my hair—aquamarine.
I know I said I didn't want green, but a cool green-blue fit for a mermaid actually sounds like the perfect summer hue to me. Now that I have some idea of what is going on, I'm even more eager to see it.
New thoughts as Chelsey rubs in the dye:
"Is this my boldest move yet?"
"How should I pose in my 'This is my new hair color' Instagram photo?"
"Will this color get me more matches on Tinder?"
I feel the coolest I've ever felt, and probably will ever feel, for the rest of my life.
After what seems like an eternity of applying product, rinsing, and even more applying and rinsing, it was time for the big reveal. Chelsey turns me to face the mirror. I lean in close to and immediately think, "I'm the Joker, but a cool, non-gimmicky (sorry, Jared Leto) version of the Joker!
Don't worry, I'm enthused, just in a state of shock.
And there I am, with a green-blue crop. It isn't flashy like the blonde I had last year, nor is it muted like my natural hair color; it's the happy medium between daring and safe.
While I'm still getting used to passing glances from people on the street and green residue on my fingernails, I find that this aquamarine dream hair is the perfect accessory to any outfit, better than any makeup, and I feel the coolest I've ever felt, and probably will ever feel for the rest of my life.
I think this one's a keeper for a while, but since I'm always looking to try something new, please, dear readers, Snapchat me hair color ideas @chanelinezp. Remember: it's just hair, and if it looks bad you can shave it off, right? Right.
Learn more about the talented stylists of Pickthorn at pickthornbk.com.