Hed: The perfect shade of red (hair) can brighten your day
Lately, I’ve been making everyone I meet see red.
No, I haven’t been making them all mad – at least, I hope not – but I have been brightening their day if they happen to notice the hue of my hair.
Now, I love red hair. I always have. Most people who grow up with red hair and freckles, like myself, spend the rest of their lives trying to be tan and blonde. Not me.
I hated the freckles as a child, but when I discovered that my husband, James, thought they were “cute,” I decided that if freckles were what attracted the love of my life to me, they had something going for them. As for the red hair, I was disappointed when my auburn pigtails turned darker as I grew older. By the time I was grown, my hair was a nondescript brownish color with only a few red highlights.
When those red highlights began to turn a pale shade of gray, I decided it was time to reclaim my “red.” Through the years of either having a salon job or applying color myself, I’ve had various degrees of success in achieving the perfect shade of red. But none so spectacular as the result of my most recent experiment.
Last week I decided to economize by doing my own hair color. There was nothing to watch on television and it wasn’t quite bedtime, so I decided to try that great new “red” color I had bought. The idea was to touch up the gray peeking through the rinse I had gotten on my last visit to the hairdresser’s.
After following the usual procedure, then shampooing and drying my hair, I was nearly blinded by my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Imagine my surprise. I was hoping to look like a young Lucille Ball, and instead I looked more like a middle-aged Raggedy Ann about to have a heart attack.
I called my friend, Carolyn Anderson, for advice and she suggested getting a darker color to “cut the red.” So, bright and early the next morning – remember I did this late at night – I was waiting on Pontotoc’s Jitney Jungle co-manager Jerry Heard to open the door so I could make my emergency purchase.
Jerry gallantly said nothing as I sprinted to the pharmacy section, red curls flying. I had decided that one bottle of darker color was probably not enough, so when I plunked two bottles down on the checkout counter, Jerry could no longer control his mirth. He looked slowly from the bottles to my flaming tresses and burst out laughing. I smiled back and tried to maintain some semblance of dignity – which is hard when your head looks as if it’s on fire.
An hour or so later I was a more presentable shade of red, but I had learned several things from my experience. In honor of my son, Allen, who is a David Letterman fan, here are the Top Ten Things You Can Do If Your Hair Is Candy Apple Red:
10. Blame it on your hairdresser.
9. Buy a huge hat and sunglasses. (The hat’s for you, the sunglasses are for the people who have to look at you.)
8. Dress in white and blue and march in a patriotic parade.
7. Paint your face white and enter a Bozo the Clown look-alike contest.
6. Pretend you’re a stop sign.
5. Become a “before” model for Visine – “It gets the red out!”
4. Learn to make siren noises, then join the volunteer fire department as a stand-in – for the engine.
3. Marry a Cuban and star in your own comedy series.
2. Stay away from gas tanks.
And the No. 1 thing you can do if your hair is candy apple red: Go out and paint the town to match it!
Brenda Owen is a Daily Journal feature writer.