hair dye disaster

The One Where I Dye My Hair Orange

The night before we left for California, I dyed my hair orange.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re all, “But her hair already IS orange? Should I say her hair is orange? Has she not noticed?”

People, I mean ORANGE.

No, MUCH more orange than that. Seriously.

This was the culprit:

Wella Lifetex Color Reflex Mask in Red. Naturally, the company discontinued it as soon as they knew I liked it, but not before I’d managed to squirrel a tube away in preparation for a time when I’d want my hair to look slightly redder than it does naturally.

That time came, as I said, the night before we left for California.

Now, as most of you know, my hair is naturally red, and I never really dared to tamper with it for fear of… well, for fear of it turning BRIGHT ORANGE, basically. I do, however, like to dabble in that small area of haircare – and trust me, it’s a VERY small area of haircare – which consists of products designed specifically for red hair. Wella Lifetext was one of those products: it’s basically a conditioner, but it’s a conditioner designed to “bring out the red” in your hair, and make it glossier, prettier and REDDER. It does this by depositing a small amount of colour every time you use it.

Now, I’d used this before and loved it. It did, indeed, make my hair shinier, and it did, indeed, “bring out the red”, although, honestly, it did it in such a way that only I would notice the difference. And it washes out after about three shampoos, so I figured it was safe even for me to use. Ha!

Because the product had been discontinued, there was only a small amount left in my one remainng tube, but it was just enough for one application, so I slapped it on with gay abandon, and then went about the business of packing my suitcase.

This was my fatal mistake.

I got so wrapped up in the process of adding and removing items from my suitcase that I left the product on for longer than the 2 – 5 minutes advised on the tube. Quite a bit longer, actually.

When I finally rinsed it out?


“Whoops!” I thought. “Went a bit too far, there! I will shampoo it again!”

So I did.


By this point, it was around midnight. Our flight was early the next morning, which is why I was washing my hair last thing at night: I figured if I did it then, and just tied it back to sleep in, I wouldn’t have to bother washing it in the morning, and could have a few more precious minutes of sleep. I’d finished packing my suitcase by this point, and had even laid out my clothes for the next morning, so all I had to do next morning was drag myself out of bed, have a quick shower, throw on some clothes and makeup and go.

I looked at the hair. And you know, it was late, and it was dark. I was looking at it under artificial light, and we all know how much THAT can change the appearance of things. I can actually look not too bad in artificial light, for instance, whereas in harsh daylight, I look like a hag.

“I don’t think my hair is any more orange than it is naturally,” I told myself. “It’s just the light. It’ll be fine in the morning.”

So I tied it up, set my alarm, and went to bed.

In the morning, things went mostly according to plan. The alarm went off, I sleptwalked to the shower, and then slepwalked back into the bedroom, where I positioned myself in front of the mirror to let down my hair, all Rapunzel-like.



It was a very obviously artificial orange: the type of colour that just does not occur in nature.

“OMFG!” I said.

Well, I was in quandary. I had just over 20 minutes before the taxi was due to arrive to take us to the airport, and my hair was bright orange. Also, Terry, who plans our trips with the precision of military manoeuvres, was in the vicinity, and would NOT be pleased to know that The Schedule was about to be disrupted by my orange head.

I tried to pile The Hair on top of my head, thinking that the less you could see of it, the more natural it would look.


It actually looked a bit worse, to be honest.

My mind was made up. Ripping off my dressing gown, I ran for the bathroom… only to get halfway down the hall, realise I had no time to wash and dry my hair before the taxi arrived, and turn and run back to the bedroom.

I had repeated this move about five times, in a frenzy of indecision, before Terry noticed me running up and down the hall naked, and wanted to know why.

“MYHAIRISOMGORANGE!” I wailed. “I need to wash it! I need to wash it NOW! There is time for me to wash it! Say there is time for me to wash it!”

Terry grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me in the eye.

“You’re not washing your hair,” he said, speaking very slowly and quietly, and actually, menacingly. “We. Will. Miss. Our. Flight. If. You. Start. Dicking. About. With. Your. Hair. Now. Understand?”

I nodded, mutely, and meekly headed back to the bedroom to get dressed.

And then, as soon as I heard Terry head downstairs to take the cases outside and wait for the taxi, I ran for the bathroom, locked the door behind me, wrenched the showerhead off the wall and, bending over the bath, SHAMPOOED THE HELL OUT OF MY HAIR.

And there was absolutely nothing Terry could do to stop me.

I was still blow-drying it when my parents arrived, closely followed by the taxi. It was a close-run thing. But by the time we got on the plane, my hair was – mercifully – free of TEH ORANGE.

I’m sure Terry will start speaking to me again soon.

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  • At first when I started to read, I thought – Hey, welcome to the club! My hair IS orange)) But then I see you got rid of it)
    Note to Terry – woman’s hair is much more important than a flight.
    AND – a woman can wash her hair, get dressed and put on make up in 5 min. But men do not need to know..

    July 4, 2011
  • Oh my, you really wouldn’t expect a conditioner to have such an extreme effect on colour. At least you got rid of it in time. X

    July 4, 2011
  • … no wonder it got discontinued, it’s an orange bomb waiting to explode on innocent people’s hair!!! I would have done the same thing: the running up and down the hall, the doubting and asking the boyfriend for re-assurance, my man would have said EXACTLY the same – very anal when we are travelling hehe – and I would have done exactly what you did, completely ignore his advice and washed my hair like a madwoman!! Love you for posts like this Amber xxx

    July 4, 2011
  • I laughed till I cried reading this! It sounds like the sort of thing I would do. Why is it always at the worst possible moment?!

    July 4, 2011
  • Diana


    Oh dear lord this is funny. I know I shouldn’t be laughing at what was probably a traumatic time for you…
    But I could picture the whole thing, and it was spectacular.
    You make my morning bearable 🙂

    July 17, 2011