How Much Should I Pay To Fix My Hair Mistake?

Zero dollars or at least $100?

Not my style muse.

A few weeks ago, under the influence of a lot of time spent alone and a tiny bit of marijuana, I went to the drugstore and bought a few things I needed and a box of Revlon Colorsilk hair dye in “Soft Black” for $3.84.

Inspired by both a fuzzy vision of what I wanted my hair to look like and the desire to eradicate the four to ten grey hairs that sprout defiantly from the front half of my head like those inflatable stick men you see at car dealerships, I followed the instructions and waited patiently.

Normally, I do not dye my hair myself; normally, I let it do whatever it’s going to do. Earlier this year, I dyed it what I’d hoped would be lighter but just ended up turning reddish, like an Irish setter, in a way that I found to be unappealing.

In sunnier times, with hair that is clearly not my natural color. Also with a tan.

I couldn’t remember if I had used permanent or semi-permanent dye the time before, but the “Soft Black” dye I purchased for what was essentially pocket change was permanent, and maybe closer to what my actual hair color is naturally. This will just fade and my hair will go back to what it used to look like, I told myself. I didn’t want to pay my hair stylist to just dye my hair back to normal — the money spent on hair color is not insignificant and in my mind is worth it for things like making me blonde.

After the allotted time, I took a shower, rinsed my hair for what felt like an eternity and examined the results.

It’s me, Severus Snape, in the dead of winter.

It was a Lot Of Look — very dark, one dimensional, and bearing an unfortunate resemblance to Severus Snape. Death and the inevitability of taxes are permanent; hair dye fades and thankfully, the beauty internet brims full of solutions to fix mistakes. Research led me to believe that I could eliminate some of the color by washing my hair multiple times with dish soap, which is full of sulfates and will therefore strip some of the color out of the cuticle. I took a shot glass full of Palmolive into the bathroom, scrubbed till my hair felt like seaweed, and then conditioned profusely.

Nothing really happened. My hair is going to be this dark until it fades or I fix it.

I stopped by my hair stylist to see my sister who was also getting her hair cut by the same person — we all go to the same stylist, like the Kardashians, but cheaper — to see if there was anything that could be done.

“It’s really dark!” my stylist said. “What did you do?”

I told her, she laughed and I said “I’ll come back in a few weeks if it hasn’t calmed down.” It’s been a few weeks; it has not calmed down and it would cost me $148 or so to fix, not including tip.

It’s just hair. I could wait it out and see what happens. I scrutinize it every morning to just see if anything’s changing but to me, it still looks like I’m wearing a wig made of Vantablack. Like most things we fixate on, no one else can really tell the difference. But I can. Sometimes I like it, but most of the time I really don’t. Paying $148 to fix a mistake that was easily preventable feels dumb, but I’d rather not have hair that looks like I skinned my sister’s very black cat and made a wig out of its fur.

Maybe I’ll wait and see what happens. Or maybe when I get paid, I’ll make an appointment and get this sorted. $148 is probably worth it to feel like myself again.