An Overly-Detailed Account of My First Hair Coloring Appointment

Yesterday, I got my hair colored for the first time (unless you count the Sun-In Disaster of 2004, which I don’t (pretty sure that stuff is just bleach in a spray bottle?)). As a 24 year old, I figured, heck. I’ve toyed around with this idea just about every summer and haven’t ever done it; let’s get this done & see why so many ladies do it on a regular basis. And considering that my husband & I live on a recent grad + grad school student budget, I don’t actually foresee me doing this on a regular basis, but it was surprisingly fun.

I tried to look up “what to do to prep for your first hair coloring appointment” on Google, but there wasn’t much to find. Maybe most people are laid-back about this kind of thing, but I wanted to have some idea of what to expect and what to do beforehand (e.g., wash my hair? don’t wash my hair?). So, hopefully this is helpful to any other (overly prepared? normally prepared?) people like me out there. ; )

As an introvert and nominee for the Most Awkward Person Ever award (category: interactions with strangers), I typically don’t look forward to salon visits. I either can’t come up with enough to talk about and feel like there’s a semi-awkward silence, or feel like the stylist is zoning out during my explanation of what I do/don’t want (which I think is a justified feeling, considering that I often come away from the hair salon like, “whaaat happened to my hair?” and then switch to a new hair salon for the next time & start the whole shebang over again).

I mean, I don’t have negative haircut experiences 100% of the time. Maybe just 75% of the time. And I like to subscribe to the “common denominator” theory, so I’m probably the problem here & my explanations are needlessly boring or unclear. Ultimately, though, it’s all enough that I don’t really look forward to haircuts, and so I went into this hair coloring appointment with tentative hopes.


IMG_2012 (1)

After doing a little online research (mostly Yelp), I found this salon (Rock Paper Scissors Salon and Gallery in Durham). Two factors had me go here instead of the last salon I went to: 1) price (cheaper hair coloring than the previous salon I went to), and 2) super good online reviews. I’m so glad I found it! It’s really cute, and it also doubles as an art gallery.

Most importantly, though, my stylist was really great. She was friendly and seemed to really listen to what I did and didn’t want (e.g., asked clarifying questions, showed me different options and asked my opinion, etc.). We chatted pretty easily and I noticed a tattoo on her arm that looked like the f-holes in a violin. I play the violin, so I asked her about the tattoo, which started a conversation about music and instruments and bluegrass and music festivals. (First time I’ve ever had a long & natural chat with a stylist! Woooo!) Basically, she seemed like an interesting and friendly person.

IMG_2013 (1)Here I am, awkwardly sneaking a photo while the stylist is in the back mixing up hair color magic.

The coloring process wasn’t bad! It took mayyybe an hour? I’m not sure, but like I said, it was nice talking to the stylist, so it didn’t feel like a long time. I wanted the look where the color doesn’t start right at your scalp (baylayage maybe? not the full ombré look), and there wasn’t any discomfort from coloring stuff sitting on my scalp (although I’m not sure if that’s uncomfortable anyway, since I haven’t had that done).


IMG_2014 (1)Here I am, looking like an alien who just came inside from the rain.

The color sat on my hair for another 15 minutes or so, and then my stylist washed it out of my hair and blew it dry. (If I could blow my hair dry like a stylist, shoot. Good hair days all day erry day.) It ended up being exactly what I wanted: subtle and natural-looking, but noticeable red “highlights.” (Although I’m still not sure if you would call it “highlights,” because it’s not a lighter shade than my natural hair, just a different color.)


Well congrats, you’ve made it to the end of a super long, exciting post on my hair coloring adventure. Hopefully this helps someone (like me) out there who was looking for a “what to expect at your first hair coloring appointment” post.

Here are some basic tips, based on my experience:

1. If your hair is a normal amount of clean (not washed that morning, but also not like, visibly greasy), you don’t need to wash it before you go. I even had some leftover product in it (mousse from the day or two before) and it was fine.

2. Bring pictures (I used my phone to show a Pinterest board I made) to show as you’re explaining what you want.

3. Explain what you don’t want, too. (For me, it was “I don’t want to not notice a difference, but I also don’t want to be like, startled when I look at my hair. I also don’t want it to be orange.”)

4. Do some research and find a salon with lots of good reviews. For me, I looked specifically for good reviews on the stylists, and my stylist ended up being great.

5. Be excited! In the big scheme of things, it’s hair color. It’s not a huge deal, and probably won’t look 100% awful if you’ve found a good salon. And if it does, now you get to go shopping for cute hats. ; )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s