Beauty, HairS.O.S. Color Correction

“HELP!!” I messaged Carolyn in the early hours of a Friday morning.  “Major hair dilemma!!!!” TDO readers, I was involved in a true hair S.O.S a few weeks ago and it wasn’t pretty:  I looked like a stripey tiger.  I know it sounds over dramatic, but lest you think I was being a drama queen (I hoped for the same as I stared into my bathroom mirror lighting), my hair disaster of truly epic proportions was confirmed as I walked into a conference room full of work people and was met by stunned silence and puzzled glances. “Your highlights are ORANGE,” as one person in the room bluntly pointed out.  “Kat, what happened??”

Pictures of my hair (see above) can confirm that this observation was dead accurate. Interwoven between my dark brown hair were pieces of brassy, bright orange, which made my head practically reflective and a traffic distraction in Times Square in direct sunlight.  After sending pictures to Carolyn as evidence, we both decided that for serious hair disasters like mine, true experts needed to be consulted.  Consult we did, with Jason Backe, Clairol Color Director and Master Colorist at Ted Gibson Salon, who I now personally refer to as the Mother Teresa of hair color.

“Do you not find Kathleen’s hair TERRIFYING?” Carolyn asked Jason over email, as we sent over pictures showing the full damage.  I began to have hope my hair could return to a color found in nature (and not on Tony the Tiger) when Jason responded, “No, I’m inspired!!! This will be easy as pie!”

Using only the pictures I sent him, Jason amazingly prescribed applying Clairol Brass Free Natural Instincts to my hair in 6.0, Light Brown, explaining that doing so would get rid of those dreaded orange, red tones in my hair.  The minute he prescribed his solution, I ran out at 9 am on  Saturday (a time of day on a weekend at which you will never find me up, unless I need to be at the DMV), and to 3 drugstores (thank you, Walgreens).

Carolyn came over to help, as she was already an expert at using Clairol Natural Instincts.  My first time ever with box hair color, I was totally thrilled with the results and the ease, and immediately became a convert.  Carolyn showed me how to mix the color and the treatment solution together, and we worked together to apply the solution throughout my hair.  As a word of warning, the solution does make your scalp tingle a little bit (or maybe I just have a sensitive scalp), but as a bonus, the Clairol solution doesn’t contain ammonia,  so nor Carolyn and I passed out in my apartment from the fumes.

It turned out I needed the entire bottle to fix my hair, and two simple washings later, I was absolutely delighted to find that my hair was now a subtle dark brown.  Those brassy, toxic looking highlights?  Gone and faded to a lighter, natural looking brown, as I had originally wanted (witness the transformation below).  My hair still looked shiny, healthy, and glossy and I practically heaved a sigh of relief when I examined it in the bathroom mirror.  See below for a recent picture from of the results from the Bahamas practically 4 weeks later, with my haircolor intact despite sea spray and salt water.

All I can say is thank goodness for Jason Backe, as it was a scary 36 hours, and I am relieved to no longer look like a stripey tiger. icon


  1. Kristina A  |  9 June 2009 at 5:31 AM

    Who originally did that to your hair? Did you go back and beat them with a stick? I’ve never actually done that to a stylist who cut my hair too short or anything… but I’ve seriously considered it!

  2. Carolyn  |  9 June 2009 at 9:41 AM

    the worst is- the stylist who did it 1) owns a salon 2) works on editorial shoots 3) apparently is a “celeb stylist” but actually turned out to be a huge asshole! Lesson learned: read reviews before going to a salon.

  3. jennifer  |  9 June 2009 at 7:17 PM

    That is beyond sweet and amazing that he could tell you what to do over the phone!

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