Project Redhead

There are six weeks left of 2010. I find that utterly staggering – where exactly has this year gone? [Not to mention that I have six weeks left to figure out my new years plans, which I hate doing with a passion…] This also means that I only have a matter of weeks to wrap up my 2010 Firsts ambitions.

Looking at the list I wrote back in January, there are still quite a few left undone. I won’t be going to Paris any time soon; my practical driving test won’t happen until spring (if at all) – though if I really pull my finger out and book it, I could take my theory test before the festivities commence. I’ve also not submitted any of my writing for publication, but to be honest, that was something of nebulous ambition and if we’re being petty, I’ve already been published – albeit in a variety of niche publications (BBC History Magazine and a book of book reviews being the most non-niche). But on the plus side, a lovely friend has promised me tickets to Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella – we just need to find a date we can both make during 2010.

That just leaves ‘become a redhead (temporarily)’.
I’ve long harboured a burning desire to transform my hair into flame-red locks, though I’ve no idea what began it. Three years ago I was banned by the bride for whom I was bridesmaid from going red before the big day – possibly because our dresses were red and there was a fear of clashing. (Can you wear red as a redhead? This may be an issue for me…) Such is my nature (and paranoia about anything that might change my hair too much) that I didn’t actually consider doing it until this year and the whole 2010 Firsts thing.

Even then, I was concerned. Red hair dye is quite difficult to get hold of in a non-permanent form, especially if you’re starting off from a blonde base, rather than brown. Given that it had potential to be a rather dramatic change I didn’t really want to launch into anything more than semi-permanent, so was relieved (after several weeks of searching) to discover a wash in-wash out variety in Superdrug for just 99p – bargain. In past experience, such products rarely worked, so I felt fairly secure that I wouldn’t cause any irrevocable damage.

In fact, even from the first application on Friday night, it looked promising:

It turned out that  it worked rather well (perhaps it’s just when you’re attempting to go blonder that such things are useless) and I immediately liked what I saw… It wasn’t quite strong enough, so early Saturday morning I re-applied it, confident that it wouldn’t look disastrous for the 1930’s gathering that evening.

Today’s day 3 of Project Redhead and as there was still some dye in the bottle, I’ve re-applied it again rather than beginning the process of washing it out. I like it – it’s not quite as natural looking or as deep as I’d like it to be, though the problem is that in my mind becoming a redhead means looking like this:

I’ve spent far too much time watching Mad Men recently.

I will never look like Christina Hendricks and I ought to just accept that and move on (though I’m enormously grateful to the person on Facebook who suggested that in the photo below I looked like Kate Winslet in Titanic). But the dilemma is, do I make the plunge and change hair colour on a more permanent basis? 
There are a few issues:
– As I’ve been blonde for ages, this is a big change and means darker hair for the first time in, well, forever. 
– What do I do about roots? I don’t want to look like some mid-90s henna haired teenager (see Claire Danes in My So Called Life), but what do I do when I want to grow it out and go blonde again? 
– What if it doesn’t look good when I do it properly? 
– When I cut my hair short and then even shorter (ok, the shortest it’s been since I was 6) lots of people said it looked great, but one vocal friend insisted it was awful – what if she was the only person telling the truth and what if everyone who’s said they like the red is actually lying too? 
– One friend’s already commented that in the photo below I look gothy. I’m attributing this mostly to the combination of bad lighting, vampy red lipstick and excessive eye make-up – i.e. not my usual appearance. But what if I do look gothy? 
– If I’m going to do it, should I do it professionally? (i.e. consult my hairdresser) Paying someone else to dye my hair for me would at least be another First… 
– It’s a change. I don’t like change… 
Yes, this is all rather self-centred and yes, I’ve been mocked before for sharing my trichological dilemmas on the blog, but was is a blog for if not the sharing of dilemmas? 
Of course, this post would be pointless without a suitable photo to go with it…

Ahhh, ‘doing a Liz’ with an iPhone is so much easier 
– although I’ve not quite worked out where to look yet. 
On the left – 1930’s/goth. On the right – ‘normal’ (again in a bathroom, hmmm.)

The other risk is of course the discrimination that redheads generally attract. On only day 2 of Project Redhead I had my first experience of this – a guy at the station yelled “Alright ginger!” at me as I got off the train yesterday afternoon. There’s a small chance this was a compliment, but the tone in which it was said didn’t suggest that it was. (Plus, I’m not even ginger – it’s more strong strawberry blonde if anything!) 
What to do…  

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