Clairol’s memorable ad campaign in the 1950s with the slogan "Does she...or doesn't she? . . . Only her hairdresser knows for sure" jump-started the at home hair color industry. Ad copywriter, Shirley Polykoff, who coined that phrase felt that a woman had the right to change her hair color without everybody knowing about it. The campaign lasted for 15 years, and Clairol's sales increased by 413 percent in the first six years! In our current world of ever-changing hair color, it’s no secret that nearly 85% of women color their hair at least once every eight weeks, compared to 7% in the 1950s.
My own hair color journey began in my teens. My newborn hair was baby blonde that turned to mousy brown sometime in my childhood. During high school, my family of seven took our first spring break road trip from Chicago to Florida, the land of sunshine.While there, my sister and I decided to try Sun In, a new grocery store product that promised to give us natural, vacation highlights. How perfect, we could lay out at the pool and come home with both sun-kissed skin & HAIR! Instead, I turned into a lobster with a bad sunburn and slightly orange hair. Even so, it ignited my quest for highlighted blonde hair.
Next, came the at-home highlighting kits with a “professionally designed cap for accurate, more comfortable and neater frosting”. I’ll never forget those hours spent in our basement with my mom pulling my hair strands through the cap with a crochet hook type instrument. It was so incredibly painful! When I finally graduated to real hair salons, even they were using this same type of cap torture to create beautiful highlights. There is an old French saying: Il faut souffrir pour être belle. Roughly translated, beauty is pain. Luckily, hair color has evolved from those days and is now relatively pain-free.
As an adult, I’ve moved quite frequently and have lived in four different states with a five-year stint in Europe. After settling into each new location, one of my first priorities is to find a salon and stylist. In doing my research, I’d secretly glance at new acquaintances’ hair to contemplate if I should ask them who does their hair. Does she have the shade of blonde that I like? What does her root out-growth look like? Wonder what her natural hair color really is? Believe me, it’s a stressful part of every move. But moving is also a perfect time to reinvent your hair color and try new color techniques - foil highlights, full foil, partial foil, baby lights, Balayage, low lights. Over the years, I’ve tried them all!
Now as we cope during the pandemic of COVID-19, it might be another opportune time for a hair color change. Due to social distancing and closed hair salons, the funny memes touting “we are about 3 weeks away from knowing everyone’s true hair color” is becoming a reality. The Ombre look is creeping in, whether I like it or not.
I, for one, am not interested in revisiting home coloring options and am fine with waiting for the professional cavalry. In the meantime, after trying MASAMI hair care, I recently partook in their complimentary virtual color consultations with one of the master colorists from Spoke & Weal. During 15-minutes over FaceTime, we discussed my past color techniques and examined the many depths of my colored hair.
Thanks to my Spoke & Weal consult, I can draw inspiration from the images they sent me and plan my post-isolation hair look. When the time comes, I’ll be ready for yet another journey in hair color!