Wednesday, 26 August 2009

To dye or not to dye? or Is Grey the new Blonde?

Let's begin at the beginning.

I'm having a hair crisis.
Again. (No need for panic though as it only scores a measly 5 on the IGIS*.)
Short hair is fantastic: youthful, showcases your features, makes you stand out from the casting crowd (why do they all have shoulder length hair?), no split ends. The downside is that it has a recurring tendency to grow out very suddenly. You can go from elfin to matronly literally overnight. Thank goodness Luigi is on hand to work his magic in a few days' time.
But never one to await rescue, I felt I had to take action. So I thought I'd dabble with dyeing my hair. Nothing too daring. Just a slightly lighter shade of brown. Now, apart from an aberrant and short lived forray into red in the late 90's, I haven't really explored the world of hair colour. It's no wonder that those 10 minute claims on home colouring kits proved too much to resist. In spite of the professionl advice to first timers never EVER to do home colour, I went ahead.
It was quick and painless, with none of that repulsive amonia smell. Unfortunately, the result looks rather cheap. I was aiming for medium brown, but it's gone a bit henna red. And combined with my short crop having outlived its shelf life, I feel like one of those short haired Mediterranean matrons who waddle around in slippers and pinafores and carry big shopping bags full of groceries.

Photo: Diego Cupolo


The thing is, this whole dyeing experience wasn't as impulsive as it appears. Dyeing has been on my mind for a while - I mentioned it to Luigi last time he cut my hair. His perspective was refreshing: it doesn't matter what colour your hair is, as long as you've got some. He then added, you'll look fantastic with grey hair when you're older. It'll really suit your skin tone. It's going to be so striking.

Well, we're nowhere near that yet although I'll admit to yanking out the odd silver strand from my head here and there.
So why this fixation on hair colour? The truth is, I always wanted to be blonde. My mother maintains that with very few exceptions, we are born with the hair colour that suits us best - tough nuts if it's mousy brown. So I've always admired those women who look so incredibly and iconically sexy when they change their hair colour: Marilyn, Madonna, and more recently Scarlett Johansson in those D&G adverts, Christina Aguilera, and Beyonce! In other words, why oh why can't I look drop dead fantabulous in platinum blonde? Why does it make me look grey and all washed out?
I tried to go blonde as teenager. I used SunIN. Remember that stuff? I ended up with a mop of orange hair. Tragic. My mother still talks about it.
So it got me to thinking that maybe grey could be the new blonde. I hear you guffaw. Silent in the ranks! I have 5 words for you: Meryl Streep Devil Wears Prada. And another two words: Helen Mirren. (That's at least 3 Oscars. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, and reflect on your prejudices!)

So the question is. Would I dare go grey as a fashion statement, before my hair actually starts to grey naturally?
Is the world (read the Film Industry and Casting Directors) ready for grey as a fashion statement or would I suddenly find myself in casting sessions lumped in with retirees and geriatrics?
What if the experiment didn't work? Would I be able to go back to brown and my own casting age or would I find myself irrevocably locked out of roles below the age of 60?
Thank goodness for Luigi's ultra short crops... my current dye job will most likely grow out before my next big audition.

It'll have been - dare I say it - a close shave.

*IGIS stands for Isabelle Grooming Issues Scale. The scale goes from -19 to stratospheric. (The negative scores correspond to issues that are not yet relevant eg deep frown lines, drooping breasts, drooping nose, ears and eyes, feathering lipstick, motled skin, post menopausal facial hair, adult acne, old lady flat bottom, hot flashes... hey, it sure puts things in perspective.)

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