The dye is cast... so open up the hairdressers now, Micheál

A year ago, nearly 80% of us approved of the State’s response to Covid. Now it’s down to a bare 43%. And Áilín Quinlan says she is joining the 43%
The dye is cast... so open up the hairdressers now, Micheál

NATURAL STYLE: Singer Emmylou Harris has embraced her grey natural look. Now Áilín Quinlan is considering doing the same

EMMYLOU Harris, Judi Dench, Jamie Lee Curtis. They all did it. They dumped the dye.

They made the transition.

And look at them now. So what’s the problem?

But here’s the thing. I have this sneaking feeling that even before she abandoned coloured hair for the silver look, box dyes were a rare enough thing in the lives of people like Emmylou Harris.

So the point came when I began to empathise with the findings of the new opinion poll that there were now high levels of public disapproval at the government’s handling of the pandemic.

This time last year, nearly 80% of people surveyed approved of the State’s response. Now it’s down to a bare 43%. And I’m now joining the 43%.

Let’s not mention the disgraceful U-turn on giving the vaccine to frontline workers like gardaí and teachers, or all the twists and turns regarding who is or is not on the Covid-19 Hotspots Hot List (depending on how friendly a country is or how useful it might be to the government.)

Let’s not mention the unabashed and unashamedly male-dominated decision-making on Covid policy — there are no women on the Covid-19 Cabinet sub-committee for example, and no women in the room when decisions are being made about the implementation of Nphet regulations.

Example — the issue of pregnant women and covid placentitis (when the virus attacks the placenta of the unborn child) was just left kind of hanging there. But then, isn’t it women who are the ones who become pregnant?

Then there was the issue of children’s shoes — nobody seemed to consider the importance of foot-measuring, but then, isn’t it mostly women who bring kids to get their new shoes?

So, no surprise that there was no consideration of the implications of the fact that parents couldn’t get their kids’ feet measured.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, I noticed that nobody at all at all was talking about the long-term ramifications of using box dyes.

After a week of controversy around the Beacon Hospital vaccination of teachers at a private school, the frustratingly slow vaccine roll-out and the endless, dark tunnel of restrictions, the public’s mood has turned. And still nobody mentioned box dyes.

We’re entering the second year of the fight against Covid-19, and despite the fact that they were careful to the point of paranoia about implementing protection protocols and that they spent vast amounts on changing the lay-out of their salons, and on PPE and plexiglass screens and the like, hairdressers were forced to stay closed.

So, the other day, I glumly picked up what must be my fourth or possibly fifth box of hair dye in the last 12 months. Over that length of time, I’ve changed from light to dark brown to brown with auburn highlights (not the best idea, because the highlights lasted after the main dye vanished and it looked like I had a faded red streak down the centre of my head) and back, now, to natural dark brown.

There are people out there who are getting their hair professionally done. There have to be, given all those sleek, groomed, professionally coloured heads that I see whizzing around. Even I can’t be that incompetent at putting on the box dye.

On the other hand, I’m too nervous about the effects of long Covid to even consider sneaking a professional into the house.

I eventually gave in and, like many a woman before me (none of whom are involved in Covid-19 decision making) bought a box hair dye.

There is no doubt that the manufacturers try very hard and do an extremely good job at achieving what they promise on the tin. Yes, the dyes are superb. Yes, monumental amounts of thought, science, design and the very best of commercial intentions have gone into their creation and continuous quality improvement.

The box dyes have come on in leaps and bounds since I last used them decades ago. But the colour doesn’t last long enough and I suspect that it cannot just be a myth put around by ambitious disingenuous hairdressers that very regular, continuous use of box dyes in the long-term is not the optimal way to care for your hair.

I also noticed that the word ‘caring’ preceded the description of every single element in the box of hair dye I had just purchased. There was a mini-bottle of caring colourant and a mini-bottle of caring shampoo and a mini-bottle of some kind of caring conditioner. What were they trying to convince me of?

“I don’t know,” I said to my daughter. “I might go grey. Like Jamie Lee Curtis, for example.” She wasn’t so sure. I googled going grey and suddenly I wasn’t so sure either.

It can be a long and patchy process if you let it go grey gradually. It is definitely not stylish.

Alternatively, you can let the roots grow out for an inch or two and then get a pixie cut and suffer ultra-regular trims until all the old colour grows out.

But, erm, who is going to trim your hair with the hairdressers all shut?

You can also go for what they call a “colour correction”, which means that instead of “correcting” your colour to your natural or dyed colour, your hairdresser “corrects” it to look more like the grey shade that is naturally and gradually growing in.

This is apparently a lot like getting highlights. It can also be slow and expensive.

If you have dark hair and have never lightened it before (as I have not), a correction session can take hours and it can cost you quite a bit, depending on the colour you start with, the length of your hair and of course your individual hairdresser’s price list.

But who is going to give you correction highlights now?Even with the initial highlighting session it can take upwards of six months to fully go from coloured to grey hair.

Meanwhile, your grey highlights may get a bit brassy and you have to go back for a touch-up.

It’s all hypothetical now because, yes, all the hairdressers are shut.

Oh, for God’s sake Micheál. Just let the hairdressers open up again before we crack up altogether.


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