Gigi here, with a Deeply Discounted and Deceptful Drugstore Deal!
Before I get to the “good stuff,” kindly allow me to vent about some things I detest seeing on myself: Gray hair, occasional strands of-gasp!-white, and roots. My grandmother’s red hair remained intact until she was in her late sixties. My mother was nearly a full-fledged brunette until then. On the other hand, my brilliant natural auburn, the hue which caused people to stop me in the middle of streets in downtown Pittsburgh, was, sadly, not as long-lived . . . sing three verses of Springsteen’s “Glory Days” here.
What can be worse than gray hair? Hair coloring! Please stop and consider the ingredients if you’ve never used it. Peroxide is generally included to literally strip your own inherent pigment, to be replaced with a man-made version. Sometimes it is combined with ammonia (yes, as in scrub-the-bathroom-floor-ammonia), which causes the hair shaft to swell in order to accept stain. Yes, you may hav e thick, radiant tresses immediately after coloring, but your hair has been forever changed for the worse. The texture is only temporary and you will spend the remainder of your time caring for it.
Virgin hair is unparalleled in beauty, despite all of the hype to which we are exposed. No matter how fine the salon services, the natural, variegated, multi-tonal shades with which you were born cannot be replicated. My point is to frighten anyone who has never dyed her hair to step slowly away from the bottle and then dispose of it. For the rest of us, my goal is protection. One clever trick I learned is to apply dye to my ends only every third time I color, as new growth needs to be tinted. Ends are already porous and fragile; coat with a rich conditioner and allow to penetrate as a beauty treatment while dying the remainder.
For gentle touch-up’s, try Roux’s “‘Tween Time Color Stick” which sells for a steal. Does the name sound familiar? If so, you probably first spied it on your mother’s vanity, as their first product was “Fanci-Full Rinse.” Roux was invented in 1932 by a stylist who was frustrated by the cost and unpredictability of hair color (some things never change). It is a giant, locks-loving crayon, available in a variety of hues. It works miracles to disguise unsightly grays and roots. If you have difficulty finding it in a local drugstore, it can be purchased online; my favorite site is Cachebeauty.com
The cost is $6.49 (it can retail for up to $12.00), and Cache offers a screen with accurate swatches to help you choose (type “Roux” in the search box). The scent is pleasant and there is enough to last a long time. The directions suggest that you wet the chubby stick and dab on, but I find that clumsy. Instead, take a nearly-defunct mascara and clean the wand thoroughly. Wet both the wand and stick and mix. Apply where needed with very soft, wisp-like strokes. The color will dry but won’t leave a tacky feel (the hair color mascara Dior created years ago left me like a figure in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum!). Roux does not make promises of endless wear-you’ll need to touch it up again, but it’s quick and highly effective. The portable tube is easy to toss in your handbag or keep in a desk drawer. A word of warning: Some hues may transfer to bed linens, and you may need to take precautions.
I now know why the line’s been around for so long-it’s amazing. And why are you still reading? Time to shop!