My Book Group Made Me Do It

05/07/03, posted by j

We read Sarah Strohmeyer’s “Bubbles Unbound” for the Mystery Book Group in May. Bubbles is a beautician trying to start a journalism career. Throughout the book, Strohmeyer interlaces beauty tips with the action. Someone suggested that we each try a tip for tonight’s gathering. Since I wasn’t about to pluck my eyebrows or start wearing makeup, I decided to try Strohmeyer’s recipe for dying hair with Kool-Aid.

I have to admit that I’ve always admired modified librarians and information professionals who break the stereotype librarians have. Lipstick librarian I am most definitely not, so dying my hair is really nothing. Except that I’ve never done it before.

As I stood in line to buy a packet of grape Kool-Aid (after spending about 15 minutes finding it–my grocery store has beverages in five different places! They need someone with organizational skills to help them put similar items together. Powered Kool-Aid is by the ice cream in the freezer section, no where near wet Kool-Aid on aisle 8.), I began to feel excited about having a nontraditional hair color to go with my nontraditional librarian job. The least of my concerns were the three librarians gatherings, a campus communicators lecture, and a presentation by some lawyers about copyright and trademark issues I will attend in the next two weeks.

I thought I would just do the ends of my hair, like maybe a few inches, not my entire head of hair, so that I’d have a nice stripe. I’ve seen people with that kind of style before and thought it looks really cool.

So, I pulled my shoulder-length hair into a pony tail and followed Strohmeyer’s directions. There’s nothing quite like standing with your ponytail in a pot of very hot Kool-Aid for 15 minutes.

When my hair was dry about two hours later, I didn’t notice much difference, except for my purple hands and the smell of grapes, so I repeated the process. When those results weren’t satisfactory, either, I did what any good information professional would do: I consulted the Google oracle. It turns out that there’s very many ways to dye hair with Kool-Aid and the instructions are all very different from Sarah Strohmeyer’s. The purple probably isn’t working in my hair because my natural color is brown; I didn’t bleach or damage my hair first (and don’t think I will); and the recipe might make the concentration of dye too weak to do much to my hair.

After the second time, I noticed that my hair was a bit redder than normal. I got inspired to try to dye it a third time. My ends are definitely redder, maybe even with a slight purple tint, but the color difference is very subtle. And it’s definitely not the shade of grape Kool-Aid. If people have noticed, they haven’t said so to me. And, yes, it does still faintly smell like grapes, even though I’ve washed it several times since dying it.

Maybe I’ll try a different method next time.

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