Have you ever noticed how random daily chores can actually be kind of therapeutic? Some people tidy, my mother swears by gardening, and I spent the entire 2003 RWC final braiding my twin sister’s hair (it alleviated the tension, and looked hilarious when I was done. Think Monica from Friends when she gets stuck on the shower rail. Sorry, Laura).
Now, though, running’s sort of my thing. I’ve run the London Marathon, am training for a 10k, and have signed up for Tough Mudder in September. Obviously, running has a shed load of health benefits. But if I’m honest, I run because I find it calming. And I like the company (I realise this may sound an odd way to socialise, but actually my route via Chelsea Embankment to Battersea park is a steady stream of backpacks, lycra and neon from around 5pm each day. There’s something quite comforting about the mass of people). Long story short, running is my way of switching-off. Which is a round-about preface as to why my hair went purple.
So. Last weekend, after a week’s break from training, I decided to seek an alternative mood-boost. The best way I can describe the thought process that landed with be aiming a can of spray paint at my hair is that phenomenon where some people cut all their hair off after a bad break up. I’d broken up with running, and had extreme separation anxiety. So I thought I’d turn my hair purple. Well. More lilac, but still – a significant colour change. And not just the result of purple shampoo that I’d left in way too long and tried to style-out, either. This was a calculated decision that I decided to decide upon, on purpose. I know.
I posted the results on Instagram, snapchatted a few selfies, and informed my whatsapp groups. I was hoping for validation. What I got was a stream of Barney The Diansaw pictures and cry-laughing smilies. One colour-challenged friend even sent over a picture of Papa Smurf. That’s blue, stupid.
A few days later, I visited family. I had failed miserably to warn them of purple-gate, and anxiously waited on the doorstep for the inevitable judgement. You see, It hadn’t completely bypassed me that I was perhaps having some sort of early-onset mid-life crisis. Mum didn’t notice. In pointed it out. Mum then pretended to have noticed actually, all along, and stoically declared something along the lines of “that’s different”. Which, I suppose, it was.
Now. The trouble with having rashly decided to take a can of Label M to my hair is roughly split into two camps: 1. I am impatient and therefore didn’t read the instructions properly and therefore ended up with a slightly polka dot purple effect. And 2. I am impatient and therefore didn’t read the instructions properly and therefore ended up with purple carpets. Luckily, my housemates were out.
Turning my hair purple is probably a decision I should have run on (my own – admittedly slightly militant – version of sleeping on it), but there is something about the freedom of being able to do something entirely spontaneously and with zero repercussion that just feels liberating. I mean, when I trained at Sandhurst the most rebellious hair situ was skimping on lacquer, or choosing an inappropriate coloured kirby (kirby users will know that about the most inappropriate you can get in this instance is circa two shades lighter than your natural colour. It is hardly anarchic).
But I have learnt from my mistakes. So – should you choose to take a can of purple powder spray to your hair, here’s my advice..
1. Remember when mum used to tell you to lay out newspaper for arts and crafts? Turns out, there was method in her madness. Cover every surface. Twice. Maybe even three times. This stuff gets everywhere.
2. Make sure you shower BEFORE you spray. I did not, and ended up with a slightly drippy purple situation. As did the shower cubicle.
3. Wear disposable gloves. The sort you get in Fake Bake tanning kits are perfect. Yes this stuff is water soluble, but yes it will also stain your hands regardless.
4. Gym at your peril. It didn’t actually happen to me, but I’ve heard sweat and powder paint (which is essentially what ends up nestled in your hair) don’t mix. Remember the Barney photo?
5. When you’ve had enough, shampoo twice to remove, using something really clarifying. Also use a purple conditioner, as you will inevitably feel like your blonde is warmer once the powders gone. Something like Mamio Mia’s Sheer Silver will neutralise any brassyness and make the transition more barable.
6. Post-purple, book a conditioning treatment like Olaplaex at Neville. The spray doesn’t directly damage your hair, but it does make it very matte and prone to tangles, which means you’re likely to wage daily war with your tangle teezer and end up with more split ends than you started with.
I’m back to blonde now – reckon I’ll stay like this for a while….