I opened my eyes, dreading another day of itching, irritation and scabs. Yes, my scalp had scabs on it. They itched and whenever I put a bit too much pressure on them, they’d peel off. Along with a few bits of my hair. I was a train wreck. I called my stylist several times and she had no idea why this was happening. I had been her client for several years and knew that she’d never knowingly put my tresses in harm’s way, but that didn’t ease my frustration. What was worse? Trying to work at night. I couldn’t really wear my hair down because every movement of every strand reverberated throughout my body. I could feel all of them and it hurt like hell.
So it should have been no surprise when I woke up that morning to find blood and pus congealed to my pillow. I literally had to peel my head from it. Shock isn’t the right word. Panic is better. Funny, the main thing that got me moving so fast wasn’t the pain or the ooze – it was the image of me trying to give a lap dance bald. Not good. I got dressed and ran to the Emergency Room.
And waited. It could have been worse, though. At least there were no gunshot victims to wait for, just some sickly, coughing people I made sure to steer clear of. Once I was finally in with the doctor, his examination didn’t sit well for me. He looked a little terrified and as if he couldn’t bring himself to touch my hair. Or maybe he was just trying to be gentle because my scalp looked awful. Staring at his face, I just knew deep down that he had no answers.
But I was wrong. I had an allergic reaction to the dye. But my stylist used this dye before and this didn’t happen. Sometimes the body just decides to reject new chemicals introduced to the body, he said. Okay. So what do I do? He gave me a cortisone shot for the swelling, right in my ass. I had no idea my scalp was even swollen but that did explain the tenderness. Then the pills. Huge pills containing mercury(?) or something along those lines. I remember they were extremely difficult to swallow and made my mouth taste all metallic-y. I had to take them until they ran out. I didn’t, though. They were God-awful.
I started seeing improvement rather quickly. The swelling first, which relieved the tenderness and I guess the metallic-y pills were to combat the infection because that started clearing up as well. It was such a relief, I can’t even begin to describe it. The only negative was that I did lose some of my hair. Not in huge patches, but the crown and the front were slightly thinner after my dye debacle.
The next hurdle was what to do when my hair started growing in. I had to relax it, for one, which is a whole different process with chemicals I’m sure are leaving a green haze around my brain – another price of beauty. You can imagine how petrified I was while waiting for the relaxer to process on my hair – testing strands to make sure that it wasn’t falling out. But second, the color difference. My hair grows in different colors in different areas. Then it darkens. Then it brightens in the sun. I know. Pretty, yet difficult to manage sometimes. The mixture of dark brown, light brown, auburn and blonde can be quite pretty or extremely dull depending on my choice of hair care products. It’s also very expensive when getting weaves because it cost more to make custom hair color blends. Go me.
But when most of your hair has been dyed black?
I had to head back to Atlanta for my hair fix. My stylist’s only solution was to strip my hair down completely, which meant that for a short period of time, I was going to have albino white hair. Only one image came to mind…
Neither of us understood why this supposedly temporary, water-based dye refused to wash out of my hair, but it did and so we were left with only the one option. Strip it down and dye it back as close to my original color as possible.
With such a daunting endeavor, I spent the entire day at the salon – open to almost closing. It was the perfect opportunity for Lamar to put more reasons to move to Atlanta in my ear. So much work as a make-up artist, so many hot women, it’s Baby Hollywood…it was starting to sound good. But that could have been the chemicals on my head…
Thankfully, my hair turned out okay. We actually went with a dark brown tinted red…and bangs. I got bangs! They were cut a little too heavy, but cute all the same. Some black still remained in chunks, refusing to lift so I’d have to just let it grow out. Still, I left relieved and excited about this transitional color. And a bit excited about the prospects of a new city to conquer. Lamar made the offer sound so intriguing. Plus, my hairdresser was there so it seemed like a win-win situation.
By the time I got home, I discovered another price of beauty – my hospital bill was waiting for me. Not only did my hair fix cost me an additional $200 (that was with a cost break from my stylist, given the situation), but the ER visit was another whopping 750 bucks. Between this bill and the $1500 already paid for the overnight-almost-dead-drug-overdose hospital stay, I made up my mind that perhaps Tampa isn’t the place for me. The incidentals alone were costing me a fortune.