Hair Scare: Crème au Chocolat or Medium Brown?

I am on a magic vision quest: perpetually dark hair and a face that holds firm for 18 straight hours.
I am on a magic vision quest: perpetually dark hair and a face that holds firm for 18 straight hours.

This morning I resolved to face root reality. The fading strands had gathered force. It was the aha-uh-oh moment. Fifty shades of gray–gradations of white to silver to salt and pepper—were sprouting. The vain vision quest launched.

I am not of the school that announces, “Be proud of your ‘laugh’ lines. You earned every single one.” Frankly, I don’t want to earn anything but perhaps a little praise if I ever produce anything of aesthetic note.  Am I proud of my gray hairs because I “earned” them? (No, I just want cold, hard cash.)

I picked up an ammonia-free hair color package at the Kroger—shade #21. The face on the package was no more than age 19. Fine. I bow to all those talented airbrushers in NYC, LA, or wherever they do their magic spray jobs to sell fantasies to the unwashed in the hinterlands.

In the same box, #21 is Crème au Chocolat in French and Crema Y Chocolate Castaño Medio in Spanish. With a beautiful roll of the tongue, I could order a Grande size of a similar-sounding beverage at Starbucks and drink myself to death on the flavor.

#21 in American phrasing? Medium Brown. Who in the heck gets a job naming hair color of pedestrian shades?

Even I am more clever than someone who dredged up #21 Medium Brown. In fact, I’ve always wanted a job dreaming up a rainbow of paint chip names that embellish paint centers at Lowe’s and The Home Depot. I will blindly buy Benjamin Moore Calming Aloe paint for the living/dining room–because the sound soothes my soul.)

Just for fun, I came up with an alternative hair color label–#21 Luscious Ganache–in 3 seconds.

I tore open the box, following only the directions in French so Crème au Chocolat would top my head. Yum! Finally, my French major paid off. My dad unloaded a chunk of change in tuition so I could read the feel-good-Gallic-hair-dye directions in a $5 box on the lowest supermarket shelf.

Hélas! (Alas!). The grays stubbornly dug in despite the dye job.

I am heading back to the mall salon to the adorable neo-punk hair designer who will mix up a no-name pretty color and tell me I have no wrinkles even under the hottest fluorescent lights. She will get a good tip every time.

If my hair goes Luscious Ganache Punk next month, I will post a Grande headshot of 12 million pixels for your viewing pleasure.




    Your photo of Mabel Normand sparked a memory. My father, a publicist, accompanied her to England for a tour . He also did publicity for the Keystone Kops. I enjoyed your article on hair colors, When I was in my twenties, I decided to go from brunette to blonde one day, using, not dye, but a powder-like solution. That night,I had a date with my boyfriend, who never even noticed!

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