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39is fine: home hair dye and salon visits….

Well happy Monday, as you can see I've got bright red hair. And I love it. AND it's inspired this week's post. Happy days.

The thing with this new ‘do is, I did it myself. This is part of the saving money thing - I normally spend around £85 every 6 weeks or so on getting my hair coloured. I always love the result but, well, if I am honest not as much as I love what I've done myself. And there's a few reasons for that. But also some 'approaching 40' questions that arise.

You see I've been dying my hair since I was (is mum reading?)... let's say 18… Ah, hell, I think she knows the truth (16). I used to go round to my friend Jenny's house and we'd get the body shop henna mixed up in a bowl. Or another mate, Laura, would let me get the hair dye going at her place.

At uni I had short hair and would bleach it then colour it bright primary colours - blue, red (pillar box), orange. Best not done when a major mobile company does a new slogan. The future was, for one week, Jenny.

My mum never liked me dying my hair at home. I think mainly due to the possible risk of it going all over her bathroom/carpet/towels. Oh how I moaned!

Well confession #1 is when I dyed my hair this time, I put a towel on the new kitchen floor, because I had to walk over it with the dye on my head and I couldn't bear the idea of hair dye on the kitchen floor! I know. Sorry mum.

I also now need to boil a towel in Vanish. But it was an old towel. Luckily the grouting that had red on it has cleaned up ok. But yes, home dying is messy.

It's also hard (ish) to do. Especially when you have long hair which I now do. Getting all the roots, then the ends, and not your ears, is much harder than it is for the hairdresser. This dye cost me £4.50, so totes winning on the money front. But as I sat nostalgically waiting for my barnet to turn scarlet, I did think: 'how come I'm dying my own hair at 39?!'. I then painted my toenails. Which raised a similar thought: why am I not on the regular client list of a hairdresser and mani/pedi place?

As we've established, being solvent is not the norm for many of us 39/40- somethings. I feel that at this age I should be able to say I work hard enough to earn enough money (and time) to get my hair and nails done.

It's partly about priorities. I could abandon my almost daily Pret coffee and have my hair done or a cheeky manicure instead, sure.

But I've realised at 39 I don't think I care about these things as much as I feel I should. And that's ok, right? Sure, for a special occasion, I might treat myself to a manicure and blow dry. My 40th, for example. But week in-week out? Why does my age mean I should be spending my cash in a salon?

It worked well last week to canvas some opinions so here's what the Facebookers said about this:

Sonja said: I decided it was salon only for me after years of dyeing own hair.....after a while I realised it wasn't all that, shit magazines and terrible music and getting pricey, so back to bathroom jobby. She added: I was 40 last year and got asked for id recently, 40 so far rocks’

I LOVED that comment (there’s probably another post in getting ID'd sometime. Just need it to happen...)

Rebecca said: It's the one treat for myself to have my nails done because it lasts for 3 wks and who has time to touch up normal polish?? It's less about age and more about lifestyle....have never dyed my hair in 39 yrs....

Mel (who blogs at Bestselfology - check it out!) added: I do home dye, but not because of the cost, because of the time! My roots need doing every 4 weeks and I just don't want to spend that much time in the hairdressers! The cost is obviously a bonus as well!!

And Lucinda said: I don't have root touches but in the last couple of years I have gone to salons to do an all over dye, merely because I seek their advice for seasonal colour recommendations etc. Always been v happy with the results but the expense also means I'll only do it every 18 months. Most home dyes have been pretty satisfactory though. Nails I'm less bothered about, in fact I get a bit bored/impatient with the time it all takes! But worth it for the results for those special occasions.

The main consensus was that if we're going to spend money (and time) in a salon, it's more likely to be for a gel manicure than hair dying. I've had a lot of gel manis, and they are ace because they last but my nails are quite weak and long term they were damaged by gels. Yes I peeled the gels off, which doesn't do your nails ANY GOOD. oops.

I've found that there's something liberating about dying my own hair. It felt fun - the process of mixing the colour, timing, rinsing….. it was kind of therapeutic. Me time. Risk-taking of the most 30-something kind. I love the shade, everyone else says it looks ace, it's even brighter on some Instagram filters. Hoorah! I find, looking at pics taken over the weekend, I feel happy with what I see.

That in itself is a nod to my body image post: getting rid of my roots and going red feels like I have a more ‘together’ look. Which will distract from the bingo wings and last year’s wardrobe while I save cash and do exercise. And I feel instantly, well, 20 years younger, because I feel like when I used to dye my hair and take a change on the colour name on a box (this one’s called vibrant red).

I love having red hair, I feel naughty and confident and brash in a good way. Like I have an identity I've dabbled with for decades. I've always gone back to red (blonde always ended up orange!) and I feel like it suits my personality.

Will I never set foot in a salon again? Ha! Course I will. But I am considering a £5 student cut (it's in a Kensington salon, what can go wrong....?). So for now, hoorah for home dye and nail painting. At 39, a bit of home pampering is just as fine as a salon visit when you're watching the cash flow.

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