Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed December 02 2015

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | December 2, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    Getting Your Hair Done Abroad: A Cautionary Tale

    Getting Your Hair Done Abroad: A Cautionary Tale

    PHOTO: I’ve always loved purple, just not on my head. Though it could work from this angle, since I'm hiding the bad part. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    While on the road, you learn some valuable lessons. Some make for good stories and others are experiences to live by, never to be repeated again (if you can help it).

    Being the progressive city that Istanbul is supposed to be and given the fact that they pride themselves on appearance, I figured it was a good place as any to get my hair done before I started my new chapter in Southeast Asia.

    With beauty and hair salons literally on every corner, you’re left with a million choices and though I’m known to be spontaneous, when it comes to my hair, I’m not so off-the-cuff.

    I planned for nearly two weeks, researching the best salons, particularly one that had a history of doing a good job with bright colors and ombre. After going back and forth on the idea, I finally settled with a salon called Makas.

    After I had arrived at the salon, I made sure to speak to both someone who spoke English as well as the hairdresser to make sure there wasn’t a language barrier and potential disaster.  

    I had photographs to show exactly what ombre I wanted done along with the exact color and how I typically have my bangs cut.

    We agreed on a price: 250 TL.  

    My hairdresser didn’t speak a word of English, but I was told not to worry, I was in the hands of a professional, who had done tons of ombre and knew exactly what to do.

    Well, apparently not.

    My poor hair became a game of trial and error, subjected to a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” scenario, except my golden locks were tested three times with various dyes and bleach. The result was not even remotely the color it was supposed to be.

    The first round, he had put two streaky lines on either side of my hair and slapped a blackish, purple-ish hue onto my hair and tried to call it done.

    The second round, he attempted to fix his mistake by bleaching my entire head, which resulted in yellow and blue hair.

    By the third time, with his manager repeating, “don’t worry, he’s a professional and he knows what he’s doing (although by the 6th hour, let’s just say I wasn’t so convinced). I asked again if they knew what ombre was and understood what I wanted done. They proceeded to look it up on Google and all I could do was cross my fingers it all worked out in the end — otherwise I was stuck with clown hair.

    PHOTO: proof of mayhem – from before and during the three mistakes.

    Before starting the third round, my hairdresser of apparently six years confirmed, “Not purple. Pink, purple — ombre; yes.”

    Well, by the end, the clock (literally) struck 12 a.m., the shop had been closed for three hours and the big reveal was ready. He turned the chair around, my heart raced with anticipation and…

    All I could do was laugh.

    It was a disaster. A cross between Barney the Purple Dinosaur and punk… and I’m pretty sure they don’t go hand-in-hand. The hair at the top of my head was black, and it looked like I had a hat on. Below that — Barney purple and streaks of blue from the previous mess-up. This was emphatically not ombre. It was not fuchsia and my bangs were cut crookedly and so high that I had no choice but to live with it until it grew out.

    PHOTO: There are no words, go ahead and laugh at the “final” results.

    If this were to happen a year ago, I probably would have cried. However, I found another life lesson buried beneath the wreckage that was my hair: You can make the best of it or you can make the worst of it. Sometimes all you can do is laugh it off, buy some box-dye and go back to black.

    Problem solved. And I’m never getting my hair done abroad again.

    PHOTO: They say box-dye is terrible for you. In this case, it saved me.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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