Oh No You Didn’t…

Revlon Root Erase

Oh yes I did.

Messing with your hair, at home, is so high school, right? Remember the thrill you got when you forked over $10 for a box of Natural Instincts, thinking that one shade closer to “Auburn” (perceptible only in full outdoor light, of course), would really change your life? Or how about when you thought you could go from brunette to blonde with a bleach-free formula? Ah, youth. Sun-In. Lemon juice. Naïvité.

Roots, on the other hand, are a decidedly adult—and resolutely un-fun—hair color matter. File “Yay, I’m going to get my roots done!” under sh*t nobody says. I thought roots were a blond and/or gray-haired issue, but I now count myself among several deep-brown-to-black-haired girls who’ve recently told me of their “reverse-root” woes: the halo of ashy growth that results from dying your hair darker. Back in October, David Mallett, the charming Paris-based colorist, took my medium-brown hair just shy of black—and I was lucky enough to find myself back in his chair in December—but January came, and I started looking washed-out (beyond the normal dead-of-winter pallor) without a trip to the City of Lights in sight. Sometime that same week, Revlon had sent over a couple boxes of their new Root Erase and I thought, “Why not? What’s the worst that can happen?” Granted, anyone—or thing—that claims to universally match “Any Dark Brown”, as shade #30 does (all dark browns are not made alike!), screams red flag to me…but I went for it. The foam sponge applicator (no dripping) and ten-minute wait-time made the process relatively quick and easy, but didn’t abate my anxiety over the outcome. Shock of all shockers, it worked—the tone was nice—but it wasn’t dark enough, so I went back in with another five minutes of #10 (“Matches Any Black”…) which did the trick.

The excitement came from my other little experiment: cutting my own hair. I really started to think, if your hair is not curly or wavy, if it’s just run-of-the-mill-straight, what’s the big deal? It’s not rocket science to cut something that looks even enough to the eye. Or not so even, that’s okay too—I’ve had some great haircuts, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes they look a little too perfect. And I just wanted a “chop”. A little more…French. In fact, I’d bet money that cool French girls snip into their own hair. (Ladies?) My friend Ashley and I stood in her bathtub as she nipped away at the back, then I trimmed the front (key word being trimmed…nothing photo-evidence-worthy, people). Bolder women do the whole thing themselves—Leandra pulls it all forward and goes for it—but I’m not there yet. I am, however, very proud of my DIY job…unintentional layers, asymmetry and all.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Libby Bates

    I just at-home highlighted over the weekend too--not salon-quality, but good enough!

  • Helena

    cutting your own hair is some of the most freeing fun you can have.

  • m.fay

    you brave soul.
    my hair has been many shades of "dark brown" over the years....or sould i say, chocolate brown. that one always get me in trouble.

  • @Pureprlondon

    reckon you were lucky -the horror stories we hear about home dying!

  • Leandra

    well, SHOW US YOUR HEAD!

  • http://candyintheusa.tumblr.com/ Alice

    I am french and I have to admit : yes, i do cut my hair by myself. However since they are curly it is easier because even if the layers are not the same no one can notice ! ;)

    • sashi

      hello! You understand with curly hair sometimes you are the only one who CAN cut it, because stylists don't realize how it behaves. My boyf will walk into the bathroom and be horrified to see a little twist of ringlet lying on the sink sometimes... oops!

      • BubblyDiva

        I have curly hair, too, and after trying lots of hairdressers, I realized that cutting it myself is the best option. My hair is shoulder-length, and when I go to a salon and ask them to "trim" it, they always cut it too short. I wouldn't do a full-out cut at home, but trimming works fantastic, and my hair even grows faster!

    • Irene

      I should try it also. I have a great hairdresser, but he's just SO expensive.

  • Alyssa Max

    This post made me laugh so much, because one of my good friends is French (Canadian, not European, but whatever) and she has repeatedly gotten drunk and cut off her hair!!! So yes, cool french girls DO do that!

  • Les Cahiers d’Héloïse

    I'm French and I've cut my hair myself several times. Whether when I had a pixie haircut or when they were long (bangs mostly). I think sometimes it's easier to do it yourself because you don't have to explain it to your hairdresser who most of the time won't understand exactly what you want...Love you post anyways as always !

  • mlle p

    What?? No before and after pic for us to be impressed by? I chop my ends all the time at home - very easy, part it in the back, pull to each side of the front and get it close enough. So far no insults from friends!

  • http://theformergirlatbar.blogspot.com/ Alexis

    I'm on the verge of coloring on my own again but because it took me so long to get my highlights light just right (and lots of $$$), I always put back that box of DIY hair color at the drugstore!

  • mandine

    I am French, Parisian, and I cut my own hair (with the help of a friend... it's so much fun! "come for a coffee, i need an hair cut!')... It's never "perfect" but it's "personnal". I am sure that perfection (hair/nails/fondation) is boring!

  • http://www.ma-recreation.com/ Lili Barbery-Coulon

    I totally agree with LEANDRA here: show us a picture of you NOW.

  • Lisa

    I´ve cut my hair several times, but I´m German ;)... Cant wait to see your new haircut!!!!

  • Sarah

    I'm French, I'm from Paris, and I have to admit it, I cut my own hair (in between appointments at David Mallett's...)

  • Cari

    i've always trimmed my hair myself (not French though). I trim layers, bangs and sometimes just for fun split ends, one hair at a time.

  • NeenaJ

    Excellent! I cut my bangs myself and while I'm not French, my name is. So, that must count for something!

  • http://lacoquettedelamode.wordpress.com/ lacoquettedelamode

    I always chop my own hair myself- they always take off too much or dont give good enough layers!

    XX Kathryn


  • http://twitter.com/Citygirlinred anita rivas

    I've done and made a mess out of my own hair. I am brave enough to dye the roots of my own gray, but would prefer not to.

    You are brave!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=558690916 Renee Taglia

    Salon Professionals know the economic turmoil and majority of them are willing to work with a budget. I think you should ask your stylist/colorist first before taking matters into your own hands and having to fork over 3 times what you would normally pay because now its a "Corrective Color". Be upfront and have an open line of communication and hopefully you can find your happy medium.

  • http://donotfeedtheoompaloompas.tumblr.com/ Randi

    I rarely go get my hair cut at a salon because it's super-expensive where I live. My mom has cut it for years, but I no longer trust her as her definition of "trimming" is "3 inches or more". I kind of just grab some scissors and trim off an inch every two months. My hair grows so fast anyways, it doesn't matter if I mess up.

  • http://wieniawski.blogspot.com/ Citrine

    I totally agree with you on that! Sometime it could be so liberating that I ended up overdoing it (got mistaken for a guy, numerous times) ...

  • Yessie Campos

    I'm with the others...show us your hair=) I'm still on the ombre band wagon and do it at home. My hairstylists (who cuts my hair-I've cut it myself and am horrible at it!) says it's pretty good but that should get it one professionally. :$

  • Trishelle

    I've always been sooooo scared to die my own roots!

  • Paulinaajs

    I have been "just doing the roots" for years and I am pretty happy. I do what you do, buy to colors and mix them of process the darker over the lighter color if needed. I need to see your results! Love all the information you through my way, thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/heysihui Si Hui

    I cut my own hair, and my friend - the epitome of a Parisian girl - cuts her own hair too, bangs and all.

  • http://kitchenafternoon.blogspot.com/ Kitchen afternoon

    Weaning my hair off salon higkights last year and only needing glosses is the best feeling ever, I think only a huge book advance could be better.

  • Daphne

    I've never dyed my hair, so I can't comment on this, but I've been cutting my own hair for years, sometimes with the help of the bf. I have run-of-the-mill straight hair too, and I like the slightly imperfect and easy-going look. No blunt cuts, no over-thinning the ends. Just perfectly imperfect.


  • Kira

    i just chopped of 6 inches of my very curly hair myself over the weekend and i love it! mind you i do need to touch it up a bit but overall i would say go for it!

  • deadwood

    I'm French, and it's true I always ask for a "not perfect / a little bit messy" haircut.

  • Delphine

    so i guess i am a true french girl as i do trim my own hair in between visits to the salon: i have a slightly messy/wavy bob which does not need to look perfect, so i am happy to be able to add a month between salon visits (+ i hate sitting in front of a mirror)
    i also do at-home colouring, mainly because I dye my blonde hair more red-y/strawberry blonde and am always afraid a colourist would turn me into a bright orange mess... at least it is my mess when i do it myself...

  • Capitalist Pancake

    Yay - vindication! I alway cut and dye my own hair, unless I want several inches chopped off and layers - then I go to the salon (that'll be once every couple years). Besides, I don't see the point of forking over a lot of money (plus all that anxiety inducing tip calculation for everyone who has walked in your general vacinity) when I mainly wear it pulled up in high bun.

  • Hototogisu

    I colour my hair at home all the time! After a break up I decided I wanted to colour my ash blonde hair a coppery red. I went to a well-respected colourist and she gave me a deep, primary red which I hated. I kept going back, thinking reds are SO dangerous, until one day I became tired of spending hundreds of dollars on a colour I hated and grabbed a box from Priceline. Lo and behold, I got the Amy Adams copper I wanted and never looked back.

    It's been 3 years now and people are shocked when I tell them I'm a bottle redhead. When I last went to a stylist even he was surprised when I told him it was fake. The best part is it's super easy to do my roots as soon as they appear, every 2 or 3 weeks. I use a tint brush to apply. I also saturate my hair with coconut oil for an hour before I colour. It makes a huge difference with damage.

    I also, uhm, trim my hair myself. Which is strange, because I LOVE getting my hair done!

  • Ana Zilio

    I'm a natural redhead and I intend to never ever dye my hair. Cut your own hair sounds crazy to me, but is all about style/opinion, you're brave. Would like to see before/after pictures.

  • Anonymous

    can we see a picture of the cut? I may just.

  • Mrs Singh

    I have never done that (cutting my own hair with scissors), but...I am guilty of razoring some pieces out in front of my mirror, especially after "too-perfect" professional haircut. Also, I used to do homemade highlights, armed with old toothbrush and some L'Oreal blond color. I think it came out fabulous and I didn't have to explain anything to anyone for 20 minuntes. Emily, you should also do a post on first gray hair. I have the most wonderful reddish-gold natural hair color that I don't dye anymore and I started seeing some grays. I go crazy and tear these indivdual hairs out, but I realize it is not a solution. I am thinking of doing Christophe Robin hair mask for blond hair. What do you think? Did anyone have experience with that. I do see some beautiful girls in Paris, also in their 30s, who have some gray hair and don't do anything about it, but I am not sure if I could live with that.

  • http://www.theblossomshed.blogspot.com/ The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

    Very brave! I broke down and trimmed my own bangs last week. They're definitely shaggy now, whether that's what I was going for or not:) I think I need to leave it to the experts - I don't even speak French, let alone have that kind of easy flair!

    The Blossom Shed Beauty Blog

  • Martha

    I do my own roots all the time (same reason as yours). I use Clairol root touchup (I think thats what its called). I am actually going to try L'oreals Root rescue this weekend. I only get it professionally done once a year. Works like a charm.

  • http://Discoveringblog.com/ Sharon @ Discoveringblog

    I have nearly-black hair, and have to dye it every 2-3 weeks because of my grey hair, so I have to do it at home or I would be broke! I've worked at salons so I know what to mix and I go to the beauty supply store to get the goods. And there have been many times I thought I knew what I was doing and cut away at my hair! Luckily I never had any major disasters!

  • Lasouristeigneuse

    As a French girl myself I smiled a lot reading your post, you can consider yourself with a lot of french DNA deep down !!;D because the trimming your own hair thing is actually true I am parisian and I don't know one girl who didn't do it (you do exactly what you want, it's perfectly messy and if you ruin it you only have yourself to blame!)

  • http://www.bmoreloveleigh.blogspot.com/ BmoreLoveLeigh

    I refuse to go to the salon every month and a half to get my roots touched up. The at-home root rescue works fine for me in the interim.

    Can someone invent a pill to eliminate grey hairs? Please????

  • Florence

    Oh wow actually, I couldn't help but smile because, I really don't know about being cool, but I am French for sure and I do cut my own hair, or my cousin does it ! But I have to admit, I'm pretty lucky because it's straight and easy to work with. So yeah, lucky bet! ;-)

  • Emilienne

    I am French and I always cut my hair myself (or my mother, bf or grandmother cuts it)! It looks great, and I have even taught my bf to do my tape-in extensions :D

  • andreita

    We hairstylist have to fix all the "D.IY" I wouldn't recommend cutting or coloring your hair at home, or at least ask an expert how to do it first, I wouldn't have a problem telling my clients how to do it!

  • Louise C

    I cut my own hair now, I know what sort of style I want and now that it is short I can do it myself (and get my husband to trim the back) - super easy! Saves me $75 every six weeks to upkeep a short haircut :)

  • Amanda K.

    We want to see the cut - and a brief how-to! Maybe an idea for a The Professionals post would be a stylist who dishes on how to cut your own hair in between salon times! Would love it.

  • Jackie <3

    I just cut and styled my own hair for the first time today. In my opinion, I like it way more than what a hair stylist could do. It lets me express myself in a stylish, practically free way. :)