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The Color Becomes Me: More Lessons from Larry

You met Larry, my hair color consultant, in my prior post.

The big day arrived. The time had come for Larry to work on my hair.

It had been eight days since our brief diagnostic meeting. I was concerned that he wouldn’t remember me. But he did. Larry remembered my hair, my problem, and my goals. He urged us to review them together to make certain. He proposed to do something he called low lights. He asked me if that was OK. I started to nod and then stopped myself. I admitted that I had no idea what low lights were. His explanation was sufficient. I wanted whatever he said.

Then I removed my earrings, sipped my water, and leaned back. I turned myself over to Larry. He told me he would be right back.

It certainly wasn’t what I mean when I say right back. Maybe ten minutes later, might have been fifteen, he appeared with a concoction created during the time we were apart. He also had a pile of aluminum foil rectangles. I’d seen those adorning women in other salons, but never had them in my hair.

My prior hair guy dipped a brush in his concoction, produced in two minutes, and slathered it on my hair, two more minutes. To be fair, he was responding to my impatience with the process. Would I have sat still for more? I think I would have, if the benefits were clear.

With Larry, I had the feeling we were executing a grand design linked to my goals. He would bring consistency to my hair color, to rid me of the orange hue, and to permit the grey at my temples to emerge.

Now Larry had to go to work on that plan.

His first step was to partition my hair, apply the color concoction and fold it up in small foil packages. It took 30 minutes, at least, to get me squared away. This was not random activity. And as you can see, everything had its place.

The coloring process

The coloring process

Larry told me that this next phase, where I sat around and waited for the chemicals to work, would take 35 minutes. Then he disappeared into a room with a clear label: For Employees Only.

My dilemma was how to wear my reading glasses when festooned with rows of foil. I  didn’t want to poke or loosen the foil squares. I wanted to exercise care to not in any way mess with what appeared to be a structured architecture.

As you can see, I worked the glasses on to my head. Happily, I caught up on the news on my iPad.

Forty minutes later, Mariah approached to tell me she would be washing and blow drying my hair. Who is Mariah? Where is Larry? I looked around and saw that Larry was on to another woman. It appears he doesn’t remove foil or wash or dry hair.

Mariah took out the foil, washed and conditioned my hair with quenching products (that’s what she called them, alluding, I think, to the thirst my hair is harboring for nutrients), and then blow-dried my hair. She asked how I wanted it to look and I waved my hands to indicate that I like my hair popped out, not lying flat. I told her that my hair was easy, except for its color challenges. At the end of our ten minutes together, she agreed. It was the easiest one she had done all day. She told me Larry would stop back to discuss my color with me.

He was by my side in less than a minute. We talked about my color, not my hair. Larry kept his focus.

Colorful Allison

Colorful Allison

He liked how it turned out and spoke in specifics, pointing out some of his favorite things, such as how strong, warm and even the color is throughout, how the orange is pretty much gone, and also how the grey is at my temples, but with color streaking there too.

I like it as well. I am happy with the color. His promises came true.

But it is what it is and I am what I am. The adjustments that I have to make won’t come out of a bottle.

Oh, I spent 45 dollars on that quenching shampoo and conditioner. Wouldn’t want to invest in the color and then use 3 dollar shampoo that starves my hair. I’m considering the UV protective styling balm and polish.


  1. Sharon Young says:

    You look just like my friend Allison! I love it!

  2. Karen Disljenkovic says:

    After reading this article, I went back and read the first one. It didn’t really matter which was read first, but the point being I was so intrigued about the allure of Larry and how he casts his spells, I had to read on.

    I thoroughly enjoyed both articles and even more I love how you mapped Larry’s actions to consulting and highlighted what’s most important. I learned that a lot of it is how you make people feel.

    Thanks so much and your hair looks great! : )

  3. Loved thr pre- and post- pics!

  4. Hi Allison! Love your writing! And that was a good, clear story of what so many women have to deal with – getting their hair right!

    Loved the telling of the structure of how Larry ran his business and how clean he was in his work. Amazing! And your attention to every detail. You’ll do great, with that kind of focus, with Iyengar Yoga!