Hair, Long Beautiful Hair (Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen)

Alternative title: A Tutorial on Dyeing Hair Green to Blue Ombre by the Best Hair Stylist in the Entire World—ME.

Sam is very big into his hair these days.

I find this to be reasonable because his hair is very beautiful. It’s thick and slightly wavy and it’s grown past his shoulders by now.

He’s been coloring it for slightly more than a year now. I’m totally cool with that because, what? Is he going to be fired for having funky hair? No. There is no better time for him to experiment wildly with his appearance.

The only problem I have with his doing things to his hair is that *I* am the one who has to do it. Unfortunately for Sam, I never colored my own hair, so I’m doing all my learning on him. It’s been quite a thing. I assume that I am not the only mom with this problem so I have decided to assemble a tutorial on dyeing hair ombre and really fucking nailing it.

1. Gain experience.

I’ve been working up to this ombre for a long time. Sam’s first foray into hair color was simply an aqua streak. At that point, his hair was light enough that we were able to do it without bleach. Over the next few months, we added other colors, with varying degrees of success. All was well. I was starting to feel comfortable with my dying prowess.

2. Become complacent.

Then, at some point during the last school year, Sam decided he wanted to dye his hair black. That turned out to be not too hard. I bought a box of L’Oreal hair dye at the grocery store and voila! Easy peasy!

3. Assign all the thinking and planning to your offspring.

The big problem with dying hair black is that then it is difficult to do anything else with it.

Sam figured out from watching YouTube videos that something you can do to black hair is add vibrant red to it. I was nervous because it seemed like going from black to red would involve bleach and I didn’t want to wreck his hair. Sam assured me we could use color remover or some such miraculous modern invention followed by the red, so that’s what we did. He ended up with a kind of subtle red over black that actually looked pretty cool.

So far so good. I hadn’t done anything to destroy my sweet boy, his hair, or his ability to live hatless in the world.

4. Demand detailed plans of your child’s proposed two-toned hair style.

Drawing of a white face with red lips, blue eyes and long hair, green on top and blue on the bottom.

I asked Sam to draw a picture of how he wanted his hair to look and this was what he came up with. The original drawing is, like, a half-inch square.

5. Come to terms with the fact that this? This is going to require bleach.


6. Bleach the fuck out of your kid’s hair.

Photo of Sam with his hair clumped in clips on his head with me making a goofy face in the background.

Bring it.

I bought a giant tub of powdered bleach, a ton of developer, set aside my day off of work, and we set to it. I gotta tell you, a tub of bleach is not the thing you want to be dealing with at 9:30 in the morning…until noon. It took a long time. We bleached it in quarters and Sam has a LOT of hair.

7. Discover your results.

I knew the roots were going to be lighter, but I wasn’t prepared for the rest of it to turn out sixteen different colors.

Photo of Sam with wet hair of varying shades ranging from light blond to brown to red.

I took this photo so Sam could show Quinn that he had been blond for at least a couple of hours.

8. Ask Facebook what it thinks.

I thought Sam’s hair was kinda cool but then the internet informed me that green wouldn’t go well over our uneven and half-assed bleach job.The internet suggested either more bleach or using a different, darker color that would mix better with the reds and browns we’d ended up with.

9. Ignore Facebook’s advice.

We considered bleaching it more, but we were worried about doing a lot of damage to his hair. Sam seemed to think that it was light enough and he wanted to go ahead and dye the top green and the tips blue, so we threw caution to the wind and that is what we did.

Because what the fuck could possibly go wrong? We’re Team Stimey. This is how we motherfucking roll.

10. Pro-fucking-ceed with confidence.

Bonus points if you use unnecessary but hilarious foil wraps.

Photo of Sam with tin foil wraps all over his head. I am behind him with a concerned look on my face.

See the confidence?

Sam in profile waving. The front of his hair is covered in green dye and the bottom is covered in tinfoil wraps.

I think he looks a lot like Medusa here.

Photo of Sam's head. All you can see are tinfoil wraps spotted with mostly blue but some green dye.

He’s in there somewhere, I swear.


11. Bond with your victim—I mean, client.

I have to tell you, spending my entire day dyeing Sam’s hair wasn’t my first choice of what to do with my day off, but when you have your teenager pretty much trapped within arm’s reach of you for a whole day, you get some pretty serious bonding time. Silver linings, people.

12. Freak out that you made the wrong decision.

When I finally got all of the tinfoil out and rinsed his hair, I got worried because the green wasn’t showing up that much. I knew I wouldn’t really be able to tell what the final color would be until it was dry, but it was starting to look like the blue was showing up well and the green was nonexistent.

I told Sam that I was worried and then he got worried and then we circled and fretted and I worried some more and he was all, “Mooommm, stop stressing out about this because now I’m stressed about it,” so then I was stressed out about it but very quietly stressed out about it and then we acknowledged aloud that we were both stressed and I offered as an option making the whole thing blue because we had extra blue and that color was showing up very brightly.

I also thought it would be soooooo much easier to just do the whole thing one color.

13. Make a sudden, radical change to your plans.

Photo of the back of Sam's head. It is liberally coated in blue dye.

I was right. It WAS easier.

We rinsed, Sam showered, we valiantly tried to remove blue dye from everything in my house. I told Sam to put a towel on his pillow and sent him to bed.

14. See a glimmer of hope.

But then he showed up about a half hour later and there was visible green and a little patch of yellow and suddenly it looked like it might not be just blue after all.

15. *sounds of angels singing*

The next morning, I wandered downstairs before work only to be confronted by this:

Photo of Sam laughing in the sun. His hair is ombre: green on top, blue on bottom, with an even transition between.

I completely by accident bumbled into giving Sam a gorgeous ombre dye job.


Like for reals, guys. If I’d TRIED to do this, I couldn’t have. I wasn’t even trying to make it ombre.

16. Accept kudos.

I spent that day with Sam and I have to tell you, he got a LOT of compliments. And every compliment he got was like a delightful little pat on the back for me. I have never been so happy as when the hip-looking young woman behind the counter at the place we got lunch referred to his hair as “tight.” I’m thinking of having that engraved on my tombstone.

Photo collage of eight photos of Sam's hair surrounding his drawing of his hair.

I couldn’t stop taking photos because no photo I took was able to capture how truly gorgeous it turned out.

It’s not perfect, but it is so, so pretty and I did it completely by accident.

17. Pretend that your kid isn’t constantly, vaguely smurf colored.

Blue just kept showing up on Sam’s face and his neck and his hands and then he’d wash it off and it would just come back. We’re about five days out from Dye Day and I think he’s finally not turning blue anymore.

18. Acknowledge that you have no advice to offer anyone.

Sorry, guys. I lied. This whole tutorial was just an excuse to show you what I did. All I know is that Sam’s hair is even better than what he’d hoped and he loves it so much and he loves me for doing it for him and nothing I ever do will be this good again. Happy sigh.

4 thoughts on “Hair, Long Beautiful Hair (Shining, Gleaming, Streaming, Flaxen, Waxen)

  1. That is gorgeous! I kind of want to do that to my hair. Yay for happy accidents.

    But I need to say that Mir from Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda did a tutorial on hair dye. Maybe a couple of them. The one I’m remembering — she and Chickie dyed Chickie’s hair rainbow. I can’t remember if it’s on the Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda site or Alpha Mom. So check that out too (if you didn’t already) for Sam’s next request.


    Your eldest looks so similar to my eldest in his overall, I don’t know, WAYS, just ways, they just have a whole similar DEAL going on, except my eldest is not inclined toward hair dye, which is too bad for him because now I’m going to have to do this while he’s asleep.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. I hope you don’t mind this bit of a trip down memory lane:
    One fine Easter morning, late 1950’s, sitting in “our” pew at the back of the church, I watched in awe as a family coming in after us – not late, but late enough that they had to traverse the entire length of the aisle to find a place to sit up front, arrived with their two grown-up-had-moved- to-the-city daughters. The daughters sported lovely pastel ensembles, matching shoes – already a novelty, but the topper? Their hair was dyed to match their Sunday best. One a lovely shade of lavender, the other a delightful lime green. Needless to say, the Pastor did not have to “call us to order” that morning, as we all sat in stunned silence. I have no clue what the message might have been that morning, but I have never forgotten that wondrous glimpse into a world quite different from the farmers families surrounding me on all sides. My family’s routine was to slip out during the final hymn so that we could get on the road to Grandma’s house in a nearby town to meet with all the aunts and uncles and cousins. I have often wondered if anyone in the congregation had anything to say to those young women as everyone left the sanctuary and mingled a bit in the church yard before heading off to their Easter dinners.

    Thank you for rekindling this memory, and indulging me in writing of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *