A Fast $25 Fix For Annoyingly Aging Silver Sideburns
Nearly 18 months ago, I drove up to Sarasota to celebrate my friend Renée’s birthday, a fun ladies-only dinner party. Intriguingly, I was seated next to Wendy, a medium and wellness expert. As one course segued seamlessly to the next, my seat mate and I talked about all manner of topics, including my sleep deprivation and resulting lack of energy.
For most of my life, I was an 8-hour girl. And during my decades in NYC, I slept soundly. For two reasons: One, my apartment was on a nice, quiet block. And two, I wasn't married.
Fast forward to my new life, and the picture is decidedly different. Not only do I now share my bed with a husband with apnea, the noise in my new Naples 'hood is - shockingly - decibels higher. Go figure.
Wendy suggested a quick inexpensive fix for my dilemma: silicone earplugs. Upon my drive home, I stopped at Walgreens for a pack.
That night, I waited until my husband fell asleep, and negotiated the plugs in my ears. They were pretty big, but eventually settled into place, sealing the ear canal.
I slept through the night for the first time since moving in together. YAY!
There was just one teensy weensy problem: Despite sleeping with my hair held in a high ponytail, as I was removing the earplugs the next morning, quite a few strands along my hairline had gotten stuck on the silicone. I gently tried to separate those strands from the plugs, but getting nowhere, ended up yanking them out.
Within a week of this new morning routine, there were no more hairs surrounding my face.
The next two weeks’ new growth was silvery. Yes, my sideburns were silvery before, but they were also long enough to dab with hair dye and straighten while blowing out.
Although I don't get super-rooty between trips to the colorist, I do get sparkly along my hairline. (In the back too.) And given how short the new hairs were, and SWFL’s humidity level, I was left with frizzy, silvery sideburns juxtaposing my chestnut brown locks. Framing my somewhat line-less face, they all but screamed OL (Old Lady).
Why is it that men with graying temples are considered silver foxes, while I reminded myself of Elsa Lancaster in Bride of Frankenstein every time I looked in the mirror?
And seeing Paul my new hair guru every two weeks during season just wasn’t feasible for either of us. The guy is in demand. Let's put it this way: He's the 8th highest-grossing of JC Penney's 22,000 InStyle Salon stylists nationwide.
Feeling my pain, Dana suggested I speak to Santa Fe-based beauty maven Joan Lasker, whose ColorMetrics TouchBack "magic" marker she featured in a recent Wall Street Journal piece on DIY root touchups.
[Note from Dana: You can read that WSJ piece here, if you're so inclined. Roots are a huge pain in the ass.)
I Googled Joan to prepare for our chat and was immediately intimidated by her career to date: former VOGUE beauty editor, VP Corporate Communications at L’Oréal USA, CEW President and currently best-selling, award-winning innovative beauty entrepreneur.
Trepidation quickly transitioned to ease; talking to Joan felt like a best friend who immediately understood each arc in my somewhat kooky story. Earplugs, check. Brunette against silver, check. The insanity of color appointments every two weeks. Yep. It was like she could finish my sentences.
Joan was initially inspired by watching her son streak his hair with Crayola crayons, but her real interest was focused on the application of the color via marker. While mascaras, sprays and crayons for touching up gray roots entered the hair color market earlier, the color distributed looked terrible. Plus, they flaked and rubbed off, making hair look noticeably dull.
Joan’s idea for a product that would easily distribute real hair color was based upon what she, personally, wanted in a DIY treatment. Tapping into her extensive beauty network, Joan reconnected with L’Oréal’s senior research and development VP, who had recently retired with 40 years of expertise in hair color.
Getting the hair dye to flow through a marker was harder than she anticipated, and after three years, she took the ammonia and peroxide-free temporary hair color shed developed and put it in a bottle with a lipgloss inspired applicator. Voilà, ColorMark was born.
But Joan kept working on the marker version, which she believed was the best delivery system. It took another three years to launch TouchBack Pro.
ColorMark's wand applicator and TouchBack Pro's marker applicator are still the only products on the market that deliver real temporary hair color without ammonia or peroxide. (All the other root touchups are made with cosmetic-grade pigment.) Because Joan's products are crafted with genuine hair color, they actually bond to strands, blending beautifully with permanent dye for a completely natural look, You can even brush the "touched" strands and the color stays put.
Both ColorMark and TouchBack Pro come with a genius comb which acts as a barrier between the section of hair you're treating near and your face, preventing skin smudges.
And let's talk value: one $25 marker lasts up to 60 applications.
Before I scoot off for le weekend, I wanted to leave you with A) this lovely archive still of Elsa Lancaster, and B) these handy dandy tips:
1. Sleepless in the Sunshine State? Try Mack's earplugs. If your ears are tiny like mine, cut them in half so your hair doesn’t adhere to the silicone.
2. To nab a ColorMark or TouchBack, you can run to CVS or Walgreens. If you don't find your shade (those stores only stock a handful) visit colormetrics.com to order.
3. Apply both in good light so you can spot the strands you’ve missed.