Desperately Seeking

**Apologies in advance, I do drop the f-bomb in this post**

One of the hardest things about moving overseas apart from the obvious, (saying goodbye to family and friends) is trying to find a new hairdresser.   I have enough hair on my head for 6 people, so I wear it in a short cropped hair style.  It is so ridiculously thick that when I go into the hairdressers for a trim enough hair is left behind on the floor that it could be turned into a wig.

Despite keeping my hair short so that I can wash it, rub some hair product in it and walk out the door, it grows like grass so requires a regular cut and colour.  Case in point we have been in Canada for 3 months and I have already been to the hairdresser 3 times since arriving and I have been so traumatised after each visit I am ready to do a Sinead O’Connor and shave off the lot.

I naturally have dark hair, however,  I started going grey in my mid 20’s and so started dyeing it dark brown, in the last few years the grey’s on my hairline would start appearing before I was due for another salon visit and upon learning the cost of these salon visits my husband, horrified, piped up and told me he would do it with a box kit.

Hair by Clyde was born and he went into business in our bathroom at home.  I would buy a box of colour at the supermarket and book in an appointment with him.   Locking him into a time would prove difficult because he would get home from work and couldn’t be bothered or would rather get hammered  have a couple of drinks or play candy crush.  He would get ready for our appointment by stripping down to his boxer shorts (he told me it was so he didn’t get hair dye on his clothes) and advise me to sit in his salon chair (the toilet).  After mixing the colours in the box, he would slap them on my head in a half-assed manner with dye dripping down my face so that I looked like Eddie Munster.  When he would move around and start doing the front of my hairline he would always kindly offer “feel free to sexually harass me”.  Over the years, his hair dye application techniques improved but sadly his requests for sexual harassment didn’t.

His talent extends beyond colour, he can also cut, one day I walked in on him in his salon giving The 8-year-old an all over number 2, clippers in 1 hand and our Miele Vacuum in the other sucking up the hair.

Sick of both the grey and my in between salon visits at “Hair by Clyde” my real hairdresser of many years, Lisa and I decided I should try and go light in an attempt to try and blend the grey’s.  It was decided for a bit of fun we would go platinum white and we could always tone or change it from that base.  It wasn’t without a bit of ordeal getting that initial platinum base, I had been growing and cutting out the previous dark hair dye however because I still had a little bit of dark hair dye on the ends after the first bleach session I walked out slightly Ronald Mcdonald esk.  My scalp was also burnt and blistered so a few days later after it calmed down I went back to see Lisa and walked out the perfect shade of blonde.   I loved it!  Lisa sent me home with the correct products to maintain my colour at home.  I would go back and see Lisa every 4-6 weeks and have my roots bleached without any drama and left every time more than satisfied with the colour.  I went to see Lisa a few days before we left for Canada for one final bleach and haircut.   I was so sad when we said our goodbye’s, after all we had been through so much together, short hair, long hair, dark hair, light hair.  She knew how to work those scissors and thin my thick hair.  Best of all she was fun and I looked forward to my visits.

When we moved to Toronto despite having a few weeks up my sleeve before my roots would begin to appear like strips of Vegemite I kept an eye out for a potential salon.  When the time came I decided on one that was big and busy a couple of blocks from home.

I went inside to make an appointment and my world came crashing down when I was quoted prices.  It seems I would need to start a gofundme campaign in order to afford a haircut and colour in Toronto.  The Salon is the type where stylists either specialise in colour or cutting but don’t do both. Personally,  I prefer a salon where the one stylist does the lot, it’s not just a price thing but I like finding a hairdresser like Lisa that I can plan and work towards certain styles and colours and build a rapport.  Desperate I booked an appointment for a colour only and started researching places I could sell a kidney to pay for it.


I turned up for my appointment and was pointed in the direction of a change room to store my coat and change into a salon robe.  I made my way as directed to another area where my stylist would greet me and have a “consultation” about my hair and the direction we would be going.   After meeting my stylist in the “coffee lounge” part of the salon and chatting all things hair (Me – I would like a scalp bleach please, I want platinum white hair, I don’t want Ronald Mcdonald hair or yellow hair), I was directed to my seat where she went about applying the products.  I was given a lovely shoulder massage, nice but if I wanted a massage I would go to a masseuse (Clyde if you are reading this, I think you should introduce a Massage service at your salon)  I just want my hair coloured.   I was then moved to yet another waiting or holding pattern area of the salon on the most uncomfortable wooden bench where a young man came over and gave me a hand  job  massage (it was kind of creepy).   The result, yellow fucking borderline, Ronald McDonald hair.   I felt like I had been kicked in the nuts (if I had nuts) when I parted with the cash, it cost more than double what a cut and colour would cost me in Australia, and I had only had a colour done, no hair cut and it was terrible.  In Canada the price quoted did not include tax as they added taxes onto the price, the receipt also included the cost of the products they used.  Unlike Australia, a tip is expected by Hairdressers as well and runs at 10-20% of the total.

Devastated and broke, I would not be returning to that salon.  I needed to find myself a salon that is old school, a hairdresser that does both the cut and colour and is used to doing old lady hair with a more silver tinge than yellow.

That is when I found Edmund and his Scissorhands.  No designer looking salon here, he quoted a figure not dissimilar to the price I paid back in Australia and could do the cut and colour.  Great, I thought!  I asked Edmund Scissorhands how long he has had the salon and was told 20 years, I was shocked because I would have picked the decor as 80’s not 90’s.  The place has not had a thing done to it since the day it opened.  Edmund is a little on the gruff side and it reminds me of the salon in Legally Blonde, a manicurist sits at a little table just like Paulette (Stifler’s mum) and I guess she signs for packages because she sits and watches videos on her phone the entire time. Edmund Scissorhands and Stifler’s mum do not every speak to each other or engage in any way. Edmund is the only stylist and unlike the busy salon that Elle Wood performed the Bend and Snap routine,  the phone did not ring once or a single client walk in the door in the 3 hours I was in the chair.  I sat for the entire time trying to work out how this guy pays the rent.

Upon completion, I walked out with yellow hair but a great haircut.  Simple, I thought I can fix the yellow hair with products Lisa had given me back in Australia.  I went home, added some products and fixed the colour myself.

As my time with Edmund Scissorhands was not the most relaxing experience and the salon is filthy, even the plastic plants had 20 years worth of dust on them, I uhmed and arghed about going back.  With filthy regrowth to match the filthy salon and not having found another salon to trial, I returned this morning.  Big mistake! This time, I left looking like Bozo the Clown.   I have watched enough YouTube hair videos (if you haven’t you should they are really funny)  to know that the toner (after the bleach) is the most important step but both times he hasn’t used any toner.  I rushed home jumped in the shower and did what I did last time in an attempt to fix it only this time I did it in the shower, without a mirror, the result = Purple!  I am walking around with purple, pink and yellow striped hair.  I look like a rainbow fucking unicorn from Nimbin!

Feeling deflated I am ready to shave off the lot!  My options?  Well, I could always encourage my husband to forget about doing that MBA he is considering doing this year and instead either pick up chemical engineering or go to Beauty School and learn hairdressing so he can re-open “Hair by Clyde”.

I won’t give up in my quest to find a friendly, outgoing, reasonably priced hairdresser that knows what they are doing and isn’t colour blind.  Toronto has approx 6 million people and I will find you!

Hairdresser recommendations anyone????

Got a horror hair tale?  Do tell!  It will cheer me up!

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  • Jennifer

    I’m laughing out loud (not at you) but at your horror stories as I can relate.
    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had so many bad experiences.

    A couple of years ago, I had my hair professionally coloured and the next morning, there were clumps of hair on my pillow. *Sigh*. Turns out I’m allergic to “natural” hair products. It’s still growing back in.

    You may want to check out Vidal Sassoon in Toronto. It’s not inexpensive, but I’ve always had a great results with hair colour (Christine, I’m not sure if she still works there?) and cuts. They also have a school and look for hair models (cuts).

      • Jennifer

        I hope I’m not overstepping boundaries with a suggestion?

        When I’ve had a bad experience and had to change hair salon’s, I ask to book a ‘consultation appointment’ which is usually free of charge. It gives you the option to choose if you like the salon or not. I can only recommend Christine (for colour) at Vidal but not sure if she works there anymore. All the best!

  • Cill & Chris

    Very amusing, thanks for brightening my day.

    I haven’t had the same experience at the hairdressers by moving to Canada (have not yet been for my once yearly haircut!!), but I have had the same issues with waxing salons. It seems to be you have a poor job and pay a reasonable amount, or you pay a ridiculous amount (plus tax and tip!) for a decent job.

    • Maple Bacon Please!

      Thank’s Cill and Chris! Update – I have washed my hair several times and still look like a Unicorn called Rainbow Sparkles. Seriously thinking about going to Just Cuts and getting “Hair by Clyde” to go back into business, this time with shoulder massages.

      • Cill & Chris

        My 3yo loves unicorns… you’ll be a hit with toddlers everywhere.
        Sounds like you have a good plan Re: hair. The trouble is, you will always have the hope that there is a good, affordable hairdresser out there and will you let yourself miss out on that?

  • Liz & Kate

    I feel your pain! I concur with Jennifer re Vidal Sassoon – they have high standards (from my experience) and I always liked that you could choose your “level” of hairdresser – because they train their peeps they are all different levels…so you basically get what you pay for in terms of experience!
    Other technique I tried (in London) was to accost people on the street etc if I saw someone with hair that looked great (cut and colour wise I mean) and ask them where they got it done!! It meant I had an actual real life example of their work to go by…and in my case it was a tube ride away. I suggest you accost carefully lest your target live in Hamilton or someother GTA locale:))

  • Maple Bacon Please!

    Liz & Kate thank you for the tips and great minds, I bailed up a mum at school in the playground and asked where she get’s her hair done, so I will give that salon a try next. Wish me luck, almost a week later I am looking less rainbow unicorn and more high viz yellow.

  • Cheryl

    The ridiculously high costs of the salon and bad haircuts drove my decision to go salon-free. I had a really bad haircut close to year before I met my guy and shortly after we had met, I shared my feelings about salons and be prepared, because I needed a haircut. Well he offered to trim my hair for me to save me from the horror and expense of a salon visit, and I think to save him from dealing with an angry crazed lady afterwards. Well the weekend came and I took a seat in his dining room, was caped and he combed and sectioned my hair. I was feeling so relaxed but also some trepidation, he was going to take his hair shears to my locks, and I was letting him. He was very meticulous and let’s do 1 1/2″ off rather than 4″, he said. I was ok with that and he gave me the haircut. After he swept up the trimmings and uncaped me, I dashed to the bathroom mirror to check his work. I combed it checked my ends, looked at the back with a hand mirror. I was relieved and happy. He gave me a great haircut. And it was FREE. I told him this was not a one time good deal for him, he was now my stylist, and has been since. When the grays became too many, I had him add colorist to his resume. He uses henna as it is free of the toxic chemical that not only destroy your hair, but cause cancer. The color, shine and the way it leaves my hair soft and silky is fantastic. My neighbor pays $150 every six weeks for cut and color, it costs me less than $40 a year for the henna I use and my hair trimmed every eight weeks is FREE.
    It is the smartest move I ever made aside from saying yes when he offered me and engagement ring. I strongly encourage any lady that has a boyfriend/husband that is willing to do your hair to have him do it. Watch YouTube videos together and be sure you both are clear what you want before he starts cutting or applying your color. It saves me over $1500 a year with BETTER than salon results 🙂

    • Maple Bacon Please!

      Hi Cheryl, thanks for your comments and the giggle, I think the reason my husband doesn’t object is because like your partner he would rather have a go at it then listen to my non stop bitching. I strongly recommend you encourage your partner to introduce shoulder massages when the Henna is processing.

      • Cheryl

        Actually for my bimonthly trims, he sets out a glass of red wine for me before he capes me and starts sectioning my hair, which now reaches to my elbows and a neck, shoulder and scalp massage is included with the trim. He knows exactly the right spot to get and it feels, well…really good 🙂
        Once trimmed, he will braid my hair for me and after that is when I get the neck and shoulder portion of the massage. The braiding startied as my hair grew longer and I wanted him to do it before we went on the motorcycle to prevent tangles. I really love the braids and I have shown him some different ones and he sets up the tablet and we watch YouTube videos on how to do them, while he practices them on me. I have gotten him to do French, fishtail, Dutch, rope and dual braids for me. I really enjoy having him braid my hair and have increased requests for them to the point that they are a daily occurrence, and yes I request the neck and shoulder massage to go with it if we are home. I have asked him to braid my hair for me in other places as well, sometimes people will stop and watch, a few have complimented his work. And sometimes I will just tell him I am a little stiff around my neck and I need him to work on it. Of course I do pay him back with back rubs as well as being his very amorous lady, but it is definitely worth it. I mean he combs, trims, colors and braids my hair. A couple friends asked if he took appointments after I posted the before and after photos when he colored my hair. I’m selfish, he is MY personal stylist, they need to get their own, I don’t want to share.

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