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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Cost of Beauty: Free


Hollywood is all about image. And 600 dollar haircuts. But I won't give in that easy. I've been finding creative ways to get around the high costs of beauty in this city.
A few months ago I was at a music video shoot and there was a bored hairstylist on set. The video was for a male artist, so there's only so much hairstyling that needs to go on throughout the 8 hour shoot. I could sense the hair-stylist's boredom, so I hinted at the fact that I needed a trim, and before you know it, she threw a smock over my head, took out her scissors, and said, "I thought you'd never ask!" I was very happy with the cut, so she gave me her business card and said, "Call me. Of course next time it won't be free, but my haircuts only run about $500-$600." I was choking inside, but I kept my composure and said, "Wow, that's not bad at all. When this grows out I'll definitely give you a call!" Ha, yeah right! I tossed the business card out as I was leaving with my amazing, free haircut.
And then this past week I came across a posting on Craigslist from a stylist at an upscale salon in Santa Monica offering a free hair color. It seemed to good to be true, but I figured I might as well respond to the ad. As long as it wasn't at a serial killer's apartment, I was up for my free haircoloring. And things turned out better than I would've ever expected. This salon was beautifully legit. Four hours and a heavenly 20 minute scalp massage later, I was leaving the salon like a celebrity with free amazing highlights and color.
But, free services haven't always worked for me. Please be advised, it's hit or miss. I've had my fair share of beauty disasters too...
Like the time a friend of a friend offered (more like begged!) to do my nails and three hours of labor later, I had bird-claw like fake nails, built up with nearly an inch of thickness above my real nail. I just dread the feeling of knowing the beauty service is going completely wrong, but at the end of it I always still act appreciative and enthusiastic. I glanced down at the claws, (my new claws most resembled that of the barn owl or the bald eagle) and said, "Wow! Thank you!" but I really wanted to say, "Wow...sick! You just gave me bird claws, you punk!". But Rule #1 is: when someone preforms a service for free, good or bad, you can't complain. It only took a few days before I ripped all of the claws off, but in the meantime, I was so self-conscious about my fingers that I kept my hand in a fist position at work to better hide my nails. No one mentioned the fist, I guess they assumed I was just getting ready to punch someone...
And, as if I hadn't learned my lesson already, I let this same person who made me into a bird, dye my hair. But this was only after an at home hair diaster left my locks a pinkish-gray hue instead of the intended golden brown, and I was desperate for a quick fix. Yeah, the hair wasn't much better than the claws, and pushing back tears, I smiled and said, "Wow. Thank you!" (refer to Rule #1)
And then there was the time...wait, at second thought, let me stop here. I guess I have had more than my fair share of beauty diasters. Maybe I should stop while I'm still ahead. But then I'm reminded of my amazing haircut and haircolor, and that keeps me believing. Oh the cost of beauty...Free!