Being a touring musician is always complicated when it comes to things like showering, staying fit, eating healthy, brushing your teeth, printing a document.. all the things that non-touring people with normal structure in their lives take for granted. But being a woman can sometimes add a few extra layers to the complexity of acting like a normal human being in public despite being essentially homeless.
Well, we are for real homeless on this tour, and since it’s such a long tour, there are certain aspects of grooming I can’t just put off “until I get home”. One of these is hair maintenance, and I have a LOT of hair. Luckily I was able to use the bathroom of one of our recent hosts to complete the hair bleaching process but I didn’t have any dye, so I had to wait for a day when we happened to be in a mall to find some. That day was yesterday. I present to you now, How To Dye Your Hair Discreetly In A Mall Bathroom – in 7 steps!
To pull this off, you’ll need the following:
-your hair dye of choice
-a shower cap
-a hairbrush or comb
-travel-sized shampoo and conditioner
-a toque (or hat, as Americans like to call them – so confusing!)
-a backpack to put it all in (people will look at you weird if you just carry a towel around in the mall)
Step 1: Assemble items and find a private or semi-private washroom
To my benefit the mall I picked was pretty swanky and in the woman’s washroom there was ANOTHER WASHROOM, like a whole washroom for disabled people with a door that shut and locked. It had its own sink so that was perfect. I would also advise you to choose a time of day that is least busy. The best is on a weekday, AFTER the lunch rush but before the 3 pm school day ends. That way the fewest number of people are likely to even come and go from the bathroom and you will be left in blissful hair-dying peace.
Step 2: Cover your hairline and ears in Vaseline
If you’re lazy about dying your hair, like me, you usually skip this step. But damn, bitch, you on tour! You got a show tonight, you don’t have time to mess around with dye on your face and head! Slap that lube on there. I recommend using gloves to protect your hands from dye as well.
Step 3: Partition up your hair using any hair ties or bobby pins at your disposal, otherwise just do it by tossing your hair to and fro and hope for the best
I gave up on gloves early on into the process.
PS, try not to make TOO much of a mess in the mall bathroom. I did this by mainly keeping everything in the sink, which is easy to clean.
Step 4: Cover your whole head in hair dye, and put any/all excess dye in there.
Careful, well-planned and organized dying using a moderate or correct amount of dye is for people who have their own bathrooms. You, on the other hand, have clearly made some bad life choices and are frantically trying to get this done before the staff of the mall become concerned and start knocking on the door. You don’t have time for conserving dye – just squeeze it all onto your head and mush it around like shampoo. At least you’ll know that you probably won’t have any splotchy patches.
Step 5: Cover your hair with a shower cap, then cover the shower cap with a toque
This will keep the dye from getting everywhere, the toque will keep everyone from seeing what a weirdo you are, and it has the additional benefit of added heat for dye-setting
At this point you’ll need to wait however many minutes for the dye to take. I used this time to attend to other important hygienic processes that can sometime get neglected on tour. The mall I was in was so fancy they had a whole separate “Family Room” just off the bathroom, complete with more sinks, microwaves, chairs, a TV playing Thomas the Tank Engine, and another bathroom with a locking door that was specifically for people with small children (it had one big toilet and one little toilet, one big sink and one little sink).
Oh yeah, also MAKE SURE to clean up after yourself – don’t leave a mess!
Step 6: When the time comes, lock yourself in the bathroom again, jam your head under the tap and wash your hair out
This was definitely the most time-consuming step of the process because most taps in public bathrooms these days are automatic, and the one I was using didn’t have particularly high pressure. Plus my hair is SUPER thick, so it took a long time to rinse out the entire 2 tubes of sparks hair dye I put in there (normally I use manic panic but I couldn’t find my color anywhere! – dammit Manic Panic, that’s why you need to sponsor me!!). Then there’s the shampooing and the conditioning. Just stick with it, you’ll get ‘er done!
Step 7: Towel dry your hair, clean up your mess and get the heck out of there!
et voila! Before…