Dyed and Gone“Hello.” Insert awkward wave. “My name is Azalea March and I’m a hairstylist. It’s not as glamorous as most people think. Oh, sure it has its moments, like when I try a new highlighting technique and it comes out fantastic or I get to completely change a client’s look. You know, really challenge my skills and myself.

“Then there are the days of bang trims, late or no-show clients, and bleach that just won’t stay in the foils. And what was supposed to be a seven-hour day turns into a ten-hour day. I’m exhausted and wondering what in the world made me choose to be a hairstylist when I could’ve been an IMAX screen cleaner or a fortune cookie writer or something.

“Still, I love it. I wouldn’t do anything else. I love my clients and my coworkers. I love helping people feel beautiful. And I love stretching my skill set even as I say a prayer at the shampoo bowl and pull out the foils with my face half averted and one eye open. The Moment of Truth happens at the shampoo bowl. All manner of unintentional mistakes pop up and get fixed at the shampoo bowl.

“But sometimes things happen in the chair. Bad things. Like this one time when a new client came in and wanted highlights. I went through the usual examination of her hair and asked questions about what she’d had done previously. She’d been a model at a hair show, which is always scary. Who knew what they put on her hair? Anyway, I’m applying color to the foils that my assistant is holding and we’re chatting.

“On a side note- I like to turn my clients away from the mirror when applying their color. Both my assistant and I need to be able to reach the color and foils on the tray so we stand on either side of the client with the tray in the middle. This was one time I was glad my client couldn’t see what was happening in the mirror.

“So anyway, chatting and foiling and all of that stuff. Then all of a sudden the top of her head starts smoking. Yeah, like actual wisps of smoke, the kind that comes right before fire. My assistant’s eyes get huge and her mouth pops open and she’s staring at me across the client’s head. I’m trying not to panic. But this is bad. This is real bad. I tell her to go get a water bottle and then quickly reach for the one that’s hooked onto my tray.

“Without a word to my poor client, I start ripping foils out and squirting her head with water. My assistant joins in. But we’re not fast enough. ‘Ow’ says the client, wincing and reaching up to touch her hair. I bat her hand away and pull and spray faster.

“All the foils are out now and I practically pick her up out of the chair and push her toward the shampoo bowl. We have to get the color washed out. No highlights for my client today. She didn’t tell me that the box of do-it-yourself hair color she used to cover what was done to her hair as a model had metallic dye in it. When I applied my color it created a chemical reaction that produced steam and a near heart attack for my assistant and me.

“The moral of this story is to always be truthful with your stylist. And to not use cheap hair color. Huh, I guess my days aren’t so boring after all.

“Now I have a couple of questions for you- What is your hairstylist’s name and why you can’t live without him or her?”

You can read more about Azalea in Dyed and Gone, the first book in the “Azalea March” mystery series, published by Entangled. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6pm EST on April 22, and you will be entered for a chance to win a digital copy of DYED AND GONE. One winner will be chosen at random.

Meet the author
Best selling author, Beth Yarnall, writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and the occasional hilarious tweet. A storyteller since her playground days, Beth remembers her friends asking her to make up stories of how the person `died’ in the slumber party game Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, so it’s little wonder she prefers writing stories in which people meet unfortunate ends. In middle school she discovered romance novels, which inspired her to write a spoof of soap operas for the school’s newspaper. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

For a number of years, Beth made her living as a hairstylist and makeup artist and owned a salon. Somehow hairstylists and salons seem to find their way into her stories. Beth lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their dog where she is hard at work on her next novel. For more information about Beth and her novels, please visit her website at www.bethyarnall.com.

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