Strands of hair stood up sparsely from my scalp like bristles on a toilet brush. I looked like an old doll which had lost most of its wiry curls. Just such a plastic princess lived in a chest somewhere at home and it was fairly certain I had been the cause of its alopecia. The person responsible for my current condition was standing just behind me, critically pulling at the hairs as she checked they were evenly distributed. Armed with a sharp-ended hook, she looked like she was sewing a wig directly into my head. If that had been true, I would have been anxious for her not to stop any time soon.

"We had to stop using the cap for most of our customers," she told me. "They just found it too uncomfortable." She pushed the hook down into a particularly large bald patch and punctured the skin-coloured rubber cap I was wearing, drawing another group of hairs through it.

Ha! Those cowards!

"It's just a bit uncomfortable," I said dismissively, taking the chance to throw a condescending glance around the rest of the salon. I have no idea if they saw; my eyes were watering fountains. The dust in the room was clearly dreadful.

Satisfied with the balding barbie look she had created, my torturer picked up a pot of bright red liquid and started to paint everything she had drawn through the rubber hat. I examined the hue with a degree of satisfaction. When I had arrived at the salon and declared I wanted to dye my hair red, my hairdresser had been sceptical.

"You'll have to get it re-done every 4-6 weeks," she warned me.

If she was disliking that idea, she would have really hated my original notion of platinum blond.

"Eh," I replied. "My hair is short. I can let it grow out."

My carefree attitude did not seem to reassure her. "That will give you a line," she warned again.

Personally, I thought she had a higher opinion of my fashion sense than there was any evidence to support. However, she did have an alternative suggestion; highlights would mix in with my natural hair colour, bring out the red tones already present and then grow out more naturally. It sounded like a plan we could both work with. I talked her up a few shades in brightness and here we were. Now looking like a balding doll who had been in a horrific accident.

Finishing up, the hairdresser snapped the cap further down over my ears before leaving me to enjoy my newly discovered silence with a couple of gossip magazines (Did you know Lindsay Lohan has a unrecognised half-sister? ... who is Lindsay Lohan?). Twenty-five minutes later, she reappeared to examine the results ... and gasped, exclaiming ....

.... well, I had no idea. I couldn't hear anything at all. Either the dye had taken or all my hair was about to drop out. Either way, I was going to get an interesting new look. I tried smiling brightly. There was no evidence this was the wrong reaction. Following directions that indicated the sinks were my next port of call, I sat while the excess liquid was washed out before the cap was pulled free with a pop.

Hello world, aren't you loud?

Venturing back to the mirror I ascertained two important points. Firstly, I still seemed to have a full head of hair. Secondly, it was bright coppery red. Even though highlighting colours only part of your hair, the overall effect is an all-through hue. From my experience with blond highlights, a week would see it settle in even more so it would become even harder to tell which sections had been dyed.

I was impressed. I looked like a fall tree and hopefully I wouldn't be clamouring to imitate the winter counterpart after a few months of root growth.