Coiffed in Cordoba

It was a few minutes after twelve when Gillian turned to me and posed a very distressing question. “What if these guys aren’t really stylists and this is all some sort of sick April fool’s joke?”

I could feel the beads of sweat form on my forehead and I immediately became short of breath. For the last hour and a half, we had both sat patiently while three Argentinean men had teased our hair, divided it into sections, plastered it with peroxide and then wrapped in tinfoil.

Deep breathes and meditation are key in this sort of situation

The day before we had arrived in Cordoba, the cultural capital of Latin America, and had checked into a charming albeit slightly shabby youth hostel for a few nights. Upon arrival we had inquired with the hostel inn-keeper where a girl could get a decent hair cut. “Well this is your lucky day, chicas,” he grinned. “There happens to be three hair stylists staying at the hostel for the next few days who are currently offering their services to all of our guests.”

“What are the chances?” we giggled and then proceeded to daydream about the thousands of different opportunities to change our hair from travel drab to Argentinean fab. Within a few hours of our arrival, we were introduced to our soon-to-be hairstylists, who were conveniently named Pablo, Bruno and Dino. If their names didn’t give away their profession, their sense of style did. Bedazzled with long silver chains, tight flared jeans and coiffed hair, the three immediately began fingering Gillain’s hair. They chatted in Spanish, suggesting new style opportunities that would make Gillian “muy bonita.” We awkwardly smiled, not understanding a lick of what was just said and agreed upon a time to meet the next day.

Before the magic began, Gillian and Dino instantly bonded over her lovely locks

The whole hair coiffing session began shortly after 11 as we took our seats in plastic lawn chairs and the men rapidly combed out our curls (never a good look). After a few flicks of their skillful wrists and a snip or two from their scissors, our haircuts were finished and they ushered us into the shade so the real magic could begin – the administration of our “highlights.”

The smell of peroxide was fierce as Pablo mixed together a Tupperware container of hair product and I squeezed the white plastic arms of my chair. “I have faith in humankind, I have faith in humankind,” I repeated over and over in my head. Gillian gave me a supportive half-smile as he started lathering my scalp with the ice-blue hair dye. After completing his work and allowing the congealed product to sit, Pablo began removing my foils.

At the mercy of Pablo and his skills as a hair stylist, Leah kept her cool for the most part

“Is it really blond?” I asked, looking over at Gillian. Her response was simple and devastating. “If I were you I would be crying right now.” Moments later Gillian’s foils were removed as well – the outcome was just as bleak.

Gillian lost a few brain cells during the whole procedure - par for the course when you become blond

We sat, trying not to hyperventilate as the men leaped into action. Tubes were squeezed, conditioner was poured, and hands violently whipped together a sure-to-be Hail Mary of hair products. At one point I had six hands massaging a whole new blend of dye into my hair. Once we had been shampooed, conditioned and rinsed, the men took a step back to admire their work. “Muy bonita,” they praised.

Muy bonita, indeed.

All in all, a successful experience

Six hours later, our new ‘dos have slightly grown on us. Although the initial shock of our streaked hair was a bit to handle, we are confident that not only do we now have “adventure hair” but we learnt a very valuable lesson – do not get your hair done in a country when you can’t speak the language.