Becoming Blonde(ish). A coming of age tale.

Hey fellow anti-socialites,

So, I know I promised I was going to do a breakdown of my NYC goodies however I have yet to properly sample some of the products. Since I want my commentary to be spot on, that post will have to wait just a teeny bit longer!

On the other hand, I couldn’t bear to leave this blog on hiatus for another second and I had a eureka moment in the middle of my Sunday grooming session. 

For some time now I’ve been meaning to make a post regarding the various trials and tribulations my hair and I have endured together, more specifically my adventures with colour. 

You may see from my icon image that looms over my blog like I’m some sort of creepy dictator, that I am currently blonde(ish).

I say currently as in fact my natural colour is dark. Shocker I know.

The transition from dark to light wasn’t an overnight miracle by any means and it was something that I had been considering and carefully thinking about for a long time.

Before jumping into it, I used to occasionally test the waters by not so subtly asking family, friends and colleagues for their blessing. Much to my disappointment, I was consistently met with one resounding response; NAY. Cue the violins 

And you know what else?

People would always follow up their rejection by asking me why I don’t like my own natural colour. Thanks for assuming guys.  Here’s a shocking piece of information; I do like it. I’m not keen to go blonde because I have some sort of deep rooted insecurity eating away at my soul about being a brunette. The simple fact is I just feel like it.  As cliché as it sounds, life is too short to only be one shade. If you do it gradually and give your hair the needed TLC, why the hell not do it? Experiment! 

 As you can probably tell, in the face of rejection I was defiant. Scratch that. Maybe obsessive is the better word. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Every time I spotted someone with luminous blonde hair I looked on with longing.  I’m sure I creeped a few poor girls out. Sorry guys.

As time passed I grew more obsessed. If not for Pinterest I probably would have gone old school and ripped out magazine images and created a collage to rival my 10-year-old self’s Leonardo DiCaprio shrine. 

Despite my growing obsession, I was conflicted. That pesky little voice in my head would come out to play.

What if it suit doesn’t you? All your friends and family made it clear going blonde is a no-go zone. And hey remember that little thing called money? Yeah that. That’s a whole other avenue you don’t want to stroll down.

Eventually after years of swinging back and forth on the issue, I made up my mind and muffled the voice. The fact of the matter was that this was one of those things I just had to do otherwise it was going to be forever on the back of my mind. Kind of like when you spot a spider in your room and you obsessively follow it’s every move for fear of losing it and finding it dangling over your face as you wake up the next morning. Eventually you realise it’s not actually practical to have your eyes glued to a spider all night (who would have thought?) and you need to adult and do something about it. I digress. 

 Now before rocking up to the first salon I could find, I did a lot of research (Google is my bestie). And I mean a lot. It’s crucial to read up about it, this is your hair after all. During my studies, I learnt a lot of important information and tips for us brunettes wanting a little blonde in our lives.

Notepads and fluffy pens ready…?

Who am I kidding? Go ahead and bookmark, screenshot, copy + paste or whatever virtual mode of note taking it is that you use these days.

Tip One: Don’t be that person who demands to go from Vivian Kensington to Elle Woods.

To go through the process properly with the least amount of damage, you may need a couple of sessions. For me, it took 3 sessions to get to where I am. Four if you include the redo (A story for another time). Not to mention for just one of those sessions I had the bleach in for about 2 and half hours. Imagine how sore my thumb was from all that bored scrolling. On the other hand, my sister’s hair only took one session to get to blonde, and she’s only a few shades lighter than me.

It’s difficult to predict what your journey will be as everyone’s hair is different. But be aware that it may require time to achieve what you want. Not only is it incredibly difficult to make drastic colour changes in one session, it is also incredibly bad for your hair.

Despite our tumultuous relationships we all have with our hair, we love it really, right? And we would never want to do major damage just to live out the fantasy of being Serena van der Woodsen, right?

During my consultations and chats with various stylists I learnt one single frustrating aspect of their job that all salons seem to share: the majority of dark haired clients still can’t grasp this fact.  

Many clients still turn up and demand something that can’t be done (I blame Kylie Jenner tbh). They then tend to get restless when informed by how long the process may take and decide to take matters into their own hands. So, it’s no surprise then that they usually end up with disastrous results and return to the salon with their tail between their legs.

Seriously, don’t be that person

The image below of Khloe Kardashian’s transformation was referred to me by quite a few stylists to give me an idea of the process.


Tip Two: Your bank account will bleed. Accept this. Sorry.

Being blonde is expensive, that’s why so many of those real housewives on TV and outside our primary schools are shimmering buttery blondes; they can afford to be.

Part of the decision to go blonde involves accepting the fact that it is going to be fairly expensive if you want it done right. 

Beware of salons promising immediate results at low prices. Be smart. On the hand, don’t just pick an expensive salon and be done with it. A higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better job. Shop around and compare prices. 

Don’t forget, there’s also life after achieving blonde hair. Maintenance also requires shelling out the dough. I’ve had to switch up my hair routine to increase hydration via hair masks as well as use a toning shampoo once a week. Some people won’t require toning this often but mine tends to go brassy fairly quick. On the plus side, I don’t need to wash my hair as often. As a brunette I would religiously wash it every second day. Now I’m finding I can get away with a third day as it doesn’t actually look unwashed or greasy. My theory is that this has something to do with the change in texture.

 

Tip Three: Choose your stylist wisely. 

This kind of runs off my previous point. Once I had made up my mind to go blonde I was looking up salons, reading reviews, checking out their social media pages and booking consultations left and right in the search for the right colourist. As I’ve hopefully drilled into your head by now, I myself knew that any colourist who knew their trade was not going to promise me Margot Robbie hair with the snap of a finger. 

I highly recommend you book a consultation with every salon you are considering. It is a great chance for both parties to discuss what it is that you want, what can be achieved and what to expect from the process. Come with pictures if you feel a visual guide would better express what you’re after. Try to be flexible though! Keep in mind that everyone’s hair is different and stylists aren’t magicians so chances are it won’t look exactly like the picture. They’ll take the main elements of what you are after and apply that to your hair. 

During a consultation, the stylist will ask you questions on various things before they formulate a game plan. They’ll want to know whether you dyed your hair previously and if so with what and how long ago? How do you normally style it and what products do you normally use? They’ll check out your hair’s texture. Your facial undertones and colouring also play a role as well as seemingly insignificant details like the kind of jewellery and clothes you wear. 

Keep in mind that they aren’t psychics, there is no way of knowing how well your hair will lift with the bleach until it’s slapped on. It’s important to note that hair lifts much easier if you haven’t coloured it previously. What hindered my hair from lifting was the fact that I had dyed it dark colours in the past and there was still traces of this in my hair. My colourist would physically show me the difference while the bleach was on my hair by showing me strands that were originally my natural colour and those that had been dyed. The difference was evident. If you have previously coloured your hair, make sure you let them know so they can plan ahead and tailor the process to suit your hair. 

 

Tip Four: Be prepared to hate it… at first. 

Fact of the matter is, it’s a drastic change. You are either going to love it or you are going to want to ugly cry the minute you get home. Mentally prepare yourself for that initial reaction. 

My advice? Take it easy and go with the flow. Give yourself time to settle into your new look and remember it’s just hair at the end of the day. Besides, if you have followed all the above tips I can guarantee it is highly unlikely you will end up with a disaster. 

Your opinion may fluctuate for a while, I know mine did.  One minute I couldn’t stop admiring it in the mirror and the next I wanted my blanket of dark hair back, then I’d go right back to loving it again. To make matters more confusing, for me it was a double adjustment as I was still getting used to a shorter hair-cut when I decided to go blonde.

Note: Keep in mind that the transition colour is not what the result is going to look like. Sometimes you need to go through a brassy orange toned stage before achieving the colour you want. It’s all part of the process.

Tip Five: More changes are on the horizon. 

Let’s not kid ourselves, bleaching is incredibly damaging to hair. Even today with Olaplex and various other high tech treatments the process of going light takes a toll

Remember when I mentioned noticing a change in the texture of my hair? As a brunette my hair was always silky and hydrated. Now it is considerably more dehydrated. Not dramatically dehydrated, don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely not at the thin and straw-like end of the spectrum, however it is enough for me to notice a difference.

There are options for dealing with this. Invest in a good weekly deep conditioning mask. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner is a great option for only £4.99. Plus they have these cute little 20ml sachets you can buy for just over £1. These little guys lasted me at least 3/4 washes. If you’ve got the means to splurge check out the Kérastase range. These are only a few suggestions. Same goes for toning products, there are plenty of great products out there.

That’s pretty much the main points I felt the need to word vomit on this subject. To finish off I’m going to treat you to a lovely visual presentation of my journey… backwards. Let’s pretend some of these aren’t low res selfies shall we?


 That last one is a pretty old photo from when I used to dye it black but I included it purely so you can see just how dark it used to be.

So, where do I go from here? Blonder? Back to the dark side? Maybe take a little inspiration from Ariel?

Who knows. For now though my hair definitely needs a little vacation. 

Watch this space! 

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