Don't try this at home! My hair debacle story...!
I had a total hair debacle last week and I want to document it – for one to remind myself to NEVER again attempt what I attempted (!!) and for another to possibly help someone else who might find themselves in a similar situation. I know it’s a ‘first world problem’ but anyone who’s gone through this knows that when you suddenly realize you’ve potentially destroyed your hair, there is a certain feeling of panic that takes over and it’s hard to let it go until the problem is rectified!
I had my hair dyed professionally quite recently, maybe a little over a month ago. I wasn’t particularly happy with the results. It was just too similar to the way it looked before the appointment. I asked for blond low lights, my hairdresser suggested bright-ish red instead, and I went for it. I liked it, but the problem I discovered with it once I got home and really looked at it was that all of the bright colour was completely hidden. I’ve gotten low lights lots of times, so I realize they’re not as bold as highlights because they’re not right on top. But it was a bit ridiculous how literally NONE of the lowlights I got showed through AT ALL. I would basically have to pin up just the top part of my hair in order for them to show, and since that’s a style I basically NEVER go for with my hair, it felt like I’d been totally gipped. I should have called my hairdresser and explained that I wasn’t happy with it – I KNOW she would have fixed it for free. I KNOW she wouldn’t have caused a fuss over it. I’ve basically been going to her for over 6 years. It’s just that I would have felt bad about it, and I would have felt uncomfortable sitting there again getting it changed up to make me happy, knowing that even though she was being nice about it, there would be that uncomfortableness because of the fact that I wasn’t happy in the first place, blah blah. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that! Not to mention it became a huge fiasco in the first place just being able to go to her at all, because I had to get my mil to help look after the kids so I could go and then we had a falling out with my mil in part because she felt she’d been left with the kids far too long on her own…A whole other story for a whole other blog post that I may or may not ever write!! But yeah…way too complicated to go back to that hairdresser, I really do have to find someone more permanent closer to where we live.
In the meantime I decided to take matters into my own hands. I bought a Revlon Frost and Glow kit at the drugstore and, smartly, decided not to take strands of hair through every single hole in the highlighter cap, but rather carefully chose just a few rows to put in some lowlights. I did this because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, and if it went awry, I wouldn’t have issues that would be super noticeable. I left the stuff on for almost the full hour recommended, and the lowlights turned out pretty awesome. They were a nice honey blond colour. The only thing was, I’d played it so safe that while there were a bunch of lowlights (way more than my hairdresser had put in), they still weren’t showing through much at all, except for 2 at the back, which kind of drove me nuts, and showed me how cool the highlights looked and made me think I should go out and buy another kit to do more and make it noticeable.
I was actually EXCITED to be doing my own hair again! I used to dye my own hair all sorts of colours. In fact, I started dyeing it at 13, and when I was 18 I started doing blond highlights on my own when a hairdresser told me it ‘wasn’t possible’ for my hair to be dyed blond. WTF?! I was able to do it with a home dye kit, and it turned out so nice that another hairdresser I went to for a cut asked me where I’d had the colouring done because it looked so professional! She was shocked when I said I’d done it myself. So it’s not like I didn’t have any confidence with home hair dye. I know salon dyes are better, I’m not about to dispute that – you get what you pay for. But at the same time, I just can’t justify spending so much on my hair at the salon anymore. I want to have nice hair, but I also want to be able to afford things like clothes (particular for a few adorable kids that come to mind!!) So the next day I actually sent James out to get me another of the same kit I’d used the day before, and this time I decided to go crazy with highlights and basically poked strands of hair through all the holes on the cap that had circles.
I was excited when I started, but I should have listened to my gut as I became further and further exhausted and frustrated poking the strands through the cap. Just that job alone took me nearly an hour and a half…and if you have the luxury of time, good for you, this probably won’t bother you. But for me, an hour and a half poking hair through a cap is wasted time, as time is so precious and I cringe now thinking about how I spent that ‘me time’ with my head sweating under a plastic cap, and my arm getting sore from the way I was struggling to pull strands through at the back of my head, which I couldn’t see unless I held a mirror up the whole time. But I persevered, and put on the bleaching solution, and left it on for the exact same amount of time as I did with the first kit. (Something to note is that I didn’t pull any strands through that had been bleached the day before, as I didn’t want to over bleach any of my hair). I thought it was going to look awesome and I was super excited!
That is, until it was time to wash it out…I ended up leaving it on for a few minutes longer because it just looked so orangey and gross and it needed more processing. Only it just didn’t change from orange with more time, so I had to wash it out. And I looked at my head in horror, because I looked like Carrot Top. It was NOT good. I thought maybe it would look lighter once it was dry since wet hair always looks darker, but I dried it and the majority of my hair was this horrible orange colour. I texted James and told him it was a nightmare because I didn’t want to come downstairs and have him tease me about it. I was already feeling sensitive about it, and my heart was sinking into the ground. I wanted to cry! I’d just wasted several hours of my life, some money, and all I had to show for it was ugly, orange hair. I’d ruined my hair!!
I felt miserable. James said it looked good, but James always says that. He loves me no matter what and that’s awesome and all, but I still felt ugly. My body image hasn’t been the greatest post-twins, so feeling even worse about myself just doesn’t feel like an option right now! I basically obsessed the whole rest of the night researching through google and youtube to hopefully find some answers on how to fix what I’d done.
There is so much conflicting info out there that I didn’t really know who or what to believe! Some people said to just dye it dark and it will take away the orange, others said to be careful with immediately dyeing it brown because you’d run the risk of it turning green. I knew I didn’t want green hair…So what I ended up doing was first dyeing it with Clairol Nice n’ Easy #106 – I can’t remember what the colour was called but essentially it was an ash blond colour. I left it with that for the day, trying to get used to, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t still red. It had definitely toned the red so it wasn’t orange, but I couldn’t fool myself – it really was red. Insult was added to injury when James came home from work and I was wearing a red t-shirt and he said, ‘Hey, now your shirt matches your hair!’ (He’s not a mean guy, he thought he was being funny). I didn’t find it the least bit funny and it made me further antsy about fixing the problem. I felt like Anne Shirley, and I knew that wasn’t the right look for me. It just didn’t work with my skin tone at all! So luckily I had also picked up a box of Garnier Nutrisse in #50, medium natural brown. My plan had been to give my hair a bit of a break for at least a week to prevent damaging it even more than I already had, but that night I bit the bullet and dyed it. And it worked! My hair turned brown! Which is very similar to the colour it was before I did any of the low/highlights. There are definitely ‘highlights’ throughout my hair now since obviously the parts that hadn’t been bleached went darker than the pieces that had. But it was/is tolerable. If I look really closely I don’t totally care for the colour, but it’s really not that bad, and truthfully anyone who didn’t know what I’d done didn’t say anything about it, which tells me they are none the wiser that my hair was even processed! I hate myself a little for what I did, because I DID damage my hair pretty badly. Luckily I have awesomely strong hair (I had it bleached platinum blond and all sorts of colours in my early 20s and it never got super damaged so I know I have strong hair!) But still…I just wish I hadn’t wasted all that time and ultimately money. I wanted to cheap out and give myself highlights, and the sad truth is that in the end, I could have got some professionally done for the price I ended up paying for my hair debacle. SIGH!!
(As an aside, I also tried a purple shampoo to tone down the orangeyness before I dyed it, but to no avail).
Lesson learned! I will dye my hair dark colours with home dyes but never again will I attempt highlights on my own. That I will leave to the professionals!