However, recently I decided I wanted to make a change. So I did some research, did a few tests to ensure I wouldn't have a reaction, asked advice for professionals and only after saving up (I am on pretty tight budget at the moment) I booked an appointment.
When the day arrived I was actually pretty nervous. I started to worry that it wouldn't suit me or that it would look really fake. I also could not stop looking at my hair and its pre-change colour. I mean, it didn't look particularly nice as in preparation and to protect it from the dyeing process I hadn't washed my hair for two and a half days, but it was my hair and it was what I was used to. It was familiar. But I'd booked my appointment, I had set an ENTIRE DAY aside in order to change my hair so... this was it. I was going blonde!
I was greeted at Blowouts by my hairdresser Frances, who was lovely throughout the entire process and answered all of my questions and boy did I have a lot of questions. The first main step was to bleach my hair, after combing out all knots there may be, my hair was divided into two parts and a second hairdresser ( Dillon, equally lovely) joined Frances and began the lengthy bleaching process. Separating my hair into small, thin parts, they placed foil under each section, brushed on the bleach and folded it in half once in order to avoid a heavy head and ensure easy removal. This process took around 45 minutes as I have a lot of hair. The foils were then left in for another half and hour, after which they were removed and my roots were bleached afterwards for a further 20 minutes. I was told the roots should always be done last (especially if you have un-dyed hair) as your scalp is sensitive to bleach and as your roots are usually untouched by damaging products, they are the quickest to bleach. Apparently the biggest mistake one can make when bleaching your own hair is to just apply it all on equally - Frances mentioned she had helped customers who had damaged their hair so badly this way that their hair had snapped off and looked like a troll doll... I have to say, I didn't experience too much discomfort while the bleach was in except for a little tingling, which is to be expected. The worst part honestly was how heavy and hot my head felt. It was fascinating to watch my hair change though. The entire process was made slightly easier by the fact I had a steady supply of green tea coming in and I had brought my current book favourite 'Americanah' by chimamanda ngozi adichie.
Whilst I waited I asked Frances for her best tips for ensuring my hair stayed healthy even after such a drastic change. I thought that maybe you guys might appreciate them too so here are five tips for protecting dyed hair:
1) Know that your hair will feel different after the change. This is normal, you will adjust and often hair just needs time to get healthy again.
2) Use conditioner! You may think that your shampoo is enough to keep your hair clean and strong, however in order to protect your hair from damage from the weather, pollution, heat, cold or whatever else it encounters you need a good conditioner. Use a 2p sized squeeze for each wash, focusing mainly at your roots especially if you are prone to greasy hair, and let sit in your hair for around 2 minutes before washing out, around the length it would take you to perform your best shower karaoke number.
3) If you are dyeing blonde (or a lighter shade) silver or violet shampoo and conditioner is your new best friend. Frances recommended Violet Shampoo from Fudge, I however love the Sheer Blonde range by John Frieda. It smells great and I used it a few days after my appointment and my hair feels so soft and looks far less brassy and yellow.
4)Use heat protection. Again Frances recommended Fudge, I however would recommend the Aussie 3 minute miracle deep treatment 'Take The Heat' which I use once a month. I don't use many heated hair tools unless I have too, I air dry my hair, I leave plaits in overnight or I sleep with curlers in if I want a particular texture the next day. However, as I do use straighteners occasionally having this care treatment means I help my hair recover and I protect it from future treatments. Products containing argan oil are also a great investment if you want stronger, shiny, healthy looking hair.
5) If you want to keep your colour looking great and constant, get your roots fixed by a professional. Usually one should arrange for a touch up 6 weeks after the last session, however it can depend in how fast your hair grows.
Once my hair was bleached completely, it was washed out, and then began the toning process. This was just like any other dying process and the dye was applied directly to my hair without foils. I was initially concerned that the toner was far darker than anticipated and that I would leave looking exactly the same as I had walking in which would have made the entire day a complete waste of time. However I was reassured by Frances that it always look far darker than it truly is (this is still the case, my hair still looks dark when wet even now). Again the application process was lengthy, due to my huge amount of hair, and once all my hair was covered it needed to sit for another 20 minutes. Luckily by this point I had been joined by my friend and housemate Cai and she saved me with coffee, muffins and company so that I wasn't too frustrated by having sat in the same chair for almost 3 hours. After the toner my hair was washed with violet shampoo and conditioner and then began the styling.
I didn't want any major change with the length or shape of my hair, I had just completely changed its colour, so I asked for a short trim, to remove any damaged ends, more shape around the face and a long fringe which when straight hits just around the centre on my chin when my hair is parted in the middle. Again, due to the sheer amount of my hair, this look some time. My hair was then blow-dried and styled by Olivia and there it was. All finished, my newly blonde barnet.
Overall I really enjoyed the experience I had at Blowouts, and the experience of becoming blonde. So far I have had many people compliment the change and most excitingly they seem to say that it doesn't look too unrealistic to be my natural colour. It is a big change and I am still getting used to it, but for anyone else looking to make a big leap in how they look, I'd say do your research and if you still want to afterwards, go for it! I think that it was worth my time and my money to pamper myself and give myself a little mini make-over. Now if you don't mind, I am heading out with some friends. After all, I have to test if blondes really do have more fun...
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Thanks, See you soon