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My Hair Journey: From Light Brown to Black to Orange to Blonde(ish)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

My hair has been through a lot, to put it plainly. I have natural light brown hair with sort of a red undertone, and up until my senior year of high school, I never touched it (except for the time I dyed it pink at age seven). At the end of 2018, I had the sudden urge to dye my hair black. I went to the salon and explained my vision, but my stylist said going from light brown to black would be too extreme. She dyed my hair dark brown which I ended up loving, but about a month later my original vision came back to me. Thus began my journey with box dye. 

Pictures of me with different hair colors
Original photo by Abby Champoux

I boxed dyed my hair probably seven times throughout 2019. It was jet black for the entire year. At the time I loved it, but I wasn’t considering the extent to which I was DESTROYING it. Not to mention how often I was straightening it as well. By the end of 2019, I decided I wanted to go back to my natural color. So, at the very beginning of 2020, I returned to the salon and asked if they could get my hair back to light brown. 

The stylist was, obviously, not too happy with the number of times I used box dye. She explained how dead my hair probably was and that in order to go back to brown she would need to bleach it, which would kill it even more. She also said that bleach on black hair usually results in an orange color. After a three-hour procedure filled with bleach and lots of toner, my hair was still orange in the end. There was nothing else to do except let it grow out. 

Me with ginger hair
Original photo by Abby Champoux

After a few months of being a ginger (which was during quarantine, so not the biggest deal), I knew I had to fix it again. I went to a new salon that June and asked the stylist to tone my hair and add some blonde highlights. While she was able to fix it to an extent, it still had a good amount of orange in it. I went back a month later and she toned it even more and gave me a balayage. After this session, my hair was finally in a place where I wanted it to be. 

Of course, it got brassy again after a couple of months. I decided I needed to let it breathe and grow out before getting it done again. I didn’t touch it until 10 months later when I got it toned again and another balayage. Now, THIS was the best my hair had ever looked — no more orange, just light brown hair with blonde highlights. I was satisfied until the summer came and it started looking orange again. I realized that no matter what, lightening my hair would probably always result in brassiness after some time. 

Me with a Balyage
Original photo by Abby Champoux

It has now been 11 months since I last dyed my hair, and it’s almost completely grown back to my natural color. It’s healthy and at the end of the day, I like my natural color best. Dying your hair is so much fun, but it can also be a pain. One thing’s for certain though: I will never go back to box dye.

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Abby Champoux

U Mass Amherst '23

I'm Abby and I'm a senior psychology major at UMass! I'm also a sociology minor working toward social work and criminal justice certificates. This is my second year with HC and I love the friendly and inclusive environment of it.