Yup, you read that right. I committed the worst of the worst of all hair sins: dyeing it frequently, many different colors- six colors, in fact, in the span of two years. Before you call me crazy, in all of my hair adventures, I’ve certainly learned a lot, and not just about proper haircare. I’ve learned about myself, my likes, my dislikes…let me break it down for you from the beginning.
Excuse the selfie quality, but this is what my natural, never-been-touched-except-for-a-few-haircuts hair looked like in 2016. It wasn’t quite black, but not rich enough for me to be called a brunette, either. I’d never altered it in any way- no highlights, no bleaching, nada. I’d just gotten comfortable wearing it down without any sort of clip or hair tie pulling some of it back, and I was embracing the whole natural curls thing. I don’t know what really possessed me to want to change it, but I was suddenly very interested in getting the hot new trend: rose hold highlights. And boy, was I determined.
If you know anything about hair, you know it’s very hard to lift/lighten dark hair like my natural color to get the base needed to dye it any sort of pastel color, such as rose gold. Well, that’s the thing…I didn’t know anything about hair. Like, nothing. I didn’t even use conditioner properly at this point. So when I went into the salon and asked for rose gold highlights- HIGHLIGHTS- I didn’t even think there was anything wrong when my stylist decided to lift my hair…all of my hair. Except for the roots, she lifted me to an awful, awful shade of yellow all over. Not where the highlights were going to go, but everywhere. I don’t know why I didn’t freak out, but I’ll attribute it to my very scary lack of knowledge on the subject.
Anyways, long story short, after three hours I’d been turned a very bright shade of…orange. Pumpkin orange. So grotesquely pumpkin orange that I won’t even embarrass myself enough to post a picture of the mess. And the worst part? She convinced me I was “strawberry blonde” and I ended up paying for it. Only when I facetimed my best friend did I start to sob.
And thus began my hair dye journey. I went to a different salon, and although they couldn’t make me into the beautiful rose gold highlighted goddess I wanted (again, my WHOLE HEAD had been lifted, not just parts), they met me in the middle…sort of.
Suddenly I was a redhead. A bright, Ariana Grande/Ariel redhead. And I loooooved it. I’d never pictured myself ever going red, but I couldn’t stop staring at myself after the fact. It was something so different, so unexpected, but it just worked. I rocked that red hair for months, box-dyeing it twice myself when the color started to fade out. At this point, my hair was still in pretty great condition. Asides from my normal amount of split ends, I hadn’t experienced any breakage or fallout, even from the cheap box dyes. So, deciding to push my luck, I continued to experiment.
Coincidentally, I started to get medical school interviews around this time (I was red a good ways into 2017), and my hair was neither professional nor kept. It was super long now, filled with split ends and heat damage. So when I dyed it back to a somewhat natural hue with blonde highlights, I cut a good chunk of it off, too. Things seemed to be fine, and after the interviews were over, I couldn’t wait to get back to trying more colors.
I was hellbent on getting rose hold hair. That’s what I’d originally wanted, and I was going to get it if it killed me. So, I went to a completely different salon and showed them a multitude of pictures of rose gold hair. Rose. Gold. Does the above picture look rose gold or even slightly pink to you? Yeah, not to me, either. But when the dyeing job was done, I actually kind of liked it. So even know I was more violet and raspberry than rose gold, I was a happy camper.
However, my hair was not. The dye job was choppy at best, and my hair was splitting from the cheap due the salon used. Although I was using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, my hair was fading fast to the brassy undertone it had ever since whats-her-face lifted my whole head (yep, still bitter). I was getting fed up at this point, and my GOD, I just wanted rose gold hair.
Finally, finally…I found my personal hair goddess. Andrea from Denton Color Lab gave me the look I’d wanted for over a year now, and she restored the health back into my hair as well. Although my hair was lifted once more to achieve the lighter shade, it wasn’t bleached, and she didn’t touch my roots, either. Instead, she gave me a shot of olaplex that rejuvenated my split ends and reduced breakage overall. She did, however, advise me to not use heat products as often as I had been. I went on my merry way, happier than ever. I mean, look at that gorgeous color!
Yet…I wanted something crazier a month and a half later. It was 2018 now, and I knew my time to experiment with my hair was shortening. Now that I’d finally found a stylist that worked for me, I knew I could trust her with what I wanted next. So, I asked her for some pink tones to make the color really pop. This has to be my favorite look of all. My hair was suddenly hot freaking pink and although it gave my mom a heart attack, I absolutely adored it. It was beautiful, and my hair dreams had been realized.
Which brings us to today. With graduation just a week or so away, and medical school in two months, I knew I had to return to normal. Andrea freshened me up and dyed me back to my natural shade; after a few washes, the black should fade to my dark brown with some highlights mixed in. Over the course of the last two years, I’ve damaged my hair, for sure. Underneath all this dye, the bottom half of my hair is still brassy and blonde because of the first job done wrong. It’s going to take a very long time for that to go away; with proper shampoo and conditioning products and timely cuts, though, I’ve managed to keep my hair healthy and shiny.
With every change brought to my hair, I found a change within myself, too. I found myself taking more risks and being more carefree and open to the world around me. Making my hair crazy colors gave me a confidence I’ve never had before, and even though I’m back to normal now, I still carry it with me.
So my advice to you is this: if you wanna experiment with your hair, do it! Just make sure you go to a reputable salon that doesn’t over charge you. And if you don’t like the end product- say something. Speak up. And don’t be afraid to take chances.
I love my hair now, and Andrea did a great job, as always. But if you ask me…I’d rather it be blue.
Happy hair dyeing!