Going from black to blonde – all the trauma I put my hair through this summer.
I have a long history of risk-taking when it comes to my hair style and color. It has been hot pink, purple, black, and orange. I have bleached it 3 times and shaved it off twice – both following disastrous bleaching experiments. Then I discovered the beauty of the internet and realized that if I was going to try a drastic change, I was going to do my research. I also didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars at a salon that may or may not have wrecked my hair any worse than I could do myself.
My natural hair color is very close to my husband’s dark brown. The picture below is with fairly recently dyed blue/black hair I acquired with a box dye – it was most likely Garnier because it’s my favorite. I dig having black hair because I have wicked blue eyes, and they really pop the darker my hair is. However, I also get bored rather quickly and needed a change. So why the hell not go from black to blonde? I’m not overly attached to my hair, and I keep it pixie short, so if I mess it up, it’s no huge loss. However, I also have a wedding to go to in 2 months, so I figured it might be quite a catastrofuck if I shaved it off beforehand. To the internet!!
I did some quick searches on how to safely and cheaply strip hair dye, and then spent a couple of weeks washing with Head and Shoulders followed by a few treatments of baking soda mixed with shampoo to lighten up the black. Ended up being a reddish toned very dark brown. A bit dry, but conditioned the hell out of it for weeks. Then it was time for the hard core stuff.
Step one: August 28 - I used Color Oops and followed every step to the letter, including rinsing under warm water for the full 25 minutes and washing after every 5. Be sure if you do this not to let your kiddo in the shower before you, lest you run the risk of running out of hot water, which is what happened to my ass. The outcome was a medium, caramel color. A little brassy, but absolutely free of black dye. Used John Frieda’s shampoo and deep conditioner for blonde hair daily. Conditioned a couple of times for up to 15 minutes. Hair was soft, shiny, and healthy. Waited a week before bleaching. Cost $9
Step two – Sept 4. Used L’oreal’s Super Blonde kit to get to yellow roots and orange-yellow, brassy tone to the rest of hair. A little dry at the ends, but not damaged. Followed up with 20 minutes of conditioning with John Frieda’s blonde. As you can see, this is less than the ideal outcome, which I found out is exactly what is supposed to happen. One does not simply bleach hair into a blonde. One has to tone the hell out of that noggin. Went to Sally Beauty Supply and stocked up on supplies to fix this mess. Cost $10
Step three – same day – mixed whole bottle of Wella color charm T18 Lightest Ash Blonde with 2 parts Salon Care Volume Crème Volume 20. Combed evenly through damp hair and left on for 30 minutes . After rinsing it out, put on a protein conditioner Ion Repair Solutions, put on shower cap, and conditioned for 20 minutes. Blow-dried using cold setting. Not much improvement after first application. Put more toner blend on the more orangey parts for 30 more minutes. Then another 20 minutes with the protein conditioner. Still kinda orangey, so I tossed on some Quick Blue bleach mixed with the Vol 20 developer. Let sit for about 45 minutes. Total cost of all supplies at Sally - $26.
Still a bit more orange than I would like. Read dozens of tutorials on getting platinum hair, and I found this fabulous one here. http://kristadior.kristardesign.com/tag/how-to-get-orange-out-of-bleached-hair/
She has the exact white shade I’ve been dying to have, so I ordered some Manic Panic Virgin Snow toner (Amazon $12). While waiting for it to arrive, I washed with John Frieda’s tone correcting purple shampoo ($6) and continued to use the Ion Repair conditioner daily.
September 17, 2012 – Got the manic panic and per loads of tutorials put it on freshly washed hair, put on a shower cap, and hung out for about an hour and a half. It left my hair remarkably soft and shiny, but it did not remove enough yellow for my liking. It looks like another trip to Sally for a 3rd freaking bleaching. The sales lady at Sally is becoming my guru. Should probably put her on speed dial.
September 18, 2012 – Covered entire head with Quick Blue packet and 2.5 oz of Vol 20 developer. Did the roots too, since they are starting to peek through a bit. Covered with shower cap and left on for 50 minutes. Rinsed and shampooed. Applied Manic Panic again, covered with shower cap and put under blow dryer for about 5 minutes, then taught a few reading lessons to the boy child, and rinsed in cold water per the tub’s instructions. Total time was probably an hour. STILL YELLOW!!!! Plus, I had missed a patch of roots behind my right ear, so I spot bleached the top portion in front and the root patch and left on for another 35 minutes. Put on more Manic Panic (this stuff is so gentle and conditioning!) and left on for about 25 more minutes. Rinsed out in cold water again and put on my Ion Repair conditioner.
At last, I have achieved a pale blonde that is sort of lemon yellow. I can live with it. I’ve bleached it 4 times overall in the last 3 weeks, conditioned the hell out of it, and there’s been no damage. I got a trim after the 2nd bleaching, and the stylist said it was still in great condition. I may purchase the Roux toner or a stronger toning shampoo designed for peeps with gray hair.
I kept it this shade for about 3 weeks before realizing I am NOT a blonde. It seriously washed me out, and made my skin look really weird. So, after several hours of walking around with some kind of product on my head, probably eating away at my brain in the process, I just hopped back on the Garnier wagon and covered that whole mess up with my usual shade of bright ass red.
However, now that I have stripped my hair so ridiculously, the red bleeds during every wash, and I look like Janet Leigh every time I take a shower. I have been dyeing my hair every 4 weeks now and using a protein filler I got at Sally for 20 minutes beforehand, which is only now, 4 months later, keeping the color in longer. I am now using Manic Panic Pillarbox Red ever 3 weeks to maintain the bright, crazy girl tone. I am also growing it out so I can do true rockabilly victory rolls, so it’s a shaggy mess at the moment.
So, the moral of my hair experience is that you should never be afraid to try something dramatically different. It is entirely possible to go from black to blonde to red with very little damage to your hair if you do it slowly and gently. Will I ever do it again? Very likely not. Blonde may look great on my little sister, but it does not suit everyone. And I never did get that ice blonde, Gwen Stefani shade, but that’s okay. This girl is a redhead. Pure and simple.