Confessions of a Hair-dye-a-holic

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Assorted collection of hair dye boxes, evidence of hair dye addiction number 1.

Assorted collection of hair dye boxes, evidence of hair dye addiction number 1.

You could say that I like to dye my hair.

When I was little, I would spray some of that lemon meringue sweet “Sun In” spray on my brunette locks, hoping to become a blonde bombshell while sitting in the sun. It all sounded so incredible, sit and become blonde.

Creative Commons Blondes were supposed to have more fun, right?

Creative Commons
Blondes were supposed to have more fun, right?

I graduated over to some highlighting from at home kits. Then I discovered all over hair dye.

There was no going back.

Hair dye and I have a love-hate relationship.

I have been a rich, dark auburn, flat ash brown, light red, dark chocolate- almost-black brown and bleached blonde.

The bleached blonde was only in between hair disaster fixes, I could never pull that off.

I had dyed my hair in high school, I loved the auburn color before prom with my bubble-gum hot pink dress and my up-do, but that faded away.

My auburn-ish hair at prom! I love a little bit of red. Looking at this makes me feel old.

My auburn-ish hair at prom! I love a little bit of red. Looking at this makes me feel old.

I miss using this auburn color!

I miss using this auburn color!

Auburn hair during fall of my freshman year was my go-to color.

Auburn hair during fall of my freshman year was my go-to color.

In college, I dyed it auburn, but when spring break rolled around I had an idea. No, I wasn’t going to Mexico and drinking margaritas, but I had a similar wish: I wanted to be blonde. Really blonde, not just some highlights but the perfect, pin-up blonde.

So we had a hair dye party over break and my hair was slightly lightened to a honey blonde. Looking back, it was a perfectly fine color.

This is wen I started getting addicting to coloring.

This is when I started getting addicting to coloring.

But I was greedy. I coveted blonde hair and I wasn’t going to stop…

So, I was impulsive and dyed my hair within hours. Screw the rules of not being able to chemically process my hair. I pulled up to Target, spent forever looking between colors like “Bombshell Blonde” and “Champagne Fizz” and starting mixing the concoction like a chemist. Except that this chemistry was fun, not like high school. I could have a career in coming up with hair dye names and products.

Actually, my complete lack of knowledge on the topic through all my hair blunders probably shot that dream down…

My hair after my

My hair after my “I wanna be blonde” phase spring break 2013.

Anyway, it didn’t turn out bad, but right when summer ended, I dyed it an ashy brown.

I’m a natural brunette and thought the darker color would look nice against my blue eyes and ash would make sure it didn’t turn all red.

It was a very flat, lifeless, mousy color.

Never again to dark ash brown.

Never again to dark ash brown.

Throughout the summer I was constantly changing it up at work.

One time I came in with really blond hair and eyebrows. Butter blond, and it looked horrible.

At the end of summer, I cut it shorter and dyed it a chestnut brown after dying it ash to bring back some warm red hues. I felt like a rebel and liked the dark color, even though of course it came out darker than it needed to be.

Going to the dark side: after a whole summer of dying I came back with dark chestnut hair.

Going to the dark side: after a whole summer of dying I came back with dark chestnut hair.

Flash-forward to last year, the epic mistake was dying it a

golden brown during a Thanksgiving break.

I should have kept my hair like this! This is before the infamous I-dyed-my-hair-golden-brown-but-it-came-out-dark mistake of Thanksgiving 2013.

I should have kept my hair like this! This is before the infamous I-dyed-my-hair-golden-brown-but-it-came-out-dark mistake of Thanksgiving 2013.

I was just looking for a touch up, a little rich, bright red and gold for my brown hair.

I got black.

This is why I have trust issues.

Lies! This came out super dark brownish black, not golden brown.

Lies! This came out super dark brownish black, not golden brown.

The evidence of hair dye-gone bad.
The evidence of hair dye-gone bad.

I tried rectifying the issue with furiously using Head and Shoulders shampoo to lighten it, blonde shampoo, hydrogen peroxide and putting in other colors. Nothing changed.

I was distressed. I had to go back to school, even trying to add a reddish brown to make it more, well, brown. This only made it worse, especially the fact that bright red streaks were coming down from the manila colored dorm bathroom curtains.

I needed a Christmas miracle.

How many times did I have to use color zap bleach? Too many...

How many times did I have to use color zap bleach? Too many…

I finally found out I had to bleach it (there’s no other way to get rid of dark color) and finally my hair was brown. I think I went to Sally’s Beauty Supply so much I should have automatically been a valued customer.

Bleaching hair is no joke. It came out very blonde and splotchy and I had to dye it a few times (more box dyes) to get it back.

After bleaching my hair to get out the golden-brown-turned-black dye, my hair was back to normal.
After bleaching my hair to get out the golden-brown-turned-black dye, my hair was back to normal.

The summer came, and I should have settled for the natural, brown-blonde look, but I wanted a pretty brown, which of course came out way too dark.

I was back bleaching my hair twice over the summer.

When school began, it was a perfect ash-blonde with hints of brown and red, but that faded quickly because my hair was so processed. It constantly tried dying it, but it didn’t stay.

After bleaching and coloring it so many times my hair would not hold any color and always went back to this blonde color ( not even close to my natural shade...)

After bleaching and coloring it so many times my hair would not hold any color and always went back to this blonde color ( not even close to my natural shade…)

I’m stubborn and had my pride and loved my box dyes. I don’t know how many times over the past years that I would run into Target, Rite Aid and CVS ready to change my look.

Those were some good times.

It left a huge dent in my hot pink wallet, those boxes add up!

So I reluctantly went to the salon before Christmas, hoping to come back with a pretty, natural looking blonde.

It came out icky golden.

I was mortified. The stylist put extra creams in my hair and saw how damaged it was with all of the green-based ash.

I was crestfallen, and ended up dying it myself  later. Then, I went and got a cream from Sally’s and one more box dye.

This is a  nice auburn-chestnut color, just do not leave it on too long, it's dark.

This is a nice auburn-chestnut color, just do not leave it on too long, it’s dark.Clairol has the best for matching the color on the box, this is L’Oreal. This is the last color I used in February. 

Since then, I have been free of dying my hair for five months. I think I deserve a token or something.

My hair has been dye-free for five months...where is my medal?

My hair has been dye-free for five months! that’s a record for me….

My hair has been so overly processed that I was tired of it falling out and never holding color the right way. I have tried countless “Color Safe” shampoos, oils, sprays, and leave in conditioners.

I miss those times, sitting in the bathroom, waiting twenty minutes and wondering what my hair might look like. It was a transformation. I won’t miss deep brown and red dye rinsing out of my hair, looking like a horror movie down the drain.

Yet, this was like looking down memory lane ( a very bright, bleached, bad pictures, chemical memory lane.) Not all of my hair colors came out great (to say the least) but I learned along the way.

I’m not saying I will never color again ( it’s tempting in stores, seeing all of the boxes) but some advice:

  •  Always go two shades lighter than what you think you want, and choose natural instead of golden or ash. Clairol has decently accurate colors that mix many tones and explain the tones on the back of the box (ash, warm, neutral, golden, etc.)

Here is a list of some great products that every girl should have to help color treated hair get back on track.

  • Shampoos without sulfate are essential. There are so many color safe shampoos that assure that they will keep your lovely color, but all of the harsh dyes say otherwise. My hair was really processed, but the ones I have liked recently are L’Oreal Ever Pure Sulfate Free Color Care Shampoo and Conditioners. The swanky bottles seem upscale and the herbal scent is natural and appealing. I started using these the last time I dyed my hair and they were a great investment.
  • Herbal Essences! Don’t get me wrong, I love the sleek new bottles with their bright colors and fun names, but you can’t beat the original. I have memories as a child, so herbal knows how to advertise. The rose shampoos and conditioners are  indulgent without the sulfate, perfect for protecting hair.
I missed these original rose, sulfate free shampoos and conditioners!

I missed these original rose, sulfate free shampoos and conditioners

  • Magic in a Bottle: I always wanted perfect, model, blow out hair. I’m not saying I have it, but this lotus blowout cream is incredible! All you need is a small dab, place it in your hair after a nice, warm shower and slightly style the way you want. The product deeply conditions and holds a style well. This is my favorite find this summer..
This is a miracle in a bottle! I love this Herbal Essence Blowout Bombshell Cream, it leaves your hair feeling soft, sweet-smelling and amazing.

This is a miracle in a bottle! I love this Herbal Essence Blowout Bombshell Cream, it leaves your hair feeling soft, sweet-smelling and amazing.

  • I tried a variety of heat sprays, and picked up this L’Oreal spray, thinking it was hairspray, but this is a happy accident. The sleek and modern spray smells like perfume and you use it after the shower and before applying heart products.I hope these products helped! If you are thinking about coloring your hair, have fun, and know it’s not permanent ( thanks to bleach!)
These professional L'Oreal heat sprays and hairsprays are a must have!

These professional L’Oreal heat sprays and hairsprays are a must have!

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