My blonde hair story
I was born with dark dark brown hair, almost black. Because I’m 100% extrovert, my whole adult life, I’ve felt more like myself being a bubbly blonde. Since I started dyeing my hair blonde over ten years ago, I’ve had every shade of blonde under the sun. I’ve had perfect platinum, ash blonde, shades of caramel, and rose gold. Balayage, highlights, low lights and all over blonde? Check. I’ve also had terrible results– yellow, orange, green yellow, and grey blonde.
It ain’t cheap
I’ve gone to salons and beauty schools. I even did my own platinum blonde hair by bleaching my hair four times in a row. Needless to say, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on blonde hair. It’s not cheap when you have to go from one level all the way to the other end. And even more expensive when you have to get color correction and jump from salon to salon hoping for a solution that doesn’t cost you another couple hundred to fix.
Because my hair usually takes more than one bleach job to do the trick, and because most salons don’t feel like risking breaking off all my hair, I’ve left the salon after a single process with orange-y hair and with stylists insisting, “come back in 8 weeks.” What the what?! You want me to actually live with this orange hair for eight weeks? So I’ve jumped into the chair of another stylist right after, time and time again. I’m ashamed to tell you how much all these visits cost.
It’s an emotional roller coaster
Going blonde, especially when you have such dark hair, can be an emotional roller coaster. I once had a stylist who was unpredictable. She’d do an amazing job, and when I’d come for a repeat, she’d do a terrible job. And then I’d give her another chance, and she was back to being spectacular.
at home solutions that didn’t work
I’ve also been at my wits end with all the mistakes stylists have made on my hair one after the other and desperate enough to try to fix it at home. My hair color has gotten color corrected only to have it look worse than when I came in. I’ve used toners that didn’t make a difference (Madison Reed, Clairol from Sally’s Beauty Supply), and I’ve given up and just dyed it all a mousy brown.
Here’s what I’ve learned from all the years of trial and error
Beige is that perfect blonde I’m always after.
Since I have a yellow skin tone, I need to find a blonde color that reads cool/ash, but too cool/ash can also look “skunky” if you know what I mean.
I can help any new stylist give me a better color if I get to know my hair.
I’ve realized my hair can take the 40 volume. It can take heat while it’s getting colored. It can take hours and hours of processing time! Now that I’m paying attention to these things, when I go to a new salon, I can just let them know this so they don’t put 30 volume on my hair and process it for a short amount of time in fear of breaking off all my hair. Then they won’t be asking me to come back 8 weeks later for the second stage, taking another couple hundred dollars from my pocket. By getting to know my hair, I know I never have to live with orange hair for eight weeks before I get the right color. My hair is stronger than it looks.
The quick glance of the small picture I have on my phone of the look I want isn’t enough for a stylist to get it right.
I now print out an 8x 11 colored picture of the look I want and lay it in front of my stylist on her table so she can refer to it over and over again if she needs to.
Regardless, it never looks anything like the picture I bring.
But I shudder at the thought of how it would look if I didn’t have my printed out picture! It’s better than it would have been.
I realized I always will lose some softness in my hair when I go from really dark to really light, but in exchange, I get way more volume, and my hair is easier to style.
Whatever color I get, no matter how terrible it is, I can always fix it for cheap at home with the right toner.
This is my biggest tip. Anytime my hair is too yellow, too bright, too warm, too brassy, but I don’t want to go darker or lighter, and something about my hair just feels off even though everyone around me swears it looks good but I swear in this lighting or that lighting that it just looks way too yellow–I turn to Wella Color Charm toners. They really really work to remove any remaining “brass” that doesn’t feel right. This has been truly a money saver and gives me peace of mind any time I go into a salon. I know I don’t have to go get it fixed for another couple hundred dollars!
The holy grail of all toners.
I love the T14 Pale Ash Blonde Color Charm Toner. I feel like no matter what shade of blonde I end up with from the highlights or baylage at the salon, it somehow just corrects whatever isn’t just right. It brings it back to coolish neutral, that beautiful perfect color in the highly sought after beige family. Since discovering this, I feel less anxious if I go to a salon. I know I can just go home and fix any color mistake for less than $10!!! Do you know what a relief this is after years and years of struggling with every salon and stylist I’ve ever gone to?
Want more blonde hair inspiration?
Here’s how light my hair is now. Plus I talk about my color theory and why Asians with really yellow skin tones can’t pull off warm blonde.
Save money when you go blonde by following these tips.