My Blonde Journey
A question i get asked about a lot, is how bleaching my hair has affected it and how it keep it healthy now that it is blonde.
If bleaching your hair is something you have been considering, then i hope that this will help you to decide if you should or not.
Hair envyFor me, going blonde was something i had wanted to do for years. It's a dramatic and drastic change, and not something that should be rushed into. It can go so wrong if you do, and you may find that you can't pull it off properly.
When i was in my teens and the blonde hair was everywhere, i brought myself a box dye. I can already feel your cringing and knowing what happened next. Yes it failed! I ended up with the front of my hair turning a bright blonde colour (because my hair was naturally lighter here), and the rest of it not. I basically had to wear a headband until i could go to my mums hairdresser and get this fixed. She told me to NEVER do it again! It wasn't the first time i had a disaster with a box dye, once i tried to go red and ended up ginger and looking like orphan annie.
I swore i wouldn't do it again.
I think i was around 23 when the blonde urge was coming back again. My hair wasn't in a healthy state, i didn't know what i was doing with my hair and the thought of putting bleach on my hair was a big no.
I started following blonde curly girls on instagram and the hair envy was starting to sink in. I wanted it so bad. Instead i went to my mums hairdresser and i got her to colour my hair, but without bleach. It was a golden brown colour and i loved it.
|Temporary Ash Blonde without bleach|
This colour was of course only temporary and as soon as it faded i missed it. It wasn't long after this that i made the decision to start trying to look after my hair. Hair envy sucks, and my partner convinced me that if other girls could do it, so could i.
So began my healthy hair journey. I learnt words like Deep Condition, Pre-poo and researched products and tried some out (see my post here for learning to embrace my curls).
Around 2016, still at the very beginning of my journey, the blonde hair dreams were coming back. I was following more and more curly girls online and was getting serious envy from @honeyblondegigi @goldicurls and @frankeerose
It was time to take the plunge. I told my mum and my friends and partner about my plans to go blonde and everyone was 100% against the idea.
"You're going to ruin all your progress"
"Your hair is going to fall out"
"Your hair is going to look frizzy and dry all the time."
There was so many negatives being thrown my way, but i had wanted it for too long!
I went to the salon where i had been going to get my hair blown and cut all the time, and had a look in their colour books. I spoke to one of the girls about which colour i wanted (i showed her a photo of @jadahdoll). I was asking about highlights, but explained to her that i wanted to be fully blonde really but was afraid because of the negative feedback. She told me that if i want it, then i should go for it.
We picked out the colour which was closest to the one i wanted, it was a browny blonde colour. Then to add some brighter blonde slowly we settled on some violet ash blonde highlights.
Taking the Plunge
|First bleaching; Blonde-Brown with Violet ash highlights|
What if everyone was right? What if i ruined the progress i had just made?
I would say that my healthy hair journey started around September 2016, and i finally went blonde February 2017.
The salon were really good at giving me advice. I had to do a patch test first to check that i wouldn't have any bad reaction to the bleach. On the day of the appointment, she suggested a product called Olaplex. This is a bond repairer and protects your hair from damage when bleaching. They mixed in Olaplex number 1 with the colour for protection, and then used Number 2 to condition my hair after applying it.
After when i looked in the mirror, i was glad i took the plunge. The highlights meant that the change wasn't over dramatic, and my hair didn't look dry and frizzy at all.
When i stepped out the salon i was actually stopped by a man who just wanted to say i looked good. I went and showed my mum and partner and they were both in agreement that i could indeed pull it off.
I was in love!
However, more work was going to have to be involved in keeping it this way. I checked other blonde curlies pages, researched and thought hard about how i was going to maintain my health in my hair.
Stepping up my treatment gameOne of the first things i decided to do was research Olaplex more and try and get my hands on some. Top Curl gurus @hif3licia and @themestizamuse had so much information on this product and how to use it. I discovered that it is a 3 step system and that number 3 is available to buy online. Check out their pages and find out everything you need to know about this miracle repair product.
It wasn't cheap however. A small bottle costs around £22 on amazon and i only got about 2-3 uses out of it.
|Olaplex number 3|
If it's what they were doing to keep their hair healthy i was going to too.
I was in love with my hair and determined to continue on my healthy journey. Deep conditioning is the most important thing to get this.
If you don't deep condition your hair and want to go lighter, i would 100% say no!
No matter how healthy your hair is, yes some damage is going to be caused by bleaching it. It's the deep conditioning which is going to help to restore and repair that damage so if you don't do it .. don't go lighter.
Obviously when my hair is 100% dry it is lighter than when it is damp with product, and sometimes some areas look frizzier than others. It's about paying attention to where these areas are and giving them the most moisture.
Getting more highlights and finding damage
|Third set of highlighlights, frizzier hair|
In some lights, the main colour that was on my hair, came across as ginger rather than blonde. It just wasn't bright enough.
I went back to the salon, and asked for more highlights. I was confident my hair could handle the bleach because of the health it had currently.
I decided to leave it a while before i would go and get my next lot of highlights. I had my first lot in February and got the next lot added in april.
It was early september when i went back to the salon, just before i flew out on my girls holiday.
As it was the third time i felt confident in trusting them with my hair. They always had used Olaplex, and i hadn't felt my hair was damaged.
I was slightly wrong. In a rush because they were busy, the salon didn't give me the Olaplex treatment or mix it in with my dye.
I noticed the difference right away! As you can see in this picture, which was taken the second i got home, there is a lot of frizz to my hair. Yes it was blonder and the exact colour i wanted it, but the frizz and this was before it was even fully dry.
I put it down to being the way they had styled my hair. I re-wet my hair and styled it using my own products, but it was still looking frizzy and feeling dry.
I won't lie, i sat and almost cried. I thought i had ruined my hair.
I went straight on instagram and messaged vena and she thought perhaps i had tried to go too light, too fast. The curls were stretched out as well as being dry and frizzy, and i wasn't happy with it at all. I had so much regret.
She reassured me (she had been through this herself) that the damage could be reversed and that i would need to do the following;
- Protein Treatments
- Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
- Deep Condition
This advice was taken on board and has become part of my journey.
Repairing Damage and making changes
I was already deep conditioning my hair weekly, but because of the damage that had been caused i had to up this.
I started using deep conditioners twice a week, using oils to seal in as much moisture as i could.
You can find all of my fave deep conditioners and oils in my recent post by clicking here.
My hair health started to return and i was back to loving my hair again.
It was finally blonder than before and the colour i had dreamt of, the curls began to bounce back to life and it had so much volume.
I was advised to use purple shampoo to help brighten my hair, but i found that this could be drying. I found that some products worked better with my hair now, and i was finally keeping frizz under control.
I was glad that the blonde-brown colour was now hidden with all the highlights. I finally felt like one of my blonde inspirations.
In deep conditioners, it is important to check that they are colour safe. There is nothing worse than getting one which isn't, and finding that your reacts badly, is not uncommon.
Due to the price of Olaplex, i found that i stopped using it. I know that i should because it did repair damage for me, but i just think that the price is too high for such a small bottle.
Instead i recommend this colour safe hair mask by hask. It is super affordable and available in superdrug stores making it easily accessible.
|Colour Protection Deep Conditioner|
I like to use this one at least once a month. Where my other top hair masks and conditioners are still colour safe, this one is a colour protectant. It helps the colour last longer as well a protecting the hair from damage.
One of the other important things to introduce into your hair for overall health, and was crucial in repairing my damage and keeping my hair healthy.
You can make your own at home protein mask using my DIY Hair Treatment recipe, or you can purchase them in stores and online. My faves are the palmers protein packs which come in sachets like this hask mask and only cost a few £s.
Growing it outI won't lie to you and tell you it is easy staying blonde. The maintenance is harder than i thought. I got my salon highlights in septemember, and come february my roots were coming through bad.
I work 40 hours a week usually 12-7:30pm (even on a Saturday) so finding the time to get to the salon and my colour done again was a nightmare. I kept telling myself I'll go soon, and before i knew it, March was over.
|Roots coming through|
My natural colour (darker even) was now half coming through. I didn't want to wear my hair up and look stupid. My bun was blonde and the rest of my hair was black!
I didn't realise that going blonde meant to much maintenance, time and money.
If you work a lot, you may be in the same position as i was.
First it was ok because i don't mind a little dark root showing through, i actually really liked it, but after a while i was torn on what i wanted to do with my hair.
I had wanted to be blonde for so long, i couldn't believe i was actually contemplating going backwards. It is a big commitment to go a different colour and one i seriously didn't think about before. Yes i can happily go up to 6 months between a session, but anymore and it becomes too much.
|Growing it out|
One thing that no one told me about in their negative warnings, was how to keep on top of it.
Lets just say i hadn't enjoyed my last salon visit, and the thought of going back was a no for me. I thought growing it out was the best option.
Not as easy as i convinced myself.
I like to do throwback pictures on instagram and the blonde hair envy was coming back again. I had to get my hair back to blonde.
I noticed that some of the other curlies i followed were in the same boat as me. A lot were going darker, browner and back to their roots too.
Changing my mind
I was given the number of a mobile hairdresser called Stephanie Jayne by Cherelle and booked in again to get my colour done.
She was brilliant and straight away mentioned using Olaplex in with my colour and as a treatment after. I knew i was in good hands.
This time round Stephanie used a toner on my hair, which didn't react so well at first. My hair had a white-silver tone to it on one side. I panicked! She reassured me this was the toner and would wash out, and my mum told me to use purple shampoo. It sorted it right out.
I did find that once again i perhaps went a little to light too fast, and my hair doesn't feel as soft as it was before. The curls have definitely dropped, but I'm not worrying at all.
I know now from experience, that i never like my hair the first week of having it done. It's going to take more deep conditioning and more time for it to settle and feel back to normal.
It has been a week since getting my new highlights, and it has only been deep conditioned once. Today is washday and i will be using my top products to treat my hair properly.
This time round i didn't get a full head of highlights. Instead i went for half a head, which means that i still have the dark underneath. This is great for me because i plan on still growing out the main colour that was put on my hair.
The toner just helped to make the new highlights blend into the old ones and not give me too much of a multi-toned hair.
So what will i do now?Now that i know a little better on how to repair any damage the bleach does cause, i will hopefully keep on top of my highlights.
Knowing a mobile hairdresser means that i can find the time to schedule these in.
Blonde shampoo is definitely a must for any blonde haired girl. Whether you want to brighten, remove brassy tones, or blend your colour, you should have one on your shelf. This needs to be left on for about 5 minutes and then thoroughly rinsed off. If you have afro hair like mine, i would recommend doing a deep conditioning treatment after using the shampoo as it does dry your hair out.
Top tips and advice for someone wanting to go blonde?
- Make sure your hair is healthy first; It is never a good idea to put any form of chemical on damaged hair.
- Enquire about Olaplex with the stylist. Having this makes alot of difference.
- Get it done by a professional; DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BLEACH YOUR OWN HAIR!
- Deep condition religiously
- Try to use purple shampoo at least once a month, this will keep the yellow and brassy tones at bay.
- Try highlights before bleaching all of your hair; the change is going to be a big one so its best to warm up to it. Going too light too fast = damage.
- Keep hair as hydrated as possible by using oils as a pre-poo and a sealant.
My top blonde curlspirations