After growing tired of seeing the intense Florida sun consistently fade my dark brown hair to a dull pale I-don’t-know-what shade and having to repeatedly color it to keep it dark, I finally said “Screw it!” and decided to be a blonde again. So last October I booked my first appointment at a high-end salon in Jupiter to begin the process of gradually hi-lighting my hair to blonde. Having been a blonde three times before in the past, I knew that this would be a slow process if I wanted it to turn out right and have healthy, natural-looking blonde color.
I wanted to begin lightening it with high lift color just like my old hairstylists back in Illinois had always used on me. But this stylist insisted that we needed to hi-light my hair with bleach. I was wary about this because I’m not a big fan of hair bleach. The first time I ever became a blonde way back in 2002, I did it myself by bleaching my entire head. Although it certainly took away my brown hair color and got me to blonde, the color was bright yellow and uneven and it BADLY damaged my hair. After about a year of repeated bleaching and coloring over it with a chosen shade of blonde hair color whenever I needed to touch up my roots, my hair began to actually break off. At that point I had no choice but to go back to brunette to give my hair a rest and to adopt a short hairstyle for awhile until my hair grew out again. That was the last time I ever used bleach on my hair. So when this stylist wanted to hi-light my hair with bleach, I reluctantly agreed. But to my surprise, the first two sessions turned out great with little to no damage to my hair. Plus she gave me a GREAT choppy long-layered cut!
By the time I made the appointment for my third session, I was ready to begin using the high-life hair color like every other stylist back in Illinois had used on me. But she kept insisting that we needed to continue using bleach instead. After my third session with her high-lighting my hair with bleach, my hair did not seem to progress any lighter in color and it was suddenly VERY dry. She also barely cut any of it when I requested the same layered cut as she had always given me before.
Dissatisfied with my latest results, I began searching for another stylist who would agree to use the blonde color on me instead of bleach. So I went to one of those cheap SmartStyle salons in one of the Walmart Supercenters to get the dryness cut off my hair. While the stylist was cutting my hair, I asked her if she used high-lift blonde color. She said that she indeed did and that she would be able to lift my hair color to the next level using it. My two previous stylists back in Illinois, Shannon and Amanda, both worked at SmartStyle salons and were EXCELLENT colorists. They always made my hair look like a million bucks no matter what color they turned my hair into. So I figured that the stylists at this SmartStyle salon in Florida would be just as good as them. WRONG. After paying this next stylist to lighten my hair using the high-lift color, I had a HUGE mess on my hands. A few of the foils began to leak and bleed while I was under the dryer, and this resulted in big discolored patches and tiger stripes in different sections around my head. Several sections were bright orange, but we were able to eliminate that by using a toner afterwards. So although much of my hair was platinum blonde now as I wanted, it was very patchy and my hair was now EXTREMELY damaged.
At this point, I was very irritated and frustrated. Back home in rural podunk Illinois, every stylist who had ever lightened my hair to blonde had always used high-lift hair color on my hair with no problems at all and it always turned out perfect. Yet here in the big cities of southern Florida where women paid $300 or more for hair color jobs, nobody could seem to properly turn me into a blonde?!? It just didn’t make any sense. And now on top of that, my hair was BADLY in need of a color correction to fix the tiger stripes and square patches where the foils had bled out. So as a last resort, I went to see one of the stylists at a very high-end salon I used to go to back when I lived in a different town in SoFla to see if they could fix my hair and make it right. Every stylist in that salon has worked on my hair at one time or another, so they are all familiar with me in there. This time Tracey took care of me. She examined my hair and instructed me to wait a week or two before coming back to see her in order to give my hair some time to heal. I crossed my fingers and hoped that this final session would be the one to get it right.
A week later, I went back to see Tracey and let her work her magic. She chopped off at least three inches of my hair to get rid of the dry damaged sections and gave me an intense heated deep-conditioning treatment. Then she foiled my entire head using light brown hair color, golden blonde hair color, and gentle bleach for the platinum blonde pieces. I always have at least three different colors put on my hair whenever I go blonde in order to give it dimension. Low and behold, this time it turned out perfect!! I was so pleased I gave Tracey an extra $50 on top of the fee she charged me. I decided then that from now I on I would continue to go back to that salon….I should never have stopped going there in the first place. I wasn’t at all happy about having to get several inches of my hair cut off since I’ve been trying to grow it down to the middle of my back, but sometimes you just gotta do it. As long as I keep hitting the prenatal vitamins pretty hard and keep getting regular deep-conditioning treatments, I will quickly replace the lost length.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from this, it’s that going from dark brown to platinum blonde is a lengthy and tricky process that requires time and patience. I’ve seen too many black-haired Latina girls around here who decide to go blonde by dumping a bottle of store-bought hair bleach onto their heads at home and leaving it on for as long as possible…and even Heaven forbid bleaching their hair multiple times in one day to try to get it blonde. The result is always the same: bright orange hair with uneven discolored patches and badly damaged hair….if they have any hair left. An acquaintance of mine who had long black hair down to the middle of her chest attempted to go blonde at home by bleaching her own hair THREE times in one evening. Her entire head of hair ended up breaking and falling off at the nape of her neck. She ended up having to go to a stylist to get what was left of her hair cut into some sort of short style, but she left the orange patchy color as it was. Needless to say, it looked AWFUL. They just don’t seem to have the patience to have it done correctly. It took me five months to go from medium brown to golden/platinum blonde, and I will gradually go a little lighter now that the powerful summer sun is back.
I’m definitely having a lot of fun being a blonde again for the fourth time in my life. Now that I live in sunny south Florida and spend a lot of time at the beach, blonde hair is really fitting for me now. I look and feel just like a typical beach-bunny surfer girl. This is the first time I’ve ever had long blonde hair, and it made me think back on the first celebrity I ever idolized as a teenager: Alicia Silverstone. When I was a brunette haired, awkward-looking dweeb at age 13 back in 1994, my fantasy was to be a hot blonde like Alicia Silverstone. I used to see her in a lot of Aerosmith music videos back then, and I remember when I saw her in her first major movie “The Crush”. Looking at her through my awkward, prepubescent view, she was the definition of hotness. I wanted to look just like her. I think what I liked about Alicia, besides the fact that she was super cute and pretty, was that she was really just an ordinary girl who was still super sexy. She was 100% natural without any cosmetic surgery or body enhancement, she didn’t wear a ton of make-up, and she didn’t dress overly sexy with her boobs and ass popping out. Yet she was still one of the hottest women alive at that time. What I like about her even more is that she has always described herself as a huge dork and doesn’t see herself as the sexy babe that everyone else does. And now that I look back at her photos from that era, I can kinda see some of that dorkiness she was referring to. She reminds me a lot of myself….I am often told by people that they see me as smoking hot, yet when I look at myself I see a huge dork. Funny enough, it never occurred to me back then that someday I could actually BE a blonde like her. I didn’t realize all of the wondrous things that were possible with hair color and makeup back then.
My Dad gets irritated with me whenever I drastically change my hair color, and I’ve had a few people tell me they prefer me better as a brunette, but I think I’m going to stay blonde for an extended while. It just seems to fit me well here in SoFla, and I won’t have to continue fighting against the sun to keep my hair dark. Now the sun can fade and lighten it as much as it wants! And maybe now–twenty years later–I can finally feel a little more like my old idol Alicia Silverstone. 😉