It took 9 hours to take my hair from a dark, rich brunette color to a bleached out pale head of straw. Yes, NINE. This is not something I recommend. I would not recommend trying to go from Rizzo to Sandy in one shot. It’s much better to gradually, over time, go lighter and lighter. It’s better for your hair and your butt won’t get numb sitting in one spot for an entire day. But I am in the entertainment business, people! And I’m so impatient. Insufferable really. So I drove up to Canada to my mom’s hair salon, and bribed one of her hair stylists to do my bidding. Bleaching your hair causes mega damage, and knowing I was in for several hours, and several applications of bleach, meant my hair might actually fall out of my head. But I knew if I went to a person I trusted and that knew how much bleach my hair could handle, maybe I might walk out of there with a few hairs left on my head.
Oh, the lies we tell ourselves.
Here’s what my hair looked like at 11:59am, moments before I began my feat of follicular endurance:
Full disclosure: this is not my natural color. I’ve been covering my
grey stressed blonde hairs with a dark color that most approximated my natural color for years. So what you see in this photo is hair that has pro-grade permanent dye on it. This is what took 9 goddamn hours to remove. My natural locks can be bleached out in an hour but this super dark hair dye is a resistant little pain in the butt. I did grow my roots out for a few months to try to help this process along but most of my head of hair is covered in dark, permanent hair dye.
Here’s a photo of my inspo, my glorious halo of bleached out locks from a few years ago. Look at the love in my eyes, partly because I’m talking to one of my favorite humans, Lucas Murnaghan (underwater photographer and orthopedic surgeon), but also, I had the sickest hair in all the land:
Step 1: we put super fine foils in the front half of my head to try to give a bit of dimension to the color. I didn’t want a flat all-over white head of hair so my stylist painstakingly sectioned half my head with these foils. In hindsight, not worth the extra few hours it added to our total time. It added hours. And it was not worth it. Did I mention that it was not worth the extra hours? Because… no.
Step 2: applying bleach to the rest of my hair. Look at this nasty ass color. I believe in French this is called “l’orange”. See all that blue goop in my hair? That’s the bleach working its magic. It’s starting to break down all that dark brown color:
Step 3: Shampoo and blow dry, in preparation for another (3rd round) of bleach. Nothing like resembling a piece of shrimp tempura to bring out the under-boob sweat. At this point, I started my yoga breathing and positive self talk. “it’s going to be ok, angie. you’ve been through this before. it will be ok. you won’t look like a shrimp for long.” Also, check out this wiry texture!
Step 4: another bleach application. We kept the bleach off the roots because as you can see, the hair next to my scalp was the perfect shade of Queen Elsa. It was the resistant permanent hair dye that we were trying to brighten. We added a product (similar to Olaplex) that helps protect the hair strands from damage. Moving away from shrimp tempura and more towards a loaf of bread:
Step 5 (final step): my hair couldn’t handle another application of bleach. How did we know this? Well, aside from the many strands of broken hair in the sink, my hair felt very spongy. The hair cuticle was so swollen that each hair strand was 3x it’s normal size and when it became wet, it felt like a squishy, spongey pile of spaghetti (not really an exaggeration).
So this is where the ol’ color wheel comes in! My stylist applied a toner, which is a highly pigmented cream designed to counterbalance undesirable color tones. We had stalled upon an awkward peach-y color and it was pretty undesirable. So the toner she put on is a violet color (opposite on the color wheel) to take some of the edge off.
I also got a haircut (which took over an hour) and here we are! Started the day as Veronica and ended up as Betty, (with a short period looking like Archie in the middle)
Stay tuned for another post on the multi-step lengthy shampoo process. I’m tired just thinking about it.