I was born with jet-black hair. As a kid, my family would compare me to Snow White and my hair would look blue in school pictures. While adults would constantly tell me how beautiful and rare my hair was, the kids at school would tease me for not fitting into the “blonde-haired blue-eyed” mold. A few months after my daughter was born, postpartum hormones convinced me that I needed a drastic change. I wanted to go blonde for a few days before dying over it with a brilliant red. In high school I had two large blonde streaks in my hair for almost a year. I knew that with a lot of work, I could get my hair blonde enough to take the red dye.
At the local beauty store I was directed toward a powerful bleach kit and a box of hair color that would give me the glorious red hair I was after. As soon as I got home, I barricaded myself in the bathroom and followed the directions in the kit. Well, except for the test strand part. I was too excited for that. After applying every last drop of the bleach to my hair, I tied it up in a plastic grocery bag and waited. After 20 minutes I lifted the front of the bag to peek and was pleased to see my roots were lightening to a pale orange. Another 20 minutes later and they were a pale yellow. Almost there! I waited the last 20 minutes (as the directions said not to leave the bleach on for more than 60 minutes) and took the bag off my head. The ends of my hair were still rather brown. I figured I would wash and blow dry and see what it looked like.
After a shower and blow out, I was disheartened by what I saw in the mirror. The top of my head was a beautiful blonde with a few small patches of black. including one that looked like a cow spot right at my part. The ends of my hair ranged from dark brown to light brown with streaks of blonde and black running through them-sometimes horizontally. It was a hair disaster! I figured that another box would fix it, so I went to a different beauty store with a baseball cap on and purchased another kit. This time it would work.
I applied the bleach to the black spot first and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. Then I applied the bleach to the roots of my hair. I tied a grocery bag over my hair and sat for the last 45 minutes. Another shower and quick blow dry later, I looked in the mirror. My hair was carrot orange at the ends and the cow spot matched. I was devastated by my hair disaster. I really didn’t want to put anything else on my hair as I could already feel the ends getting dry and brittle. I was going to need help. I called the salon.
I talked to a woman who seemed concerned about my hair disaster and wasn’t laughing at me. I made an appointment for a few days later. After wearing a baseball hat for a little less than a week, I unveiled the mess to my new stylist. She quietly took it all in and said “oh, we can fix this!” and she did. My hair never made it to blonde, or the brilliant red color I desired. Instead, a light mocha brown framed my face. I learned a very valuable lesson: Always seek out professional help, or at least a well-seasoned friend when trying to bleach your hair.