Throughout my lifetime, I've colored my hair an innumerable amount of times. I think most young children like to experiment with changing up their hair, especially if you want to follow in the steps of your older sisters who peaked your curiosity after their botched box-dye job (like me). I helped my Mom dye her own grey roots quite a few times when I was younger, and I eventually found myself entranced with the idea of coloring my own brunette locks.
This desire went through a series of phases, though, as I knew my Mother wouldn't let me start off by slathering electric blue dye on my scalp at eight years old. I had to start small and slowly move my way upwards.
The Internet is riddled with guides on how to lighten your hair with lemon juice or get neon streaks by using coloring markers. Since I was apprehensive to ask my parents for permission about dying my hair, I decided to use anything I could find in the house to start the process in secret. Of course, none of these attempts really worked and ended up just creating more problems for me as I tried to figure out how to remove highlighter ink from my scalp.
Hair ChalkJill Marie Jones GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
This method was pretty big in the early 2000s, encouraging kids to run to their nearest craft store and purchase a set of pastels to color some bold streaks into their hair. As someone with dark hair, the chalk actually worked surprisingly well for me. However, the pigment got EVERYWHERE: all my clothes, my skin, my bathroom sink, my pillowcases, the walls of my house. It wasn't effective in coloring my whole head in any way, but I managed to get some bright pink stripes for a day.
This was another very common trend in the early 2000s. Every girl in middle school began showing up with freshly colored tips and a lingering scent of cherry from the Kool-Aid packets that kids used to do the trick. It was perfect for those who didn't want the commitment of dying their entire scalp, but still wanted a little extra pop in their look. Plus, everyone could easily do it at home, since most young kids basically live off Kool-Aid packets anyway.
Ombré is another great suggestion for people who don't want to commit to retouching their roots. Whether you decide on a subtle transition into blonde or a colored ombré, it's a nice way to spice up your look. Unfortunately, some people were not very lucky with their ombré jobs, especially if they decided on a "do-it-yourself" method at home without any prior background on hair dying.
After a while, I eventually got bored with my blonde ombré hair and decided to purchase some semi-permanent hair dye and add a bit of color to the lighter ends. I anticipated on creating a brown-to-red-to-pink transition since I was influenced by the pending Valentine's Day holiday at the time. Of course, this seemed like a flawless idea, but I soon realized that "semi-permanent" does not mean that all the color will wash out within three or four washes. In reality, most of the color was gone within two, and I was left with copper-ish, orange hair for almost a year.
Coloring all of your hair with a cheap box-dye is one of the pillars of becoming a teenager. It's basically your transition into young adulthood. For some, they may choose a more natural chestnut brown, for others a burgundy blend, but almost everyone in their early high school years smells that whiff of cheap dye that fills the bathroom. It's truly an adventure if you decide to embark on the journey alone, but for me, my Mom assisted in helping destroy my hair. She knew there was no way to stop me, but I still wish she had tried.
Almost every girl I know can tell me a story about that one crisis which encouraged them to go blonde. We've all heard the expression "blondes have more fun," and using that ultra-strength lightening kit really puts that to the test. The first try is never as effective as you hoped it would be, so I don't know how much fun you can have with fried, bright orange hair. Perhaps the aftermath can be an adventure, assuming the bleach didn't completely sizzle your scalp off.
An Actual Professional
After years of trying to do it myself, I ended up with red/orange/blonde/brown/pink hair that contrasted quite unpleasantly with four inches of dark brown root growth. I couldn't turn to my box-dye any longer, and I didn't want to try to make the situation any worse by throwing on some semi-permanent purple into the mix. Finally, I saved up enough money to get my hair fixed by someone who actually knew what they were doing. My hair looked great after the big blow-out session they performed, but affording the dye job didn't mean I could afford the monthly touch-up sessions.
Trying to Return to Normal
That leaves me to the point I'm currently at: trying to salvage the little bit of hair I have and growing it out to get rid of the years of damage that now (literally) rests on my shoulders. I think I'm ready to just let my scalp breathe so I can return to my natural look. All I want is to get rid of the mess I've created and have a uniform color instead of the swirls of reds and oranges that make it look like someone threw up a Crayola crayon box into my hair.
As much as I know that my hair needs a break from abuse, I still find myself envious when I see people with bright blue roots or a new set of highlights. Perhaps one day I will try to dye it again, whether that's with a professional stylist or during a mental breakdown at two in the morning. Either way, let's hope my hair will make it out alive.
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