Monday, November 24th, 2014
I love being blonde. I also love being pink and purple and blue and any other color that crosses my mind. But in order to get pastel colored hair you also need Marilyn Monroe’s bleached blonde locks. This past weekend, I went to a hair school to get my hair re-bleached, and it was a painful fiasco that’s left me with what feels like a bad sunburn on my scalp. My limited experience with chemical burns thus far: not fun.
I’m good at smiling.
Here’s a summary of how sh** went down. I went in without a picture of what I wanted the color to look like. My hair was still pretty blonde on the ends, though the roots had pretty much taken over. I pointed to the blonde part of my hair and said “I want this color but would be open to going a little bit lighter.” The student showed me a swatch labeled “natural beige blonde” and suggested that was the shade I wanted. I corrected him and pointed to the shade called “extra light blonde.” We seemed to be on the same page and he started the color process. Then he rinsed the dye from my hair, and the chaos began. Rather than a lighter shade platinum blonde, I had strawberry blonde locks, quite a bit darker than what I asked for.
Cue me being told it was my fault I didn’t clarify I wanted bleach and not color. To which I was like, “no.” Because I’m not the hairstylist, y’all should be able to figure out whether or not you need bleach or not when I showed you the exact color I wanted my head to be, because it was ALREADY ON MY HEAD. But, hair school. I knew this was a possibility.
The teacher directed the student to mix up bleach for my hair. He applied the bleach, and the burning I felt was the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I was shaking, pacing, grabbing at my face and asking every 2 minutes if they could rinse it off yet. In the moment I wasn’t thinking “this could potentially burn my scalp” because I can’t say I’ve ever had to consider the possibility of chemical burns before, and it didn’t cross my mind. I was thinking “I need to get through this because I want white blonde hair.”
Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and the stylist rinsed it off. Even after it was completely rinsed out, my head was still burning. They applied bleach again, avoiding the scalp. When the burning died down, they applied a sensitive skin formula of bleach that didn’t burn and put me under a heater.
Overall, I was at the hair school from 9am to 2:30pm. I left with gorgeous white blonde hair, a tender scalp, and a brain full of nerves because I was like, “there’s probably a chance my hair is going to fall out.”
After 5 hours passed and a still tingly head, I reached out to two of my hairdresser friends (thanks Kathryn and Brittany). Taking their advice, I learned a few things about proper hair bleaching and how to take care of a tender, chemically burned scalp.
I think this one is pretty much common knowledge. I trusted my hair stylist, even though they were a student… but I probably should have said “f**k it” and come back another time for the bleach process.
The lovely Kathryn told me that using bleach with heat is a bad, bad idea. If my stylist suggests using heat with bleach again, I’ll say “no thanks.” I’ve had it bleached without heat before, so I know it’s possible.
I washed my hair the night before, and there were no natural oils to protect my scalp from the chemicals. Skip out on washing your hair before getting it dyed.
I bought aerosol Aloe Vera from Rite Aid for around $9. I lifted up sections of my hair and sprayed it onto my scalp.
Let your scalp chill out and rebuild it’s natural oils. You can rinse with cold water to remove product buildup, but don’t use shampoo. I’ve always been an every day hair-washer, but this experience may change my habits forever. To avoid rinsing out too much good stuff, I’ve been wearing a shower cap up until the very end of my shower.
I’ve been brushing my hair very, very softly out of fear of losing my hair. I have short hair, so I can’t put it up in a ponytail, but I’d avoid rubber bands as they may pull on weak hair follicles.