A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Conquering my Fear of Bleach

Anyone who’s seen me close up is aware that I’m a big fan of non-traditional hair color. I am happiest when my head most closely resembles an azalea bush in springtime. A few years back now, for various reasons, I stopped being afraid of what other people thought about my hair and started asking myself what I most wanted with regards to how I looked. Rainbow Brite hair color has been the result, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier at least with regards to the appearance of my head.

In order to achieve these colors my natural, light dirty-dishwater brown color must first be exorcized like a pesky, unwanted poltergeist. This takes chemicals. Scary, scary chemicals. This means that in the past I’ve gone to a swanky professional salon to receive double processing: having all my natural pigmentation first removed, then replaced with the bright candy colors that I adore. This process is excruciatingly expensive.

Since I frequent the stores that sell salon grade hair products I knew that the actual items required to perform this procedure would cost maybe twenty to thirty bucks, so for a while now I’ve been kicking around the idea of conquering the task at home. What decided me was this tutorial by my favorite You Tube beauty-Guru, Cora from Vintage or Tacky (you should check out her site by the way, she is all forms of awesome at what she does).

And dangit if she didn’t make the whole thing look so easy, I had to give it a shot. Going it alone, however, did not seem wise on my first time out, so I brought in an intrepid team of hair dyeing assistants:

Jr. Assistant left, Sr. Assistant Right

My friend, the Sr. Assistant, is an Environmental Engineer (and she was nice enough not to fine me when I dumped excess bleach down the sink). I figured what the heck, if you don’t have access to a Stylist – go with a Scientist instead. Her adorable daughter, our Jr. Assistant, provided moral support, and also brought the Kinex for us to play with while we waited for our dye to set. Sweet!

Here I am before we began. The night previous I had scrubbed with a clarifying shampoo and then gone to bed on wet hair, so I started out sporting the ever seductive finger-in-electrical-socket look. As you can see I had roots – sad, sad looking roots.

First we bleached. I got a kind of bleach that claimed to have a “fresh green apple” scent. I suppose there was a faint apple-like whiff to it, assuming you were currently soaking your apples in lye. We kept the bathroom window open for ventilation, so nobody passed out and we stayed refrigerator fresh in the process.

Then, we wait. We put a couple streaks in the Jr. Assistant’s hair as well – because Sr. Assistant also doubles as awesome Mom who lets kid have pink and purple streaked hair.

After twenty minutes I hopped into the shower to rinse, thinking it would be simplest to remove bleach in the normal showering fashion rather than my trying to hang my head over the side of the tub. It only occurred to me after I was shampooing to stop the chemical reaction that I’d just rinsed bleach all down my naked back, so I quickly scrubbed with soap as well. I don’t seem to have suffered any negative reaction to the bleach though – no chemical burns whatsoever.

Next a quick blow dry, and I sadly neglected to get a shot of myself with yellow-white hair. It’s a bad look with my skin color, but entertaining at least. Sr. Assistant then painted on three layers of color: a dark plum for the bottom layer, bright candy pink for the crown of the head, and I added a few bright purple streaks right in the front. Then we stuck a bag over my head. According to our instructions, you shouldn’t let the bleach dry if possible and the bag does the trick nicely. Plus it allows your husband and friend a laugh when they get to refer to you as “bag-head” for the next hour or so.  Ah the irony of how silly we make ourselves look along the road to finding beauty.

After foiling in some streaks on Jr. Assistant’s hair we stuck a bag on her as well so that I wouldn’t have to suffer alone.

Now we get to play with Kinex!

As a side note, this is why one should always wear gloves when applying hair dye.  Sr. Assistant's hand wound up resembling blueberries, which horrified me and which she found very amusing.

Don't try this at home!

Half a movie later (Paranorman via Netflix) we were ready to rinse, dry, and view our result!

I’m beyond happy with this! It’s only our first attempt and we managed to annihilate my dark root problem and bring up a really fun pink color on top with that playful purple accent in front that I just adore! The plum under layer shows from the back, but it’s subtle because I don’t have a haircut that really displays it well. When I go in for my trim on Friday I believe it will show through better afterward.

My heartfelt thanks to Jr. Assistant, Sr. Assistant and Vintage or Tacky for helping me to conquer my fear of bleaching at home! With a little research, a lot of help and an adventurous attitude I am pleased to discover that this is an entirely doable process without painfully expensive salon trips!

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