Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Worst Hair Disaster

It's only been about four and a half weeks since I last touched up my colour, and I've been trying to put off doing it again, but the silver roots are really growing in.  So I spent the day with my hair soaking in coconut oil and I'm sitting here now with dye on my roots.

Thinking about hair dye reminded me of the biggest hair disaster I ever had.  It was 1998, and I had been using a high lift one-step blonde colour for several years.  Since my hair is naturally dark blonde, it was easy to get an almost platinum colour without bleach, but by using extra light shades.

I'll never know to this day what possessed me, but one day I decided I just had to have one of those beautiful cool shades of red hair.  I knew that anything orangey wouldn't suit me, but I thought that a cool tone might be nice and brighten up my look.

I remember walking to the drugstore after having made this impulsive decision, and I purchased the dye.  I really didn't know all that much about hair dye back then, and I didn't know that there were special steps necessary to go from platinum blonde to a red shade.

So I applied the dye, and after it was rinsed out and dry, it looked lovely to my eyes. It was a new me.  However after the first washing, red dye was still dripping in the shower. This time when my hair was dry, the red shade was still there but there were blonde patches showing through.  It was a disaster.

I then walked back to the drugstore. I met a friend who worked there, and she said to me, "Franny!  What happened to your hair?!?!". I was mortified.  I spoke to the cosmetician and I was told that in order to dye my light blonde hair dark, I should have used a filler.  A filler is a deposit only colour that fills the hair shaft with a darker tone, and then you apply the shade of your choice over top of it.

There I was with shoulder length hair that had already been mercilessly dyed so light and for the second time in just a few days, I was applying colour all over my head yet again.

The colour held well after using the filler, but it didn't take many washings before the nice red tone faded, and I was left with dull, brown hair.  And it wasn't a pretty brown.

I knew I had really made a mistake.  I had to have my blonde back, so back to the drugstore I went, to buy a box of bleach, (yes, bleach!) and a new shade of blonde to put over top of it.

I did do a strand test as suggested, but it took a very long time to get the colour light enough.  So I applied the bleach to my hair for as long as I did with the strand test and followed with a medium blonde shade.

Well.  I don't even know how to express my horror at the condition of my hair.  When wet, it felt sticky and mushy.  It really didn't even feel like hair at all.  It felt like an old doll's hair.  I was going crazy, but I thought that some good conditioners would help restore my hair.  However, no matter what I did, my hair was beyond repair.  I simply couldn't live with it.

Every time I combed or brushed my hair little pieces of hair would fly out.  I needed to get a haircut.

So I got my hair bobbed to about chin length.  But I found that I still couldn't live with the damage of the hair that remained.  

Off to the hairdresser's again, and I got just about every bit of that damage out.  However, it left me with a very, very, very short haircut.  It was so short that my hair stuck straight up in the air in some places.  It wasn't pretty.  I just wanted to hide.

Finally, it did start to grow out, and I began to feel like myself again.  But wow, what an experience.  

Having gone through that, I'll never understand why I allowed myself to dye my hair brown in 2007.  You would have thought I'd have learned.   But I hadn't.  I think that I believed that since I had a better understanding of hair care that I'd be okay.  I also thought that I would stick with the brown.  However brown was not me, and it never was.  As well, with a dark shade, the silver roots started showing in less than a week.  At least I didnt' completely destroy all of my hair when I removed the brown dye in 2008, but I did have to sacrifice almost 2 years worth of growth in the end.

I guess in some ways I'm happy that I had these experiences because I finally know that I'll never do it again.  At least I'd better not.  

I've finally found the shade that suits me, and the hair care that works for me, so I'd best not be trying any new colour experiments.  If I ever get the urge to do any crazy colouring to my hair again, I'll make sure I write about it here first, so that you can yell at me and tell me to stop!  I promise I will listen.


  1. At least you learn from your mistakes. I just keep on making them...about every two to three years. Hence this awful hair cut (she did not give me the style I asked for either) and the growing out begins anew. I just got tired of the awful frizz. Now I have short pouf that looks just as bad and it is still frizzy. Only now I can't pull it back and off my face. Sigh...

    I've had one bad hair disaster myself...3 dye jobs (first one involving bleach) in a weekend. Ei yi yi!!

  2. P. S. I've been thinking of coloring again too...just not sure yet. But I feel old and even dowdier than I am with the gray. I'm tired of looking and feeling old and dowdy.

  3. That was rough, what a hard lesson to learn. I've never colored my hair, never really wanted to. I did mess it up with perms though.

  4. well, that's funny! In a not so funny way-I did the EXACT same thing! Except, I went from my naturally lovely red to blonde, highlights first time, then more, then decided I could just buy a box myself and get the all over blondish/brown I wanted, well my blonde over the highlights gave me a very golden red, with the 'mushy sticky' wet mess you described which no conditioner could improve, then the frazzeled old doll's hair-so I too got a 'bob' cut, whichveveryone loved, except me, it was good for a few days, then frizzed right back up-so I cut it above my ears in December-no-one seems to care for it this short- but the point is, to start from scratch- I have been using Nioxin since I cut it Dec 2 2010 and it is now Jan. 28th 2011, it has grown 3 inches which is fast for me, I am hating this growing out stage, but firmly will use no heat appliances, or dyes. I see that under all the color I have used for 25 years, is beautiful silver, gold and copper 'free highlights!' I want to see what my own color really is again-I am also going with the water only washing to see how it goes. I do add olive oil to my dry hair for gloss though. I was a bit happy to hear I am not the only one who got to the point of cutting it all off in order to grow it long-after the age of 40! I feel as though I too can do it right this time! Thanks for sharing!


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