I’ve often read on beauty blogs and fashion forums, people asking how to/whether to go from brunette->blonde, blonde->brunette and having now covered basically every base of hair colour imaginable I thought I’d write a little how-to guide. I’m aware this might seem quite shallow and superficial compared to topics I could be covering. Sorry big-brains, but it’s Sunday evening and I did my first 5k run after a summer of eating, boozing and lounging and it’s left me a wilted leaf of a girl so tapping away about hair colours is all I am good for!
I was born with… well no hair actually. I looked like the childrens book character Burglar Bill and whilst my dad called my other sisters angel, or sweetheart, when he walked in the door from a long day at work… I’d simply get ey up baldy! My parents didn’t seem overly concerned that I was folically challenged and I don’t remember it bothering me particularly until I got THROWN out of ballet class for not having enough hair to get into a bun (!) By the time I was 5 it started to grow and this is me aged 6, in the middle. With less hair than any of the boys. Nice pinafore though!
No one knows (or maybe cares) why I was such a slow starter to have hair but at least once it started growing it’s never stopped and gradually turned into the pretty descent sized mane of curls I have now. It also serves for some pretty hilarious toddler/school photos and I am a lesson to any future parents who have comically ugly duckling babies, that they really might turn out ok. Ish!
So my hair is naturally dark browny black, which is that same as my dad. I had various hair-dye attempting disasters growing up (anyone remember sun-in?!) and then a phase where I discovered henna and my hair was more reddy brown, and a bit stinky. But mostly it has stayed brown, brown and more brown. Mainly because any attempts to dye it were fruitless. Like the photograph below, where it was meant to be ‘ravishing red’ but actually after sitting with the dye and carrier bag on my head for an hour… washed out leaving my hair the exact same shade as before, just smelling a bit like ammonia.
About this time last year, I started getting obsessive thoughts about going blonde. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I think it was mainly that I felt so much had changed in my life and in me psychologically (2007/2008 were pretty hefty, for good and bad reasons) but it niggled me that to an outsider I still looked the same. So in December last year I walked into Toni & Guy Essensuals in Covent Garden and said MAKE ME BLONDE! I was expecting to walk out of there instant platinum, surfy blonde tresses. My magical hairdresser however quickly bought me back to reality and told me that to go from so dark to so light, whilst keeping good condition locks, was going to take a couple of tries.
So at first, I came out with a sort of caramelly colour – light brown I suppose. Next I had a dodgy few months of chunky blonde bits where the dye had caught, but big darker sections, and all a bit higgeldypiggeldy. Luckily it was cold beret wearing season and easy to hide. After five months I eventually got where I wanted, a certified blondie.
But after trying to maintain the blonde (when I earn peanuts, frankly, and have £mega monster London rent to pay) was difficult and it felt like my dark roots were always creeping in. Luckily ombre hair dying had become somewhat fashionable but it still bugged me and so this weekend I asked my hairdresser for something new. She had suggested a red/copper colour and I never really question her so rather than pin her down to a specific shade… she said she’d surprise me. Yikes! Luckily the surprise is lovely so far.I feel like an autumn leaf!
Here is a little back to back of my journey through the lands of brunette, blonde and now redhead. Which do you prefer? I think I look like April from Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles now. Like that could ever be a bad thing?
If you are thinking of making a drastic change then I would whole heartedly recommend it. The pros of changing your hair colour regularly is that it’s like being a stealth spy. People I know constantly zoom past me on the street because they don’t see me. And you can hide easily from people you might not want to talk to. Being a spy is fun.
a) Try and research whether the colour you want will suit your skin tone/eye colour etc. This can easily done by just photoshopping a photography of yourself with a hairstyle you like from the internet! Also don’t despair, because colours can always be toned warmer or colder by the hair dresser; meaning nothing should be an out and out no.
b) Also do consider that some of your favourite outfits/colours may no longer suit you once you change; so try getting a swatch first and checking against any beloved items. I think I have to kiss goodbye to my favourite orange check shirt dress whilst having tangerine hair as it might all be a bit OJ overkill.
c) Be PATIENT, because to do it properly and get the exact do you have your heart set on can sometimes be a commitment. Go to a hairdresser you trust or had recommended, and in general don’t take too many shortcuts for a mammoth change – I think it is worth paying for a professional to do the hard work.