I was a blonde baby, I got it from my Dad. I’d shake my little sand covered booty all over the Gold Coast beaches when I was a toddler, soaking up the sun and making friends with tourist’s kids was what I did best. My family then moved to the Northern Territory where our outdoor lifestyle continued and I was a tall blonde string bean who lived in the pool.
Then I got my period, I got boobs and my whole universe changed.
I became self conscious and way too concerned about following in the shadows of others than forging my own path. My family didn’t have a “fabulous lifestyle” income and I found it difficult to feel confident alongside those who did. Subconsciously I put them on a pedestal and deemed them popular and assumed the role of “sheep”.
They were nice girls, petite happy girls with blonde ponytails and bronzed skin. The boys adored them, I wanted to be adored too but we were on totally different playing fields. It’s only now that I’m a little more grown up that I realise how ridiculous the whole scenario was. I had yet to learn the value of me, that uniqueness is what makes a woman special, that confidence is worth adoration.
For the last 10 years I’ve dyed my hair brown. I did it to hide the grey/white hair I’ve had since I was 18. I did it so I’d match my mother and sister. Dad and I had blonde hair and have blue eyes but his hair darkened over time, my Mum and sister have brown hair and brown eyes. I moved out when I was 17 so I guess is some ways it made me feel closer to them.
Essentially I was covering up who I was. For years I’d considered going back to blonde but everyone said it would be a huge investment, my hair would fall out or that I’d look terrible as a blonde. I believed them, it was easier to. Besides, I wasn’t good looking enough to be blonde. Blonde hair would wash me out and really, it only looks good on skinnier people. Maybe it will be my reward when I eventually shed the kilos. Maybe all these lame excuses will distract me from something I really want but also fear.
Those girls are still lovely, they now work in the cosmetic beauty industry injecting, filling and lifting. I am still me, sharing my insecurities and inspiring others to look past all that, to share what I’ve learnt about self worth. One thing I know for sure is that the power of popularity is not in a blonde ponytail but I began to question why I wanted to go blonde again.
I told myself I wanted to go back to my natural roots. I wanted to look more like Aidan. I just wanted to try. I wanted to go lighter for summer. I wanted to do it for my readers. It would disguise my grey hair more. It would be more flattering. It would be a nice change… but when it really came down to it, I wanted to give myself the chance to be that blonde, popular, adored girl at school that I was too afraid to be.
I stood in the hair aisle at the chemist, my box brown in one hand, blonde in the other. I had a moment. I bought the blonde. I didn’t call my Mum, my best friends or my sister. I made the change in that moment. I committed… for me, for what I wanted, for change. I then of course posted a “before” pic on instagram.
I started with this foam lightener and I’m still proud of my decision. It left my hair soft and didn’t fry it at all. They were about $10 per box and I think all up I used about 8 boxes. Using this I got my hair from a “3/4” all the way to an “8/9” without killing it. In hindsight I could have used a stronger bleaching product for a faster result (this took about three weeks) but I really wanted to be gentle.
Towards the end I used another box of lightener but this time a creme bleach followed by an all over toner. The bleach was rough, I hated how it felt when applied but it did the job. Then I applied an all over colour which balanced everything out and got rid of any lingering yellow. By now I’d invested in a short shoulder cape ($8), a bowl and a brush ($4), also reusable gloves ($8 for 2 pairs) which have been brilliant. I got them at a local beauty supply warehouse.
It was definitely an eye opening experience, I did a lot of research, watched a lot of youtube clips and just did my best. I never planned to go as light as I did because I honestly didn’t think I could but now I’m a really light ash blonde and I love it. I also never thought I could get a really great finish without a trip to the salon. My plan was to strip it back as best I could then let a professional finish. Turns out I only needed one trip for a blue tone (some light orange patches were hard to shift) and a trim. I was proud.
You could also say I was super paranoid about my hair turning to jelly and it all falling out. This hair mask felt like heaven on my tresses, cost less than $10 and I’m still on the very first tub and I use a great big gob of it each time. I used it after each lightening treatment and now once a week and it leaves my hair feeling lovely.
Bleach and masks aren’t the only products I’ve had to educate myself on during this process, toning is crucial. Everyone has their own idea about what makes an awesome toner more awesome than the rest, it really does come down to trial and error. There are many higher end products that I heard good things about but I’d already come this far showcasing an affordable change, why stop now?
I started with Extra Care and really liked it, a very dark purple and was effective yet soft. Once I pounded through a tube of that I though I’d try Nordic but I didn’t like it as much, the pigment wasn’t as strong and my hair didn’t feel as nice. Then I tried the Live toner and decided it wasn’t really for me, there wasn’t enough product for my thick hair. Then Nak foam was recommended to me, I liked the easy even application but I used it pretty quickly and didn’t get as much out of it. Now I’m using the Fudge toner and I still find it a little too light but it’s nice. I’ve since bought more of the Extra Care.
Coles had a sale on so I brought shampoo and conditioner by John Frieda home for $20, usually they’re about $18 per tube. They both have purple tints to them, the shampoo is darker and I use it every 3-4 days. It feels amazing, the tubes are quite generous and you don’t need much. Keep an eye out for sales, visit discount chemists, there are so many ways of paying less.
Obviously I know popularity isn’t contained in a bottle, true beauty doesn’t equate to high maintenance and I found the love of my life and all my friends without any of these things. I could have just written a post about how I went from brunette to blonde but I wanted to share the emotional reasons too. Changing my hair colour changed my mindset. Changing my mindset has changed my attitude and my actions in a very positive way.
Upon reflection with my counsellor who I have been seeing once a month for what I call “emotional debriefing”, it would seem I’ve taken a step at releasing regrets and taking charge in my own decision making process. For some that may seem a small feat but for me personally it’s huge. The relationship women have with their hair can be quite emotional, I’d love to hear your story if you have the time…
What have you always wanted to do to your hair?