Monday, 4 November 2013

From Red to Ginger, a tale 5 years in the making.

Being a natural brunette I have spent nearly 10 years trying to be a different hair colour as I always thought brown was a tad boring on me. It began in my teens with my putting blond foils in my hair to try and break up the brown. This was early 2000 so blending the blond wasn't really in fashion so my hair resembled a zebra with all the striping. After coming to my senses in my late teens I tried to dye my hair back to brown using a packet mix and it failed (of course) and my hair went a burgundy colour which remained with me until me early 20's. From there my obsession with bright red hair grew and for 5 years I endeavoured to have the brightest red hair humanly possible. And for a while I succeeded and loved it.

Me at 20 with my bob and deep red hair

3 years later getting brighter

At the ripe age of 23 I discovered Directions hair dye and my hair went so so bright and remained that colour for another 2 years.

It wasn't until last year when I realised how much having bright hair was affecting my personality and how people perceived me. I remember going to a party after having to dress up for work and I was still wearing a black wig that was apart of the my costume (my hair looked like hell underneath) and one of my friends flipped out and said I couldn't have black hair, I was who I was because of my bright hair. It also had caused me a lot of attention over the years, both wanted and unwanted. I find that if people see others with bright hair or tattoos they assume that we are very outgoing and adventurous and because of that feel the need to discuss it with us. Now I'm no wall flower but I had red hair because I liked the colour, not because I wanted strangers coming up to me and hassling me about every last detail about my hair. It was not always bad, some people were very kind and just wanted to let me know how much they enjoyed the brightness, but when you're stuck alone on public transport at night with drunk people hollering at you, you kind of wish you could blend in.

It was also starting to affect my work when I went to pursue roles in theatre and tv, with bright hair there are only so many characters I could be so it was limiting the possibilities of expanding my career. So because of that, I decided to dye my hair back to a natural hair colour. Of course brown was off the table, I still thought it wasn't me. Black was an option but I worried it might have been too severe, and that's when I chose to hold onto the red, but just go to ginger. Hell if Rita Hayworth could fool the world into thinking she was a natural red head than so could I.

I thought it would be that simple, I would just go to the hair dresser, they would put a metric tonne of bleach on my scalp and before I knew it I would have lovely Rupert Grint hair. Oh boy was I wrong.

This was what my hair looked like when we started the process. I have been stripping the colour back for a while using strong shampoos and not adding any colour to my conditioner.

After 7.5 hours my hair looked like this. I sort professional help with this process and they began with using a colour stripper before adding bleach to lighten my hair. Unfortunately due to chemical damage from dying my hair for nearly a decade there was only so far they could lighten it so instead of leaving the salon ginger, I left more, well mandarin.
After 5 weeks I went back but as my hair was still damaged from the original process, coupled with the fact that I had been using a lot of heating products (naughty me) they could only do the roots and blend as best they could. My hair was still very orange at this stage.

4 weeks later we tried again, this time we were able to lighten the colour a little bit but it was still quite bright and not the natural shade I was hoping for.
This is was my hair looked like 2 day before the final colouring. I had not used heating products for 5 weeks (thank god for pin curls) and stepped up my conditioning treatment by using a strength enhancing shampoo as well as treatment. My colour had faded quite well so we were on the right track.
 5.5 hours after my appointment began and I left as a ginger. I love love love my new colour and it is so much easier to maintain. Like all big changes to your hair I would always recommend letting the professional do what they do best. If it was up to me I would have just put 40 vol bleach on my scalp and hoped for the best, resulting in my hair  breaking off and me most likely look like David Bowie during his Ziggy faze.
So even though it took me months to get to this point, it was definitely for the best.
Until next time,
Your friendly neighbourhood Red Velvet Rosie

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