Monday, January 13, 2014

Pink Deer's Guide To…Hair Colour: ginger and back

In the last 12 months my hair has been purple, pink, platinum blonde and bright, coppery red. My poor Dad barely recognises me every time I see him, thank God for Facebook or he'd walk right past me in the airport.

My hair and I have always had something of a tumultuous relationship. The women in my family, although totally kick ass, aren't exactly renowned for full heads of luxurious waves (that are full of secrets). We have very fine hair, best kept short and left well alone for fear it might just one day give up on what little life it has left. You think I'm exaggerating, but I can assure you if I try to grow my hair longer than chin length it looks more 'I just climbed out of a scum filled pond', than 'The entire cast of Gossip Girl styled their bouncy locks on mine.'  Except when Taylor Momsen had those ratty extensions, then I had a chance for comparison.

So I try to keep things interesting by playing with colour, and the biggest change I've ever made has been going red. I'd always wanted to try it, but it's not a decision you want to make lightly. Red comes with a bunch of warnings. Seriously, it's like reading the possible side effects of a new medication…possible itchiness included. But thankfully you've got me, trusty guinea pig to give you the low down. So here it is, Pink Deer's Guide To…red hair.

Find a professional
I was platinum blonde, professional application was my only option. I can only imagine the horror I would have felt if I'd ended up with a weird, patchy ginger that made Chucky look like Karen Elson. Let's remember, hair colour is a science. You can't go about just slapping it on and hoping for the best, that leads to tears. A good hairdresser like the amazing Jo at Society Hair, is going to create just the right colour for you. I wanted Christina Hendricks copper, because I did my research and I knew it would suit my skin tone. Had I gone in there and asked for Rihanna red, Jo would have politely refused…because she's an expert, and let's face it, I'm no Rihanna.

Maintenance is a full time job
I was red for 9 months. I have an entire cupboard filled with hundreds of dollars worth of red products…because you need them. To keep your colour looking fresh you have to seriously avoid washing the way you might avoid someone you owe money.  So, dry shampoo is about to become your best friend. I also coloured my hair every 2 weeks at home AND went back to Jo for a top-up every 6. On the plus side, regular semi permanent treatments improved the condition of my hair and gave it shine and length my bleached locks hadn't seen in eons.

Red is a statement
The colour I chose was so rich it really was an accessory itself. People complimented me on it ALL the time, and the most common reaction was 'I'd never be brave enough to try it.' Which is confidence building, because basically they're saying your the Wonder Woman of hair colour. That's how I interpreted it anyway.

A new hair colour also opens up a whole new world of colour for your makeup and clothing. Teamed with a red lip, red hair looks super seductive. A baby pink dress is less cutesy than it is on a blonde. And green! Well, buy everything in emerald you can find because you are gonna look like a superstar.

Don't look back in anger
It's really mainly when you want to return to your original colour you're going to start to question red's value. But again, a professional is the key here. It's not easy to remove, especially when you are trying to return to blonde as I was. First my hair was stripped and then bleached. After assessing the damage,  my hair was mostly in tact. You know it's a true miracle when even your hairdresser is pleasantly surprised. My ends however were still stubbornly copper, so we agreed to chop them out. It then took another round of bleach, an intense toning experience and FIVE long hours to get me back to a creamy, beige blonde.

If you're extremely attached to your hair, I'd really suggest thinking long and hard about making such a drastic change. Like a gangrenous limb, when hair colour goes wrong sometimes the only option is to chop it off. I realise that is a disgusting analogy, but we all know I don't like to beat around the bush. Truthfully after all that bleach I felt we really won simply by the fact I wasn't bald.

So of course after the agony and the ecstasy of my journey to red, the big question is: knowing what I know, would I try red again? Of course! Life is too short to be afraid and I would always have wondered somehow, if red didn't hold the key to my true happiness. Besides, I bet if you asked Nero from the Matrix if he'd still choose the red pill, the answer would be 'Yes'. And he actually did go bald.
Video: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

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