I think I broke up with him…or maybe he broke up with me. Maybe cross-continental relationships are just a bad idea. Whatever the case, I was sad…and probably not in the most rational mindset. Which explains what happened next: While scrolling through Instagram, I saw that Lucy Hale went blond. Yes, hair dye will save me from my misery, I thought. If I change the way I look, maybe it'll change the way I feel.
I was then dead-set on the idea.
But because bleach is scary, I had to find the best. Who better than celeb colorist Amber Maynard of Nine Zero One Salon? If stars like Demi Lovato, Hilary Duff and Emma Roberts trust her with their strands, I could too.
I asked Amber whether I should be making a drastic decision while battling severe emotional trauma, which then I was met with a resounding no. But, she did say that since the color was realistic, it would work. Impulsive or not, my hasty decision was validated.
The coloring process, however, was neither simple nor short—it took seven hours! Here's what happened.
What does bleach do to your hair? In layman's terms, imagine a sphere filled with lots of little, happy protein-filled dots. Bleach goes in and blasts away the dots, leaving us with a lot of holes (read: the stuff of hair breakage). In order to protect my hair from these holes, Amber mixed Olaplex (bond stabilizer) into the bleach concoction. "It helps protect the hair as it doesn't create an acid that eats away your hair," said the pro.
Amber and her awesome assistant, Lauren Burke, began applying the mixture to my hair in sections, wrapping them in foil as they went. "I'm taking little tiny pieces next to thicker ones to create dimension," Amber assured me. "When the hair lays, it'll be brighter and pop."
It took over two hours to foil only a small section. Parts of my hair processed faster than others, resulting in several trips to the wash bowl. "We want to rinse the hair that's finished, and comb through more Olaplex, which will not only help protect the hair but will also even the tone," she told me.
After all 138 foils were taken off my head, Amber applied a toner. "Everyone thinks that when people use toner, they need to fix something that something's wrong…that's not true," the hairstylist said. "Basically when you bleach dark hair, it lifts [into a] yellow, and toner helps blend and create warmer tones. It's the icing on the cake."
This was new for me: They had me at the shampoo bowl—Lauren and Amber were on bother sides of me, combing through sections and parting in different directions with their hair color brushes, using a technique they called "tapping down and/or rooting." They were brushing toner into the root and combing through to blend with the bleach.
"We're blending the natural hair color with the highlighted pieces, which creates a shadow effect at the root and helps the color look more natural and not stripy," she explained.
After the final rinse, I was nervous. I still hadn't seen it yet and had the towel wrapped around my head as I walked back to her chair. This. Was. It. As she started to blow-dry, my grin got bigger and bigger. As each chunk of hair blew across my face, I became happier.
I know this wasn't some emotional "off" switch, but this is exactly what I needed to help catapult me out of my sad breakup blues. I needed to look different to want to feel different. I wasn't shiny and new—but upgraded. I know I still have feelings to sort out, but at least, I'll look good doing it.
So do I recommend a radical hair change during an emotional state? First, only if you're in good hands of an awesome stylist, and, more importantly, only if you want and are genuinely ready for a change.