At the time, I'd been growing my dirty blond/almost-brunette hair out for nearly a year and hadn't colored it in over five. In a moment of uninspired despair, I started thinking about cutting it all off. Then a wild idea popped in my head: What if I took the plunge and went a bizarre color. If it looked terrible, I could just cut it off, right?
A few weeks later, I arrived to Nine Zero One Salon in West Hollywood—hair mecca for stars like Zac Efron, Liv Tyler and Vanessa Hudgens and work space of E! Style Collective expert and Bieber's own hairstylist, Florido Basallo. (I was 25 percent nervous, 75 percent excited at this point). He was so nice and fun, which made my nerves instantly disappear.
So how exactly did the pro take my hair from dark to white to purple? Here's everything you need to know about the long, expensive but totally worth-it experience.
Why did Bieber dye his hair purple in the first place? "It was actually my idea. I was kinda like, ‘Can I make your hair lavender?' I've never done that with him. I've only made him platinum and done highlights," Florido explained before we started our four-hour journey. "I'm glad he let me kind of play around and step outside the box…he's my muse so I feel like he lets me do whatever I want. He trusts me."
Florido estimated the whole process would take me two to three hours "depending on how fast your hair lightens." This was definitely the longest step in the process (my hair took about an hour and a half total). Florido used foil on the long strands of my hair then rubbed the bleach all over the buzzed sides. Surprisingly, the bleaching didn't really burn or irritate my scalp (the trick is to let it set in under a shower cap. Whatever you do, do not use a hair dyer). After applying the foil and bleach for a little over 45 minutes, we let it set in for another 30.
As for the damage, Florido advised, "It's definitely going to dry your hair out. You definitely have to go to someone who knows how to lighten your hair without going overboard because there's so many people who come in to get their hair fixed from people who over lighten it and fry it out. So then it just looks crazy."
After washing out the bleach, my hair was pretty light but still had a yellow tint. To correct this Florido applied toner to make my hair more white/gray. This only took about 20 minutes then another rinsing out.
It was time to take the plunge, which isn't as scary when you're in good company (I was sitting two chairs away from Hilary Duff, who was getting her bob dyed pink). Florido mixed Manic Panic's purple dye with conditioner then began painting it on all of my hair. After 20 minutes of coloring, we rinsed out the dye but my hair was more pink than purple, and the sides were a little blotchy. Because everyone's hair is different, and Justin's hair was already bleached, my hair needed three of four rounds of purple coloring. Florido and his team worked their magic and even though it took longer than expected, they finally got it to the perfect shade of lavender.
Florido gave my hair a quick trim and then it was time for the final drumroll (plus I had to vacate Florido's chair because his next client Hailey Baldwin, Bieber's BFF, was patiently waiting next to me for her trim)...
After the long, four-hour process of taking my hair from dark, to yellow, to gray to pinkish, to lavender, how did I feel about the finished product? I'M OBSESSED! I am beyond in love with my lavender ‘do. I really couldn't believe how Florido and his team got my locks looking so multifaceted and multidimensional in terms of the coloring. My hair had so many variations of purple, gray, blond, pink and lavender running through it. Other stylists in the salon immediately started complimenting the unique and amazing hue Florido had concocted.
If you're still reading at this point you must be wondering about the cost of going lavender. OK, here's how much damage it will do to your bank account. "The price range, a bleaching starts at $200, depending on how many times you have to do it," Florido told me. "And then after that is a toner, which is $50, depending on how many times you have to tone it. It's a few hundred depending on where you go." My specific service, worthy of the celeb set, would definitely be in the $500 area.
The After Care
To maintain the dye job, Florido sent me home with purple shampoo and conditioner (about $60 together). However, the purple coloring definitely faded fast over the next week (insert crying emoji). The lavender slowly faded out and gave way to gray, even with the purple products, which makes you wonder how much celebs really shell out to maintain their rainbow-colored hair.
After I left the salon, the first place I went was the grocery store. While in line, a smiley middle-aged woman behind me stopped me and said, "The purple hair color is so cool!" Brilliant hair transcends all generation gaps. The next day, everyone in my office stopped me to "ooh" and "aw" and tell me how good it looked. I can say without an ounce of doubt this was one of the coolest things I've ever done for my appearance. I truly love the color and the confidence it gives me. One person even commented that lavender-gray hair looked strangely natural on me. Thinking about it, it feeks like I should've had this color hair all my life.
Reality check to self: You aren't, in fact, the real Justin Bieber...but you can feel damn close.