Thanks to a Summer where I basically lived at the pool and my blond hair turned a not-so-lovely shade of green, I've been coloring my hair consistently since I was 12. While mostly this has been some version of bottle blond, since that's what my natural has been closest to, in the last 20 years I've colored my hair every natural shade imaginable. All this is to say that I should have known better than to try and take my hair from brown to blond in one destructive box-color sitting.
In trying to grow out my pixie cut, I thought it would be easier if I went back to a more natural blond. Being embarrassingly cheap sometimes, I decided to do what many cash-strapped and optimistic people would do: I tried to lift and bleach the color myself. Cocky from my decades of at-home coloring, I thought I knew better. I thought that I knew enough to make it at least passable. Boy, was I wrong.
My hair was an unnatural shade of highlighter yellow that my friends pointed out looked like Draco in the first Harry Potter movie.
It started simply enough, as I grabbed a box that promised to strip all the dyed color from the hair and leave me with a platinum blond mane that I figured I could then color later to be a little more of a natural color. The box wasn't entirely wrong, since my hair was transformed from a mousy brown to a lighter shade, but platinum it was not. Instead of blond, my hair was an unnatural shade of highlighter yellow that my friends pointed out looked like Draco in the first Harry Potter movie when his blond hair had a healthy dose of orange running through it. While this look was definitely different, it was not the magical change I had hoped for.
Besides looking like an orange, the box also had the audacity to wreak physical damage on my hair. Since I had been growing it out, every inch counted. Gone was six weeks of growth that was destined for the hair salon floor.
To fix my hair, I did what I should have done in the first place: seek out the help of a professional. My 20 years of intermittent box coloring did not give me the skill set to change my hair from brown to blond, even if I thought it had. My exceedingly capable stylist, after giving me the look that conveyed a unique mixture of disappointment and frustration, managed to somehow do two more rounds of bleaching and get me to a blond. My ends were wrecked, salvaged somewhat by some intense hair treatments. My ego, of course, was damaged beyond the salvage of any hair treatment.
I've learned it pays to let professionals do their work, or at the very least consult a professional beforehand. The time spent in a chair, having to do major damage control, and spending the money anyway just isn't worth it. A year later, my hair is still blond and healthy thanks to treating my hair right through deep conditioning, regular trims, and knowing the limit of my skills.