Before I get into my story, here is a list of information from this Bustle article that explains how dying your hair damages it and will ruin you for good.
- The ammonia found in hair dye lifts the cuticle up to let the molecules of the dye in, breaking through each layer of your hair shaft.
- After the cuticle is broken, the process of dying your hair continues. In order to receive the color you want now, you must use peroxide, also known as bleach.
- According to Huffington Post, “Peroxide is very drying on the hair, which contributes to the damage of the hair. Now the cuticle is lifted, your pigment has been broken down, so now your hair should be straw-like.”
- The hair color proteins you had from your original, virgin hair become oxidized and colorless. With this, the new pigment can take over and bond to the hair cortex.
- The longer you keep your hair dye in, the more the cuticle is lifted, making it more damaging it is to your hair overall. Ni’Kita Wilson from Huffington Post mentions in this article that, “…your cuticle is lifted for however long you have before you rinse, and the dye is penetrating into your open cuticle and hair shaft. The longer your cuticle is lifted up, the more it’s weakening. Once you rinse, your cuticle comes down because the color has deposited, but the damage is already done.”
- Hair dye stinks
With that, we can begin to understand this from a personal experience of mine.
From an early age to now, I have watched my aunt style hair on numerous people. Whether it was at home or in her salon, the most intriguing part of watching her style her clients was always the dyeing process. I have learned a lot from this and I can almost say that I would be able to give advice or tips to anyone who is curious about coloring their hair or what they should expect when doing so.
I cannot count the number of times my mom (aunt’s sister just incase you were wondering) has dyed her hair. I mean, good for her for taking advantage of the free service her sister gives her, however, growing up, I always thought of it as something that everybody just did. As I grew older, probably the around time I was in middle school, I started getting more and more curious about the hair coloring process. I was never allowed to dye my hair, even when I begged and begged. It was as if it was a life-or-death necessity for my mom to dye her hair, and she was denying me from my own “well-being”. I kind of felt confused, more so like an oddball since everybody in my family dyes their hair like its no biggie. I am actually really thankful that I wasn’t allowed however, because I know a 6th grade fire-engine red-head version of me would look extremely horrifying… but of course, I learned my lesson another way at another time.
When I was born, my hair was platinum blonde, and as I grew older it started to form into a dark, ash blonde. This is actually completely normal due to the fact that the melanin in our hair doesn’t usually “turn on” until we hit puberty, making our hair darker. It seems kind of weird, but makes total sense. Thanks Google. Anyways, I always really liked being blonde and considering myself blonde, despite all the hate we get sometimes, so I wanted to lighten it up a bit. Prior to me considering this, my sister had started getting into coloring her hair as well, of course. Thanks mom. Because of this, I begged and begged my mom to let me do something that would liven my life up a bit too.
She let me get one strand of a highlight.
Im over-exaggerating, but just to let you know, this was the start of something that would eventually go really, really haywire.
As time went on however, I started getting more and more highlights throughout the years. I was set on being super light. Eventually, my aunt suggested that I use a permanent dye for my hair instead of bleaching it like I usually did, which causes more damage. I agreed when I know I should have not. It was actually really nice though, but then I found out what a toner was. Long story short, the toner gave off an orange tint to my hair. It’s actually supposed to do the opposite but I honestly don’t know what happened I just knew I hated it.
Fast forward two month later, which was actually December of 2016, I still hated the fact that in my eyes my hair was orange. For some reason I had the burning desire to stop my misery by going dark brown. To this day I truly don’t know why it ever occurred to me that dark brown hair was something that I NEEDED to have. I could’ve just lightened my hair again and had it back to normal, but I really like change so I think I was just bored with my life at the time if you want me to be honest. On top of that, I don’t know how I got my mom convinced on letting me dye my hair 20 shades darker than it was but I did. I told her I would raise my fail to a C in calculus if she let me do it, which unfortunately I never did that semester :(. Anyways, I did it.. it came out light brown with a hint of green the first time. Not too crazy. Then I went back in the next week, with dark mahogany brown box dye. Dark mahogany brown box dye. Just let that sink in.
It turned out looking really cool actually, even though it was almost black, but me being the Gemini that I am I was over it within the next week or so. I liked how it made my facial features pop but I knew I was most comfortable and “myself” when I was blonde. I kept it for about 11 weeks (yes I counted out of eagerness) and as a result it faded into a light-brown with washed-out orange undertones. If you didn’t know, the 11-week mark was last Saturday, the 18th of February. I was determined to go back to my roots, with my life normal again. I got a light-medium blonde dye and I went straight to my aunts house.
I went half a shade lighter.
Me being the highly sensitive person that I am, I was extremely angry and disappointed at the fact that there was no change at all. My hopes were too high and I felt like I was trapped, that I would never be able to go back to how I was before.
My aunt then advised me to get highlights… worst decision ever. I came out looking like a 2000’s Kelly Clarkson. Not something you want.
Two days later (basically today) I went back begging for my aunt to bleach the entirety of my hair to end my misery. We argued about my hair becoming severely damaged if I were to even try bleaching it like 100 shades lighter. I was too impatient, and of course me being the extremely stubborn person I am I did not give up and I eventually got my way an hour later. Let me just tell you, I have never had more anxiety in my life from the time my aunt mixed the developer and bleach powder together to her drying the result of my poor dead hair.
It actually wasn’t that bad… Of course I was horrified because I don’t really remember myself blonde without pictures, but I was relieved. Just an FYI, Moroccan oil does wonders to dry hair, try it out. Even though I went from dark brown, it actually didn’t come out orange as everyone had expected it to. Although I do have very yellow and somewhat brassy parts to my hair I am hoping that my purple shampoo (which is supposed to get rid of it) will do the trick. If not, I’m going back for a third and hopefully final trip to my aunt’s to darken my roots a bit (it makes it look natural) and my hair more toned-out.
Overall, I am happy with my hair and all that it has been through. I am thankful to have been able to experience what it’s like to have dark hair, and now I know I am never going back. I’m actually also extremely blessed that my hair didn’t die on me and fall out like I was convinced it would. I feel like this was a wake-up call, and it is safe to say that I am done with all these chemicals. I know it will take a HUGE amount of time for my hair to grow back completely and revert to the healthy state that it was once in, but for now I will do my best to inform others to just not take the same road that I did.
Change is always good, just know what you are getting yourself into. You should always be grateful and love yourself for what you were born with, you should not feel like you need to look a certain way or change a certain aspect about yourself to be happier with your life. Look at it from a broader perspective and ask yourself, “Is it really worth the damage?”
For me, that would be a no because my hair still smells like bleach.