I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.
These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.
I mean, I get it. My natural hair had dimension (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural low-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.
But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia. But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one she picked. A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom isn’t like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.
Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.
I think you see where this is going right? The title kind of gives it away.
I don’t know if it was necessarily a “rebellious” thing. If anything, I remember thinking: “Oh crap. My mom’s going to kill me.” But it was just this thing that I wanted to do. I didn’t want to get a butterfly tattoo, or pierce my bellybutton, or stop shaving my armpits to save the o-zone or whatever (seriously, why do people do that? What is the hippie phase that people go through in college?) – I just wanted blonde hair. Like, BLONDE blonde hair. I wanted to be a Marilyn instead of a Jackie. Or a Jessica Simpson instead of a… I don’t know, Mia Thermopolis.
So I made the appointment. I told them I wanted to dye my hair. That’s it – I never mentioned on the phone that I wanted to go from dark brunette to platinum blonde. I wanted it to be a surprise. (Because I was weird. And also because I thought I might chicken out.)
But I didn’t. I marched into that salon, sat down in the little swirly chair, and said (as if I’d just thought of it), “I think I want to go blonde.”
The stylist smiled. “Sure.” She said. “We can do something a little lighter. Like a caramel color?”
Caramel? No. That’s a brown color.
“Or, lighter.” I said. “Like… um, like Jessica Simpson?”
The stylist played with my hair and chuckled. She thought I was joking. Probably because I was a hair-dying virgin, and now I’m telling her I want to look like Jessica Simpson? Hope she brought her magic wand in today.
“How about some highlights?” She suggested. “Those would look nice!”
Ugh, I remember thinking. She’s not getting it.
“Yeeea…” I mumbled. “Or, like, blonde. All over. You know, like, blonde? But, like, natural looking blonde. Like Taylor Swift!”
Do you know why Taylor Swift looks like a “natural” blonde? Because she’s a natural blonde.
The stylist’s smile was beginning to fade a little bit. She had probably just realized that I was A) crazy, and B) going to take longer than the two hours she had blocked off.
“Why don’t I get you a book of color swatches to look through?” She offered.“We can go through it together.”
“Oh, actually I brought pictures!” I told her. Oh, yes. I brought pictures. The night before, I had searched the web for blonde celebrities and printed out who I wanted to look like: Jessica Simpson, Ashley Tisdale, and a girl from an American Eagle ad.
“These are all different shades of blonde,” the stylist told me. She pointed to Jessica, “This is platinum”, then Ashley, “That’s more of an ash blonde”, and then Miss American Eagle, “And she’s got a bunch of highlights. If you really want to do this, it’s going to take more than one session. Why don’t we start with some highlights today?”
“No.” I told her. I wanted everything to be done TODAY. One session. Because I was afraid when my mom saw me, she might kill me and I’d never get to finish it. “I just want to be blonde.”
“We’re going to have to bleach your whole head.”
“Will that make it blonde?” I asked. I was new to the hair-dying game. I didn’t get it.
“Well… “ I think she kind of winced. Maybe. I don’t remember. But I remember she didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about it. Probably because she was trying to save me from myself. “You’ll be blonde,” She said. “But-“
“Great!” I said. “Then that’s what I want to do. I want to be blonde.”
Ugh. What was I thinking? I don’t know.
Actually, I do. That’s a lie. I do know what I was thinking.
I thought I was going to look like Britney Spears.
I’m serious. I thought that having blonde hair was going to make me look like Britney Spears. Because she had brown eyes, and I had brown eyes. And.. like… yea, that’s all it takes, right?
So I let this stylist start bleaching my entire head. From roots to ends. Bleach, bleach, bleach. And then I sat under a heat lamp for roughly four hours. FOUR HOURS. That’s how long it took to strip the color from my hair. Because it was naturally REALLY FREAKING DARK. And in the meantime, I read magazines and thought about how great I was going to look when I came out of the salon looking like Britney Spears. People were going to be amazed. I was going to look SO GOOD.
I think this was also around the time Brit-Brit had shaved her head. Probably because she’d bleached it so many times that the hair finally just started falling out.
Also because she was a little cray-cray. #LeaveBritneyAlone
Finally – FINALLY – the heat lamp part was over. It was time to rinse and head back to the swirly chair. It was time to see the new me.
I’m not going to lie to you guys – I thought it looked a little weird. A little bit, like, straw? I starred at myself in the mirror at the salon. I think the stylist was expecting me to cry. But I didn’t. I kept starring at myself trying to figure out what was missing, why didn’t I look like Britney Spears? Why did it look so weird?
It looked weird for a lot of reasons – mostly because I don’t have the complexion of a natural blonde – but instead, I came up with this reason: “I think it’s my eyebrows. They’re too dark.” I said. “Can you dye my eyebrows too?”
Yep. Yep, I’m the girl who dyed her eyebrows “too”. ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.
So I walked around for about a month looking like the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz (and oddly, not at all like Britney Spears), until my roots finally started growing out and I went back to brown. I mean, I basically had to. Because I didn’t want it to look weird, you know?
Do you have any “bad hair” stories? We all go through that phase, right? Let’s hear them in the comments below!