This year, I hope to focus on my own needs and wants a little bit more. So it seemed right to start out with a symbolic action -- one that took both self-value and courage. That's right: I finally dyed my hair.
I settled on blue, since it's a color that never fails to look good on me. With dye, it can be hard to say exactly what shade you're going to get, but every shade from turquoise to periwinkle is in my wardrobe and flatters me fine. Orange or red would be much riskier ventures. I didn't want to do my whole head blue, because that was too big a step; I wanted some of my familiar color to reassure myself that it was still me. So my plan was to do something like this:
That is, I wanted to dye the underlayers of my hair blue, and keep the rest blond. It would be subtle. I wanted to ease myself into the whole hair-dye experience.
But I did decided to just slightly, very subtly lighten my whole head, because my hair color is kind of a dark blond and I worried the blue would look muddy and the blond parts would clash with the blue.
Well, um ... it turns out that bleach is very difficult to do. Even after reading pages and pages of advice, nobody really could tell me how much bleach it would take to lighten dark blond to light blond, or how long to leave it in. In retrospect, what I should have done was buy twice the "developer" -- the liquid part -- and only half the bleach, because I have a lot of hair to lighten and there isn't any way to put the liquid in thinly. It goes in, or it does not go in. Even with a friend to help me, it was a struggle. Comb through the bleach to the ends? My hair did not comb, it snarled and stuck to itself. Apply close to the scalp but not touching the scalp? Not exactly sure how anybody is supposed to manage that.
Then, of course, we waited and waited and it wasn't getting lighter at all, and then suddenly it was yellow. And it was only at that point that it because apparent that some of the hair hadn't really gotten any bleach at all.
That's not a shadow, there. That's the actual stripe I had.
So I got the bottle and squeezed out what drops there were left, to cover the dark area. Left for half an hour, rinsed it out, saw there were now more unusually-shaped dark areas, and did yet another spot treatment. And it still didn't look super. If I kept it parted exactly where it had been, and the light wasn't great, I just looked like a bottle-blonde with overbleached hair. If I pulled the hair back at all, it looked straight-up ridiculous.
So that's when I made up my mind that some of the front hair was going to have to be blue as well. Put a blue stripe through that mess, and the yellow and brown patches would be a lot less noticeable.
I did the blue by myself, and luckily it went into my hair a lot more easily than the bleach had. Which still wasn't easy--hair really resists having stuff put into it, as it happens. You can put stuff on the outside of a hank of hair, but if you pry the hank apart, you see the dye didn't reach the middle. In the end the technique that worked for me was to squeeze the dye onto an old toothbrush and comb it through a very small chunk of hair at a time.
The articles I read said to be very careful not to get it on your skin, to wear gloves, to set the bottle down on newspaper, and so on. Turns out even if you're careful, it's a lost cause. I got blue a lot of places. Comet got most of that off the floor, and as for my arm and neck and right ear ... well, it's starting to fade.
Here's me, very worried it won't look good:
Rinsing it out was difficult too. They say to use cold water, but I didn't want to do it in the kitchen sink (because I didn't want to turn all the dishes in there blue, or wash them either) which meant a freezing shower. At first my entire body turned faintly blue and corpselike from the runoff. And the blue strands bled onto the blond strands, so now I have three colors: blue, pale blue, and yellow. It was just as well. That yellow color isn't attractive and the light blue is much nicer. I kind of want to do the rest of my head in light blue, if not now, maybe when this batch fades.
I don't know if I was supposed to keep rinsing till it ran clear, but it just kept coming out blue, so after awhile I just quit and dried it off. But I have been warned it'll bleed every time I wash it, and to use an old towel.
Once it started to dry, the color began to show up a lot better. It looked ... well ... it looked GOOD! Which came as a shock to me, given the horrible-looking stages I went through to get here.
Mostly the underlayers aren't visible; I'm glad I did the front too, or nobody would even notice it was blue. I had worried bright color near my face would wash me out, but I don't think it does.
The dye I used was Splat! Blue Envy, which includes the bleach kit. I love the color, and it's supposed to last through 30 washes. Though if you have darker hair, I'd suggest going with one of that brand's colors intended for brunettes. That way you don't have to deal with the difficult bleaching process. I can say for myself, if I ever need my hair bleached again, I'm going to a pro. I'm happy to touch up the color myself, but since bleach is permanent, I'd rather have someone else do it.
Every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I see the blue and feel happy and proud. Happy to have color in my life--and proud I had the guts to FINALLY do it.