(or: “How Do I Still Have Hair?”)
I distinctly remember the first time that I considered dyeing my hair platinum blonde. It was around 2006, when I was deep into my obsession with Dead Like Me’s Daisy Adair.
I’d already cultivated a wardrobe full of bright colors, fur collars, and beaded necklaces, but I was sure that the next step of my transformation would be in a bottle of peroxide. Fortunately, one of my friends talked me out of it: as a University student with low cash flow, there was no way that I could afford a stylist to do it right, and even I was self-aware enough to know that an at-home platinum dye job was way outside my capabilities.
Fast forward ten years, and I was reminded of my former platinum obsession late one night after a pitcher full of margaritas (shared with a friend, I should add) when I stumbled down a Jennifer Lawrence rabbit hole on YouTube (in my opinion, the best type of YouTube rabbit hole). When I got to a clip of her on Jimmy Fallon earlier this year, I stopped paying attention to the actual content and started focusing solely on her hair:
It was the hair of my dreams: super-blonde, wavy, and lived-in. I immediately sent my stylist, Matt, a private message on Instagram asking if he thought it could be done. We set up a consultation for later that week, and thus my journey into the world of platinum began, fueled by Jennifer Lawrence and five margaritas (p sure J-Law would approve).
Matt recommended that instead of blonde-ing me all at once, we go with closely-packed highlights across three sessions to minimize the stress on my hair. The first appointment took eight hours (spread across two days) and around 100 foils. The second two sessions were partial highlights, which took roughly three hours each.
I’ve yet to figure out how to get those J-Law waves (I think my hair needs to be a bit longer), but I’m really happy with the results!
If you’re ever thinking of going super-blonde, here are some tips:
- Find a stylist you trust. Matt had cut and coloured my hair before, and I love his work. If you’re looking for someone new, check out their work on Instagram and book an appointment for something less drastic first.
- Book a consultation. As tempting as it can be to just book the appointment right away, take the time to discuss it with your stylist. This allows them to ensure that they’re booking enough time for you and that what you’re asking for is actually achievable.
- Go slow. I was so excited about going lighter that I’m pretty sure I would have let Matt dump a bottle of peroxide on my head if it would have got me blonde faster. Thankfully, one of us was able to be a rational adult (hint: not me) and suggested that we take it slow. Although the main point was to save my hair, I think it was also better for me to take baby steps and make sure that I actually liked how I look with lighter hair.
- Bring snacks. By the time I left after our first session, I was ravenous. I actually offered that Matt didn’t have to blow dry my hair because we’d been there so long already. I think he thought I did this out of kindness, but I was really just about ready to start eating the styling products at his station.
- Use purple shampoo. Those purple toning shampoos for blondes aren’t actually the scam I thought they were; they really work. I particularly like the John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo (clearly they weren’t going for brevity when naming that one).
- Condition like crazy. My lovely friend Barb gave me a bottle of the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle deep conditioner, which I absolutely love. I use it once a week, and it keeps my hair from looking or feeling like I’ve been dyeing the shit out of it (even though clearly I have).