My hair has gone through quite the number of transformations, even begrudgingly taking on a rather emo shade of black in high school (courtesy of a box and my kitchen sink). It wasn’t until freshman year of college that I undertook the lengthy process of returning to my natural, dirty blonde roots. Literally.
Then I went a step further and kept going blonder. I’ve been every shade on the spectrum, from ashy to golden, before finally growing up and settling on a shade that was for keeps. But moving from Texas to New York meant enduring the lengthy process of finding a new colorist, the equivalent to finding a new therapist. Your colorist is quite literally your guru, charged with interpreting your vague hand motions and collage of celebrity inspiration photos and forming that into an acceptable reality.
So it was with great trepidation that I went to someone brand new, armed with photos of Blake Lively and Whitney Port. Aiming for a summery, honey gold, they began the process, applying some sort of "root toner" all over (that made my hair a mildly frightening shade of orange), then liberally painting my ends with bleach, instead of using foils. As you’ve no doubt guessed, my hair was fried. My roots were a sickly peach shade and my ends bright blonde, with no distinction between the two. (I have since been told that it didn’t look that bad, but hey, you are your own worst critic). With ever increasing panic, I took the subway home realizing my hair felt as coarse and brittle as straw. I worried that if somebody bumped me too hard it would actually fall out of my head.
That weekend my hair was spent resolutely in an unwashed top knot, as I was too scared to touch it. Come Sunday, I resolved to fix it by any means necessary. My shower became overcrowded with products, as I gleefully accepted every mask, conditioner and treatment recommendation from our beauty editors.
As I have found, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After six weeks of treating my hair with the intense delicacy usually reserved for new babies and Waterford crystal, my hair returned to its soft, stable self. I could even heat style it without fearing a hair tutorial gone wrong situation. After another two weeks, I braved another trip to the salon (this time to my boss’s colorist) and am no longer a hair color disaster (thank you, Brandon at Mudhoney).
First, raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by color gone wrong, and then click through the slideshow above to see the 11 products I used to return my hair to a normal state. Don’t worry color virgins, the products listed above work for non color-treated hair too!