I am no stranger to having unnatural colors in my hair. I started using drugstore hair dye in middle school; in high school I convinced my mom to let me get candy-apple red streaks at the salon; and in college I had hot-pink bouffant bangs. The one place I haven't gone--at least until now--is blonde.
I’ve been gradually adding blonde highlights into my hair for about a year and a half, but they’ve always leaned more toward the caramel end of the color spectrum. Then, last December, everything changed, thanks to Beyoncé.
Like just about everyone else in the world, I wanted more blonde and I wanted it ombré and I wanted the tone cold as ice. I figured I’d been dying my hair at home long enough and had read enough bleaching tutorials that I could handle it on my own. I was wrong. No matter how hard I toned I couldn’t get the icy tone I was looking for. I decided it was time to see a professional.
I told Marcy about my Beyombré dreams and we agreed that it was important to modify the look for my short, very curly hair. Here are some tips for those with similar hair and dreams.
- All-over ombré on short hair can look a little Albert Einstein. Highlights are a better way to go when dealing with short hair.
- Highlights on super short hair have a tendency to look patchy. You're probably better to leave the back and sides alone, focusing instead on the top and front where hair is longer.
- Don’t worry about the mid-tone between the dark root and the light end so much. It looks just fine on shorter hair.
- Leave your root color alone: this way, no matter what color you're fading to, the hair closest to your face will suit your skin tone.
Marcy says there’s no trend or hair color that you can’t participate in. You just have to figure out how to make it work for you, and I totally agree with her!
Here’s where I started. It’s cute, but it’s not as dramatic as I'd like. And it's WAY too brassy and orange for my taste.
Marcy’s plan was to lift the color a little further and then tone it to take out some of the warmth. She also put a gloss on my roots to blend them into the bleached hair.
Marcy and I had tons of time to talk while the bleach did its job. I asked how she felt about at-home bleach jobs and, predictably (and with good reason), she’s not a huge fan. When you bleach your hair at home you can end up with a cool, kinda grungy rock and roll look, but there’s a good chance you’ll use the wrong products and damage your hair. Even if you manage to superficially correct any mistakes, the damage has already been done and won’t go anywhere until you cut it off.
As for why at-home bleaching so often ends up super brassy, Marcy says the culprit is usually not leaving the bleach on long enough. Even if you tone your hair afterward, if you haven’t bleached it far enough you won't get that platinum tone. That's where the experience and knowledge of a professional colorist comes in.
I’m sure there are people out there with the know-how to safely bleach their hair at home (Alyssa comes to mind), but the majority of us should probably leave it to the pros.
After about three hours of bleaching and toning, here’s the final look.
So, what do y’all think? Any die-hard DIY bleachers who can get this done at home? If so, share your tips! Most importantly, do you like my hair?