Last November, I decided I wanted to grow out my platinum blonde into a more manageable ombré. I needed to save some money, and four years straight of bleaching had done a number on my hair. I was aiming to go months between touch ups without looking a hot mess.
Yeah, it didn’t really work out that way.
I let my friend “trim” my hair in January in an attempt to save some cash. I wanted to clean it up a bit and throw some long bangs in, hitting the bottom of my nose, to add some shape. I ended up with bangs well above my eyebrows, which, as anyone who has wavy hair knows, is a complete nightmare. All of the length on the sides also mysteriously disappeared. I was left with a sort-of-mullet scene-circa-2005 haircut. (I wasn’t a scene kid in 2005, and I certainly have not acquired that aesthetic over the years.)
I was mortified. It couldn’t possibly get worse, though, right?
But then it did.
I’d had some highlights/the beginning of an attempt at a blended ombré done right before Christmas, and it had grown out a significant amount in the months since, so I booked an appointment at a reputable salon. I’d never had a bad bleach-out from the girl I’d booked with, and she was the one who gave me subtle highlights before Christmas. Surely this was the right person to go to to continue creating an ombré I could live with, right?
I left the salon with roots that were lightened, a band of orange and dingy purple desperately clinging to my fried ends.
I should have known the appointment was going to be a disaster when the apprentice thought scrubbing my freshly bleached hair and scalp like an iron pan was a good idea. They toned me three times, which was a huge red flag that something wasn’t right; in the four-plus years I’ve had platinum hair, I’ve never been toned three times.
I was hoping as I dried my hair myself (it’s now 25 bucks to have someone blow dry your hair at this salon) that it would even out and lighten up. The head colour technician walked with a look of horror but said nothing.
I was in complete shock. As I went downstairs to collect my things, the lady working the coat check asked me what colour my hair was supposed to be. Not a good sign. As I cashed out, I saw the receptionist give me a quick up-down look of pity before she composed herself and asked me for my $130—which was also a shock to me, as it had been $70 before (the reason I went to this salon in the first place).
My boyfriend picked me up, I got in the car and held back tears the entire way home. I lay down on the couch, in shock at how horribly this had gone and how hideous I felt. It was the first beautiful day of the year and all I could think about was how I’d just spent money I didn’t really have on someone making my hair worse. Bad haircut? Check. Completely mangled hair? Double check.
I emailed my fairy angel of hair, Amanda Quarshie at Blyss Salon, practically in tears. “Hair Emergency,” it read. “I should have learned not to go to anyone but you!”
I sent photos of my ruined hair, and she consoled me almost immediately with, “First things first, I think I can fix it.” She had me in for a consultation within three days. She would later describe my hair as “raw, very dehydrated, over-processed ... It looked as if it had been beaten up … That’s not even talking about the disaster of the actual color.”
My hair was fried. There were short chunks of hair at the back of my head, and the hair from my regrowth to my ends (most of it) was so damaged, Amanda said she wouldn’t be able to do anything with it.
"You’re not going to want to hear this, but you’re gonna have to cut a lot of it off."
I was happy to know that Amanda could salvage my platinum, but devastated that I was going to have to cut off most of my hair. I’ve never had a pixie cut, and I never planned on one.
A few days later, I returned to the salon, was sat down, and had both Amanda and the stylist, Nancy, review our options. When Nancy asked if she could dry-cut a bunch of my hair off before bleaching, I threw my hands up and told her to have at it. She knew I wanted to salvage as much of my length as possible, and luckily, once she’d taken off the worst bits at the back, we rejoiced at how much better it already felt.
Amanda is the most dedicated colour tech I have ever met. You know the people who are genuinely passionate about what they do? That’s Amanda. She won’t bullshit you, and even the worst news always has a solution. She truly cares about what she does, and uses words like respect and integrity when talking about hair. I trust her completely.
So how did she tackle this mess? After the dry cut, Amanda applied Davines bleach only where it was necessary; the majority of my hair was in such bad shape it would have just fallen right off, however, there were lowlights (this was news to me) that she had to bleach out along with the banded mess. She used Davines color to tone, which Amanda explained has milk proteins that restore and protect while colouring. After that, she did a hair mask, and I was on my way to the final cut.
I was so relieved to keep more of my hair than I’d expected. Nancy, my wonderful stylist, somehow managed to keep length, and tidy up the “layers” my chemical cut created. I feel back to my original self! (Now just to grow out these bangs.)
To keep my hair in tip top shape, Amanda recommended some Davines products specifically designed for hair as fragile as mine: Melu shampoo and conditioner, NouNou hair mask (I swear by this stuff) and Minu hair serum. I can genuinely say Davines products have been the best I’ve ever used on my fried hair. It just makes your hair feel SO much better, like buttery soft and not in the I-think-I-just-melted-my-hair-off kinda way. I can’t recommend them enough.
Moral of my hair horror story? Sometimes it’s better to go a few months without a haircut instead of letting your friend cut your hair on a table. And when your gut tells you the colourist isn’t up to the job, stay with the one you trust, even if it's more expensive. Because it’ll cost you a whole lot more in time and money to fix it if you don’t.
- Have you ever had a cut/colour nightmare? Do you have pictures of it?
- What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you in a salon chair?
- DAVINES! Have you ever experienced this wonderful brand?