Were you guys were wondering where in the world I've been for two months? I wondered that, too. Here's the answer: on the couch watching Long Island Medium and crying, usually while drinking red wine. Healthy!
When you last saw me, my hair was a healthy "bronde" shade. It was flattering, it looked natural, it was basically perfect. But I get bored with wearing one hair color too long. In the past three years, I've been basically every color within reason except black. I've written about this before: sometimes changing some part of my appearance is the easiest way for me to feel in control of my life.
To make a long story short, let’s do bullet points for brevity.
·A childhood friend who owns a salon in Fargo asked me to be her Marilyn-inspired model for an ad campaign. I agreed.
·I hadn’t dyed my hair in a while and figured I could go from my usual honey blonde to a lighter color, no sweat. I once went from dark chocolate brown to platinum. (I don’t recommend two processings in one night, though, because it makes your butt tired from sitting so long.)
·A hairdresser friend bleached me in her kitchen. We rinsed, toned, the whole shebang, and she sent me home with conditioner slathered all over my head.
The problem with any hardcore process like bleaching is that what we call a "chemical haircut" or "chemical breakage" can occur. Your strands get so stressed out that they might get all limp, a bit like way overcooked noodles, and just fall right out as you run your hands through. This happened to me once before, but the damage was minor.
This time, however, as I gently brushed through my wet hair, gobs of gooey, white, snaky tendrils just slipped out of my skull.
I remained calm. It's just hair, I told myself. It grows back.
Most had snapped on my top layers, where I do the most heat-styling. All in all, I lost almost three full brush heads of my hair. I did not photograph this because it made me sad.
Are you freaking out yet? I would be lying if I said I didn't flip a little bit watching my beauty flush down the toilet. I'd just had my hair cut and thinned a week prior!
Keep in mind, what I really lost is thickness; it's not like I have giant bald patches or anything.
Luckily, my friend’s shoot still turned out absolutely perfect, and I was glad we had decided to go platinum. It photographs beautifully! After all, this WAS my favorite hair color of all time.
I lopped off the most dire pieces so there weren't any sad, jagged ends to deal with. So as of this writing, I'm rocking a pretty short bob. Hair grows, and mine grows fast. It's not the end of the world.
I had to make some big changes in my daily routine to accommodate this new hairdo. (I was actually really pumped to go back to Sally Beauty and buy more White Lady toner, an xoVain favorite.) There's a fine line between Marilyn-inspired and Marilyn costume, especially when you’re the kind of girl who wears a tight dress and heels every day.
I credit xoVain’s #1 most commenter-recommended product, coconut oil, for restoring life to my hair. Following the shoot, after my hair had been pin-curl set, teased and hairsprayed to death, my mom heated up a jar and helped me pour it all over my head. We wrapped it up in Saran wrap and a dishtowel for me to sleep in. I followed Alyssa's advice and laid a towel over my pillow; thank god I did, because it is super messy and runny stuff.
I cannot stress how much a coconut oil soak helped. Believe the hype. What had been crunchy and frizzy now felt soft, healthier. I didn’t want to cry when I looked at my ends.
Make sure you buy extra-virgin expeller pressed coconut oil, because that's how you get all the best stuff from your batch. I get mine at Whole Foods for about $12, and it tastes good in your coffee, too.
My salon-owner friend sent me home with No. 4 Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner, which I'm using in conjunction with the greatest purple toning shampoo of all time, Clairol Shimmer Lights. The divine smell of No. 4 also masks the godawful scent in Shimmer Lights, and for that I am thankful.
No. 4 products are made sans sulfates and gluten (is your hair allergic to gluten?), and it's full of B5 vitamins to soothe damaged strands.
Every night, I coat my ends in a dime-sized squirt of Biosilk Silk Therapy. I don't know what it is about this tiny bottle of serum, but it seems to nourish and moisturize my hair without feeling greasy or sticky. I always tie my hair back in a scrunchie when I sleep so it doesn't rat up.
I've been eating a ton of avocado; I know their healthy fat is good for your skin and hair. I mash one up in a bowl and spread it on toast along with a tiny sprinkling of sea salt and roasted red pepper flakes. Gwyneth Paltrow recommends adding a little Vegenaise, which is insanely delicious.
I'm trying to eat better; popcorn, candy and Jameson don't help your hair. If they did I’d have Rapunzel locks.
I rarely heat-style my hair now. It feels like cruel and unusual punishment. If I do, it's just straightening my boredom bangs (yep, I cut bangs on a whim) or the occasional hot-rolling, which lasts me a few days since my hair's so processed and porous. If it’s not hot-rolled, it’s gently pulled back and held with Goody Spin Pins. I’m treating my hair like a tiny baby with the flu.
When my silly bangs are driving me nuts and I have big plans to wash my hair the next day (it’s a lengthy process I try to avoid) I slick it all back. I used a giant glob of my roommate’s ancient Tresemme gel and used my fingers to comb it all through to my crown. I had to anchor it a tiny bit with two bobby pins near my ears. (I snapped this picture on my way out the door to a bar, LOL.)
Platinum hair + cat eye + red lips = Marilyn. I demoted the cat eye to once a week, but hair this light needs more makeup tweaks than that.
I adjusted my brow powder to a slightly lighter shade so as not to draw too brash a dark brow against my fair hair.
I’ve also had to fiddle with the blush I use. No more bronzer! (You can easily veer Playmate with platinum hair and a bronzed face.) I am deeply, madly in love with Armani Sheer Blush in 10, which is the perfect subtle, neutral pink color.
Nothing looks better with pale blonde hair than a good red lip, so I’m not going to stop piling on RiRi Woo all the live long day. But I AM (gasp!) changing it up a little.
Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo is the only nude I’ve ever really loved. They’re lush and satiny and my chosen shade, No. 5, has a kick of golden shimmer so I don’t feel like a corpse.
My favorite hue du jour is Melt Cosmetics DGAF, which is vibrant navy blue. Yep, blue. Whatever, I do what I want. Customers go, “Hey! Your lips are blue!” And I reply, “Wait, really? I thought they were red!” Endlessly amusing, har har.
So that’s where I’m at right now. I can’t do anything to my hair for a few months or risk its wrath, but like my stylist friend said, “Hair bounces back.”
Should I stay this light, or should I go back to a warmer tone? Have you ever had excessive hair loss? Any good vitamin tips for me?