Making drastic changes to your appearance can be like an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? or waking up every morning like it’s Xmas. The horror! The wonder!
Look, I’m real sorry if you’re living la vida lackluster, but for those gleefully on a Groundhog Day loop of good hair days, I'm sure you, too, have been told that with a great coloring job comes great responsibility. It’s not enough that you’ve suffered through the tedious processes at which dudes simultaneously roll their eyes and salivate once your boner-inducing transformation is complete. Your colorist may shove some products in your hands (jackpot!) and send you on your way, but for the most part, they will probably recommend some house products you can buy on your way out, which, for the amount of money you spend on some hair processes, is just, like, so rude to me.
My colorist Zoe, angel that she is, gave me a couple full-sized Bumble and bumble products, mostly for moisture care rather than color protection, including everything from their Quenching line. The hair mask and the serum do a great job at conditioning and keeping away the poofs; however the shampoo and conditioner won’t do anything for the Dawn of the Brassiness.
Since I’m not jumping into any chlorinated bodies of water, nor am I baking my head in the sun, I didn’t really see why brassiness would be an issue. I mean, didn’t I just remove all the pigment from my hair? How is it possible that some rogue orange tone just appears out of nowhere?
Well, science be damned, that’s totally a thing that happens.
Zoe brushed a subtle gloss on the hair near my roots to give my platinum some depth and grit, which looked awesome day one, but come day four or five, was indeed taking on a much warmer tone. It was like learning you’re not invincible for the first time, which, as a late-20-something with no health insurance, is all too relevant. So I did what any rational person would do remedying an ailment that I have never experienced before: I vigorously researched products on the Internet and then acquired way too many of them.
Due to the apparent obsession with blonde maintenance out there, there are tons of products geared towards not only keeping your platinum brass-free, but also repairing damage--or at least making it feel less damaged.
Purple shampoo is a no-brainer to any head familiar with peroxide, but all the other ingredients other than the purple are equally important.
Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo
Clairol Shimmer Lights is a big duh product for blondes. It’s available at nearly every drugstore, less than $10, and most importantly, it works. I read somewhere that the darker the purple in the shampoo, the better the toning, and this stuff is like vibrant Gak purple.
Drawbacks include mostly them moisture-sucking formula and the smell. It smells like the cheap Chinatown-sidewalk version of Chanel No.5, like Bridge night at the old-folks home, like an explosion at the talcum powder factory in 1936. And for all the times I’ve had nice-smelling shampoo that made my showering experience like rolling around in a meadow, if but for that brief time, Shimmer Lights’ scent sticks around, unlike the aforementioned wimpy meadow.
I used this shampoo for the second wash after I got my hair bleached, and it really did not do much to help with the dryness. Granted, my hair was extra-thirsty already so I’m working from below sea level here, but the brassiness that I initially spotted had been thoroughly vanquished, so I can’t be mad about it.
Having never delved into the wackily packaged natural-yet-sparkly products of Lush, their name came up quite a bit when searching for moisturizing toning shampoos with pleasant scents. Their Daddy-O violet shampoo, like all of their products, are made with fresh ingredients, this one’s top ingredients being organic lemon and bladderwrack seaweed infusion (which sounds like how I felt after seeing Gatsby in theaters). But for reals, seaweed's got those vitamins and minerals that, if I could, I would push under the cuticles of each strand of hair myself.
The scent is like a subtle floral blend that, while a bit froofy for my taste, is much better than Shimmer Lights, AND it goes away pretty much after you condition. I used this shampoo the third time around, washing my hair (which, BTW, is once every five days for me) and my hair definitely felt softer and soothed.
This could certainly have something to do with the conditioner Lush sent me along with the shampoo, their Marilyn hair treatment. You slather this pre-wash treatment on your dry hair 20 minutes before washing, and it makes your hair feel effectively stronger and softer, post shower. It has linseed, chamomile, lemon and olive oil in it for lightening and moisturizing, which are pretty much its only two functions as a conditioner. At $22 for nearly eight ounces, it’s worth it if you have short hair like me and can get multiple uses out of one tub; but if you’ve got long, thick hair, you’re likely to use all of it in one go, since you have to really pile it on.
The Daddy-O shampoo is available in three sizes, from 3.3 ounces to 16 ounces, but considering the mindful expiry sticker on each of Lush’s products, I don’t think I can use up my eight-ounce bottle in two month’s time (very infrequent washings, remember?). When you think about it, $9.95 for 3.3 ounces, which you'll probably be able to use for more than two months, is not a bad deal; $19.95 for the eight-ounce bottle isn’t a total splurge, but if you’re finicky about freshness, maybe stick with the baby bottle.
Davines Alchemic Silver Shampoo & Conditioner
The Beyoncé of toning shampoo and conditioner for me has got to be Davines’ Alchemic Silver products. Alyssa suggested them right away, and they did not disappoint.
Aside from toning, their aim is to protect and moisturize the hair, using a gentle olive-oil-based cleanser. Both have milk proteins for all the thirst-quenching a hair could want. The shampoo has the signature dark violet color, but is bluer than the others, and more translucent. The conditioner is again a vibrant “You’re turning violet, Violet!” purple and has the consistency of a mud mask, so you can glop it into your hair and mold fun shapes with it as you wait for it to do its thing.
Davines seems to favor the dowager scent as well for these products, but otherwise, they work like a dream. My hair color appeared noticeably brighter once dried and actually felt smooth and soft. It was an expensive miracle!
It’s a pricey set, but it’s worth its money for its Boarding School for Troubled Girls effect on my hair. My boyfriend twirled his fingers in my hair and asked if I had done something to it because it felt so silky. I said yes and then smacked his hand away and told him “NO TOUCHY HAIR.”
I know you’re not supposed to use these toning shampoos every time you wash your hair. Since my hair’s been more porous and dry, it takes much longer to become intolerably greasy, which is great because that means I can extend the time in between lathers. I use a toning shampoo about once a week, every other time I co-wash. In conjunction, my hair feels so much more like human hair and not rubbery broom straw, as it did a month ago.