They say that a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life — but a woman who colors her hair? We think she’s embarking on a whole new journey. Your hair’s hue has the power to evolve your entire aesthetic — your makeup looks different, your accessories start to clash, and suddenly, you’ve got a whole new wardrobe locked and loaded in your Net-a-Porter cart. But perhaps the worst peril of dyeing your ‘do a whole new color is the damage.
When you leave the task of your new color to an unskilled professional — or, sometimes, your mom — the results don’t always end up Pinterest-perfect. Don’t be dismayed: There are plenty of talented colorists out there who can shepherd the process efficiently or correct what you’ve done. Hell, there are even less damaging dyes nowadays that give all the pay off with no pop off. That doesn’t make the stories ahead any less funnier, though. Read them before scheduling your next appointment… or trusting your roommate with a bowl of bleach.
“In high school, I couldn’t afford to go to a pro and get my hair dyed, so I’d have my mother do it for me in our kitchen sink. She dyes her own hair, so I trusted her — but oh, what a mistake that was. I wanted to go with a warm mahogany, but when my mom mixed the dye, it looked bright red. We figured the color would change once it hit my scalp and ignored the alarmingly bright color that she was massaging into my roots. Less than an hour later my hair was redder than Poison Ivy and I spent the rest of the night in the shower rinsing out the color as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I stayed a redhead for at least a week before going back to my natural color. Needless to say, I never let my mother near a box of hair dye again.” — Sam Sasso, R29 beauty writer
“When I was in middle school, all the cool girls were getting chunky highlights à la Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie, and I wanted in — bad. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to properly explain my wants to my mother’s 60-year-old hairstylist in Kansas. What I ended up with was a head full of Miller Light-colored tiger stripes so thick, you’d think I just couldn’t decide between two colors. I refused to go to school until it was fixed.” — Kelsey Castañon, Popsugar senior beauty editor
“I’m sorry to say that I have more hair dye horror stories in the archives than any normal, sensible person should, from frying my hair with a box of DIY bleach in high school (and subsequently giving myself a major DIY haircut) to my more recent year-long stint as a peroxide junkie — which, while done to perfection by a great colorist, required spending several hours in that colorist’s chair every three weeks just to cover a half-inch of very dark brown regrowth. (That one’s not so much a horror story as a cautionary tale.)
“But I think my single worst mishap to date went down when I was in 8th grade and tried to dye my hair light blonde from a box just days after I’d dyed my hair black, also from a box. It did nothing except turn my roots a bright yellow-orange — yes, the rest of it stayed black — and cost my mom $300 at the upscale salon in town just to get it fixed. I remember her telling me on the ride there, ‘You don’t deserve getting your hair done nice right now, but I will not have my daughter going around looking like this.’ Which, in retrospect, seems perfectly fair.” — Rachel Krause, R29 senior beauty writer
“I learned a very important lesson a few years ago: Don’t jump around from colorist to colorist. The most recent (and hopefully last) new colorist I saw told me he could take me brighter and blonder by balayaging my already-highlighted hair, even though I expressed a lot of concern over whether or not this technique could get my hair the cool-toned blonde I wanted. Well, I was right and he was wrong: A few hours later my ends were a warm shade of blonde while my roots were rose gold, but not in the on-trend, cool way. He blamed the salon’s interior lighting (‘It’s lighter than you think!’) and sent me home to get used to it.
“My second mistake was letting him fix it a few days later, because he repeated the same process, and all it did was damage my rose gold hair and leave me — wait for it — a slightly lighter shade of rose gold. I ended up having to have it fixed at a second salon, which cost me more money and made my hair feel like straw for months. Today, I am loyal to a fault to my colorist.” — Lexy Lebsack, R29 senior beauty editor
“I remember bleaching my hair out with a relaxer on it, and my hair literally just flew off my head that day. I was driving with the windows down and my hair was just blowing off in the wind.” — Marcia Hamilton, celebrity hairstylist
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