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My Hair Dyeing Journey: Do's and Don'ts

From Curls to Straw

I’ve been dyeing my hair on my own for several years, starting with just deeper browns and black, then moving to colorful tips, to a full head of colorful hair, and back to tips. Throughout this adventure, I have made many mistakes that could have severely damaged my hair, but no one had told me what I was doing was dangerous to the health of my hair. I have also discovered a ton of helpful tips for hair-care and feel obligated to share this precious knowledge so maybe I can save some poor soul from the disaster that I encountered.

Just as a disclaimer, I do NOT recommend bleaching or dyeing your hair on your own, especially if you have no knowledge of how to maintain the integrity of your hair. Like most things, bleaching and dyeing hair is best left to the professionals. With that being said, I do bleach and dye my own hair, now first consulting my friends that do hair, something that I should have been doing forever.

Throughout middle school and high school, I had very curly hair, but was so insecure about my curls and would constantly straighten it. I remembered that in sixth grade, I wore my hair natural one day and a girl told me that I looked like a poodle, and that is what really began my adventure towards trying to achieve straight hair. Family members and other adults would tell me about how beautiful my curls were and how they wish they had them. But any time I straightened my hair for school, I would get told that it looked better that way, and that is what I began to believe. Peer pressure, right? I began straightening my hair constantly. I would sometimes even do it before bed so that it would be easier to do in the morning. I hated my curls with every fiber of my being; all I wanted in life was straight hair. Eventually, after years of straightening, my hair couldn’t take it anymore. My curls slowly began to turn into just frizz that was impossible to tame (even a straightener couldn’t hold it down). Instead of realizing what I was doing to my hair, I just allowed it to happen. In high school, I started to look up DIY treatments for hair using things that I already had in my home. I did everything from coconut oil, to bananas, to eggs. Nothing seemed to help it, so I began to just ignore the problem.

When I first dyed all of my hair blue, I loved it for months, but after about a year of the same color, I decided that I wanted to mix it up. I, not knowing much about hair at the time, decided to bleach my own hair, not once, but twice. The first treatment lightened my hair significantly, but left me with a minty, seafoam green look that I did not approve of. So, after undergoing the second treatment, my hair was a disaster. Not only did my hair feel like straw, and would not dry whatsoever, the color also did not lighten, not even a shade.

Being the poor college student that I am, I couldn’t afford any extravagant treatment for my hair to save it. I went to Wal-Mart’s Smart Style, where I was told that I would need to go through two different deep conditioning treatments in order to make my hair feel better than straw. So I did, and when I finished, the hairdresser was easily able to comb my hair, and I cried. I was so scared that I had ruined my hair forever, and this beautiful angel was able to perform a miracle on my dead hair. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely after that disaster, I wouldn’t ever consider bleaching my hair again, right? WRONG.

I continued to dye my hair, because the hair dye I generally use has never caused much damage to my hair. After my bleaching mistake, I later bleached my hair another three times. Once to remove color, and two times to lengthen the amount of color that would be on my tips (after cutting my hair, thus, getting rid of some of the color).

One day, when I was clocking out of work, I noticed that all of the colorful parts of my hair were frizzy and board straight, while the rest of it near my roots was curly. I had been longing for my curls to make a return, so I went back to my dorm, and asked a girl I had only just met if she would help me cut my hair (and if you’re wondering, yes, we’re still friends to this day). We went into her bathroom with nothing but eyebrow scissors, and tried to make it happen. I cut off about 6 inches of hair that night (which was a lot to me, because my hair has only grown past my shoulders a couple of times; I’m impulsive) and went to Wal-Mart to get it evened out. Immediately after my hair was dry after washing it, I began to take pictures of the curls. They were back and healthier than ever. Since the cut, I’ve been working to maintain my curls and avoid bleaching.

After making many mistakes with my hair, I have compiled a list of things that are good (and not so good) for hair*.

DO:

  • Go to a hairdresser! Ask questions if you plan to do things at home.
  • Look online for forums about what has and has not helped people’s hair. Keep in mind though, what works for someone else may not work for you!
  • Deep conditioning treatments! They truly are a godsend, and can help to maintain soft, healthy hair.
  • Sleep with a silk pillowcase! Cotton and other materials can pull and damage hair.
  • Know what you’re putting into your hair! Find products that do not contain sulfates and other damaging things.
DON’T:
  • Use box dye on your hair! I don’t care if your mom has done it for years, it's bad for your hair!
  • Put your hair in a tight ponytail! It pulls, and aside from hair damage, it can give you headaches!
  • Bleach your hair on your own! You read my story. Don’t make the same mistakes.
  • Do DIY color removing treatments. Vitamins and things are good for your hair, but NOT when they’re crushed and mixed with shampoo. It’ll only dry your hair out!
  • Try to speed up hair lightening processes by overdoing it! Bleaching your hair several times in a row is NO GOOD!

Express yourself with your hair! Just be careful, and make sure to consult a professional!

*Disclaimer: These do’s and don’ts are what affected me and my hair. Everyone’s hair is different, and if you have hair unlike mine, some other methods may need to be used. In any case, talk to a professional!

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