Actually I was a blonde for years.
I’ve been blonde, blue black, black black and had a red streak in the front. I’ve used mousses, semi permanents, permanents, once, disastrously, bleach and those weird pot things that you shake up.
But about 6 months before I started blogging in 2008 I went bright red, and apart from a brief foray into brown for my sisters wedding, that’s the colour I stayed. Part of the reason is that red is such a huge pain to get out. The last time I was bright red was the time of what is known as the “wine and bleach incident” when a friend and I decided to bleach our hair one drunken university afternoon. Her natural locks went a beautiful bright blonde. Mine, already covered in red dye, went what can only be described as tabby and 7 hours and £90 in the hair dressers later I was brunette.
The next time I went from black to blonde, in around 2001, I did it gradually and spent a fortune at the hair dressers, but 10 years later I decided I was ready to DIY it again.
I decided to go back to blonde in May 2012, and it’s taken a full 10 months to get almost the shade I want. If you’re going to DIY the process of getting red out of your hair there is the potential it could take a while. You could speed the process up by trying bleaching over the top once you’ve stripped out the red, but you are running more of a risk of a hair disaster!
For my own interest, and for anyone else who’s interested, here’s the path I took to go from red to blonde hair. I don’t guarantee that following me won’t result in tears….
Here’s what I did to go from red to blonde hair.
I purchased a packet of Colour B4 from Boots (other pharmacies are available) and I spent an hour sat in the garden with my head wrapped in clingfilm. When I washed it off I found, as I partly expected, that years of red dye had stained my hair, so I was now a sort of strawberry blonde colour.
As my hair started to grow out I had 2 choices. Chop off the stained bits and go super short, or persevere with odd coloured hair for a bit.
I opted for lots of up dos to hide my coloured ends as my natural mousey shade grew through, and the occasional semi permanent colour to try and even it out a bit. You can just see the red ends on the inside of the rolls in these dos!
July – September 2012
Then in October I thought there was enough of my natural colour to go for the chop and have it cut out. Once I’d had the cut, however, it was still really obvious that there was a fair bit of red left still, so I wasn’t quite brave enough yet to bleach it for fear of stripes! You can see in this picture quite clearly that the top third is really my natural colour, the middle is slightly lighter as a result of the peroxide in my red dyes, I would have happily dyed blonde over that, but the bottom third still clearly shows red.
Because my hair before was much shorter round my face, these have been the last bits to lose the red.
More semi permanents meant I spent much of November looking pretty mousey.
The at the start of December I got fed up and bought a blonde dye. Feria Extreme Platinum if I recall correctly.
The orange at the ends was still fairly obvious, so I took myself off to the hairdressers again to have them chopped, and was left with a fairly even golden blonde, but quite dry hair, so I decided to leave it a while before trying again.
One more dose of dye all over, this time Live Color XXL 00A Absolute Platinum and a splodge of Directions White Toner left it a nice creamy blonde, but still not as blonde as I wanted! Another product that is useful for keeping the yellows at bay between toners is Touch of Silver Weekly Treatment Shampoo, which is a purple toning shampoo and at £3.09 is cheaper than many of the premium hair brands.
I used a lot of setting lotion in January curling my hair, so for most of February I left it to rest again, just touching up the roots, and getting one more hair cut to get rid of the dry ends. You can see in this picture from mid February that it looks quite dry from setting lotion.
This weekend I decided that was enough rest and it was time to give it a proper go, went to Savers and bought the strongest dye I could find without messing about with bleach, which is XXL 00B Max Blonde and a silver boxed toner that they also had in Savers (but whose name escapes me now) and as of yesterday afternoon this was the result. These 2 pictures were both taken on Sunday and you can see how much less gold there is in my hair post a further dye and tone.
I might try toning it again, as I’d like it even whiter, alternatively I found myself quite taken with the pastel pinks and lilacs next to the silver toner I bought in Savers, what do you think of Pastel Hair?
9 1/2 months after I first stripped out that colour, I’ve finally gone from red to blonde hair, without the help of anyone who knows what they’re doing and without my hair falling out. Bonus.
Try and ignore the fact that my hair is set beautifully in the first picture and all straight and boring in the second, I didn’t think it was ready for setting lotion immediately after the dye.
Products to go from red to blonde hair: