•The Root Diaries: Part One•
I’ve never had good hair. There’s a decent amount of it, sure, but the actual strands are light and fine, making it v prone to frizz and breakage. I also spent a large chunk of my life straightening my hair every day, pretty much from the age I first got my chubby teenage mitts on a pair of GHDs, straight through to my late 20s. Throw into the mix the fact that I’ve been highlighting it blonde since I was 14 and I now have a 31 year old head of rather unhealthy tresses that even a homemade coconut oil hair mask only can only offer temporary relief.
Given that I’ve long given up the hope of long, flowing mermaid hair, instead I opt to regularly experiment with the colour and style. I think my rationale is that if I can’t have long beautiful hair, perhaps I’ll aim for cool instead (I must flag that cool is rarely achieved). I’ve very much done the rounds of looks: highlights, lowlights, blonde, brunette, ombré, pink, peach, long bob, short bob, I even went through a stage of wearing it in a Winehouse-esque beehive EVERY day.
Which brings me on to my most recent decision – platinum blonde. This has perhaps been the most dramatic of decisions and very bittersweet. Freshly done, bright blonde locks are amazing, it’s the ultimate standout look and I get tons of compliments which is nice (“very Marilyn” – my mum). HOWEVER, give it 2 weeks and along come the first sign of roots, creeping in along my hairline and, next to the creamy colour of the blond, looking jet black. As soon as the roots are there it totally changes the look; gone is the ethereal, Mother of Dragons vibe and in is Courtney Love. So I trot back to the salon, have it freshened up and so the cycle continues.
There are 2 key issues with this: 1) despite the fact that I get it done using Organic Colour Systems (at the wonderful Glasshouse Salon), a gentle and less harsh dye product, it still contains bleach which means it still really effects the quality. It’s much drier and very frizzy, it no longer does the nice curls when wet thing, and the ends break really easily. And 2) its a bloody expensive habit.
Turns out it’s quite difficult to go back once you’ve taken the bleach blonde plunge. You can’t really dye a darker blonde on top of it and any brown tones end up looking murky and flat, so it’s really only warm/copper colours you can go for and I don’t know if I’m ready for such a severe change so soon. There’s also the option of highlighting on top of the roots, but that’s still lightening and not going to do much to help the quality and condition.
So I’m growing it out. And I’m really scared, mostly because I’ve not seen my real hair colour for 20 years (what if it’s gross?!), but also because I’m going to have to deal with MEGA roots for a REALLY long time (hoping to pass off as dip dye for as long as possible). Rather than suffering in silence, I’ll be documenting my progress: root length, hair quality, general look etc and would HUGELY welcome and advice from anyone who has gone through a similar thing. Fake blondies unite! Help me get through this!
Roots: from l-r freshly done, 34 days in, 70 days in.
Root Diaries Part 1
Days since last colour: 71
Root length: 3.1cm
Condition: OK. The blond isn’t feeling too bad and it’s fairly easy to style.
Look: Not great. The roots are obviously pretty prominent now and get greasy far faster than the ends, but I can’t change shampoo or conditioner as this may dry out the ends, so it only looks nice on the day of washing at the moment.