Tag: Schwarzkopf

My journey to red (ish) hair

So yesterday I declared that I am past hating my hair. It’s finally getting to a stage where I think we’ve turned a metaphorical corner, and I no longer cringe in the mirror and want to pull it out of my head.

Progress.

It’s been slow going but colouring it has definitely helped.

I first pondered going red a couple of months back, in an effort to get through the god awful in between stage of dull-boring-bobbed-notgrowingfastenough hair (which is entirely my own fault as I decided to cut it all off last October). I thought it would be fairly easy. I’ve been there before. OK, so I can’t get as red as I’d like (because I’m not willing to too lazy to bleach it; the upkeep sounds too much hassle) but by using an uber-bright Schwarzkopf dye I can at least get some semblance of red colour, albeit dark.

Me, around 4 years ago

Red

As of last summer I’d been dying my hair very dark brown for a while, but the roots were fading fairly quickly whereas the ends were saturated with colour and looked black. As I wanted my hair very dark, it seemed to make sense to proceed to a black dye. I’ve been stung by this before, about 13 years where I had to grow it out (ugh) so I only ever used semi-permanent. Because, by default, it’s not permanent, right?

Hmm.

I stripped it using a Colour B4 application (which I have used successfully on previous occasions).

Colour B4

But the semi permanent seems to have worked quite literally. But only the roots were truly stripped. The other half…wasn’t. The ends seemed to have retained their darkness, although this wasn’t apparent at first. Only when I put the red colour on did the roots go dark red and the ends black. The red wasn’t bleaching out the remnants of the black.

I had reverse ombre hair.

Blaming myself for not applying a “second coat” of stripper as I had first intended, I gave my poor barnet a break for a couple of weeks (during which time I shampooed religiously with clarifying shampoo to remove any build up) before stripping it again. Twice. If you’ve ever used a colour stripper then you’ll be familiar with the time consuming, laborious and stinky process. If you haven’t – it’s a very time consuming, laborious and stinky process. It took me a whole afternoon of application, sitting with my head wrapped in a carrier bag to retain heat, rinsing, boosting, rinsing, drying and then doing the whole bloody thing again.

I’ve had more interesting Saturdays.

The good news was that this time I was 100% sure all the black was gone. I had pictorial evidence. Look! Brown! (with a hint of ginger!)

Stripped hair

Next step was to try red again.

Schwarzkopf XXL red hair dye

Schwarzkopf hair dye

Well blow me if the previously black section of my hair didn’t go dark again! Admittedly it was dark red this time, very dark red. But I was still two tone.

I sought assistance and advice from the husband – a man who has no hesitation in laughing at me when I’ve cocked up.

And he said it looked OK!

Kooky.

Almost deliberate.

And so I stuck with it.

I’ve coloured it a few more times since then and each time the ends are getting slightly redder (or I’m kidding myself). Obviously, as it’s growing, I have more “naked” hair coming through which picks up the red. So I’m not going to redye it black (toys out of the pram reaction number one) or cut it all off again (toys out out of the pram reaction number two).

I’ve come up with three conclusions following this experience. You may think that one of them would be to go to a hairdresser in future. It’s not (I still can’t get over my fear of the hairdresser).

No, my three conclusions are:

  • Don’t use black dye – even semi permanent. EVER
  • If you’re not sure whether something has worked, it’s probably best to make absolutely sure before continuing with the next course of action
  • I have far more patience and sense of humour with my hair than I ever thought possible

I can categorically guarantee that I have only taken this in good humour because it was at my own hands and not particularly expensive. If this had happened via the hands of a hairdresser and cost me oodles of pounds (which of course, technically, it wouldn’t because they’re professionals), I’d have been apoplectic with rage. Even the fact that when I wear it up in a messy bun (because it’s now long enough to do that, hurrah!) I look like I’m wearing a fake clip on because of the colour difference is just about ok.

Here’s where I am right now. It looks different in different lights, sometimes very red, sometimes not (and absolutely nothing like the box!)

Me dark red hair

It might not be quite a crowning glory. But I no longer want to walk round with my head in an opaque bucket to hide it away. So that will do for now.

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Hard to bear hair

My hair is the current bane of my life (I know, first world problems). Seriously though, it’s driving me to distraction. I’m so pre-occupied with it that it’s actually impacting on other stuff. Like on Saturday night when it wouldn’t go right no matter how much I messed with it, I felt like crapola when I went out. On Monday I got caught in the rain and, because it’s naturally curly but still short-ish, I ended up looking like one of the Golden Girls for the rest of my workday. When I got home my worst fears were concerned, with the reaction being “Good god, what have you done?!” Yeah, thanks.

It’s a funny length, a funny shape, a funny texture (not strictly true I suppose, only when damp) and I’m fed up of the colour. I feel like it’s making me look old and dragging my face down. It might also be responsible for unrest in the Middle East and rainforest destruction. That’s how bad I feel about it.

When I started deliberating about what to do lengthwise I was still unsure. Now I’ve made my mind up that I’m growing it, I want it long again. Now. Unfortunately, nature being what it is, I’m going to have to show some patience (not one of my strongest traits) and work with what I’ve got.

Last time I was growing my hair out was around 11 years ago, and I bought clip in hair extensions which I had matched to my colour at the time. They helped bridge the gap between long and short and I don’t remember it ever being this painful (I could be looking back through rose tinted glasses though).

This is the current colour and length.

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The plan that was forming to change the colour was scuppered by the ineffectiveness of the colour remover I used two weeks ago. That isn’t to say the product was ineffective (I know it isn’t, as I’ve used it before), rather that my hair didn’t respond as I wanted it to (much stamping of feet). I know that black dye is notoriously difficult to strip, which is why I’ve only been using semi permanent colours, but with some porosity I assume that the colour might have soaked in (technical hairdresser term). I think I expected too much based on previous stripping. Last time, when I got rid of the red, my hair was left a light brown colour. But that would be because the red dye I’d been using had also bleached it over time as well. This time the removal was much more subtle. I’d say that the black has pretty much gone. But it’s still very dark brown (with a few springy sprouty greys – damn you aging hair follicles!)

So, what’s next? .

I’m helping it to grow with hair vitamins (whether these actually work, or are just a marketing ploy to placate desperados like me I don’t know).

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I’m cleansing it to within an inch of it’s life with clarifying shampoo – removing as much build up as I can…

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…before I strip it again (it’s safe to do so, you can use up to 3 of these treatments each time without damaging you hair).

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And then, regardless of what happens, even if it’s still dark, I’m going to stick a colour on it. Because even non bleach colours will lighten hair a little bit.

My dilemma is this:

Do I go for a lighter (than my current) brown with a view to heading towards a more summery look? (which will inevitably end up with messy roots and probably a hideous shade of orange). Or have I bought this dye because I’m seduced by the pretty girl on the front with the gorgeous eyes and long lustrous locks? (and also because it says age defy, and I’m all for that!)

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Or do I go for red for a kick in the ass, brighten my look, shock to the system? (It won’t go this red, ever, but I need something very bright to show up on/over the brown).

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I won’t get the immediate result with either of them from just one application, I know. With the red, especially, it needs to build up, so I’d probably dye it once a week at first, with careful conditioning and maintenance to avoid damage.

Because, the other thing is that it’s only 3 weeks until Download Festival, and naturally I want to look my best because there will be SO MANY PHOTOS that will circulate ALL YEAR LONG until the next one. So I need to act quickly.

No pressure then. What could possibly go wrong…?

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