I did it, you guys.
literally almost a year ago, I wrote about how I wanted to go platinum blonde. and that I wasn't going to do it until the end of the year. it was a huge tease. well, on December 23, 2016, I pulled the platinum trigger.
the whole experience wasn't really what I expected. I did so much research, read so many experiences from others who had gone platinum, felt their pain and horror stories and scalp torture. and of course, my own time in the chair was literally nothing like I'd read. (see the list of surprises throughout)
I did the deed at Color Salon in Las Vegas (the salon inside Ceasar's). They're known for blondes, and I felt pretty comfortable that I'd be in good hands (I came to this conclusion after reading literally every review on Yelp.).
I woke up on a Friday morning, my hair dirty and oily (pro tip: if you're going to bleach your hair, don't wash a few days in advance! the oil protects your scalp). I was nervous, Jao was nervous (he wouldn't admit that but his face when i left was kinda like..omg)...but I took the dive.
PROCESS ONE (about 80 minutes):
it all started without much fanfare. she collected me from the waiting area, asked me if I was ready to do it, and had the color pre-mixed (bonus of having a chat before: she was ready to rock the minute I arrived!). Prema started painting my hair with bleach for the first process, and I was past the point of no return. She started at the ends and worked up towards the roots, soaking my strands in strong bleach. after fully immersing my head, which took about 40 minutes, she put me under heat for about 20 minutes. as it gets hit with heat, the dye kind of puffs up, and it made me look like a lego head (see above!). my hair was virgin (no dye, no color, nothing), so it lifted REALLY fast.
during this process, Jao swung by to bring me a banana in case I felt hungry, and I was living for the surprised look on his face when he saw my hair cooking into blonde oblivion :-)
SURPRISE 1: I'd read SO many stories about the PAIN of the bleach sitting on your scalp. the horror, the agony. the burning. well, I sat there anticipating it and it never came. I had no burning, no scalp pain, no discomfort. nothing. there was a gentle tingle, perhaps the tingle of excitement! Maybe I felt no pain because I can handle pain really well (as most women can) or maybe I was just so excited, I couldn't even process the idea of pain. Either way - I sailed through it.
then it was time to hit the wash bowl and get TONED. TONING IS MY FAVORITE THING IN LIFE. Prema rinsed me out, put an addition lift agent into my hair, and then toned the SHIT out of it. Toning is the process where the "yellow" tones get lifted out of your hair. this is the process that takes you closer to your platinum God - it's like pure ammonia that absolutely SLAYS your hair from yellow blonde to WHITE ICE QUEEN. my eyes were POURING blonde unicorn tears as I laid there with my head in the bowl, the toner working its magic, and Prema was crying and sniffling as she applied it and massaged it into my head. it wasn't pain, it was just the strength of the ammonia activating our tear ducts. we were laughing through our tears, and she told me "girl, THIS PLATINUM WILL BE WORTH THE TEARS!"
SUPRISE 2: the entire first process only took 80 minutes. everything I'd read told me to prepare to spend at least 6-8 hours in the chair, that I'd be under heat for hours, that I'd be struggling and dying from the hunger of 8 hours in the salon with no real food. I'd already prepared my husband to bring me crab fried rice at some point, in anticipation of this epic day. and then suddenly, Prema was like "OK time to wash it out!" the entire first process wasn't even 2 hours! GOD BLESS VIRGIN HAIR.
she washed me out. gently dried me up, and we decided it was time for round two.
the blonde wasn't white enough, so a second process was necessary (see above). I was ready to go.
PROCESS TWO (about 80 minutes):
Process two was the same as process one, but she avoided my roots. your roots lift significantly faster than the rest of your hair due to the heat on your head (bleach processes your hair best with the aid of heat). so this time, she left my roots alone, sat me under heat for another 20 minutes, and then when washing me out in the bowl, massaged the bleach into my roots for just a few minutes. she then toned the hell out of my hair again, and Jao stopped by to check in on me. He saw the look of pure pleasure on my face - I WAS FINALLY GOING TO BE PLATINUM BLONDE - and left me in Prema's hands for another hour of toning, washing and blow drying.
THE END (35 minutes):
when she brought me back to the chair, I was SHOCKED. after the first process, it was blonde but still yellow. now, even wet, my hair was WHITE. as she very gently blow-dried me, my vision came to life. it was happening. p-to the-platinum. I was BLONDE.
the look on Jao's face when he first saw me was one of surprise and amazement...he had a blonde wife! but he immediately told me how great it looked. we went for lunch, walked around Vegas to show it all off, and every time I passed a reflective surface, I kept thinking to myself...WHO IS THAT? it takes some time to get used to :-)
SUPRISE 3: my hair was not totally destroyed. bleaching your hair is definitely going to result in some damage. it's harsh chemicals on your delicate tresses. it will change your hair. but it did not fry my head. it feels a bit more coarse, it takes longer to go from wet to dry, and it is drier than it was before I bleached it, but it's not fried! It has the same level of frizziness that it did pre-blonde, it didn't really lose its gentle wave and wildness. but I definitely attribute this to 1. virgin hair and 2. I don't wash my hair very often.
SUPRISE 4: I love being blonde more than I expected. I figured I would like it, but turns out, I LOVE it. I thought maybe it would wash me out a bit, or that I'd have to wear more makeup to counteract all the fair colors going on (my skin is pretty fair too so...), but neither of these happened. the white blonde hair is SUCH a strong look, I hardly need to wear ANY makeup (and when I do, the look is even more intense). my wardrobe choices luckily haven't changed too much (I wear black most days anyways), but loud colors or patterns feel aggressive now...I am definitely embracing my love of minimalist clothes even more now.
So that was four weeks ago. it's been a blonded life ever since, but let me tell you, being a platinum blonde ain't easy, kid. the upkeep is high level, and platinum isn't a one and done. achieving that snow white beauty is an ongoing process.
I have already had my roots touched up. I LOVE the dark roots look, but I was in need of a professional tone, so I just went for it. fighting brassy yellow tones is a daily battle, and I have to wash with purple shampoo/conditioner and use purple treatments and masks weekly to keep the icy blonde color. when I got my roots done, we also did a strong pearly violet toning treatment, and that really took me even whiter. my colorists have encouraged me to be patient, as achieving aggressive platinum hair takes time, effort and most importantly...time. the more professional toning treatments I do, the closer I will get! this second round REALLY slayed some yellow out, and I suspect by the time I get the next one, my hair will be as white as snow!
Lessons Learned in my Platinum Journey:
- I love being blonde. It's amazing.
- Virgin hair is clutch. My hair lifted to blonde SO quickly, which minimized damage.
- Don't wash your hair very much. Even without color in your hair, you shouldn't wash it more than every 3rd day. Let the oils of your hair nourish your scalp and don't dry it out. Then if you ever do color your hair, you'll be in better shape!
- If you are going for a major color change, find a stylist that SEES your vision. Don't let anyone talk you into something you don't want. Have a consultation.
- Upkeep is crucial for color, and achieving and maintaining the blonde you want takes time and EFFORT. Don't give up!
- Don't believe everything you read on the internet about going platinum.
- Minimize heat styling your hair on a daily basis. I never do (I air-dry every day and have probably used a curling iron less than 10 times in the past year), and it has really improved the quality of my hair, even while slammed with bleach.
- TAKE RISKS. I waffled on this for a long time. Should I do it?! will it ruin my hair? what will happen?! finally, I was just like..ugh, whatever! it'll grow back! I'm so glad I did..it is amazing, I love the mix-up. It's so drastic that some people at school, who have known me for years, don't recognize me! it's great to just have fun with your look.
- Shower caps are necessary for life as a blonde. I wear them in pools and hot tubs too. I know I look nuts, but I also don't care! Protect the investment!
- I love being blonde! :-)