Who knew my hair grew so fast? Four weeks and a day or two in change from my last hair appointment and I’m sporting a good quarter inch of dark brown regrowth. It’s made even more striking by the fact that my hair is a mix of toned silver and blocky violet thanks to a rinse that unexpectedly grabbed hard at my hair. Being a snow queen ain’t easy!
Normally I’m in the habit of always popping a couple of strong antihistamines before getting my hair processed and/or coloured. An antihistamine doesn’t completely mask the prickling hot sensation of a scalp bleach (when bleach is applied right down to the roots of your hair, as opposed to foils where the lifted colour starts away from the scalp), but for me it makes it manageable and quells the burn. Last time I was a fool skipped the Telfast and by the time it came to rinsing away the bleach and applying a toning rinse, I was wriggling in my chair like a five year old because I was so uncomfortable. This is by no means an indictment against Atlantis Hair, lemme make that clear! I’m just a bit of a sensitive soul when it comes to my scalp and when your skin is on the reactive side, getting a full head of bleach is about as extreme as you can get.
This time, however, I was prepared. I popped a Telfast an hour before my appointment and settled into a cosy corner at Sloanes with a coffee and the paper, and let the antihistamines do their thang.
Original & Mineral’s Keratin lightener at 6% was applied to my stylish roots by the ever patient Robert who, to his endless credit, never makes fun of me when I roll in with horrible trashy hair and a tequila headache. Due to depth of colour lift needed on my hair I need a lifting agent that doesn’t blast my hair into a state of over-processed fragility. Original & Mineral’s Keratin lightener uses its own keratin amino acid complex – keratin of course being the key structural protein in hair – to open the hair shaft and lift colour without destroying the physical integrity of the hair shaft itself. All of the whitening, none of the physical destruction.
Time to cook. I’m wrapped up like a Conehead and left to bake for fifty minutes. If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook over the past few months you’ll know that I’ve gone from being a deep cherry red to my current state of silver-blonde, meaning lots of careful two step colour lifting to get rid of that super-stubborn red tinge. Now that 99% of the red is finally banished I no longer need that second stage of bleach applied to the lengths of my hair! Delightful.
05. Washing and toning.
At this point my iPhone has rendered me into pointillism. Bear with me. The keratin lightening mix was washed out of my hair with Original & Mineral’s Original Detox shampoo, a clarifying shampoo with a lively mix of Australian river mint and peppermint oils. Apart from smelling delicious, the peppermint oil has a physical cooling effect on the scalp that counteracts the heat generated by the bleaching process. I was then given a dash of one of my all-time favourite hair products, Original & Mineral’s The Power Base protein treatment. Its wheat protein fills in gaps along the hair follicle, something particularly relevant after a lightening session plus its apricot, sweet almond and macadamia oils and shea butter add moisture not just to my hair, but to my scalp as well. It effectively combats what a friend of mine indelicately terms ‘the post-bleach snowfall’, when the scalp is left bone dry and irritated and starts to flake. Gross, I know.
Then comes the fun bit! You see, I don’t want blonde hair. Blonde is for other people. I want silver hair. A regular ash rinse doesn’t cut it, not when we’re going for something halfway between grey and silver. Luckily Robert is a Hair Wizard who can whip up a custom blend of Original & Mineral’s Liquid CCT colours to achieve what he called, ‘the holy grail of colours’. A little lightest ash blonde, a little violet, a little magic. Last time I went a steely grey, but this time I’m in the mood for a true platinum/silver. My magic colour was applied and I spent a little time beating Sword and Sworcery on my phone before being rinsed clean.
06: finishing touches
I skipped the trim this time ’cause as much as I’m enjoying having my hair this short, it’s a bit of a pain to actually doing thing with it. Original & Mineral Atonic Thickening Spritz was liberally applied to my hair before being blowdried in loose waves. A dab of Frizzy Logic was smoothed over my crown to combat the fly-aways that are my constant nemesis. The curse of having fine hair!
Exactly what I wanted: a perfect icy cool silver.
Of course there is a downside to being a demanding so-and-so who stamps her foot and wants her hair to be unique: the maintenance. Not the regrowth part, oh no. That’s just a matter of making an appointment. I’m talking about maintaining such light, white hair. As I said in point three, bleaching works by causing a chemical reaction to make the hair shaft ‘open’ and become porous in order to remove any pigment. When you remove colour, however, you also leave a void which makes the hair shaft porous. Porous means that things can get in to the hair; things like dirt and pollution that leave the hair strand looking dull and yellowed.
Considering that I’ve gone from such a dark brown to such a pale shade, my hair is incredibly porous and yellows super fast. I’m also a once/twice a week hair washer – I swear I’m not gross! I just have dry skin and my hair takes forever to get oily – so it can get super brassy super quickly. I’m using Original & Mineral’s Conquer Blonde silver shampoo to banish the brass and keep the shade as cool as possible. I apply a generous amount of the deep violet shampoo – which in a twist of literalism happens to smell like violets – and lather it up from roots to ends, then pop a shower cap on and let it sit on my hair for five to ten minutes before rinsing. The longer I leave it, the ashier and more silver the result.
So there you have it. Eight steps towards attaining the title of Snow Queen, blessed with the most ethereal hair in all the land. Being blonde ain’t easy. It’s expensive. It requires massive upkeep. It’s a whole lot of hard work and trust placed in the hands of your hairdresser, but do you know what? I love it. I love it so much that I’m willing to go through all the effort and hoopla time and time again, because it’s stunning.