@JERRLIFE

How To Go Blonde If You Are Asian or Have Black Hair, A Short Story

Why I Wanted To Go Blonde
"Don't trust anyone who's had the same hairstyle for five years." It's wisdom I share to others (sometimes unsolicited) that result in the recipient giving me a crazed look as if I'm already the crazy drunk uncle who speaks in inebriated tongue I'm destined to be. Let me assure you I am not - yet.

Think about it: would you trust somebody who eats the same thing everyday for five years? I don't think so. It's suspicious. Keeping the same hair for years is a sign of compliance. A surrender to life and ambition for experience. If your hair has stayed the same, what else has stayed the same?

It's partly the reason why I've been cognizant of changing hairstyles. Last year I let my hair grow to a freakishly long length to donate and cut it all the way up to my chin this spring. After, I knew blonde was next.

Maybe it's me but extreme hair changes are the scariest but the best.
My First Attempt
I told my hair dresser I wanted to be as blonde as possible. Bright, light, and maybe biracial I described to her. She seemed unsure. 
Going black to blonde is an arduous journey. You are travelling from one side of the hair spectrum to the other. It's not one I  recommend you travel alone - unless you want to be left for dead orange. So I looked for a salon.

I visited the Aveda Institute on December for a consultation. I chose them because it's affordable and they have teachers to help the students. It was reliable I thought. They asked me what colour I wanted which prompted them to ask me if I have any colours in my hair (they ask this to assess the condition your hair is in since bleaching is one of the most invasive process you can do to your hair. Also to get an even colour, they'd want to know what colours are in your hair). I had virgin hair so that wasn't an issue. The girl said yes they could do it and so I went ahead to book an appointment. 
A week later I came in for my appointment. I told my hair dresser I wanted to be as blonde as possible. Bright, light, and maybe biracial I described to her. She seemed unsure. 
I also knew there was a chance they couldn't do it so I gave myself emotional allowance to be let down.
I asked her, realistically, how light could they get me? They showed me asian people with "blonde" hair on their iPad which was kind of racist in a funny, not offensive way (like did they google 'sort-of-blonde asian people' specifically? lol). I was more offended they kept referring to their hair as blonde. I was like um....that is honey brown.

I was conflicted. I was excited for change and thought, partial change is better than no change! But that change would make me unsatisfied - angry even - and they didn't seem confident they could do it by the second appointment.  I decided not to go through with it.

I was disappointed but I also knew there was a chance they couldn't do it so I gave myself emotional allowance to be let down. However I appreciated them being honest as to where they could get my hair to and even recommending not to do it at their salon (they recommended another salon). I wish they told me this at the consultation though...

Instead I ended up getting a protein treatment, a great haircut from the instructor, and learned about this magic called Aveda' Smoothing Fluid. It's also called hair lotion which just sounds like a bad idea but my ends get dry after washing and does whatever it wants and this leaves it shiny without residue. Like I said, magic. Also it smells like you just came from a salon. 

On The Second Try
Without it, my hair would look fried as if I ironed it everyday like a Jersey Shore cast mate. Instead it's still shiny. Olaplex is revolutionary!
I ended up going the week after to the salon the Aveda instructor recommended, Fringe. The internet also told me they were good. So I called them, told them what I want, and confirmed repeatedly and adamantly that yes, they could do it. (eg. It's black, there's lots of it, can you do it? Yes? Are you sure? I am asian.) 

Yesterday was my appointment. I woke up early and just my luck, it was the first snow storm of the season. Initially, yes, the combination of getting lost and the uphill walk on a windy snow day was brutal. However, I know once at the salon, they would have no one to cater to but me.  

Turned out I was right and was the only client most of the day. They bleached my hair three times. Originally my hairdresser intended to bleach it twice only but my ends still had orange to it(read: red particles) and bleached it again(The ends of your hair is the hardest to lift colour).

First bleaching 
Second bleaching
So for anyone, who thought my head was burning for 8 hours, it was not. Your roots is actually the fastest to lift colour so bleach doesn't have to touch your scalp for very long. My scalp had bleach for 1 hour and it wasn't even bad. They put Splenda in my bleach, which for some reason, reduces the pain. My scalp was hella dry(no moisture) after however and I have scabbing on some parts but it's really not that bad. 
Third bleaching (only the end)

Also, if you're going to colour treat your hair inquire about Olaplex. It's a new chemical solution that allow hairdressers to do more invasive processes (such as bleaching) without ruining the quality of your hair. For example, Olaplex allowed me to do a third bleaching. Without it, my hair would look fried as if I ironed it everyday like a Jersey Shore cast mate. Instead it's still shiny. Olaplex is revolutionary!

After bleaching it three times, we finally got to tone. What toning does is get ride of the brassiness (aka the yellow in my hair). It's always interesting how different toning can make your hair look. You can sit there for hours bleaching but you won't really have a good idea what your hair will look like until you put toner in it.

Because I still had orange in my hair (and no way I was bleaching my hair again a fourth time and I suspect it won't have much effect anyway) they had to use a toner that offset the orangey tones in my ends but also darken the rest of my hair. 

Final Thoughts
I spent 8 hours at the salon. I could go to Europe faster than I could go blonde. It's no metaphor blonde is a journey. 
The hair colour I achieved wasn't the colour I desired but I don't I blame it on my hairdresser. My hair did all the lifting it possibly could. I wanted platinum hair and if anything, I blame my black hair for having so much pigment to lift.

I know one more bleaching will get me to the colour I want and a few more washes and the toner will subside. For now, patience.

I spent 8 hours at the salon. I could go to Europe faster than I could go blonde. It's no metaphor blonde is a journey. 
Before/After

How Much To Go Blonde? 
Finally, it shouldn't be a surprise going blonde is expensive. In total it cost me $300 with tip. It was $70 per bleaching and Olaplex was $30. Plus 8 hours is a lot of work so I think it's reasonable.

I also bought a staple purple shampoo called Shimmer Lights and a leave-in treatment from Ion (which I plan to use as conditioner) from Sally's Beauty Shop.

Touch ups need to be done about 4-6 weeks and will probably cost less than $100. 

Essentially it's like buying a phone and having a monthly bill. 

To Recap:
If you want to go blonde:
- Have virgin hair
- Find a reputable/confident salon (DO NOT DO IT YOURSELF)
- Have time
- Have money
- Can commit to maintain looking cute.





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