I’ve had variations of red-violet hair for as long as I’ve been working in Preview, and one day I was like, maybe I should go dark again? I’ve sacrificed so much already for my red hair. I don’t expose my hair to the sun, I can’t wash it every single day (which led to a complicated workout schedule), and I haven’t gone underwater (salt or chlorine) in two years.
So as I booked myself an appointment with Fendi, my regular colorist at Basement Salon in Shangri-la who's also an Aveda artist, I set myself to ask for dark hair. And you know what he told me? "What? Boring."
And there ends my quest for dark hair.
That said, I pulled up another photo for him from my "hair" album—a dark purple that fades at the ends. I spent all my redhead years trying to force my hair to stay true to this color, so I thought something more low-maintenance would be a good choice.
Here's a little secret, though: In the back of my mind, I really wanted to go dark blue. It wasn't the right time, I thought, since I'm pretty much starving myself to save for a trip.
So Fendi strips my hair of color (not really using bleach–Aveda’s version of it hurts zero percent!), then applies an ombré of colors by hand, without foil. By the time I get a second shampoo (the first was after the faux bleach), the purple did not want to stick to my hair. Or, more accurately, my hair didn’t want to soak up the color—it happens, apparently, especially if you’ve gone red for a while. It’s a stubborn hue.
Then, casually, Fendi goes, "Okay, let’s just do blue." Now, this guy is dedicated to hair color. You can tell someone loves his job when he talks about it and just automatically lights up. And when they spend four hours doing it on a single person. That single person being me.
In any case, this would be my third shampoo after the blue, and if it still didn’t work, I knew it would be finally the death of my hair (because so far it’s lived healthily through three years of chemical abuse). But, lo and behold—blue-gray hair a la Sailor Mercury. I achieved the color I was too scared to do. And FYI, my hair is still alive.
If you’re planning to put yourself through four to six hours of hair dye hell (or heaven), too, here are some things to take note of:
1. Keep the cut simple.
I keep my hair short because I can't imagine how difficult maintenance would be if it was any length past my shoulders. Also, the shorter it is, the less chance of breakage you have. You'll tend to use less product, too (like your expensive shampoo!), among other things.
2. Keep your wardrobe’s color in mind.
You have to consider if it goes with your hair color. I realized after my dye job that I mostly wear navy or blue, which led to taking three hours dressing up the next day. In the end, I still ended up wearing blue.
3. You need to be committed.
If you want great, long-lasting hair color and healthy hair, this is imperative. Did I tell you I don’t soak it in saltwater often and never in chlorine? And also minimal sun exposure? And also wash only every other day with sulfate-free shampoo because suds strip the color away? And also use lots of hair oil after to keep it alive? And bring your own towels when you travel because it may stain? That’s a lot of maintenance. But that’s if you want your color to keep its great quality. After all, if you have it done professionally, it better be worth it. I always say real hair color is a way of life.