Friday, 28 October 2011

My Hair Trauma - The Full Story

So I don't know if you all know about my hair trauma, but I get asked about it a lot so I decided to write it all down.  Bit lazy of me really, as I can't be bothered to keep explaining the whole thing, so now I can just point people in the direction of my blog :)  It's a bit long but bear with me, this is as short as I can make it - it's THAT BAD!

Just to set the scene, I have been dying my hair since I was around 15 years old.  I started with highlights when I was about 15 and then dyed it light brown about a year later, but as I kept dying it the colour eventually went to black.  I didn’t just dye the roots, I dyed my whole head every time.  Fast forward 7 years when I had jet black hair with so much colour build up I was surprised my hair even moved.  I had grown bored of my black hair anyway and wanted a change, so I decided to save up and pay for Toni and Guy to strip my hair and then re-dye it red.  I went through months of having awful hair – basically washing with fairy liquid and head and shoulders to get the colour to fade as much as possible, and letting my roots grow to horrific lengths.  The patch test was done, the 2 days holiday off work were scheduled and the appointment booked.  Let the games begin...

I arrived at 9am on the Thursday morning and sat in the chair waiting for the process to start.  My hair was stripped (it took about 2 hours) and once done when I looked in the mirror I nearly had a heart attack!  The majority of my hair had turned white, there were extremely orangey-pink patches, the roots were bright orange and there were a few patches around the back that were brown where the stripping had worked but not totally.  I freaked out a bit but the colourist advised that it was completely normal and she was going to put a toner on it first to even out the patches and then do the dye job over the top.  She then sat me down to discuss the colour.  I wanted the red to be quite vibrant but I also didn’t want to have hair like Ronald McDonald.  She told me she was going to get a relatively toned down red, but mix it with pink to bring out the vibrancy and advised that this was normal and the ultimate colour at the end would be red.  I have NO IDEA about things like this and assumed she knew what she was talking about so said that was fine :/

She went through the whole process, dyed my hair and then got to work with trimming the ends off (the whole procedure had made my hair very dry) – throughout this whole time I wasn’t looking into a mirror as she wanted it to be a surprise.  At the end she span me round, and my hair was orange.  Bright orange.  She said the colour would calm down after a day or too and it would be a more orangy red, but if I wanted the colour to be vibrant I had to deal with it.  I wanted to believe her but I didn’t.  Against my better judgement I kidded myself it was ok, paid £350 and left.

I got home and my sister was there waiting to see the end result.  She stood at the top of the stairs and looked down at me and practically screamed.  I started crying and then my sister went mental – she demanded I call them back and they re-dyed it red as there was no two ways about it, my hair was totally orange.  They told me to come back in straight away and they’d re-dye it.

When I got there I could tell the colourist wasn’t happy, but she had no choice but to fix it because I was even UNHAPPIER.  She put a much darker red over the top saying that the orange underneath would lighten it anyway and it should be the colour I wanted.  She did it and the final result wasn’t exactly what I wanted, still too orange but it was much redder than at first so I just dealt with it and left.  My intention was to give my hair a break for a few days and then maybe dye it darker again a week or so later.  They told me to leave it a few days before I washed my hair, so I left it until Saturday morning, 3 days later.  I washed it and my bath water was postbox red, and this is when the alarm bells first went off.  I got out the bath and as I sat down to dry my hair, I could see very dark patches where the red had washed out.  I cried as I dried, and gave up half way through.  My hair was AWFUL.  The second darker red colour had totally washed out.  I was left with orangy pink hair with patches of black and patches near my roots of sheer white.  It was the worst hair I had ever seen in my life.  At that moment in time, I would have PAID to have hair like Ronald McDonald.

I called my mum into my room and she and my sister just stood there staring at my hair.  I had a nervous breakdown; I screamed, I cried, I vommed - I did not know what to do with myself.  I was in such a state that my mum called up the salon and told them what had happened and they immediately told me to come down and they would fix it. 

My mum drove me down to the salon and came in with me.  The colourist rushed straight over and she didn’t know what to say.  Customers came in and walked back out again after taking one look at me.  The women sitting down with tinfoil in their hair, waiting for their colour to set had a look of sheer panic across their faces.  I continued my breakdown while the colourist offered to fix it but I wanted someone different – after this happened I just didn’t trust her to put it right.  Another colourist called Gav came over and he was lovely – he tried to discuss the options of making it brown or some other colour, but I just wanted my normal hair back.  I demanded they dyed it black.  They begged me to reconsider as I had been through all the trauma of stripping it, but I was adamant - I just wanted to look like me again.  They dyed it blue black (the blue would counteract the red underneath, so it would be actually black and not red/black) and I left the salon upset but majorly relieved.

Over the next few weeks my hair behaved very strangely.  First of all even though they used permanent hair colour, the black was washing out of my hair after a few washes, like they had use temp.  As much as my hair was in awful condition I had no choice but to dye it black with permanent hair colour once a week for about 3 months.  Only then did it start to hold in my hair.  Another thing happened that (and in my opinion was the worst thing believe it or not) was that every time I washed my hair it would not be clean.  I’d use shampoo and conditioner and ensure I washed it out properly, I would sometimes sit in the bath for half an hour just washing, but when I got out the bath my hair was THICK with product.  If you can imagine getting in the bath, wetting your hair, putting shampoo into it and then just getting out the bath without rinsing the shampoo and THEN trying to dry it, that was what my hair was like.  It looked like I had been slimed everytime I washed it.   This lasted for about 2 weeks while I desperately tried to find a cure for it, but no one knew why my hair had reacted in this way.  I was pointed in the direction of clarifying shampoo and conditioner, but I could only find conditioner.  In the end I tracked down Herbal Essences & they did a duo - I used this and it worked.  The first time I washed my hair with HB and it dried up clean, I could have sobbed – it was like all my Christmases had come at once.

I ended up writing to Toni and Guy head office and complaining as throughout this whole process I didn’t get my money back and I am not even exaggerating, I was massively traumatised!  In the end I got my money back and they offered for me to go in and have some treatments to repair the state of my hair, but I didn’t bother.  To be honest I never wanted to go back there again...

So after all this, I still have my jet black hair – when I dye it now I just do the roots, not the whole body of the hair so I don’t have too much build up... just one question remains and it’s something that has been playing on my mind a lot recently – Do I try and get my hair stripped again, just to get rid of the black?  Thoughts please...


  1. Well I know you probably wouldnt like it, but if you had orange/red hair, it wouldnt scare me and I wouldnt have to think twice about giving you a hug :)

  2. My advice would be not to try and strip it again, maybe switch to a semi permanent dark brown colour, carry on just doing the roots and let the permanent black just grow out. The semi permanent dye will help condition your hair too. It will take a bit of time & patience (maybe opt for a slightly shorter style in the mean time?). If you don't have a straight parting, then any root re-growth will be less obvious. Ask around your friends to find a decent local hairdresser and ask their advice too. I had a bad experience with my local Toni & Guy years ago, so I won't go there any more either. ood Luck! x