I'm 100% pure Italian. My father was the first generation to be born in America, making me a 2nd generation American. So, this next statement will not be shocking: my natural hair color is VERY dark brown. Just this side of black. Close your eyes think of what espresso looks like in a porcelain white cup. See it? Really dark, right? This, my friends, is the only reason I bothered to mention that little nugget of information, about my lineage.
I am a trained cosmetologist. I went to school for 2 years in New York and by 18, was a NY State licensed Cosmetologist. So, dying or bleaching my hair should not pose too much of a problem. Except, my hair has its own ideas and much like me, doesn't really care for the rules!
Take my hand. Don't be scared. You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
WE'RE HERE!! You younger ones are very lost, I know, but it's safe here, ask the many who recognize it as the '80's. Eccentric looking singers were everywhere. Billy Idol, Twisted Sister, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Adam Ant, Boy George and Cher. Well, wait. The '80's didn't give us Cher. It seems we've ALWAYS had Cher *shrugs* she is ever changing and timeless, so I thought she deserved a shout out. Punk Rock and big hair were all the rage. Seems everyone had streaks, chunks or a full head of bleached blonde (in some cases shockingly white and in most cases burnt, frazzled and very frizzy!) hair. Did I say everyone? Correction: everyone ELSE, NOT me.
Sorry if I keep scaring the younger ones in the crowd. This may seem archaic but, this IS how we did it. The '80's technique for streaking hair: Salon: ill-fitting rubber cap & metal crochet needle. DIY: store bought kit, leaky plastic cap & plastic crochet needle which left leopard spots all over your head! Foils weren't even a concept yet!
Remember up there *points* I told y'all my hair didn't like rules? In order to get the blonde, hair needs to be stripped down to a pale yellow (or a color even close to yellow, would really help!) the most my hair was willing to do was ORANGE! BRASSY! UGLY! So, whatever, blonde wasn't happening then.
At one point, I stumbled upon Kaleidocolors. Bleach and toner in one! Since my hair was so dark and prone to turning orange, I chose the violet to offset the brassiness. I want to say I used probably 40 volume peroxide but, I can't swear to that! I put the bleach on, covered my head in tin foil (creating chemical reaction and more heat, hey, I need all the help I can get to help my hair yield to the rules!!), covered head in plastic bag and because this product said it needed heat to work, I used a really old fashioned plastic bonnet/plastic hose, housed neatly in its own little round case, hair dryer. (Older folks will remember the apparatus I speak of fondly. Younger ones may find themselves scared again, for that, I apologize) Kaleidocolors worked wonderfully for me. Until my little antique bonnet dryer took a crap! No way I was risking using a blow dryer and getting uneven heat! That could be a disastrous orange mess!! So, I settled for dying my hair a very dark brown.
Now, I am now going to be 50 in February. My hair is just about all grey, with the exception of a black streak 2"-3" wide, down the center and some of the hair underneath in the nape area, but for the most part, I'm grey. You would think that would make getting my hair blonde, to cover this grey up, a LOT easier right? Well, you would be wrong! I had a hell of a time! It STILL wanted to turn ORANGE!! Then at one point it turned a pineapple color, which I ALMOST couldn't fix! (I said almost couldn't.. I AM a trained professional after all!!)
I have to tell you all, I am the trained one. BUT, my poor mother is the one that gets stuck doing the actual job. It IS stressful because we NEVER know what my hair is going to do and, did I mention my hair is down to my waist?? Yeah, my hair is all one length and down to my waist! So, my mom, Lord knows I love her, gets wrangled into doing this for me. In my defense, I go and buy all the stuff, I mix it all and I walk and talk her through the entire process. So, whatever happens, it's not her fault, well, it's not totally my fault either, remember I'm fighting the whole thing about my hair and the rules. So, after a lot of experimenting, a lot of strange colors, a lot of crying, screaming frustration and cursing (specifically dropping the "F" bomb all over God's creation!) I did managed to get a color I LOVED!! It was PERFECT for me. Just the color I was trying to achieve all those years!!
Here's how I got my perfect shade of blondness: 3 packets Clairol Lightening Activators - 7th Stage @ .99 each, a bottle of Clairol 7th Stage Creme Hair Lightener Double Drabbing Action about $4.99 (for max. decolorization and 8 - 10 keels of lift) and Clairoxide Pure White 20 Volume Creme Developer 16 oz, I bought the large one because I would need it for the toner also. It was about $4 Lastly, and most importantly, the perfect color could not happen for me without Clairol 301D Creme Toner
Directions found on the back of the activator packets: 4 oz. 20 volume Clairoxide Developer with 1-3 lighteining activators, mix well, add 2 oz. of lightener (this would be the double drabber) and mix gently. Lighten to proper level of decolorization (45-60) minutes), rinse. Apply a toner if necessary or desired. In my case, VERY necessary! Clairol, in all their infinite wisdom, discontinues 301D? They don't even replace the EXACT color in their new product line? WHY? They give an alternative BUT a neutral base when 301D had blue, it makes a difference people! Clairol knows this! Clairol, if you are reading this, PLEASE, give us an alternative in your new line with a BLUE base so we can continue achieving the color that took, some of us, YEARS to perfect!
I'm dyin' ovah here!