I Tripled Processed My Hair
I grew up with long, thick, dark brown Asian hair. I had the same hair cut for years and years and years. This is probably why now I get really, really bored with my hair WAY too quickly. This means I’m constantly trying to figure out my next “look.” However, for the first time in my life, I think I’ve finally found the one color I can be happy with for years. I’ve finally released my inner-pastel-silver-purple-unicorn and I couldn’t be happier. This is the process to which I finally achieved this transformation. A few words of warning:
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON YOUR OWN! YOU WILL DESTROY YOUR HAIR!
By the time I decided to do my whole head in pastel-silver-purple, I had already tried several different shades of purple along the way. It was definitely a gradual transition and something I put a lot of thought and research into. From products I need to be using to dyes, to which hair salon I would finally be able to get the color I wanted.
Many people ask me if I had to bleach my hair to get my current color. I give them a resounding “duh.” In fact, if you want to color your hair in a shade from the rainbow you WILL have to bleach your hair. DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME! I cannot tell people enough that they should NOT bleach their hair without a professional. Next question is usually, “How do you maintain the color?” I use Overtone, my friends. But more on that later.
First and foremost, I don’t use any hot tools on my hair. They are incredibly damaging and will make your hair brittle. I also use shampoo/conditioner/products minus any Sulfates. Sulfates will cause more fizziness in your hair and will damage color-treated hair. In essence, if you want to maintain your hair’s health and integrity, products with Sulfates are a big no-no. I use Devacurl’s Low-Poo Delight. All of Devacurl’s products are Sulfate/Paraben/Silicone free. This stuff is perfect for your mixed-Asian hair. I tend to have curly hair days, wavy days, and WTF hair days. This magical shampoo will help tame the indecisiveness of your Hapa hair. Plus it’s good for your hair’s health!
Second, once a week I use Olaplaex. This magical elixir will keep your hair from breakage from over-processing it. This stuff literally rebuilds your hair follicles.
Third, Do your research. I talked to friends and Insta-stalked several salons in NYC to find a place that is A, affordable and B, reputable. I ended up going to Redge Salon in the East Village.
Lucky my already processed hair was pretty healthy. Go me.
After a brief consultation at Redge I was told we would be bleaching my hair not once, but twice. Was this a bad idea? Probably. However, I put my trust into the experts at Redge Salon and prayed I would still have hair after this process.
The first application of bleach left me looking very yellow....
The second application didn’t leave me much better, but at least the color was more evened out.
Finally after 5.5 hours of bleach and toner my dream hair had become a reality.
Many of you young padawans might be wondering how I maintain this epic color. Overtone. This stuff is magic. Literally a conditioner that deposits color back into your hair, keeping it nice and vibrant. Overtone is chemical/cruelty free, vegan, and PETA-certified. These hydrating conditioners come in a variety of colors that you can mix and match to find your perfect shade. I use Pastel Purple with a drop of Pastel Silver Go Deep conditioners.
For those of you brunettes unwilling to bleach your locks Overtone just came out with a Rose Gold formula specifically made for your dark hair. Everyone wins!
As you can see, you have options if you want to change your hair. The awesome thing is, if you fuck up, your hair will grow back. Just be good to your locks. If you want to be a pastel unicorn, then take care of your hair. Do your research, use good products, and for the love of God and all that is holy, do not bleach your hair by yourself. Spend the money and get it professionally done. Otherwise you’ll end up like this:
Alex Chester is the creator and producer of the theatre company WeSoHapa - a theatre based on diversity and inclusion. She is a New York City based columnist for On Stage Blog and contributing writer for ManhattanDigest.com and HuffPo. She also hosts a podcast with fellow writer Melissa Slaughter, We're Not All Ninjas. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram @AlexFChester if you like food and cats.