a life in hair

I have been highlighting and dyeing my hair since I was 12 years old.  While never going outside the "natural realm" of hair colors (always in the blonde/brunette/red tones), there have been some rough times in the hair department...

1994 - Born:  a cheerful child, ne'er a frown!  (ha.)

1996-2006 - Haircuts

Fall 2006 - As a birthday present, I get a spiral perm.  I love it.

Summer 2007 - Perm refuses go away, and my mom resorts to cutting my hair to about four inches long to eradicate the ringlets.  Mom convinces me "subtle highlights" would look great, but I insist on "bold and chunky".  Hint: never go for hair colors described "bold and chunky".  
My hair has grown out about three inches here, as
you can see by the state of the highlights.  
Fall 2008 - Sick of being blonde, I dye my hair back to its original color.  I also get thick, eyebrow-length bangs.

Summer 2009 - Mom pays for professional foils as an early birthday present.  The foils turn out great, so I return to the lady for a haircut.  She literally chops a single, un-blended layer all around my head so I have a shelf of hair ending at my ear lobes.  Worst haircut ever. 
Winter 2009 - I dye my hair back to "brown", which turns out to be dark shade of red.
Spring 2010 - I get bangs.  Thinner ones this time.  
Summer 2010 - I get several sets of highlights at home through a cap.  The result is my top layer of hair is blonde, while the lower sections of hair are still dark brown.  Not my ideal look.

Fall 2010 - I am having trouble stomaching the blonde, due to my unnaturally dark eyebrows.  When in their natural state, my eyebrows are two full shades darker than the rest of my natural hair.  Instead of changing my eyebrows, I decide to dye my hair back to dark.  Something goes horribly wrong, and I end up with a head full of reddish-brownish hair that, despite our best efforts, will not go away.  Someone hand the Prell.  
Sorry about the creepy picture; it captured the hair
color better than any others I had. :)
Winter 2010 - Still suffering the ramifications of the Bad Haircut of 2009.  While the hair on the back of my head reaches almost to the middle of my back, the rest of it can barely be pulled into a ponytail.  I bite the bullet and ask Mom to cut the back of my hair even with the shorter layers.  She takes off a good four inches, so my hair barely reaches my shoulders.  It's now all one length with a few layers at the ends.

Spring 2011 - My hair is highlighted [I blogged about it here] through a cap, making my hair a golden-red, dimensional color.  I like it a lot, but it still suffers from "cap syndrome" - blonde on top, dark on the bottom.  

August 2011 - I take the plunge and go to permanent hair color, lifting all my hair to a level 8.  Up until now I've only used Natural Instincts semi-permanent hair color (which washes out in around 28 shampoos).  My hair grabs the dye like nobody's business, turning "8 NG" (neutral gold) into a freakishly orange halo that sticks with me through thick and thin (unfortunately).

September 2011 - I try "8 N" (neutral), and end up with the same result as the neutral gold, as neutral brings out the pigment already in your hair.  (Why I didn't seek this information out beforehand is beyond me.)
Late September 2011 - I cut my hair off!  By far the best decision, hair-wise, of the past few years for me.  Though my family (and most of my friends) advise against it, saying it'd be a sacrilege to cut my hair, I convince my mom (a cosmetologist) to wield the scissors and do the ol' chop chop.  I had been feeling for a while that I was hiding behind my hair, and this remedied that problem (that's for sure).  I might grow it out again in a few years, but I might not.

October 2011 - My dad asks me if I'll dye my hair back to natural, which scares me since I can't remember my natural hair color.  A month later, I try another shade of the same hair color - losing patience with this blonde. I've already bought and opened (for a strand test) "8 A" (ash), which has cool, greenish tones to it to take away the red/goldness of the other two blunders.  The strand test reveals no change at all in my hair color, but I press on and dye my hair anyway, since I can't return opened bottles of dye.  Though my hair looks ashier at first, it quickly fades to the now-familiar orange.  I am completely fed up with this atrocity of follicles attached to my scalp, and contemplate shaving my head.
My only concern with dyeing my hair back to natural is that short, dark hair with few highlights has the tendency to look one-dimensional.  I found a few pictures on Pinterest and Google that I liked:

  I want to try balayage highlights. Up until now I've used highlights through a cap and foils, and found a few issues with both.  With cap highlights, roots show up so quickly and are difficult to touch up.  With foils, the aluminum is more damaging to hair because it acts as a heat conductor, processing the bleach faster.  Using balayage, you apply the bleach directly to the hair without a cap or foils, starting midway down the hair shaft (or wherever you like - starting at the roots, though, would pull the "upkeep" card, which is a pain).  Also, if you work layer by layer you can have highlights all throughout your hair, and as you can see I've been bothered by that issue in the past when using a cap for highlights.   

What I'll probably do, though, is just get my hair back to it's natural color, get my eyebrows back to their natural color, and just STAY THERE for a while.  For almost as long as I can remember I've been coloring my hair, so I'm ready to take a break from it (for a while anyway.  with this history, do you really think I'm going to stay here for long?  :)).  

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