The long way back
Naomi Bikis on undoing platinum blonde.
In my head, since I dyed my hair platinum for this article, everyday has been a re-run of Blondie's Rapture video. I was Debbie Harry with my bleached-out bob, shimmying up against Chris Stein; squinting and blowing bubbles, hair bouncing as I swayed in time. Magnificent. In reality I was just a regular platinum blonde. Most probably, to quote another Blondie hit, not “going inside and out of your mind” either.
It's been 10 months and it's not that I didn't like being that blonde (frankly it's my greatest of hair highs.) But over time, my Blondie was looking a little limp. Blondie needed topping up every six weeks. Blondie needed to be the kind of person who was okay with high maintenance and more than one shampoo. My Blondie needed my hairdresser to hold my hand and straighten my hair daily (something my hairdresser was reluctant to agree to). This autumn Blondie and I parted ways.
All those who, this time last year saw a lot of hot models with hot white hair on the runway and decided to follow suit, will be facing the same predicament – what to do when you've had enough of being blonde? Hoods, hats, paper bags; they'll only serve so far in covering the onset of dark new hair. Glasshouse Salon's founder Olivia Crighton, the very same Olivia who was responsible for the first transformation, was the woman with the answers.
The goal, based on an embarrassing amount of references, was to create a more natural colour. “You're naturally blonde so I wanted to utilise that as much as possible,” explained Olivia. (I'd like it widely circulated on the internet that I have been called naturally blonde by a professional...) "The first step is to really work on the condition," said Olivia. "'Porous' hair can have trouble holding colour and is difficult to get an even result (people with bleached hair may know about this from having patchy toners that come out only a week later). So we use our revamp treatment throughout the colouring process – a powerful wheat and quinoa protein reconstructor. We introduced some clean blonde highlights into your natural to break up the regrowth, and brought some natural darker tones into the mid lengths and ends to break up the solid blonde. Bringing too much of the dark through could make the colour look too flat and muddy. A blonde even just a couple shades darker can often feel like quite drastic for people.” In truth, it took three sessions to ease away from the solid colour and a few weeks for the condition to improve. And now the curls are back I am getting the do as big and wild as possible. Scroll through the slideshow above for close-ups of my head, before and after.
For those considering phasing out bright blondes, here's what to expect:
Naomi Bikis: Olivia, is there generally a "best" way to phase someone out of being blonde?
Oliva Crighton: Usually we would start by introducing the natural tones back into the hair, through lowlight or freehand techniques. The artificial pigments are often never as nice as people's natural hair colours, so I like to utilise the natural as much as possible. The more regrowth we have to play with the better, which is part of the reason why it can take a few sessions to get the best results.
NB: How many appointments should people expect?
OC: It can really depend on factors like how dark the natural hair is, the condition (if it's taking well), and how warm or cool we want the blonde. It's really important to get the right tone of blonde for someone's skin tone, especially when wearing a natural or medium blonde. One of the biggest challenges after full head lightening is usually condition. If the hair is very porous (lacking protein), our colour has nothing to grab onto in the hair, and comes straight out after just a few washes. So the best thing to initially start phasing out the platinum would be doing regular protein treatments at home as well as in the salon during appointments.
NB: If someone wants to go really dark, what's the general approach?
OC: If you're ready to take the plunge we would usually need to do a double application. One to add all the warmth back into the hair that's been taken out, and one with our target colour shade. Using good shampoos and after care is crucial in helping the colour hold. We use Organic Colour System's care range, its sulfate free status helps reduce colour fade and is much gentler on the hair and scalp.