Babies, Black Eyes, and Bobs

Hello!

I know, another week+ long blogging hiatus has occurred. My only defense is that I was pretty much permanently camped out at my parents’ house the entire time my sister and niece were visiting, which meant zero access to my desktop, which is where I edit all my DSLR photos.

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The good news there, however, is that this means I actually took a lot of REAL photos over the past week! Which really worked out since, as you already know, Mia is pretty much the best thing to take pictures of ever.

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I rest my case.

Although, I do have to admit now that I have an iPhone 6, my phone photo game has stepped up significantly anyway. Guess that means my excuse really doesn’t fly, ahaha.

So, as tends to happen when life is, well, being lived, lots of stuff happened over the past week. First and most importantly, as you already know,  Jen and Mia came up for a visit. This meant lots of time spent hanging with my family, listening to baby babble (it’s the bessssst!), and emotionally reverting to my sixteen-year-old self. (Oh, and if you were wondering, Mia LOVED the Elsa doll I got her!)

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Also, I managed to slam my eye socket into the corner of a chair and give myself a black eye.

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I actually think it makes a much better story if I just say that Mia punched me in the face, so let’s pretend that’s what happened. You know, instead of me getting into fisticuffs with an inanimate object, mmkay?

All kidding aside, it actually was pretty awful. I’ll spare you some of the much uglier, nastier pictures I took, but suffice it to say that my whole eye was hugely swollen for a couple of days, and the bruise on my eyelid is just finally starting to lighten up now. (Thankfully, it just kinda looks like I’m wearing purple eyeshadow, and also that I must be reeeeeeeeally tired… in one eye.) I definitely realize how lucky I am not to have damaged my actual eye or vision though, especially given the $4K I spent on LASIK not too long ago.

Aaaaanyway, self-inflicted injuries aside, we all tried to cram in lots of hometown nostalgia for my sister while she was here, but I couldn’t let her leave without introducing her to something new, too. Specifically, my absolutely wonderful hair stylist, Linh at Be Scene Studios. I booked her an appointment so Linh and I could both try to convince her to do something fun and fashionable with her hair. And the result of our persuasive effort?

A fabulous, chic bob — Linh’s specialty! And it looks even better in person, and is nice and low-maintenance for someone who doesn’t even own a blowdryer… like Jen.

Sadly, though, ultimately my sister and my beautiful niece did have to return home. How did I soften the blow of their departure?

Why, by volunteering to groom Sully from Monsters, Inc, of course.

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Er, I mean, by hunting down a unicorn and cutting off its tail.

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Jk, jk. Obviously, I went ahead and let my own hair go under the knife, as it were. Yes, merely days after Jen got her rad new ‘do, I headed straight back to Be Scene for some new locks of my own. I guess seeing my sister’s stylin’ new haircut just made me crave one too badly to wait!

For good measure, here are a few final pics to remember my (faded) hair as it once was:

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The during:

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And, the after:

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As it turns out, it is actually really easy being green!

It’s funny, every time I’ve gone to see Linh in the past, I’ve always been that girl, all “Keep the length! Not too much off the bottom!” even though I was more than game for pretty much any color on the rainbow spectrum. Also, it’s a little weird that I was so stubborn about the length for so long, since it’s not like my hair has never been short, right? I mean, my hair’s been everything from pixie-short blonde to super-long rainbow. Oh well, at least I finally got to a place where I was willing to shed more than an inch or two, ’cause I’m loving it!

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Plus, this color, man. It’s beautiful! It’s like a super vibrant emerald green, and I am having SO much fun with it! We’ll have to see how it ends up fading (hopefully it’ll still be pretty), but for now it is so bright, so flouncy, and it actually shimmers in the right light! I’m thinking… Elphaba for Halloween?

Wellps, that about catches us up with what’s been a-going on over the past week or so. While camping at my parents’ place, I did get to do a lot of fun cooking, including a sous vide dinner with Sean that I actually managed to document in photos for once! So keep an (unbruised, unblackened) eye out for that, amongst other things, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

Lean, Green, Dyeing Machine

So I don’t know if you realized this, but I have turquoise hair.

Heh.

Getting to rock super bright hair has honestly been one of the best unexpected perks of my job with Yelp. I mean, maybe it’s just because I’m a huge attention whore, but I really do think that having fun hair has really made me more, well, me. But, of course, as anyone who’s ever dyed their hair any color knows, dyeing is not forever. Color needs to be maintained. If it ain’t the fading that gets ya, it’s these dang Whasian roots.

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And while I have an absolutely amazing hair guru and colorist — Linh with Be Scene Studios — and I love my trips to the salon, my hair both fades and grows too quickly to be able to have him take care of my locks 100% of the time. So, for the sake of my pocketbook and the mileage on my car, I decided it was time to take things into my own hands.

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I’ve actually touched up my own roots before, and since I successfully managed not to burn all my hair off last time, this time I decided to document it so that I’d have an excuse to take a lot of selfies you can see what the process is like! I should probably note that this really doesn’t replace my necessity to go have Linh work his magic on me, primarily because I can’t see the back of my head so it’s probably still a root-y trainwreck back there. But it does lengthen the amount of time I can go between visits, so it’s definitely still worth it to me!

First up, let’s take a look at my toolkit:

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I’ve got some L’oreal Quick Blue Bleach Powder, Ion Sensitive Scalp 20 Volume Developer, a mixing bowl, some color brushes, combs, duck bill clips, a hair cape, and, of course, some rubber gloves. I personally got everything off of Amazon but if you have a Sally’s Beauty Supply store near you, that’s also a great solution (especially if you don’t want to buy an entire bucket of bleach powder, haha.)

Then comes the prep:

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I parted my hair into five sections (front right, front left, back right, back left, and bangs) and prepped the bleach. I use one scoop of power with around two ounces of developer. You can use a food scale or actual measuring cup if you want, but I just kinda eyeballed it using the measurement markers on the inside of my mixing cup, until the mixture had a frosting-like consistency.

I wasn’t too concerned about the ratio of developer to powder because Linh blasts my hair with 40 volume developer in the salon, so I already knew that 20 volume is like, nothing, in comparison. This also meant it took longer to lift my color, and it didn’t get quite as light as it does with Linh, but hey, better safe than hairless! Plus, as I’ve already said, this process isn’t meant to completely replace my regular salon sessions, just to help bridge the gap between them.

Anyway, from there, it was just about moving through each section, using the end of the brush to left my hair line by line and apply the bleach. Then I waited through exactly one episode of Scrubs and one episode of Switched at Birth (those are very precise time measurements, clearly), and when my roots seemed like they had lifted enough, I washed out the bleach with shampoo — no conditioner! — and let my hair dry… for as long as I could (I’m very impatient.)

Then, it was Manic Panic time! Since I already owned canisters of all my previous hair colors for past touch-ups (I combine a bit of color with conditioner and keep it in the shower so I can refresh my color), I thought about attempting some kind of crazy awesome rainbow hair… but then I realized that if I can’t even properly bleach the roots on the back of my head, how in the hell am I gonna balayage myself myself some rainbow hair?! So instead of using all five colors, I limited myself to doing a dip-dye look with just two.

So I couldn’t exactly take photos of me actively applying the bleach and color (for obvious reasons), but here are some truly beautiful photos of the process, just for you:

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Aaaanyway, after letting the new color sit in my hair through an episode of The Fosters and several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta (I basically let it dry into my hair), I took another shower and… went to bed. It was late by then, y’all!

And when I woke up the next morning, I looked like this:


Well, after some makeup application and a bit of PhotoMirror magic, that is. 😉

So there you have it! For those of you who don’t know, Manic Panic is a vegan, semi-permanent dye, which means it doesn’t damage my hair to use it (unlike bleaching, which is obviously awful for it, haha) AND it can go on top of itself (which is why I was able to do the green dip-dye even with turquoise hair underneath.) But it also means that it rinses it out a little bit every time I wash my hair. So, as I’ve discussed in a previous post, there are certain steps I take to maintain my color as well as keep my hair as healthy as possible. These include:

  • Washing my hair as infrequently as I can stand it (dry shampoo is my BBBFF)
  • Rinsing my hair in cold water only
  • Conditioning from root to tip
  • Refreshing my color with dye-infused conditioner every now and then
  • Stop touching it so much (still working on this one — it’s just sooooo preeeetttyyyy!)

Any questions? I love talking about my hair and pretending like I know what I’m talking about so fire away!

Caring for Brightly Colored Hair

Since I made the decision to turn my hair into a kaleidoscope (and since I’m pretty sure I’m never going back, hehe), I thought it might be informative to go through the process of what it’s like to achieve and then maintain my color. Because, unlike my weight loss, this is something I’ve actually had quite a bit of success at maintaining. Ba-doom ching!

So, first things first. In order to actually achieve the vibrant purple that I’ve come to love and adore (as well as the various streaks of pink and blue and whatnot that were in my hair before I went ALL in), as most of you can probably guess, I had to bleach my hair.

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Btw, the guy drinking Fireball in the background is Linh from Be Scene Hair Studio in Bethesda, and he is the BEST.

My hair is naturally a very dark brown, so bleaching does take some time, but I am pretty lucky in that color also lifts fairly well from my hair. It’s not the most fun process (strong bleach can cause some irritation to your scalp) but, well, you see the results! And once my hair is bleached, it’s like an open book, ready to be written…

Purple Round 1 Collage

…in GORGEOUS PURPLE INK! I went with a darker, blue-ish purple the first time (although it actually looks darker in the photos above than it was IRL) and I absolutely loooooved it. I was determined to make it last as long and as vibrantly as possible, so I took all of Linh & his assistants’ tips on how to preserve my color to heart. Here is basically what it comes down to:

1. Wash your hair as infrequently as possible.

For me, this pretty much meant twice a week, which you’d think would leave me gross and greasy more (I used to be a daily hair washer!), but I was surprised at how quickly my hair adapted. My hair is BONE straight, so it used to show its greasiness really easily, but I think it “helped” that bleaching did leave my hair drier than it initially was. So, in turn, it does take longer to look greased up now, plus your scalp and your hair really DOES adapt after a while of not washing every day — but I know the transition period is tough for some people to take. The longest I’ve managed to make it between washes thus far is exactly one week: Saturday to Saturday. Take it from me, dry shampoo is the best friend you’ll ever have!

2. Rinse and wash your hair in the coldest water you can handle.

Unfortunately, this does suck pretty much all of the joy out of washing your hair, because it becomes a task instead of just a routine part of your shower. My strategy is to start the shower cold, rinse my hair really quickly, and then turn the water to warm and keep my hair out of the stream while I shampoo it. Then I turn the knob back to cold to rinse out the shampoo, and warm it up again while I’m conditioning. I do the rest of my shower business while I’m letting the conditioner set, then finally turn it back to cold for the final rinse. It’s a bit of a dance, but it’s worked out pretty well for me so far! On days that I’m not washing my hair, I just tie it in a big top knot and it stays pretty much out of the way while I shower.

3. Use purple shampoo and conditioner.

Purple shampoo is actually formulated for people with blonde hair to help maintain silver/ashy tones (instead of golden/warm), but the purple pigment obviously works well if you hair is, you know, purple. (I use Clairol Shimmer Lights.) I use the purple conditioner on my entire head (yes, including my roots), and then also put additional (regular) conditioner on my ends.

Armed with that strategy, I managed to maintain my violet locks for almost two months!

Purple Fade Collage

I did experience a little bit of fade with every wash, of course, and while fortunately my hair actually faded quite prettily (I think!), it ultimately ended up like this:

Faded Purple Collage

Which, to me, meant time for a refresh! So back to Linh I went, asking for a bit of a warmer purple this time around. It bears nothing that he did NOT re-bleach my entire head, just my roots that had grown in. And so, on January 14th, I walked back out of the salon like this:

Purple Round 2 Collage

I’ve only washed my hair twice since (hahaha, I can actually feel how icked out some of you are at the thought of that) and, as evidenced by the following pictures taken last week and at my Yelp event last night, not too much has changed since… other than the fact that it looks like a different color in every photo I take. Which, let’s be honest, I kind of love anyway:

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Now, since I brought up dry shampoos and how essential they are for maintaining color — not just bright colors, either! If you color your hair at all and want to maintain it, you should definitely NOT be washing it every day — I figured I’d give you the skinny on the ones I’ve tried so far:

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Left to right: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Shampoo, Batiste Dry Shampoo in Wild, Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair.

I picked up Not Your Mother’s at CVS for like $8, and ordered the Batiste and Kevin Murphy on Amazon for ~$9 and $32 respectively. I don’t really recommend Not Your Mother’s as I don’t feel like it gave me the same kind of clean that the other two did.

Batiste, on the other hand, is a FANTASTIC option for around the same price — it really zaps the oil out of my roots. Downside: it is SUPER powdery and leaves all that white crap in your hair that you have to brush out, and if you have dark hair sometimes that stuff can leave you looking a little gray. I’m not wild about the “Wild” scent though (heh), admittedly.

I found out about Kevin Murphy products from a blog post I stumbled upon and ended up sucking up the stickershock to give it a try. It is a really quality product which I think is particularly great for brunettes or people with a darker color, since it does not leave the same powdery residue that the other two do. And it does a fantastic job, too, with a more subtle scent than Batiste. But obviously, all of that stuff comes with a price, so it’s up to you if it’s worth giving a shot.

Between the three, I will probably get Batiste again until I end up going dark again, though I will definitely be trying out a different scent next time.

But there you have it! My journey to luscious purple locks and the way I keep it bright and cheery. Now just to decide what shade to go next time… I really want to try a light, pastel purple but I’m not sure what re-bleaching my bleached hair would do… hmm.

How often do you wash your hair? Do you color your locks? Any particular products you’re loving?