How I Completely Destroyed My Hair

I’ve been bleaching / coloring / straightening / slowly killing / completely frying my hair since I was 13. From the first time I saw how drastically I could change my appearance with a $6 box of hair color, I was hooked.

THE DOWNFALL

In 2015, thanks to Whitney Idom at The Razzberry salon in Shreveport, LA, I started the year with long/healthy/gorgeous blonde hair.  But being naturally brunette and being a single mom paying all of the bills at that time, frequenting the salon to keep up with roots wasn’t always in the budget…

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April 2015: So I decided to go my natural color, but I wasn’t a fan. I immediately missed the blonde, but I didn’t have much time to miss it because the night that I got this color done, I went hot tubbing with friends and decided to go under water for a second. Not thinking about the fact that my freshly-dyed hair’s follicles were still open and trying to absorb color, it soaked up all of the chlorine water to turn a nice green color. I have no pictures of this, but let me tell you, it was GREEN.

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May 2015: I tried it all; clarifying shampoo, ketchup, red toner… the green wasn’t budging. This was on a Sunday and I had work the next day, so out of sheer panic I made the worst decision imaginable: black hair dye. It may not look awful in this skillfully angled photo, but my hair had been through the ringer the past couple days so the color came out SO splotchy. There was still a tint of green in many places, not to mention I didn’t even use Sally’s Beauty Supply color, this was straight boxed Wal-Mart hair color. Ugh. Dumb.

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June 2015: After washing my hair with Dawn over and over and over (talk about damaging), I was able to lift it to a medium brown. I then got highlights and took a big chop to get the damaged, black ends of my hair off.

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August 2015: I got a heavy set of highlights all over once more (even living in Dallas I would legitimately drive back to Shreveport to see my hair wizard, Whitney), and got another big chop. I was finally back to healthier, blonde hair. A smart person would have left it alone after all I’d been through, right? Well, apparently I’m not a smart person.

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September 2015: Cue my 21st approaching. For the first time in my life, I was working somewhere where colored hair was allowed in the workplace, and Pinterest was blowing up with perfect pastel hair. So the week before my 21st, I decided to use Ion Color Brilliance Brights in Lavender. It honestly looked really good, had an easy application, and I was enjoying having such unique hair. What I didn’t think about is what the process of returning to blonde would be once I grew tired of lavender.

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October 2015: Ah, the mint hair. This was the result of a bleach-bath (a mix of bleach, developer, and shampoo applied all over) attempt to remove the lavender. The base of lavender is blue, and the base of blue is green, and the base of green is yellow… But the bleach wasn’t left on long enough to get there. So mint it was. I was going on vacation the second week in October, and I wanted my pearly blonde back. Instead, I got green.

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October 2015: I bleach bathed 3 times just to settled with a dingy, mossy blonde for my Southern California beach trip. Womp womp.

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October 2015: After a couple of weeks of washing and nourishing my hair, it finally started to return to a nice shade of blonde. Once more you would think, hey, maybe you shouldn’t dye your hair anymore since it hasn’t been working out for you? You would be right. But I digress.

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November 2015: And then there was red. Why? I don’t know. It was fall, and there were so many beautiful redhead pictures on Pinterest. Are you catching my drift? Pinterest is the enemy.

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November 2015: But the red wasn’t doing it for me. So 2 days later I went dark, per my usual flight response that only causes more issues. I’m wearing extensions in this picture to thicken my hair because I was losing so much of it.

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November 2015: My hair was so porous that it would not hold color. The PERMANENT dark brown hair dye didn’t hold in my hair but maybe two washes. Enter scene: Bangs. Because the front of my hair was so dead that it was really the only choice.

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December 2015: Mistake of a lifetime. I tried to go lighter on my own. Why? This has always ended badly, and I knew my hair was fried. It was such a bad idea on so many levels, and I have the picture to prove. Folks, this is what happens when you bleach your already fried hair. As vain as it sounds. this had me really depressed for a long time. I couldn’t run my fingers through my roots without chunks of crinkly, crunchy hair falling out. There was nothing I could do, and I seriously contemplated shaving my head. Not a joke. I didn’t go to a hairdresser for two reasons: it was Christmas time and I had just gotten into a car accident that cost me $500 for my deductible, and I was ashamed. I didn’t want anyone to see what I had done to myself.

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THE TURNING POINT

March 2016: So I did nothing. For a really long time (okay well, 3 months is long for me) I didn’t touch it. I didn’t straighten it. I never took it out of a bun. I deep conditioned like crazy, and while it didn’t get MUCH better, it did get better.

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March 2016: Now that I had let my hair do its thing, I was finally ready to brave a professional. I LOVED this cut! I wanted to get back to blonde, but I knew it would be a process. I finally was feeling normal again, after 3 months of hiding my hair any way I could. I went to a guy named David at Toni & Guy in the Galleria mall. We decided to cut off the dead hair first, and have me return for highlights a couple days later. That way they weren’t wasting time highlighting a bunch of hair that was getting cut off, and you always want to have “dirty” hair when you get highlighted so that the oils will protect your hair.

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March 2016: Enter scene: OLAPLEX! I can’t say that it was a miracle product, but it definitely helped. I was really happy with the color, but the Dallas girl that did them decided to hack away at my hair afterwards to “let some weight off of it”. I shouldn’t have ever let her do it. It was a choppy layered mess, unlike the neat, slick hair cut I had gotten days earlier. It looked fine enough when I straightened the life out of it like it was below, but when left natural (which was the goal), it wasn’t a good look.

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April 2016: Sure enough, my hair started to grow out awkwardly due to the really choppy cut she gave me.

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April 2016: Haircut #3, I went back to Toni & Guy this time because I was so happy with what they had done before. I told them to take it all off so it would grow out evenly.

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April 2016: For some reason the hairdresser left the hair at the nape of my neck obnoxiously long, and it started to grow out kind of mullet-y. I didn’t notice it when I left his chair. This time I went back to my tried and true Whitney, who gave me another highlight and trimmed up my nape so everything was even.

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June 2016: Finally getting back on track! Blonde, growing evenly, healthy.

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July 2016: Today. I actually really enjoy my short hair this length, and it is soooo healthy these days.

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Honestly, it’s a little difficult for me to put a post like this out there, but writing it has actually been cathartic for me. I haven’t opened up to many people about how bad things got, but I’m super stoked to finally be in a place of clarity. I hope you learn from my mistakes, but if you don’t, please feel free to contact me; I’ll always lend an empathetic ear!

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Kelsey is a Southern California native/Dallas transplant who loves travel, health and fitness. When she’s not spending time with her sweetheart and two kids, you can find her at spin class, blaring Migos from her 4Runner, trying different sour beer at local breweries, or making an itinerary for her next vaca. She’s a full-time student majoring in Journalism, and she works in the heart of the Dallas Arts District where she has the opportunity to discover and explore all of the best parts of her city.

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