Me - olive skin, dark brown hair. The mission - to become a blonde. (play mission impossible music here)
Many say that us olive-skinned people should never go blonde. Hairdressers often get a look of fear and dread wash over their faces before hastily asking:
"How about some lowlights instead?"
Hmm. Lowlights eh?
When you were a kid, and you wanted fairy floss at the amusement park and your parents gave you a wholemeal peanut butter sandwich instead, were you satisfied?
I think that answers my question, whatever that was.
The point I'm trying to make is this - when you want to go blonde, there is no substitute. It's like some kind of weird addiction. Once the idea manifests, it germinates and grows and pretty soon you are thinking of nothing but achieving your goal of ultimate blondeness.
I go to a Korean hairdresser. The staff think I am amusing for some reason, I'm not sure why. I like going to them because they do weird punk haircuts and pretty much anything is fair game. I asked my hairdresser to give me a colour called "ash blonde" all over. She didn't even blink - just started mixing up all this weird purple stuff. She told me it was a bad thing to use bleach. I recalled many times sitting out in the sun, hair wrapped in glad wrap, 30 percent bleach burning my scalp. It didn't seem that bad to me. $15 and it worked.
So, $240 and three and a half hours later, I found myself with the same burning scalp, the same feeling of dread and excitement for the moment when they were washing and drying my hair for the third and last time. The first time had resulted in a "oops, not light enough" moment. Then the stuff was reapplied and left for long enough for me to read three tabloid magazines in their entirety.
I'm not sure if it was the hair dye, but I felt my brain melting after yet another Britney article.
Then I thought of bald Britney and got the fear. What if it vaporises my hair? What if they wash it off and it all disappears down the sink?
Get a grip, girl - this is 2008. They don't let things like that happen anymore. Do they?
Finally, the colour was revealed. Not bad at all. Very blonde, a little too yellowy for my liking. Still, I had to get out of there. I could not stand waiting for another hour while Britney and Angelina danced in my head. No more!
I asked my hairdresser to write down the colour and products, in case someone else (perhaps someone cheaper) had to do the regrowth. She wrote down a whole bunch of words on a card but only one word jumped out at me. Bleach. Which makes what she had said earlier kind of...wrong.
A strange thing happened in the next day or so. My hair started to morph into a strange brassy colour. My partner affectionately referred to me as "Violet Crumble".
For those of you who are not familiar with this tasty treat, honeycomb is nice for a chocky bar, not so much for a hair colour. My olive skin cannot tolerate any yellow or orange tones. Well, I had both. My partner wore sunglasses in reference to my hair. It wasn't even sunny! I had to do something, and fast.
I tried Decore Blonde Toner - it promised to tone down brassiness and cool the colour to a wearable shade.
Wrong!! It just made my hair a lovely shade of salmon.
So, panicked by my salmon hair and the prospect of going out in public, I made it my mission to visit as many chemists as possible to get the right product. "Magic Silver White" was always the best toner for blonde hair. Now the product had been discontinued I was becoming slightly worried.
Thankfully I found Roux Fanci-Full Rinse in "silver lining" - amazingly it worked just as well as Magic Silver White and the Violet Crumble er... crumbled into a memory.
I also found Magic Silver White on Ebay - it has been renamed "Brilliant Silver White". I ask you, a product is a favourite for years and they go and rename it so you can't find it easily! Anyway, the product is said to be true to the original formula and great for toning down brassiness. Highly recommended.