Change Your Hair, Change Your Life: How to Stop Bleaching
"Mom, please let me bleach my hair!" These last words were spoken by my 13-year-old self before embarking on my pursuit of superficial confidence. My mom explained to me at the time that the upkeep was going to be a never-ending task. But I was convinced that this was the makeover I needed to transition to my new and exciting life as a high school student.
Whether you bleach your hair at age 10 or age 20, nothing can prepare you for the repercussions of stripping your hair's virginity. No more brush-and-go wake-ups, no more root-free privileges—and prepare yourself for weekly questions revolving around, "What is your natural hair color?"
Bleaching your hair becomes as natural as grooming your eyebrows. Soon enough, you forget all about your natural hair color and develop a fear of ever going back to it. The transition of going back au naturel is as terrifying as the reality of not remembering the hair that you would be going back to.
You become accustomed to life as a "blonde" with the occasional lowlights, fun colors, and breakdown brunette dye jobs. The wrong toner leads to nightmares and has you running to the salon in a shower cap. You try to save money with DIY methods, all the while knowing that you will have to make that dreaded trip to the salon and explain yourself to the hairdresser. From red to orange, purple to pink, blue to green, and even grey, I have personally experienced all of the colors on the color wheel.
The Blonde Lifestyle
The "blonde lifestyle" ruled my life from age 10 to age 25. 12 dye jobs a year for 15 years—that's a minimum of 180 stressful bleaching sessions. That's time spent worrying about my hair's appearance and my hair's health while spending countless dollars on fancy shampoos, toners, gloves, protein fillers, color additives, and more.
At age 25, I decided to move to Hawaii and take care of my happiness and my health. I finally felt ready to take the plunge into getting back to my roots. My last bleach job was on September 24, 2015. I spent the next year focusing on meditating through my ugly hair anxiety and dying the bleached ends a light brown to match my roots.
The Transition Haircut
Finally, on January 11, 2017, one year and roughly four months from my last dye job, I had entered the length of chop. The length of chop is the length in which the virgin hair from the top of your head is finally long enough to be able to be cut into an acceptable length by your standards. For me, this was collarbone length. On the night of January 11th, I placed my long blonde hair into a low pony and made the big chop. The initial shock of losing nine inches of hair was quickly dissipated by the beautiful touch and feel of my now 100% virgin hair.
I fell in love at first touch. My hair was bouncy, shiny, and my follicles were strong. I could allow my hair to air dry and it looked spectacular. This factor alone made me make the executive decision to never apply heat to my glorious newfound hair. I did away with my hair anxiety and found the additional time and money to spend elsewhere. If I could get over my irrational fear of going back to my natural hair color, what other amazing things could I accomplish?
Find Confidence in a Healthy Hair Lifestyle
It has been one year now since my chop. Today, I receive compliments on my hair on a regular basis. I now consider my hair to be an extension of my soul and of my strength. Your hair does not define you. But your hair subconsciously defines how you define yourself.
You don't need to wear wigs, extensions, or dye your hair. You are beautifully you. You without chemicals, you without add-ons. The you that you were when sleepovers and playing Barbies were the only life you knew. The you that you were before you looked in the mirror and told yourself you needed to alter your appearance to feel confident or accepted. Get back to your "you" and gain strength, confidence, and accomplishment.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.