The Blonde Hair

“Unnatural”

“Weird”

“Ummmmmm…no comment”

“Stupid”

“Wacky”

“Awesome”

“What about your eyebrows”

“Punk rocker”

“What the hell happened”

“Don’t ever do that again”

“Interesting”

….all of these are various reactions I get from people whenever I dye my hair blonde.

Sometime in 2001 when we were at a lock-in for our church group…someone said, “Why don’t we dye your hair blonde?”

I have no idea who said this, or even why such an out-of-the-blue suggestion was made…but it sounded like a fantastic idea. Two of us immediately drove to the nearest Walgreens and bought a black-to-blonde hair bleaching set.

I learned that girls really like anything to do with hair….so I had no real input in this whole process, nor did I care.  All I know is yadda yadda yadda my hair ended up like this:


Obviously it wasn’t true blonde…but more of an orangy-yellow color.

The reaction from everyone including my friends and parents was almost always the same:

  • Stage 1: “What the HELL did you do?!?!?!”
  • Stage 2: “Ehhh….I don’t like it, but it’s alright?”
  • Stage 3: “It’s blonde…so what?”

That whole process generally takes about 5 or 10 minutes.

I was in college the first time I did this, and it garnered some interesting results.  First of all, it was definitely a conversation starter.  Secondly, I became exceedingly easy to recognize.

In one class I was working on a group project, and we collaborated with the professor to play a prank in the class which would “advertise” a fake product we were promoting (all part of the project).  My cell phone was to go off, the professor would find me and make me go up on stage to set an example of me (she was particularly vigilant against cell phone use is class and was well known for it).

As the prank went according to plan, I apologetically walked toward the stage in front of the roughly 600 people in that class (all still in shock at the professor’s outburst at me) …then BOOM, I tripped over an extension cord! The entire auditorium erupted into raucous laughter as all my stuff, backpack and a huge stack of loose papers (I purposely bought to class for a more dramatic effect) went FLYING in the air and I came crashing down!

I got on my feet, completely mortified (I was acting), and yelled loudly into the auditorium, “IT WAS THIS STUPID EXTENSION CORD I TRIPPED ON!!”   Right then, another group member got up and said, “Mrs. Cleveland, you know better than to use an old-fashioned extension cord, you should use the NO-STENSION cord!”  That was our “imaginary” product we were promoting for the project.

Anyhow….a group of 600+ people saw me eat floor…and at the time I was a brown kid with blonde hair.  EVERYWHERE I went on campus for the next week someone would say, “Hey, I saw you fall in Mrs. Cleveland’s class!”  I met half the class simply because of my hair!

The next time I dyed my hair blonde was about a year later on 11-7-2002 (I know this because the photo info tag still has the date).  This time it was in my college dorm, and I kind of wanted to do the blonde hair again.  Obviously some girl chimes in and says, “OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME DO IT!”

So once again…yadda yadda yadda I had a bunch of bleach in my hair:


(That’s right….I DID in fact have recessed lighting in my dorm.  I ghetto-rigged it out of L.E.D. Christmas rope lights and duct tape).

Once again the hair was completely blonde.

One of the things that appealed to me about this whole change was it’s ability to MORPH.  So my hair didn’t simply stay blonde, it would constantly grow black hair underneath.  This meant it would go from full blonde, to black roots showing, to half-black-half-blonde, to mostly black and some blonde tips….and often some weird stages in between.

Also whenever I got a haircut it would change the entire look. Sometimes it came out good, sometimes it came out bad.  It was always and gamble!

The next time I did it, the bleach wasn’t left in long enough for whatever reason.  The hair came out more gold or orange, like this:

I could spike it up and it looked more punk rockish (or nowadays Jersey Shore’ish):

This picture is relatively accurate of the actual color it turned out:

Once this hair would grow out for a little while, it’d be time to get a haircut.  Often the first hair cut would leave the hair looking like this:

It was black with golden tips:


Take a look at that last picture.  During that time I would frequently get the “Are you you gay” question.  I later found out that having blonde tipped hair and immaculately waxed eyebrows DID IN FACT look hella gay.  It makes me cringe to think I walked around in public with eyebrows like that! You’ll be happy to know my eyebrows are currently big and bushy.

Now previously the hair bleaching had been done by people (or me)…all whom had no idea what they were doing.  You buy the bleaching set, you mix some horrendous chemicals together, you slop it on my head…wait an hour and BAM.  Blonde hair.

The goal was always BLONDE hair…not “orange” hair that always came out instead.  So the last time I made my hair blonde (February 2010), I went to a real salon and told them to make my hair platinum blonde. I was curious to see what would happen.

They ended up bleaching my hair THREE times for THREE HOURS!  Now that’s some DEAD hair!

They also made me sit under one of those heat chair things….it wasn’t the most comfortable thing.  My hair was being bleached to death while sitting under this thing blowing very hot air at my head.


Fortunately I brought a book to read…the whole process took over three hours.


The first machine they put me under created a “swamp” effect…mainly just very high humidity and some heat.  The second machine (above) would blow very hot air at my head.  By the third time they put me under this thing, it was VERY painful.


This is a picture of the hair (look how dead it looks) after three hours of bleaching.


The end result.  It kind of looks like a hairstyle a lesbian would have.  Like I said before, I never know what it’ll turn out like!


The above is about a week or so after the bleaching. It would kind of naturally curl or stick straight up in the morning.

Below, I found whenever I simply pushed the mass of dead hair that happened to be attached to my head straight up, it looked like Kramer.


Just for clarification, I think looking like Kramer is a GOOD thing.

When the hair is down, it looks like a “Blonde Mop” on my head:

It’s difficult to show, but the hair looked “interesting” from the side in its half-black-half-blonde stage:

After a few more weeks, it starts looking even crazier:

At this stage in the hair’s growth, it just started looking crazier and crazier. I though it started to look like Einstein at one point….however it took on more the form of a DragonBall Z character:

The final stage of the hair got pretty long and curly.  The day I cut my hair it looked like I was wearing a big powdered wig around….

I actually did not plan to cut my hair for quite some time.  I liked how I progressively looked more insane as my hair grew out…but it was the same me underneath.  Maybe there’s some sort of moral in that?

Eventually I decided to cut my hair because the maintenance was getting too cumbersome.  Washing the hair required special shampoo and conditioner, and I kept playing with the hair which would make it tangle.  I literally couldn’t run my fingers through my hair without them getting stuck somewhere through the journey.

A quick $11 haircut later:

….now the journey through styles continues as people think I got my hair highlighted with blonde tips.

So this is why every once in a while I change my hair color.  It simply goes through an unknown cycle of looks, styles and generally-not-fashionable stages by itself.  I never know exactly how it’ll turn out, and that appeals to me.

Cheers to looking insane!
-Neville

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    Blog posted on: June 7, 2010

    17 comments on “The Blonde Hair

    1. Rob

      Nev,

      Thanks for such an entertaining read! I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in ages! I especially LOVE the einstein/dragon-ball z flame style hair.

      Reply
    2. il refi

      The Einstein one is cool hairstyle…with those wrinkles on your forehead, you resemble the genius so much :) Enjoyed all your styles Nev!

      Reply
    3. Credit Girl

      Omg. I love Kramer! Do you get an allergic reaction when you bleach your hair? The first time I dyed my hair, they had to put bleach in there to lighten it up and I swear my scalp was on FIRE! It burned so badly. Luckily I didn’t have an allergic reaction but that was such a painful experience that I’m hesitant now to dye my hair with such strong chemicals.

      Reply
    4. Autumn

      I LOVE the super white blond, looked great with gel! But more importantly, what badass digital camera were you using in the second set of pictures???!!! Is that a Casio Exilim circa 2002/2003? It was such an awesome camera. They just don’t make them that small or durable anymore! Mine was going strong for several years but i finally had to retire it because it wouldn’t hold a charge.

      Reply
    5. Séba

      You should try a nice “Red” sometimes ;-) I’m not talking about orange-red, or dark-cherry red… The real, true and only strawberry-flavored-lipstick red. You’ll find the same stages (omg! It’s flashy!; Hey, it’s not so bad; Damn, I look soooooo gay). Eventually, the color may fade a bit, turning into an orange-ish, but it’s part of the fun :-)

      Thx for sharing that life experiment.

      Reply
    6. haushinka

      the 5th picture from the bottom looks like billie joe armstrong of green days hair which he works quite well, if you took style tips from him i think you have a good chance of pulling off the look. his hair is also naturally almost black, and dammmnnnnnnn is he fine!

      Reply
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    9. anonymous

      I also decided to bleach my hair in college in the early 2000′s. (I was 50 percent gray at 18.) I always found the freshly bleached phase a little more extreme than suits my personality and that second haircut a bit too effete. Somewhere in between laid a perfect look doomed to grow out. So, for the past few years I have been all-over dying. Even here, my hair goes reddish and doesn’t like to accept color. So, I find I have to pre-lighten to a pale yellow (about an hour), then put on a demi dye. Big bucks at a salon doesn’t really get you any better products. Thanks for posting your experience.

      Reply
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