Last year I chopped off my down-the-back naturally brown hair and tried out a blonde lob. When I got tired of that, I went pixie cut short. For the last six months or so, I’ve waffled between growing it out, cutting off the last of my blonde tips or re-dyeing it. One of my personal struggles with short hair is that it feeds into my indecisiveness—it’s so easy to change up and it’s so annoying to grow out. I might spend a week dreaming of long hair and swear off trims for two months, but as soon as I see a cute bang I wanna try, I’m back at the salon. This, of course, is also the beauty of short hair. It’s so easy to try new styles and nothing ever feels like a major commitment. So when my deputy editor pitched a story about going blonde white, I was in.
Step 1: consult
I knew in my heart I was ready for white hair but what about my actual head? I met with David Adams, master colorist at Aveda’s latest outpost, FourteenJay, and co-founder and president of redChocolate, to discuss the state of my hair and have some real talk about the process. One really cool thing about Aveda is that they offer these consultations to anyone. You can sit down with a stylist and a cup of tea, and talk about your hair hopes and dreams. It makes sense; it’s important to know what a process involves, and it helps to get a professional opinion about what will and won’t work. I had been blonde before so I knew the drill but it was still nice to have someone walk me through it, AND make sure my locks could handle it. A pro will make sure you love and are excited about your color but will also be honest about what’s right for your hair, and make sure you aren’t destroying it in the process.
Step 2: lighten
The next day I made my way to the salon bright and early. Adams had told me the process might take a full day. I thought he was exaggerating. Turns out, he wasn’t. My hair was lightened using the Aveda Enlightener. First it was applied to the ends and mid-lengths. I waited. When the correct level of color was achieved, the Enlightener was then applied to my roots. I waited some more, this time enjoying a burger and fries while my hair slowly turned blonder.
Step 3: wash, rinse, apply a protein treatment
After processing, my hair was gently washed using Aveda Color Conserve shampoo followed by Aveda Damage Remedy Restructuring conditioner. Next the Aveda Botanical Treatment with protein was applied. This treatment is a secret weapon when it comes to strengthening hair after some drastic lightening. My hair felt smooth and lovely after this application. (I would like to note that I also received an amazing hand massage while my hair was being treated. Best day ever or what?)
Step 4: cut, finish + style
As previously mentioned, I can’t quite decide if I want to keep my hair short forever or if every cut might be my last. For this reason, I didn’t want to cut a ton off and luckily my hair was in good enough shape that I didn’t need to. I chatted with my stylist, Alyssa Caloiero, and we decided to keep the length on top but tighten up the sides and do some reshaping. After an initial round of cutting, I headed back to the sink to have my hair finished—aka toned. At this point, Adams convinced me to try some eyebrow magic. He had suggested making my brows a tiny bit lighter to blend better with my new ’do. I was apprehensive at first, as I don’t ever mess with my brows, but he promised the difference would be subtle. He was right again! With my white blonde shade and eyebrows perfected, Caloiero finished off the cut and styled my hair using Aveda Brilliant Universal Styling Creme and Light Elements Texturizing Creme.
Step 5: makeup + shameless self-admiration
Since my hair had been blondish and shortish before, I didn’t fully realize what a change going platinum would be. I hadn’t been able to really picture it until it actually happened. Of course, I had some fears that it would be completely unflattering, especially because I am as pale as can be, but the shade Adams had achieved was actually more natural than the standard mix of blonde and brown I had previously been working with. To complete the transformation Michelle Glass-Krelic gave me some makeup tips and color suggestions. Platinum isn’t as limiting as, say, going red when it comes to makeup or clothing color clashing. With my skin tone, Glass-Krelic recommended sticking to cool colorways and a bold lip for nighttime. She used Aveda’s Bloom eyeshadow trio to give me a subtle smoky eye and Aveda’s Wild Fuchsia lipstick for a pop of color. I finally put my glasses back on and saw my reflection clearly, and I hate to brag, but I couldn’t believe how good I looked. The color was perfect, the cut was perfect, the makeup was perfect.
Step 6: Live life as your blondest self
Changing your hair color is a way to instantly reinvent or transform yourself. The magical thing is that when you find just the right color, it will still feel exactly like YOU, no matter how big a change might be. I thought I might need a whole new wardrobe and makeup palette with my new color, and while I did find out that I could pull off looks I wouldn’t have tried before, it also felt great to be able to wear my same old sweater with just a bit of mascara.