Blonde Ambition | The Process & Products
Converting from a previously damaged deep brunette to a dimensional platinum blonde isn’t an easy task, nor is it the same process for every person. Although some choose to brave the process at home I entrusted a professional to lighten me in stages. Starting at dark brown my stylist gradually, to maintain the integrity of my hair, brought me to a cool-toned blonde with platinum and honey balayage highlights. We also opted to keep some darker coloring at the top for a low maintenance halo root (think: really high ombré). I researched like crazy and asked my stylist an incessant amount of questions, all to be a little more knowledgable about haircare and the science behind it. For those of you with blonde ambition, here’s more about the process and the products that have become essential to me.
I had naively expected this transformation to be completed in two salon trips… in reality it took four bleachings, and my perfectionist of a stylist insists that he still has more work to do once my hair has time to rest. After my first round of hand-painted bleach I ended up with head full of brassy orange hair that I attempted to convince myself was strawberry blonde. Dark hair inevitably has to pass through red and orange tones before reaching neutral. After vigorously deep conditioning my hair for two weeks to temporarily rebuild and reinforce the hair shaft I was back in the salon and excited to achieve a cooler-tone. Once again we bleached my hair to its absolute limit and I was able to reach a dirty, golden blonde. It was far less brassy and had great dimension, but still wasn’t as icy as I had envisioned. Two more weeks of intense deep conditioning later I was back for my third session.
At this point my hair was damaged, but through all of my masks and moisturizers I could still achieve softness although nothing comparable to my hair when it was still dark. My stylist handpainted what we hoped would be the last layer of bleach and about 4 hours later, neither of us were satisfied. It seemed as though my roots and tips had become increasingly resistant while other sections of my hair were so translucently platinum that the toner had turned them mint green. Even though my hair was feeling extremely brittle we pushed my hair another session further. I left around midnight and had reached dimensional light blonde hair with strands of platinum, strands of honey, and smokey roots.
To achieve natural looking dimension my stylist hand painted balayage highlights. Balayage is a technique in which the color, or in my case the bleach, is swept on freehand to give a more natural finish and a soft level of lightening without harsh lines of demarcation. He also did a sort of ombre at the roots by leaving some natural color and strategically sweeping the bleach in order to achieve a low maintenance look. Although I don’t need to go back for frequent root touch ups, blonde is still a high maintenance color. Banishing yellow tones will be an ongoing battle and if my hair was more intensely platinum I would need to buy a toner and developer for home, but at this level the purple shampoo works well enough. If you’re in Las Vegas, check out Fred at Green Valley Ranch Salon. That’s who I trust with color, extensions, and cuts.
I keep a lot of products on rotation to prevent my hair from getting too used to any one type, which would lessen the product efficiency. Sulfate is damaging so I tend to buy all natural products, or at least sulfate-free… and on the up-side, since my hair is so dry now it hardly ever gets oily (even with all the added product) so I barely have to wash it. All of these products are amazing and although some may be investments, they’re definitely worth it.
- Ultimate Remedy Shampoo + Masque by Shu Uemura **Favorite
- Shimmer Lights Purple Shampoo by Clairol
- It’s a 10 Leave-In Plus Keratin
- 3 Minute Miracle Strong Conditioning Treatment by Aussie
- Davines Alchemic Silver Conditioner **Favorite
- ApHogee Intensive 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor **Favorite
Pura D’or Argan Oil Line
I recently received some of the Pura D’or Argan Oil product line, specifically the Premium Organic Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo, Premium Organic Lavender Vanilla Conditioner, and Pure Argan Oil Body, Face & Hair Treatment. I was drawn to these hair and body products because they are handcrafted by artists and scientists, are sulfate-free, are parabens-free, and are certified USDA Organic. The Pure and Organic Argan Oil was my favorite of the three. It is 100% cold pressed and, although supposed to restore nutrients to skin cells and reduce scars, I used the whole bottle on my thirsty hair. The oil came in handy before and after heat styling and even as an overnight treatment when completely drenching my hair, similar to how I use coconut oil masks.
My second favorite product was the Lavender Vanilla Conditioner, which smelled amazing but wasn’t overly scented at all. It supposedly adds texture and volume into hair, but all I noticed was how well my hair absorbed the nutrients. I regretfully didn’t care for the shampoo, which contains 12 DHT blockers to create thicker hair and prevent further hair loss. My hair is naturally crazy-thick so I can’t speak on those properties of the shampoo, but I disliked how little it lathered and I felt like I couldn’t achieve a clean feeling by using it alone. I also wish that the Lavender Vanilla scent was incorporated into the shampoo, because insteadit smelled vaguely medicinal. The entire Pura D’or line is available online.
Lee Stafford Ubuntu Oils Line
I’ve also been using the full line of Ubuntu Oils from award winning UK hairdresser Lee Stafford. He utilizes four unique African oil types to pamper, repair, restore, and protect hair; think of it as moroccan oil but each specifically catered to a critical hair need. Baobab Oil is used for dry hair and covers the Heat Protection Spray, the Moisturizing Blow Dry Smoothie, the Moisturizing Hair Butter, and the Moisturizing Shampoo + Conditioner. I found each of these products incredibly hydrating and I can’t wait to stock back up on the Shampoo + Conditioner set. Matura Oil is used for coarse and damaged hair and covers the Repair Oil. The Oil was nice and thick which I found perfect to tame my split-ends. Marula oil is used for lightweight repairing and covers the Light Oil Repairing Mist; its made of super fine molecules to avoid weighing down thin hair. Mongongo Oil is used for anti-fade and reacts with UV light to polymerase into a protective layer in the Color Fade Protection Oil.
Every product did exactly what it promised, but what I loved the most about the line was how every possible hair issue had a specific product. 10-uses-in-1 products can be great, but you really get the feeling that your hair is being taken care of when the products are so specific. The entire line smells like fresh raspberries and is available at Ulta.
This post was on the longer side, but you should know how thorough I like to be by now! Thank you for reading to the end, and feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or let me know if I missed a favorite product of yours.
(Some of these items have been sent to me for review, however, all opinions and words are my own)0