My Journey from Dirty Blonde to Yellow Blonde to Soft, Cool Ombre
I vividly remember sitting in the hair salon for the first time getting blonde highlights. My parents wouldn’t let me highlight my hair, but I was literally doing it anyway. I was freaking out, and I told the hairdresser, “Look my parents are NOT allowing me to do this, so I need these highlights to be so natural and so subtle that I can blame it on the sun.”
Anyway, so I started getting highlights probably when I was in eighth grade. I got the same highlights all throughout high school. I was very very dirty blonde, basically light brunette. Didn’t love it. But who does love how they looked in high school?
Enter the Florida State University and sorority life – my freshman year I was still my weird dirty blonde. But then my sophomore year, I decided I needed to be BLONDE (like basically every other sorority girl at FSU).
Arguably, my senior year, was when I went a little bit too far down the slippery slope of being blonde. I was very all over blonde, and looking back, it was kind of like one shade. So it looks kind of yellow and kind of like I just had like a blonde thing sitting on my head.
Post college, I was like “Okay I cannot be a bleach blonde anymore.” First, I don’t have the money for anymore. And two, it was looking a little bit tacky as an adult.
Enter my obsession with ombré.
I always loved ombre hair, but I was afraid that was going to be too dark at the top. However, I bit the bullet, and I loved it. The first time I ombred my hair was probably one of my absolute favorite hair colors of all time.
♡ here are the pictures I showed
♡ here’s what I asked for
Soft ombré, not too dark at the top (did NOT want to be brunette at the top, wanted to be dark blonde), gradually getting lighter to pretty light blonde. Baylayage highlights worked in to the bottom half.
♡ here’s what I got
before (yellow blonde) & after (ombre)
day after ombre in real life
Now, for basically two years, I’ve been fully committed to my ombre color. And it’s still my favorite hair color of all time.
more cool blonde inspo on my Pinterest
♡ why I love it
natural looking and professional – I’m still blonde, but I’m not a bleach blonde. My hair is still light, but I am not walking around with Malibu Barbie yellow hair. At least on me, it was really looking tacky at work.
upkeep – when I was getting straight up highlights, I had my roots growing in dark dark dark probably in four weeks. Then, I had a really cute strip of dark brown at the top of my head. Very zebra, very not cute.
Now, if my hair doesn’t turn brassy, I can go about four months without doing it.
healthier – when I was bleaching it, my hair was definitely getting dry. My hair was also just not growing past a certain length because it would break off.
Now, I have the longest hair I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Tips for growing your hair out
My sister has like jet black hair down to her butt. So she might be better to tell you some tips about growing your hair out. But coming from a person who has always struggled with like medium-length hair and never crossed into that long hair category…here’s what I did.
♡ hair growing tips
It’s seven dollars with free 2-day shipping on amazon, and you can’t beat it. I kinda thought it was all hype, but then I started taking it once a day. My hairdresser even commented how healthy my hair was for someone who is still highlighting and dying it frequently.
Take 1-2 pills a day.
We know that heat is one of the worst things our hair. So I’ve basically taught my hair how to look good without heat. I curl my hair maybe twice a month. And I blow dry it maybe once a month.
There’s a main trick I use to give it wave and body, without a blow dryer or a curling iron ever touching it.
♡ heat-free trick to waves
This is so weird, because my mom used encourage me to wear my hair like this all the time. But I thought it was super ugly and old lady-ish.
I have these $3 clips from Amazon, and all I do is hold my hair in a low ponytail, twist it, and clip it to my head. I do this when it’s probably 95% dry, so that last 5% of drying really cements in waves.
♡ products you need for the french twist
Drybar Triple Sec spray – spritz a tiny bit on when your hair is completely dry to keep the wave in all day
And that is literally it.
The Skinny Confidential does something similar, but she does curl her hair before. But it’s basically the same idea of a sleep bun. Check it out if you are looking for something a little bit more structured.
I know people are going to disagree with this, but I think that straightening your hair with a flat iron is one of the worst things that you can do. Even if I want my hair straight, I am never going to touch a flat iron. I will blow dry it or something like that.
If you are pressing 400° heat on your hair and holding it there for like 10 seconds, running it over the cuticle over and over again….that is going to teach your cuticle to be flat. I want my hair to have wave and body and texture. I don’t want to iron that out over and over again.
swap your conditioner for a conditioning mask
So, I bought the briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair deep conditioning mask. And the reason I didn’t buy regular conditioner to go along with it…I didn’t have the money for both.
Now, I’m obsessed. Using a deep conditioning mask when I shampoo my hair really helps with dryness and breakage. I use a purple shampoo, which is very strong, to keep the cool tones in my hair. So, I have to add moisture back in.
Use a deep conditioning mask as your normal conditioner every time you shower.
♡ more deep conditioning masks I’ve loved that don’t weigh your hair down
I have not tried this out, but I am dying to. My hair can get oxidized and brassy really easily, and a big reason is because of constant sun exposure My hair dresser told me to check out hair sunscreen that you literally spritz on and it’s an SPF of 30 for your hair. Living in Florida, I’m pretty psycho that sunscreen SPF in general, so I was like why am I not putting on my hair?
♡ hair sunscreens to check out
Tips for keeping your cool blonde COOL and NOT brassy
It is an eternal struggle to keep my hair cool-toned and not orange. I am really a strawberry blonde at heart, and that red color constantly wants to pull through.
By SO much trial and error, here is what I’ve done to consistently keep remove brassiness from my blonde hair.
being completely transparent, this is how ORANGE my hair can get
♡ products I will bring to my grave
water softener shower head – put this on your shower head to remove hard water. Hard water causes discoloration and build up in your hair. Florida has one of the hardest waters in the US, which is terrible for blondes. A water softener removes chlorine, hard minerals, and all the other stuff that ruins your color.
I’ve repurchased THIS water softener shower head 4 times
Drybar blonde ale brightening shampoo – I tried a lot of purple shampoos at first. This was the only one I even remotely saw results from –> here
briogeo “Don’t Despair, Repair” deep conditioning mask – love this because paraben-free, sulfate-free → all the stuff that can strip your hair color –> here
Tresemme heat spray – pretty sure this is five dollars, and it’s my favorite heat spray of all time. If I am in an absolute pinch and HAVE to run a blow dryer over my hair, I spray this first –> here
ask your hair stylist to INTENSELY tone with you purple toner when you get your hair done. Sometimes, they can mix blue toner in there to combat redness/strawberry color
SO. If you guys have blonde hair, are there any specific products you use to keep it from turning brassy ?? I’m always down to try new stuff.
Thank you guys so much reading 1,453 words on my blonde hair story. If you have any questions…leave em below