Time for blonde.
I’ve been going back and forth for a long time trying to decide whether or not to put blonde highlights back into my hair. Having been blonde most of my young adult years I feel a longing for that youth I guess.
My first highlights were at age 11. It was a very exciting moment to get my hair done at the same salon as my mom.
I stayed blonde for many years, testing out some other colors here and there, always going back blonde.
I met my husband, Greg, as a blonde. Then, I got into the natural non-toxic thing and decided to go brunette. A phase, like torn Levis.
I did that for a couple of years, before I wanted to experiment with blonde again. I was feeling too blah with brown hair. I slowly added highlights until I mostly blonde after a few years.
Then to save money, I went natural. Again. Even so far as to cut my own hair, which I didn’t realize was a mistake until I wore it down one day, eschewing my normal bun.
Now though, again, I’m missing the light color.
So, I decided to get highlights in Italy. But I wanted specific highlights. I don’t see a lot of women walking around with highlights here so I don’t even know if the people in the salon have a lot of experience with it. I like platinum blonde highlights. I like them to be very light. I’m not a fan of highlights that are too golden or yellow with my skin tone. And I definitely don’t want brassy highlights.
Google Translate at the salon.
So I typed into Google translate something to the effect of how I’d like to get my hair highlighted. I said in Italian, reading from Google translate, basically that I want them very light blonde. I do not want gold. I do not want brassy. I do not want orange. I like them very light.
They looked at Google Translate on my phone, and then they looked at me. The look on their faces made me question whether my translation was clear. I wondered whether the word “highlight” came through Google translate appropriately.
They told me to come back in an hour. So I went for an espresso, sweating a little too much.
When I came back I had to sit for a bit. While I was waiting, I picked out a picture in a magazine featuring the color of blonde I wanted the highlights to be. I pointed at this and the hairdresser just looked at me. She didn’t look happy and she didn’t look like she understood.
I don’t know if she thought I wanted my whole head that color or didn’t think she could do the highlights like that.
Do they understand?
So I had no idea if they didn’t know how to do it or if they didn’t want to do it. After further attempts at communication, the word contrast came up to which I said, “Si! Si!”
I want contrast (that makes sense – highlights are contrast).
At some point we seem to agree and understand that I want highlights, because I want contrasting color. That I did not want them to be yellow or orange or brassy. I wasn’t completely confident but let them get to work.
Familiar bleach aroma.
When she came back from the room, where they mix the color, wheeling a little tray with foils, I knew we were headed in the right direction. And when the familiar scent of bleach wafted past my nostrils, I felt even more relaxed.
She was very assertive as she worked very fast to color all the highlights. She periodically checked some that she’d done before, by gently lifting the foil and peeking underneath. But she never smiled when she did this so it made me wonder if she was happy with her work and the progress.
By the time she got to the top of my head, which had the last sections, she increased her speed even more.
Then, she quickly took me over the shampoo bowl, which was was unusual for me. Any other time I’ve had highlights in my hair, I had to sit and let the bleach work it’s magic. Sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes a half hour, and sometimes I went under a dryer to facilitate.
But that wasn’t the case here.
Once I am sitting at the shampoo bowl, she starts taking the foils out from the sections she did first.
Shortly after, there are three Italian hairdressers standing behind me around the shampoo bowl … whispering in Italian, looking at the top of my head. I can see them reflected in the mirror on the other side of the wall.
Their hushed voices alarm me.
As if they needed to whisper… they know I don’t speak Italian yet. I became a bit concerned at this point and began meditating and deep breathing, convincing myself that whatever color it is … it will either be interesting or fun or something I can fix later.
However, at one point she separates a chunk of my hair and sets it off to the side. It’s long enough that I can look a little bit, as far as I can see, straining my eyes to the left, and I see that it looks blonde.
This began my time at the shampoo bowl, which lasted about 30 minutes. That’s a long time to have your neck in that position.
Eventually all the foils are taken out, my hair is shampooed, the glosses put on, and the treatment is done. A couple of times in this process I wanted to snap a quick selfie when they weren’t looking, but I resisted. Honestly, mostly out of fear for what I would see.
They move me to the mirror and the chair, but I have to exercise patience as there is a towel wrapped around my hair. I still can’t see anything.
But it’s not long before my hair is unveiled.
At this point I see blonde highlights in my wet hair and I can’t tell the exact color, but I like it. I’m happy that there is contrast and everything around my face seems lighter.
By the time my hair is blowdried into submission, I’m pretty excited because she did it. Well, she mostly did it.
She knew she didn’t quite nail the color, but there is indeed contrast. My theory as to what they were saying at the shampoo bowl was that it wasn’t the shade I wanted.
I still need to bump it lighter, but she told me about the purple shampoo I could use to help brighten yellow undertones. I’m actually familiar with the shampoo, because we use it in America. It boosted my confidence to see that she knew about this and that she knew what I was trying to attain for color.
I’m happy enough with the results, and I’m happy to have some sort of blonde again flowing through my hair.