Lightening it up

Alyssa shares about her transformation from redhead to blonde, and all the mishaps at the beauty salon along the way.


Alyssa Alvarez, Writer

So recently I made a big change to my appearance. Blame it on that college freshman vibe that everyone talks about, where you go away to school and come back a different person. Or maybe it’s that “I’m discovering myself” phase that people say happens when you spend a year in a new place and it just feels right to change what you look like. But I am a college freshman, and, whatever the reason, I wanted to make a fun change while I am still young enough to have fun with my appearance (in all the appropriate contexts, of course).

Which is why my hair is now bleached! If you don’t know or remember, it used to be a medium red-brown, and recently I have been itching to change it up and do something drastic for a while. So, after much pondering, second thoughts, and lots of research, I decided to bleach it!

The big decision

Summer is coming, and what’s more fun than a new, light, summery hair color and cut? NOTHING! So I called a salon, asked a few questions, and I was scheduled to go in and make my dreams come true. Instead of my dreams coming true, here is what actually happened:

My mom and I walked into the salon, ready to start the process we were told over the phone would take up to four hours. She had graciously agreed to come with me so I could have a second opinion and someone to chat with for the hours that lay ahead. (It didn’t hurt that she offered to pay for it all as well. Love you mom!)

We talked with the stylist, a bespectacled woman in her sixties who was crazy and humorous enough to remind me of my outspoken Aunt Jan, and discussed what I wanted, how it would look, what the process was, what care I would have to take later, and other basics. She whisked away to mix up a bleach formula and returned, ready to lift the pigment from my hair, oxidize it and leave it with a light blonde shade.

Round 1: red to yellow

After an hour of letting the bleach sit, my not-Aunt Jan excitedly ushered me over to the washing bowl and rinsed out the formula, washing and conditioning it, and enthusiastically telling me how great it was coming along. I sat under a hair dryer for a while, letting the color lighten up a bit, and when I walked up to the mirror, my eyes nearly popped out of my head.

My hair was bright straw yellow.

After much discussion and stress involving every stylist in the salon, my stylist Jennifer told me not to worry. Despite being informed that another stylist had said, “I would be panicking right now,” I was calm. Jennifer decided to do another round of bleach, leaving my hair much lighter than before but still with a yellow tinge. By now it had been 4 ½ hours since my mother and I walked in.

“That’s what toner does,” Jennifer responded to my protest about the yellow tinge, “It gets out all the yellow and gives you a pearly glow.”

Round 2: yellow to white

Excited at the prospect of being almost done with this process, I rushed to the washing bowl and Jennifer applied the toner and left it in for five minutes. Washed and dried, I stepped up to the mirror once more.

My hair was now a silvery white.

“Umm…” was all that came out. Then my mom got a look at my face and said, “I think that’s too platinum.”

I was rushed back over to the washing bowl and every stylist in the salon was assuring me the toner would wash right out, that it usually only lasts a few days anyway, that Jennifer would be able to fix it in a second.

Round 3: perfect

When she washed out the toner that made me look like I had prematurely grayed, she added a gold toner to add some color back to my hair and finally, we were done. Six and a half hours after we had walked in.

But it was worth it! And gave me an experience I wasn’t expecting. I am overall happy with it, excited about the change, and ready to go forward as a blonde for a while. This will be fun.

Comment below with your most daring change to your appearance and how you felt about it.

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