Lessons I’ve Learned From 9 Different Hair Makeovers

Rachel Adler
Lessons I’ve Learned From 9 Different Hair Makeovers
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When it comes to trying out new hair colors and trends, I’m always the first to say that I’m up for anything that can give my overall look some new life. From brown to blonde, I’ve tried it all – plus a bit of purple, blue and pink thrown in there in between. Whether I was simply chopping off all of my hair to get over a bad breakup (everyone’s been there, right?) or obsessing over an image I spotted in an editorial, I tend to act a bit impulsively when it comes to my hair decisions – but luckily, being in the beauty business, I can always fall back on my hair stylist and colorist friends to walk me through any of my hair “urges.”

I’ve currently settled on an icy shade of platinum, and while I may love the cool hue, I still get bitten by the color bug repeatedly (and am currently contemplating a “lob”). So, considering the fact that I am as loyal to my hair color and styles as most people are with their nail art, I figured it was due time to take a glance back at my many styles, and reflect over the lessons learned. I now know the tricks to keeping double-processed hair healthy and how to prolong those funky blue and purple shades in your hair (or at least make it look normal as they wash out).

I’ll apologize in advance for all of the selfies and full-on Facebook album pictures you’ll be perusing ahead, but hopefully this trip through my hair adventures will help you on yours. And, please let us know in the comments below the hair lessons you’ve learned along the way!

More Hair Tips and Tricks on Beauty High:
Beauty 101: Tips for Going (And Keeping) Platinum Hair
10 Best Hair Chalk Hairstyles To Make You Stand Out
Blonde, Brunette and Redhead: How to Protect Your Color at Home

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Take a trip down memory lane with me, and learn a thing or two about what to do (and what not do) when it comes to hair color and cuts along the way!

Back in college, I was all about natural blonde hair with highlights (and I loved my CHI straightening iron,
obviously). I'm a natural blonde anyway, but I started dyeing my hair with the help of my fabulous hometown hairstylist, Wendy,
at a pretty young age to add in some subtle highlights after a rough
summer of Sun-In. Lesson Learned: Sun-In WILL dye your hair orange, and squeezing lemon in your hair WILL dry it out.

Once I moved to NYC and started at StyleCaster, it was time for a change. The lovely ladies at SC set up a makeover for me and we chopped all of my hair off (up to my chin!) and then I later dyed it darker. I box dyed it (which I did pretty often back then) and chose a natural shade of brown, which faded on my hair fairly quickly. I hated the brown phase, but it was good for me to learn how light my roots actually were. Lesson Learned: When you have light roots, going darker is a pain in the butt.

I obviously didn't last very long with "darker" hair, and quickly went
back to blonde. This was another box dye (I'm a big fan of Clairol Nice 'n Easy) and I quickly became a fan of colored hair pieces (as well as feathered extensions) but chose to try the clip-in hair extensions before actually going full-force into the trend. Lesson Learned: If a hair color seems a bit daring, test it out first with a temporary method like clip-in extensions or spray-on color. If you love it, make it more permanent.

When dip dye first hit the runways, I don't think anyone thought it would actually catch on, but I couldn't wait to try it out myself and I'm so glad I did. I loved this look (created by Sean Gallagher). We gave my ends a slight ombre fading from blue to purple, and it really helped the dimensions of my hair stick out. Lesson Learned: When you play with bright colors, only wash with sulfate-free shampoo, and don't wash too often. Your color will fade within 2-3 weeks, so if you can, learn how to mix it yourself for touch-ups at home in between salon visits.

This color was inspired by the subtle, rose gold highlights I had seen pop up on Peter Som's Spring 2012 runways. Although I loved the wisps of colors in the front, the all-over strawberry hue didn't mesh well with my skin tone. Lesson Learned: Always, always, always keep your skin tone in mind when playing with hair color. Even if it's a pastel shade or a bright blue, you need to consider whether it should fall on the cool side or warm side of the rainbow based on which tones you have in your skin.

After years of admiring double-processed platinum blondes, I finally took the plunge. Luckily I also found a colorist who is as obsessed with being as blonde as can be as I am (and knows how to get there safely). Zoe Wiepert of Bumble and bumble spent four painstaking hours taking me to this white-hot shade. Lesson Learned: Never do this at home. I may have dyed my hair purple, pink and blue before, but when it comes to platinum, I go to the salon. Zoe's technique ensured that my hair wouldn't have too much breakage (she dyes the roots last) and that is something that any hair aficionado should appreciate.

I didn't spend too much time enjoying my platinum hair, as I quickly wanted to add some color to it. Since I had already done dip dye, it was time to try out the pastel hair trend and go lilac, but with some strategic placement. Lesson Learned: We got the shade we wanted during this first go-around, but it faded quickly - which was something we didn't expect since my hair is double-processed.

Photo: Porter Hovey

This is actually an image from in-between color processes, but this is a great shot of how the color faded. When using lighter pastels, the color actually washes out fairly easily and you don't have to worry about that scary awkward phase - bonus! Lesson Learned: Although you can wash with all of the sulfate-free products in the world (and simply just not wash your hair) your color will inevitably fade. Embrace it.

Photo: Joy Jacobs Photography

The second time around, we tried more placement with the lilac color (and went up to the roots with it – something we didn't do the first time) so that it was as vibrant as a lilac shade would be. Overall, I loved the shade, but it still only lasted about two weeks. Lesson Learned: Pastel shades will be what they will be – fun for the time being, but by no means a long-lasting hue.

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