Beauty

I am so excited to share my blonde hair story with you today. What a journey it has been! I have gained so much knowledge and experience over the past 4 years of being blonde and I have been eager to share. But it’s daunting, because there is so.much. I am not a professional colorist, but I bet you I could be certified after all of the experience and hours upon hours of research on hair color, specifically blonde color.

The above photo is what my hair looks like now. I am finally HAPPY with my hair color. If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media for awhile, you may know that I have considered going back to the dark side after being incredibly frustrated with my hair color as a blonde. Hair is something that certainly impacts our confidence, and mine was seriously suffering for a long time as stupid as that might sound. 

I hope to save some of you unhappiness with your color (I wouldn’t wish YEARS of unhappiness with your color on anyone), and some tips to going blonde and maintaining your color. Let’s start with the ugliest my hair has probably EVER looked. I didn’t want to go outside, I felt so unattractive.

Breaking the base: DON’T DO IT! Just take this photo as a lesson, especially if you have naturally dark hair.

First things first, what is base breaking? Here is a handy diagram of exactly what base breaking is and what it can look like. 

When I first started to go blonde, it was a slow process. I had caramel colored highlights woven in to my natural medium brown hair. I wanted more, more, more, so my colorist at the time said it would be best to break my base to lift my hair to achieve a brighter look. You’d think that I’d learned my lesson after having this done once, but no. The first couple of times my base was broken (it’s a color treatment that removes color from your hair to reveal its underlying shade, which is orange for brunettes and yellow for blondes). The first time, my hair was orange with platinum highlights running through. The second time, it lifted to yellow. The above photo of me was after the second base break. My colorist assured me that we’d get my hair to my desired shade of platinum (which is what I wanted at the time), but I have come to discover that if you want platinum hair, you need to go SLOW. No base breaking. Just simply adding highlights upon highlights upon highlights each time. You have to be patient. 

I was mortified to go anywhere with the yellow hair. My hair has always been an important part of my identity. I have naturally thick, curly hair that is not easy to manage, but I love that I can style it in so many ways. With the banana yellow color, I was just uninspired to do anything with my hair styling wise and wore it in a bun almost everyday until I went to a new colorist. 

I have been to 7 colorists over the course of 4 years. Part of this is due to the fact that I have very high expectations, even in the in-between stages, and because technique, style, and knowledge is important to me in a colorist. I would always say that I do not want any hint of orange or yellow in my hair. I knew that getting rid of all of that yellow and orange from the base breaking would take time, but I wanted it gone as soon and as quickly as possible. 

And so I had lowlights added to my hair to counteract the yellow and add some dimension.

What happens when lowlights fade? They warm up and turn orange. I did not know this before experiencing it. 

The next plan of action was to continue to eliminate that yellow and orange, but not add any more lowlights. At this time, glosses and smudging/color melting was just starting to become super popular. I liked the look, and wanted to abandon the idea of going all-over platinum. All I wanted was a cool blonde with no warmth. Why was it so hard to achieve this?! 

I had darker/ashy glosses applied to my roots to “smudge”/darken the root and to melt the blonde highlights in seamlessly, so that the color didn’t look stripe-y. Think balayage, but in reverse. I loved the way this looked for the first few days. 

My hair after getting blonde highlights and then a gloss to melt and add depth:

Glosses are designed to fade and completely go away, but on me, they fade from a beautiful ash brown to orange after a few washes. I’d had glosses applied to my hair for almost two years between a few different colorists who all thought this was the best route for me.

After the gloss fades:

Almost everytime I’d had my hair done and hated it or wasn’t as happy, or after the gloss faded time and time again, I flirted with the possibility of going back to brown. I was so tempted. My family thought (and still thinks) that I am crazy and wasted so much time, emotional energy, and money on hair that I hated. But I knew that I could have the blonde hair that I wanted. 

I perused Pinterest and identified exactly what I wanted: cool blonde hair with a bit of my natural color showing through, mostly at the root. I wanted baby-lights (very thin highlights) around my root/face, with full on blonde at the ends. This way, there is no artificial darkness via permanent or semi permanent lowlights, and no glosses that claim to just completely go away. Just old school bleach-blonde color, toner, and my natural color showing through. But it is ALL about the technique. 

I had lost faith in going to a colorist as I discovered what I wanted. The blonde journey had been so exhausting (OMG, how dramatic do I sound?!) and I was fearful of not being understood by another colorist. I did hours upon hours of research on so many techniques, trying to figure out if there were brands of glosses that did not fade, what toner would be best, and so on. I seriously considered coloring my hair myself, because I found the exact technique and formula that I wanted. However, I am still scarred from completely wrecking my hair with color when I was a teenager that I had the better sense not too touch my hair even with my gained knowledge and experience. 

I have been going to the same person for about 6 months now, and I can finally say that I am happy. I totally micro-managed her the first time, but we are on the same page regarding the plan for my hair. What I get now is very closely packed in baby-lights in foils, and balayge foiled blonde pieces in the mid to end sections of my hair to cover the brassy bits left over from the years of base breaking, lowlights, and glosses that are growing out. I like working with my natural color instead of against it, and having it show through, especially at the roots. Yes, there are baby-lights at the roots, but those give a blended, seamless look to the rest of my hair. 

My biggest tips for those who are blonde and unhappy or who want to go blonde:

+ Do not have your base broken if you have naturally dark hair. Even if the colorist suggests and recommends it – this has happened to me, and I’ve let it happen, trusting the colorist, only to be disappointed each and every time. It is a fast-track route to going blonde if you have darker hair.

+ Enter at your own risk with glosses. Glosses can be seen ALL over Pinterest and Instagram if you read the most popular colorists’ ‘recipes’. Redken Shades EQ is one of the most popular, but they are all the same when it comes to the chemical breakdown as they fade in dark hair. 

+ Work with your natural hair color. Even if you have dark hair, you can have very light blonde hair. It just takes time with repeated, packed-in highlights and good technique.

My hair color is still a work in progress, but I hope that with this post, I can help inspire and save some hair drama for at least one person!

xo,
Lynn

The crown braid is a style that I start doing when my hair is #1 dirty and #2 needs to be cut. Let me tell you, this is the perfect style to wear when you’re waiting to get your hair cut. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in dire need of a cut, my hair just starts to hang with absolutely no shape at all, no matter how much I tease it or try to make it look decent, down. The braids take away from that heaviness and add a little extra glam to whatever you’re wearing.

The crown braid is SO easy and takes less than five minutes. 

Step 1: Start with styled hair – whether it’s messy beachy waves, curls, stick straight, any style will look pretty with a crown braid. I curled my hair with a 1.5 inch curling iron. Tip: Leave the ends semi-straight to avoid the 1998 bridal look. If you’re concerned about using a curling iron for this reason, the bigger the better. The smaller the iron, the closer to Shirley Temple you’re going to get.

Step 2: Spray your hair with Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray for texture. This is especially helpful if your hair isn’t dirty.

Step 3: Take a pea size amount of the fiber cream, heat it up between your fingers, and work only through the ends of your hair. This will give your hair that piece-y, textured look.

Step 4: Braid two regular braids, one on each side of your head. Secure with clear hair bands.

Step 5: Gently pull at the braided pieces of hair to make the braids less perfect, and make them a little more robust.

Step 6: Pull both braids back around the back of your head. Pull the end of one braid through the bottom section of the other. Pin in the middle with two bobbi pins that are the same color as your hair. Tucking the braids in together gives the crown a seamless look.

Step 7: Lightly apply Kérastase Elixir Ultime over the hair that is not braided and on the hair above the crown to smooth it out. 

..And done! 

Taking care of the skin on your body is just as important as taking care of the skin on your face. I have more recently adopted my own advice after realizing that I was seriously neglecting my body. 

My top two tips:

1. Use natural, vegan products. Putting harsh chemicals on your skin is not the best idea, especially if you have sensitive skin. I like to use products that contain natural, vegan ingredients that were not tested on animals. If you have the choice to buy cruelty free/vegan, why not?! 

2. Use lots of oils. I use oils for just about everything: skincare, haircare, cleaning, health care, and the list goes on. I am obsessed with oils. 

My body skincare faves that I cannot live without:

1. The Dry Brush: If you’re not dry brushing, you are seriously missing out. Not only does dry brushing help shed dead skin cells, it also helps immensely with keeping ingrown hairs to a minimum/none at all. Dry brushing also improves your circulation and lymphatic drainage. To get the most out of draining your lymphs, dry brush towards your heart (always) on dry skin, before showering. I pay extra attention to my underarms/bicep areas because that is where you’ll benefit the most from lymphatic drainage. Many dry brushes are made with boar hair (AKA not vegan or cruelty free), but I found this AMAZING brush made from cactus and all natural wood on Amazon. 

2. Unrefined Coconut Oil: I could go on and on and on about coconut oil, but I will stick to its use as a body skincare product here. I always buy unrefined, AKA unfiltered coconut oil because refined coconut oils are sometimes bleached and filtered. The best use for coconut oil pertaining to body care is to use it while shaving. If you’re like me, you have tried every shaving cream under the sun, even the ones that claim to be for sensitive skin. Nothing works quite like coconut oil for shaving, and I don’t think I will ever use anything else. The oil leaves your skin feeling smooth and moisturized without feeling sticky or slimy. 

3. Jason Rosewater: A FAB vegan body cleanser that smells so good. Ladies, it’s perfect for you and for your man. Jeff and I share this one and it doesn’t scream girly, so don’t let the rosewater name scare you away. This body wash contains natural oils and vitamins E and B5 to keep you skin looking glowy.

4. BIC Men’s Sensitive Skin Razor: I have searched high and low for the perfect razor that doesn’t invite razor burn and skin irritation. Unfortunately it was hard to find, but I’m so glad that I discovered these razors. They key to these is that they do not contain a moisture strip, AKA that little stripe at the top of the razor that “moisturizes” your skin while you shave. Ladies, those moisture strips are full of crap. Literally. Bad chemicals that just invite those hairs to get trapped under your skin. Another big plus to these ones is that they are SUPER cheap!

5. Glo Therapeutics Body Exfoliant: Let’s get real here. We’ve all had bumps in places that we’d rather not have bumps at all. Butt zits? No thanks. Really, this stuff is fantastic for helping to clear those not-so-pretty bumps wherever they may on your body. Or maybe you’re lucky, and you don’t have any bumps (damn you! JK. Kind of.) and just want to keep your skin glowing and healthy. Either way, this exfoliant is perfect for maintaining smooth, glowing skin as it contains lactic acid, salicylic acid, and lavender oil (again with the oils – I tell you, they are a must!).

What are your body care go-to products?

There’s really no other place like Sephora. It’s the Disneyland for those who are obsessed with the newest and best makeup products and stay-at-home spa days (AKA me). Sephora has something for everyone. For me, I go for their big selection of cruelty free and vegan products. I’ve been making more concious purchasing decisions around what kind of makeup I buy; specifically cruelty free and vegan products. I miss the days when I would hear about an amazing product, and then go out and buy it without thinking about whether or not it was tested on animals or contained animal products. Ignorance is bliss, right?! I’m looking at you, Makeup Forever! I have seen so many great reviews of the cover stick foundation from Makeup Forever, and even tried it on in-store, but after doing some pre-purchase research, I found out that Makeup Forever tests on animals. 

Back to the sale…

The big Sephora Rouge, VIB, and BI sale is just kicking off and I can’t wait to go and pick up some staples and try out some new products. The products in the photo above are all cruelty free products, and they are my staples that I will be re-stocking during the sale.

1. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Pearl: A creamy powder highlighter that absorbs and reflects light for the ultimate natural glow. The first BECCA product I bought was Champagne Pop x Jaclyn Hill and I fell in love with the color and the formula. BECCA highlighters are not for the faint of heart, but they are also not glittery or grainy. ‘Pearl’ looks so light (it is in fact white in the pan), but on, it gives the perfect glow to light – medium skin tones.

2. Buxom Lipgloss in White Russian: A creamy, no-shimmer lip gloss with a tingling, plumping effect. White Russian is just the perfect glossy nude. I love to wear it over any nude lipstick. This gloss gives you that ‘wet’ look, which I love in a gloss. Bonus is that it is not sticky.

3. NARS Chelsea Girls Lipgloss: A moisturizing lip gloss that supports anti-aging and imparts long-wearing, sophisticated shine and stunning color for subtle, everyday glamour. I have owned this lipgloss for YEARS. We’re talking 10+ years. And it has been my favorite nude gloss ever since the first day I purchased it years ago. If you’ve been a longtime NARS fan, you might remember when their glosses came in those little pots that were oh so inviting of germs. I didn’t care, it was the best gloss, but I was so thrilled when they came out with their new packaging and formula. If you’re looking for a go-to nude gloss, GET THIS ONE. You won’t be disappointed. Promise.

4. Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade: A smudge-free, waterproof pomade formula that performs as an all-in-one brow product. I use this along with the brow wiz pencil to perfect the shape of my brows. Anastasia brow products are THE BEST! Pro tip: Buy a brow pencil/pomade/shadow in one shade lighter than your hair color. This gives the most natural look.

5. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden: A creamy, nude matte primer that gives you vibrant, crease-free eye shadow for 24 hours. One of these babies will last you for a year or more, even if you use it everyday. I like that this primer is yellow based to combat the veins and redness on my eyelids. It’s great for those days when I don’t want to wear eyeshadow too, just for some coverage. 

6. Anastasia Brow Gel: A clear gel for all hair colors that sets, defines, and holds brows in place all day. I have tried drugstore clear mascaras for this purpose, but they make my brows insanely crispy and obviously ‘set’. This brow gel keeps your brows in place without making them look totally fake and wet.

7. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper: A liquid eyeliner with an innovative brush tip for effortless, precise application. Love, love, love the applicator. It’s so easy to use and the color is super pigmented. 

8. Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil in TaupeAn ultra-slim, retractable pencil for precise detailing and creating hair-like strokes. This is the staple of all staples. Just get it. You’ll love it.

9. Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation: A high-pigment foundation for full coverage that leaves a long-lasting, beautiful finish. I love that this foundation comes in such a wide variety of colors, and many of the light-to-medium shades are not yellow/orangey (which I love!).

The codes:

♥ VIB Rouge: 15% off all purchases in-store and online made between April 7th and April 13th. Sephora will mail/email you a code to use for your discount (the code is ROUGENOTE). 

♥ VIB: 15% off all purchases in-store and online made between April 8th and April 13th. Sephora will mail/email you a code to use for your discount (the code is VIBNOTE).

♥ Beauty Insider: 10% off all purchases in-store and online made between April 9th and April 12th. Sephora will mail/email you a code to use for your discount (the code is BINOTE).

 What’s on your Sephora wishlist?

If you follow me on Snapchat and/or Instagram, you might have seen my recent rant(s) about my hair. I know, I know…hair probs = first world problems. But let’s get real: if you’re a woman, you know how it feels to live with a cut/color/style that you hate. It’s the worst. I have a total love/hate relationship with my blonde hair. What I have realized is that 1. I cannot have root to ends blonde color. It just does not work because I feel like I look like I am wearing a wig. 2. The tone needs to be cool and bright. I have been every shade of blonde. Big Bird yellow? Yep. Granny gray? Yep. Mixed with some burnt orange…so lovely!! I see beautiful blondes on Instagram, Pinterest, etc. and while I have been trying to achieve my dream blonde for three years (yes, THREE years), I am routinely unhappy with the tone, application, whatever. I have thought about traveling to get it done as a last ditch effort…I’ve done hours upon hours of research to do it myself, but I’m too much of a wuss for that. So I have an appointment scheduled for next week to do something different. I don’t know what yet.

Back to my point: I hate the way my hair looks in this video. F&*$ing hate it. But these hair products are ah-mazing and have not failed me. Hopefully you can look past the Barbara Walters hair style and not-so-great lighting and pick up some great damaged/blonde hair care tips. 

Thank you for reading (and watching)!

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