Let's start with the obvious: I've been blond my entire life. But going brunette always sounded like a fun idea. I would look at my brunette friends and love how shiny their hair was, how good their skin looked, and think they were just more exotic-looking. Twice I tried going darker, and days later I would be begging and bribing one of the poor stylists at my salon to bring me back to blonde.
So why is it so hard for a lifelong blonde to go brunette? After watching not only myself but my clients go through this process for years, here's my best answer: we're crazy.
Blondes are simply used to seeing the lightness around their faces. Going dark brings out different features, some good, some bad. Blond hair is also very bright and distracting; it's generally the first thing you notice on a person. Dark hair also can make a blonde feel plain. But really, it's all in our heads. You just need to find the right hue, and you need to be more than ready for it.
About a year ago I started obsessing over trying to go dark again. My salon sisters just rolled their eyes and formed a pact against me, refusing to make me a brunette. Not because they didn't like the idea, but because no one wanted me texting them at night asking when could they spend hours bringing back my blond hair. I wouldn't let up though, and after months of begging they eventually cracked and said I could have my dark hair - with the promise that I would keep it for awhile.
Knightley for Chanel's Coco Medemoiselle fragrance.
My hue of choice was the shade of Keira Knightley's hair in her Chanel ads. And I did it. The process took a few hours, because you don't just pick out a brown hair color and dump it on. And the best way to go from a blonde to brunette is in steps, slowly filling the hair to the desired shade. Why? The condition of your hair is different from the roots to the ends, and you don't want the brown color grabbing really dark in only some places resulting in an uneven tone. Going dark in steps also keeps the color from fading, and keeps your color looking rich.
So far I'm three weeks into being a brunette, and I don't regret it. I was ready to feel like I didn't stand out as much in a crowd, but quite the opposite has happened.
Following the color change, the first time I went to the grocery store a stranger stopped me to say how nice I looked. I've probably gotten more compliments from people I don't know since being a brunette than I had in the last year. Is it because I appear more approachable? Who knows. I've found myself being taken more seriously on the job, and even being a bit bolder in my decision making. I also feel more confident. This feels silly because it's just a hair color, but it's also a mindset. I thought about the women I looked up to, and found most of them were brunettes. I also simply wanted a change, and that's exactly what I got.
|The new look.
The only negative responses I received were from my die-hard blond clients, who sat in my chair at the salon and looked at me in shock asking, "What made you do that? Is everything OK at home?" After promising that I was still capable of keeping them as blond as ever, I could see them eyeing up my bob with disgust as I put in their usual foils.
Am I going to keep it? I have no plans to go back to blond hair any time soon. Oh, and if you are thinking about taking the plunge, the stylist that colored my hair is Heather at Carenza - and she's fabulous.
Main image via Shutterstock.