I had vaguely wanted to do something with my hair for some time, but as all vagaries go, didn’t put it into action. It was fortuitous indeed when my friend and colleague Kaye suggested Blow+Bar during our daily conversations at work 3 days before, and the appointment was swiftly booked.
Initially, I was debating between their Permanent Blowouts and their Undone Color services. Since Permanent Blowouts were more expensive and furthermore, I was still unsure whether curls would work for me with my hair length at the moment, I decided to do the Undone Color. I was unreasonably excited for something as supposedly mundane as a hair appointment. We booked our appointments with hairstylist Adrian, who was recommended by Kaye’s friend, at their Robertson Quay branch.
The condominium within which the branch was located was sprawling and it took us a while to find the place. It seemed that our slot was the earliest they had available, so we were the only people in the shop. Even their other hair stylist and assistants hadn’t reported to work yet. Adrian was nice, friendly and unpretentious. As a hairstylist, of course, he had to engage in small talk every now and then, but he seemed to genuinely enjoy our conversation as well. He showed us an iPad photo album of various customers’ results for the Undone Color, so that we could have a better idea of what we wanted to do. I remember telling him, “I want the one with high contrast. Light highlights. Any colour is fine, just do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t look ah lian. I quit my job, don’t worry.”
I wanted to cut my fringe as well but he suggested that I leave it at that length. While I like the current length I have, but my fringe tends to turn out flat and C-shaped most of the time, so I end up doing the same old braids to it over and over again. Oh well, I’ll have to see what I can do with it. Adrian helped me cut my hair firstly, then he began to apply the dye. I have to disclaim first and foremost that I had absolutely no idea what colour he had in mind. I was literally kept in the dark until he revealed the final colour after the final wash. I read my book while waiting for the dye to set (when Adrian began work on Kaye’s hair), but almost fell asleep because I only had a 3 hour sleep the night before. Luckily, I had a can of Nescafe from home, and it was nice that Blow+Bar offered a short drinks menu. You could order anything from ginger ale to red and white wine (though I’m sure they charge for that).
The process of cutting the hair and applying the hair dye already took close to an hour. I probably sat at my chair for another further hour before I was led to the hair wash station. Usually, I feel relieved to be led to the hair wash station because it means my torment of waiting is over. I hate sitting around with nothing to do and being unable to move because of all the foil in my hair. Unfortunately, this was not to be so in this case. My hair was washed, but a further product was added on my hair and I was told to wait some more while lying at the hair wash station. I asked Adrian what colour did he just add, but he said, “You’ll see later.” Exciting.
The stuff in my hair was some kind of toning agent mixed with an ash colour dye, if I’m not wrong. Whatever it was, it made my head feel like it was attached to the basin. I tried to pull my head up a bit when I hadn’t any idea what was going on, but it felt like I was pulling my weight on my hair. After a while, I gave up and rested my head on the stand in the basin, but the chemicals on my hair started stinging. It wasn’t anything major or unbearable, but I began to wonder how Kpop artistes tolerate this process (done with even stronger chemicals since the hair colour they go for are funkier and calls for stronger bleach) on a very regular basis. I might also say that when they were applying this particular product on my hair, I almost felt nauseated from that pervasive acrid smell of ammonia or some similar chemical. I wasn’t sure how long more I could have withstood it.
The other hairstylist in the shop, I think his name was Charlie, requested to use one of the hair wash basin. Since Kaye had only just been settled into the second hair wash basin, it only remained that I should relinquish my spot. I silently blessed Charlie for releasing me from this agony of being chained to the hair wash station by my hair. Yet another hour had passed. Finally, Adrian began to blow-dry my hair and I studied myself in the mirror with great astonishment.
My hair was a light, ash-brown colour with some streaks of darker brown. The lightness of it caught me off guard. Whatever I had expected, I had not expected that my base would turn this light. As I told Adrian, I’ve never gone this light before! Adrian seemed to be unsure whether my shock was positive or negative, and repeatedly told me that I could come back to have it darkened any time if I wanted, but to keep the hair colour for at least a week so I could see for myself whether I really liked it or not.
I have to agree that while I was in the hair salon, I was extremely uncertain as to whether I would end up liking this hair colour. It had been completely different from what I had roughly expected, and it caught me strongly off guard. I wasn’t sure if my outfits would work with this colour, or how would people generally react. I was heartened and encouraged by my friend Abby’s reaction though, as I sent her a picture of it immediately after the hair was dried and curled. She said she loved it, it was on point and it made me look fairer. Indeed, Adrian had already told me the same thing – that this hair colour was meant to enhance my skin tone to make it look fairer. When I got home, I was further encouraged by my boyfriend’s pleasant surprise at the hair colour, repeating that he loves it a lot, and also agreeing with the point that it made me look fairer. What with all this positivity, I have started liking this hair colour a whole lot, and am not adverse to keeping it for the full 3 – 6 months, however long the colour would last. Furthermore, when my hair grows out, it’ll make for a really nice ombre colour if I should dye the bleached bottom part a funky turquoise or something.
On to the pictures!
As at the time of writing, I have only just given it its first wash, so I cannot say for sure how it’ll hold up once I need to start doing my own maintenance and styling on an everyday basis. My biggest concern is whether my hair would easily look dry with this sort of light, ashy colour as I have seen it do so often on other people. With that in mind, I am consciously going to start using more conditioner on my hair, put hair serum or milk before I blow-dry it every time, and also I might go get some kind of good hair mask tomorrow.
Some gifs to compare and contrast.