I've done the highlights thing before, and as anyone who has done the same knows, as you continue to get them done over and over your hair gets lighter and lighter. But I wouldn't say I've ever been completely blonde.
I heard that someone I knew from my "hometown" was an expert with colour, so I made an appointment and one Thursday afternoon I left school right behind the buses to head for my makeover.
The BEFORE shot
(since I have nothing better to do after school than sit at my desk and play with my webcam)
When I told J. (I'll safeguard her privacy here, but if any locals want her contact info, please let me know) what I was there for, she was very supportive. She warned me that it might take a few visits to achieve a true blonde (like she is currently sporting on her naturally dark hair) but she was up for the challenge. She recommended not doing an all-over colour (too fake and harsh) but to go the highlights route. I told her that I didn't just want a few highlights though, I wanted to go really blonde...and she obliged. Let me tell you, it takes a LONG time to get a full set of foils put in, and then to wait for them to set. (She also used toner after, which no one else who's ever given me highlights has done.)
When I was finally rinsed, J. did a quick trim and started to dry my hair, and we both could tell that it was still very goldy-orange on top. It wasn't as light as I had hoped, but I had been warned that true blonde was impossible to achieve in one sitting, so I wasn't going to complain.
"Are you in a hurry?" she asked me. Hubby was at home looking after the kids' dinner, baths and the packing of lunches/schoolbags, so was I in a hurry? Uh, no. So we went for a second set of foils on top, to try to lighten up the stubborn colour.
While I still ended up as little more gold on top than I would have liked (the underside of my hair actually turned out just right,so I'll probably wear lots of ponytails for a while) I was very pleased with the results.
The AFTER shot
One of J.'s colleagues came over and exclaimed "You look like a totally different person!" which J. and I both took as a compliment. However, as many more people have given me the same reaction, it has led to a couple of 3 a.m. awakenings with me wondering why is it that I want to look like a different person? What was wrong with me before? What sort of example am I setting for my students, and my own daughters (who want to know when I'm going to change my yellow hair back)? Yes, I know, I think too much. It's only hair.
I will say that I know I look better as a brunette, and clearly this colour doesn't look "natural". (Nor will I pay to keep this up for years at a time. Not cheap.) However, I think after one more sitting, I will have achieved my desired shade, and it will be fun to explore this "totally different person" for the summer. I also picked up John Frieda's "Go Blonder" shampoo and conditioner (also not cheap at $12 each) because the reviews I read were fantastic, so I've been using it daily and I swear it works.
So there you have it...This Mom goes blonde!