I Thought I’d Be ‘Cool’ by Highlighting My Hair Blonde—It Was a Huge Mistake

One would think I’d have learned my lesson after the disaster that was my 2001 high school hair.

I mean, sure, we didn’t have access to the colorists and stylists we have now, and trends and formulas have certainly progressed over time, but bottom line: My natural, darkest brown hair hue is not meant to go blonde.

When I waltzed back over to the dark (well, technically light) side in 2014, it was the result of a couple things. First, the ombré trend was bigger than ever, and I’d see Rachel Bilson and Khloé Kardashian grace the pages of Elle with their naturally dark locks that gradually faded into a jaw-droppingly delightful blonde. If they can do it, I can, too, I thought.

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True’s Mom

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But I guess the biggest push was my then-hairstylist—someone who I later parted ways with because we did not see eye-to-eye about coloring my hair. He constantly boasted about his blonde abilities and how he can (and will) make anyone look good blonde. I adamantly stated my distaste for the shade (in my hair), but he insisted—and quite frankly, I hadn’t given my hair a noticeable change since college and I wouldn’t have known where else to turn anyway, so eventually I said YOLO and gave it a go.

Immediately following the initial highlight, it usually looked good (see below):

But by the third wash, it already looked brassy and the color just wouldn’t hold (see below):

I had these “good hair days,” where yes, just the right curl made the color pop, but overall, the blonde was a major bust. In addition to the poor color itself, my colorist got lazy with my hair because that so-called “ombré” effect was suddenly up to the beginning of my scalp. Ugh, it looked so careless. I was left in a rut.

Here I was with this colorist (a personal friend at the time) who refused to let me venture out and try some variant of red. And at that very point, I think I was too scared anyway. This blonde (awful as it may be) was safe. And the era it represents was a miserable time for me, so TBH, the hue was perfectly fitting. I’m cringing as I go through my Instagram feed to dig up old pics. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, but I also didn’t really know any better.

About a year or two later, I finally ditched the blonde (and the colorist) for good. Against everyone’s warning, I stuck to my guns and opted for burgundy highlights. We started off subtle, and from there went heavier and heavier. There isn’t one era since I first incorporated the red into my look that I frown upon. Leading up to today, we now do one big red panel underneath layers of hair, which creates a peek-a-boo highlight effect. I love it, I don’t know anyone else who has it, and I get compliments regularly. It’s everything I’ve wanted.

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🕎happy chinese food and a movie day✡️

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They say blondes have more fun, but I can tell you firsthand that I was miserable throughout my entire experience. That said, I’m glad I incorporated red when I did. My current hair represents where I’m at now in my life. Much like the color, it represents a fierce, no-nonsense, strong young lady who certainly didn’t embody those traits with the former color. But I guess the most important takeaway of all is when in doubt, don’t do it.

No matter the hair color, we could all get use out of THIS crystal hair comb.

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