Going Platinum: Diary of a Masochist

Going Platinum: Diary of a Masochist

For those of you who are interested, take a seat and get comfortable 'cause I'm talkin' hair today.

Though I had been born so blonde I had appeared to be bald for the first three years of my life, my hair had ultimately taken on a light mouse-brown by the time I hit elementary school. Come the highly anticipated end of sixth grade, however, my mother had bestowed upon me the greatest gift a soon-to-be-thirteen-year-old could ever receive: permission to shave my legs AND dye my hair. Just like that, following the D.A.R.E  picnic on the last day of school, I was free to take the smooth-legged, ammonia-saturated plunge into tweenhood.

In the years since, I've donned everything from hot pink hair to a high-contrast ombre, experimenting with box color as a wee sprout and then seeking professional expertise as I had gotten older (and a whole lot wiser). And although I've primarily maintained various forms of blonde, earlier this year I decided to take it a step further and go full-on-platinum-unicorn-space-alien. The consensus? I'll never be this cool again.

Below I've put together a list of important factors to consider before attempting to go platinum. Disclaimer: this is not a move for the frugal, the impatient, the faint of heart, or, arguably, the mentally sane. However, all are more than welcome to read on for tips, tricks, and my own two cents.

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First and foremost: Have your platinum hair professionally done.

Nothing more is to be said. Have it professionally done. This is not a DIY.

It ain't CHEAP!

As you may have guessed, achieving and maintaining a unicorn mane is not an inexpensive feat. Depending on level of darkness, existing color buildup, and the overall health of your hair, lifting it to a platinum blonde will likely take multiple sessions and, in turn, a good amount of money. Don't forget to factor in the 4-6 week root touchup as you plan your budget.

Olaplex, Olaplex, Olaplex.

Ask your stylist to use Olaplex during each salon visit. This three-step hair treatment is recommended during any chemical process in order to protect the structural integrity of the hair, ensuring as little damage as possible by working to rebuild broken bonds on a molecular level. Since you'll be blowin' some serious dough as it is, you might as well do yourself a favor and pick up Olaplex No. 3 either online or at your local salon in order to maintain your in-salon Olaplex service.

You'll also need THIS!

Purple shampoo is an absolute must for those with grey or icy blonde hair, as it combats and neutralizes the yellow tones that sometimes tend to peek through. Although I've used a few different brands in the past, I think my current favorite has to be JOICO's Color Balance Purple Shampoo — it's deliciously thick and super rich in color. While it certainly isn't necessary to use more than a couple times a week, I prefer to lather it in during every hair wash, typically letting it sit for a minute or two in order to maintain a slightly metallic-looking white-blonde.

Say "farewell" to all heat styling tools.

If my readers were to take away just one piece of advice from this post, let it be this: immediately retire all heat styling tools upon going platinum. The breakage that your hairdryer and curling wand will undoubtedly cause to your already compromised hair is simply not worth it. I learned this the devastatingly hard way. And since we're on the topic—be sure to schedule a good trim on a regular basis to keep your hair looking healthy and vibrant. It makes all the difference. Between trimming my dead ends and embracing my bedhead by going heat-free, I am now on the road to a strong recovery!!!

Be prepared to receive some attention.

Since first going platinum in February, I've noticed a drastic increase in the amount of strangers I communicate with on a weekly basis. Alternative-looking hair is a conversation starter, which I think has surprisingly been the best part about it for me.

One of my favorite interactions had occurred at my gym—two older women, most likely in their late-sixties, had approached me and expressed curiosity in the unnatural color of my hair. While arguably a little far-fetched, the two had agreed that it was interesting to see a young woman confidently sport white hair, for they felt that it challenged systematic and social perceptions of age and beauty—giving a voice to those who feel the consequences and discrimination of ageism. In response I had told them that I certainly couldn't take the credit, as there was no political/social justice motivation behind my decision to dye my hair. I was, however, very grateful for the opportunity to connect with two women whom I might never have had the pleasure of meeting otherwise. I now chat with the two—Debbie and Shelby—every time I see either of them at the gym.

To conclude...

Going platinum has been one of the better decisions I've made in terms of my own personal style, despite it being slightly terrifying and extremely high-maintenance. More than anything else, it's been fun to rock something a little different than the norm. To those who are thinking of undergoing this transformation, Godspeed!!!

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