Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Platinum Blonde Ambition - My Hair Story

I know this is generally a fashion/style blog but I've decided to share my hair story today, please indulge me... I promise to get back to blogging about killer heels next time.

Firstly, confession time.... I'm not really a natural blonde! There I've said it. It feels good to finally admit what I'm sure sure you already probably guessed anyway. My hair is a mousy, non-descript, boring, dull, mid-brown colour. Totally average...

I decided from a young age that I was never going to get anywhere in life with such an uninspiring hair colour and, from about the age of 14 or 15, I've had love affair with hair dye...

I was a huge fan of No Doubt growing up and especially the ever-beautiful Gwen Stefani. Not only do we share the same birthday (3rd of October) but we also love being blonde. Not a tacky, yellow blonde but a luxurious, shiny ashy blonde... my absolute favourite shade!

Gwen Stefani rockin the platinum blonde!

After laying on the emotional blackmail to my mum, I had my first subtle blonde highlights added to my mousy brown hair when I was about 14/15 and really loved the golden shade that my hair now had. I had these for a few years before I decided to use Ms Stefani as my platinum blonde inspiration and I've never really looked back.

I've also had a heavy, blunt fringe for about as long as I can remember (someone once told me I should resister it as my trademark) and, as I have very fine hair, always had my hair cut in a short bob to help it look a little thicker.

I really loved this hairstyle at the time and my amazing hairdresser Nicole, who has been my hair saviour for about 9/10 years and always knows what's best for my hair (like when she refused to give me pink highlights a few years ago!) always gets the colour and cut exactly the way I love it. But, I decided a few years ago to grow my hair for a bit of a change. Then I was prescribed a drug called Roaccutane for my skin and that's when the hair saga really started...

My skin started getting better almost immediately (yay!) and I was only on the medication for about 5 months in total from the October until the February the following year. Then, in October that year, 8 months after completing my treatment, I started to notice that my hair had started breaking and that it looked really frizzy at the roots. Then a 1" chunk of hair on the side of my head broke off completely really close to the root and the ends of my hair were all completely different lengths, as if I had cut a chunk off certain sections.

At that point I really started to panic - as did Nicole. She kept asking if I was on medication and by that point, I was no longer on Roaccutane so it didn't even register that it could be related to my hair breakage. I then googled side effects of the drug and suddenly found quite a few people on different forums talking about having the exact same problems with their hair that I had. The drug is so strong that the hair that is growing in whilst you are on the drug is much weaker than your hair would normally be and much more susceptible to breakage and hair loss.

I actually felt quite relieved once I had discovered what was causing the breakage as I knew it would eventually return to normal. After reading so many horror stories about people going completely bald or having huge bald patches, I actually felt really lucky that, as annoying as it was, I had only suffered from some bad breakage which would eventually grow again. As I mentioned, I was already off the drug by this point so knew that the worst of it was over and would be slowing working it's way out of my system - via my hair as it turned out.

I was totally dis-heartened by the fact that I had been growing my hair for about a year or so and it was probably the same length, actually shorter in some areas, than when I had started growing it!

I started using Nioxin hair products at this point and I felt that it made a huge difference to my hair growth and the strength of my hair. I'd really recommend it to anyone who has fine hair or has experience hair breakages. It's a 3 part system, shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment and my hair always feels great when I use it. (I get mine from Amazon).

As the breaking had already stopped and was growing again and it had returned to it's normal strength again, I decided to try some clip in hair extensions to help me feel a bit better about the short hair situ.

Once I got used to them, I loved the feeling of having longer hair and became addicted to them. I then heard about Halo hair extensions and again, they were really great at adding length instantly.

I've been using a combination of clip-ins and the halo for about 2 years and my hair was definitely getting longer and healthier but still not anywhere near as thick as I would like and, to be honest, I was totally fed up with having to put them in every single day and take them out every night. So, I finally decided to take the plunge and invest in some bonded extensions!

I did a lot of research and finally decided to pay a visit to Julia McMillan of Jum Hair Extensions in the West End of Glasgow for a free consultation. I'd seen a lot of her work and was really impressed. I relayed my hair saga to Julia and she suggested that I try Hairdreams extensions. She explained that for blondes, they have the most amazing range of shades.

She also suggested that as my hair is so fine and also due to the fact I've never had any bonded extensions before, that I go for the 12" length. Hairdreams come in 12", 16" and 20" lengths and I'm used to wearing 18" Halo Hair extensions so I was a bit worried that 12" would seem a bit short but she clearly knew what she was talking about so I decided to go for the shorter length.

She also advised, as my hair is so fine (tres annoying!), that I go for a half head of bonds through the back of my hair and some Hairdreams Quikkies at the side of my hair which are taped in rather than bonded individually. She showed me photo's of a girl who had the exact same colour of hair as me and who had even shorter hair than mine to begin with. The difference in her before and after pictures was amazing and it just looked so completely natural and she look delighted with them which is definitely what sold it to me.

I got them fitted last Friday afternoon in about an hour and it's safe to say that I am ridiculously happy with them!

Here are a couple of before and after pictures that Julia took in her salon.

Quikkies at the side of my hair
Just before I went into Jum Hair Extensions and just after I came out after having them fitted! :)

It's the perfect colour match ( I think it was 2 shades of blonde) and there are absolutely no visible joins. I love that the length actually looks really natural too and the Hairdreams Quikkies at the side are so flat  and much less obvious than bonds would have been, especially as my layers at the side are still quite short and flyaway. I don't feel paranoid at all that my bonds or Quikkies are showing.

I've read soooo much about hair extensions as I've been thinking about getting them done for so long and loads of people have mentioned that they are heavy to begin with and quite hard to sleep in for the first few nights. I have to say that I haven't found that AT ALL! They feel so light than I can't feel any pressure on my hair and are so much more comfy than wearing clip-in's or my Halo extension. I was also worried that they would take so long to dry but I washed and dried them for the first time on Sunday and they were completely dry in 15 mins, but I'm sure it will be much less time the more I do it as I will be more used to actually having hair to dry!

When I wake up in the morning (I was advised to sleep with them in a low ponytail to stop them matting) the extensions look amazing! It's not exactly 'get up and go' as the top layer of my own hair and my fringe tend to be a bit messy because they are quite short. But, after a quick brush, blast of dry shampoo and a once-over with the straighteners through my top layer and fringe, I'm good to go! If I feel I need it, I just wash the roots of my hair and my fringe really quickly and that takes no time at all.

Bed head hair is so much better with hair dreams... (excuse the no make up!)
Julia has been fitting Hairdreams extensions in her salon for a year now and she is clearly really passionate about giving her clients the best product and the most suitable extensions depending on hair type and colour. I loved how genuinely excited she was for me... even though adding length to hair is an everyday occurrence for her - it was very sweet! She said that the average wear her clients tend to get from Hairdreams is about 5 months - I think I'll definitely be addicted to them by then!

I love that they don't really look like hair extensions and are a really natural length and they certainly don't feel like they are putting a lot of pressure on my own hair, certainly much less so than clip-in's!

Hairdreams aren't the cheapest extensions but you definitely get what you pay for and when I think about how much I've spent on clip-in's and Halo's in the past couple of years it really doesn't seem a lot, especially compared to how much happier I am with the final result.

I think most girls will agree that when you're having a bad hair day you don't want to leave the house so it is such a relief to finally be happy with my hair!

If you have any questions about Hairdreams extensions then add Jum Hair Extensions on Facebook or follow her on twitter @juliajumhair - she is the hair extension expert and is bloomin ace!

Anyway, sorry for how ridiculously long this post is but I really wanted to share the story behind the new do!


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