Bleach, Rinse, Dye … Repeat

The journey and effects of hair changes, for better or for worse


It’s a Wednesday. School is about to get out, and I have an appointment to re-bleach my hair after dying it dark three months prior. This was the third time I went to re-bleach my hair after dying it dark. This cycle has become really regular for me and has damaged my hair, and has made me see myself and my emotions through the color of my hair.

This is my first hair color, the mix of brown and some red really showed off my Irish roots (N/A)

I was born with light brown hair with a tint of red due to my Irish roots. Over time, however, just like most people, my hair color changed, losing the tint of red and turning into a darker brown. This dark brown was the hair color I spent most of my younger years growing up with. A lot of my family has this hair color. It was the perfect brown color. I was told many times that the shade was a rarer version of brown and that it was a bad idea to do anything to it because it would be hard to return to that color. Instead of listening to the hairstylist, I went through the first of many bleaching treatments on my hair when I was 12. 

Currently, I am a senior. I started to bleach and dye my hair when I was in seventh grade. It started small, with some subtle highlights to lighten up my hair. Then in eighth grade, I decided it would be a good idea to dye my hair almost black. Then again, I decided to lighten my dark hair during my freshman year and try to achieve blonde hair. This process took all of my freshman years, and by the beginning of my sophomore year, I had bleached my hair to fully blonde. 

This is me during the beginning of my sophomore year, which was also the first time I went almost fully blonde (Danielle Ahearn)

When I went fully blonde, it was the first time I really noticed immense damage to my hair. There were times where I would brush my hair, and clumps of dead hair would fall out. The bleach caused me to look like I had bangs because of the damage. I also always only used heat on my hair, and the combination of bleach and heat made for irreversible damage. My hairstylist told me this would happen, but instead of listening to her, I told myself it was a smart idea to bleach my hair one last time. This idea ruined my hair. At that point, I was past the point of return, and there was no choice but to go back to dark brown, which is what I did. I went dark brown.

My hair for the majority of 2020 was this dark brown color until I changed it in August (Chelsea Peterson)

After this time of going from bleach to dye, I thought it would be the last time. I thought I was going to stay dark brown. Instead, I went from brown to blonde two more times. After all that, I am where I am today: a full blonde. This time was different, however, and that is because of the genius invention of Olaplex. My hairstylist showed me this brand, and it has made the process of going blonde again so much smoother. It has also made my confidence in my hair go up so much more.

When I kept changing my hair, I would notice changes in my confidence. When the color job didn’t look amazing, I saw a huge dip in confidence. I have always seen my hair as the make it or break it for how I want to look, which is something I know a lot of people can relate to. Many people have gone through color treatments like me and can understand how much your hair color and look can influence your feelings and confidence. 

The blonde my hair is currently in 2021, This is the second time I have gone fully blonde in my whole life (Fiona Harris)

Now, after going blonde for what I hope is my last time, I have noticed a huge difference in my confidence. When my hair was brown, I would feel so annoyed and weird about the way I looked. Finally, when I decided to take the leap and use bleach again, I realized that I had noticed such a big increase in my confidence whenever I have gone blonde. Now more than ever, with the right products, I love my hair color and wouldn’t change it for the world. Actually, who knows, you might see me with dark brown hair in two months. We’ll wait and see.