The name of this series is quite self-explanatory, and its purpose will be to share my experience and the process that led me to drop a bad habit, take up a good one, achieve a goal etc. The first installment is about quitting hair dye :-)

My love affair with bleach and hair color started when I was 19, and during the next decade, I went through many shades of pale blonde. Aside from a botched bleach job that left me with yellow hair, my color looked pretty good, and being a pale-skinned natural dark blonde, it didn't look too artificial. Sure, the upkeep was a bit of work, and even though I colored my hair myself, it was still another expense in the name of beauty. I conditioned the hell out of my hair and it held up quite OK.
And then, 6 years ago, I moved from Paris to Barcelona. Needless to say, after 6 months there, with the sunnier climate and a few week-ends at the beach, my beige blonde hair ended up brassy and dry, and my usual tricks didn't work anymore. That's when I decided to grow my colored hair out and get reacquainted with my natural color. I had a first try but after 4 months I had horrible roots, and I gave up and ran to El Corte Inglès, bought a box of beige blonde dye and bam, I felt momentarily better but was back to square one. I need to strengthen my resolve, so I did what I always do in such cases: I made a list to remind myself of why it was a great idea to stop bleaching my hair:

  • Less chemicals on my skin.
  • Healthier hair.
  • Less money spen.
  • One beauty routine less = more time to do other thing.

Of course, there was a list of cons to take into account:

  • darker roots with lighter tips don't look great after a certain point
  • to chop or not to chop dilemma
  • fear of not being as pretty with my natural color

Finally, the pros won and I grew it all out. It took me 3 years to have 100% virgin hair. It’s been six years now since I quit coloring my hair, and it’s absolutely worth it.
First of all, my natural color is quite nice, and my virgin hair is really shiny. After a decade of abuse, I had completely forgotten that hair is supposed to be soft as is and not after coating it with tons of conditioners, repairing serums etc. I still condition the tips because they’re quite long, and I just wash them using a mild shampoo two or three times weekly.

If you want to go back to your roots and keep the length of your hair, here's a bunch of tried and true tips from yours truly:

  • Start by letting your roots grow out as long as you feel comfortable with
  • Get lowlights or highlighs to blend the natural roots and the tips (for that, go to a very good hairdresser)
  • Get a good haircut that will grow out nicely
  • Massage your scalp daily Brush your hair everyday with a natural bristle brush, it will remove the dead hair, stimulate the scalp and help distribute the natural oils of your scalp on the lengths or your hair.
  • Use plants that will enhance your natural color, either in shampoos or as rinses (chamomile, lemon and rhubarb for blondes, henna for redheads, indigo for black hair, black tea, rosemary or sage tea for brunettes)
  • Sprinkle nutritional yeast on your salads, eat lean protein and a bit of nuts every day (vitamins B and protein promote healthy hairgrowth) Add a few drops of pimenta racemosa essential oil to your shampoo or to your vinegar rinse; this essential oil promotes hair growth (as always, essential oils are very potent so proceed with caution, and stop using if your scalp is irritated)
  • Experiment with updos and different ways to style your hair
  • If you're really sick of your hair, accessories, scarves and hats are your friends
  • Be patient, hair grows about 1.5 cm per month, so you're in this for a couple of years, but I can assure you, it is totally worth it.

The main benefit is that healthier hair means simpler routines. This will be the subject of another KISS installment, so stay tuned.