January 14, 2019

On Brutal Blog Comments, Going Darker and Getting Over “Blondeorexia.”

blonderexiaThe first time I read a really nasty comment about myself, it was pretty early in my blogging days.

At the time, I was obsessively studying my Google Analytics to see who and what was bringing any sort of traffic to my blog. I remember clicking on a link and going down a rabbit hole of what gave me one of the worst feelings I’ve experienced in this industry. It was a site dedicated to bashing people and within that site, there was a post about me. I clicked on it, something I knew I shouldn’t have done. But like a bad car accident, I couldn’t look away.

Most of the comments were dedicated to talking about how awful my hair looked. How blonde, how processed, how I’d “look so much better with different hair…”  It was truly awful and at the time, I was in my 20’s and cared way more about what people thought and said about me. I vowed to never return, even if the temptation was there, particularly on a self loathing day, but I stayed true to my word.

The thing is, as horrible as it was to read people dedicate their time to talk crap about others, I couldn’t even disagree with what they were saying about me. At one point, my hair took a turn for the worse, but I didn’t know how to fix it. I joke and say that I had “blonderexia,” something I really believe is a thing. I was in the mindset that “lighter is better,” despite the overlapping damage it was causing to my hair. Also, I was going between getting it highlighted in various salons to doing my roots at home, between highlight appointments.

This basically means, I was a double process blonde.

Frankly, I didn’t know how to NOT be so blonde. I remember asking one of my close friends “how did you not tell me?!” and her reply “It was not always like that!” Which I do believe to be true. There was a particular period where it took a really bad turn. (side note: I cannot believe I’m willingly sharing these older images, but you gotta see it to believe it. from 2010 and 2011 – crazy!)

It was when I met David at one of Avedas amazing salons, FOURTEENJAY, when my hair truly entered hair rehab. Initially, I started seeing him because numerous people raved about how good he was at color. I knew I’d be in good hands, but it was his warm energy that I noticed before anything else. In general, going to a fancy salon in NYC can be intimidating, but there was none of that snobbery.

When I first went to David, I didn’t have the intention to grow out my double process because again, how am I not going to be blonde?!

I figured, if I’m in the hands of an artist, he’ll at least make the color look top notch. We started chatting and I started venting about how unhappy I was with my color, with my condition and overall, the look of my hair. I’ve had the same conversation with past colorists (of some of NYC’s best and fanciest salons). But David was the only person that gave me the tough love that I needed. He said something along the lines of: “look, if you want to be very light, I can continue doing that for you. I won’t overlap new highlights on top of old (as many stylists end up doing), so that will help a bit, but if you continue to use bleach, your hair will never be the way you want it to be.”

In general, bleach will be damaging, but for me, because I’m not that light to begin with, the bleach needed to pick up a lot of color. Also, after years of coloring, overlapping and doing some serious damage, my hair wasn’t at a place where it could really handle the bleach without paying a price.

THE PROCESS AND QUITTING BLEACH:

It was after that conversation, almost a year ago, that I said  “I want to stop with the bleach and get my hair back into shape.” David continued adding dimension and highlights to my hair, but he started doing it without any bleach, just Aveda color. Many of you have asked “what do you tell him you want?” and I know this is probably not the answer you all want to hear, but I’ve never told him anything. He just knows what to do and I 100% trust him.

Now, for those of you who don’t live in NYC or cannot afford David (he’s expensive – over $500, but worth it if you could swing it). Don’t give up. Being able to achieve dimension without bleach is possible, you just need to find the right person. My hair will never be as light and bright, but I’m okay with it. I’d rather have healthier hair that’s darker than lighter hair that looks haggard. Especially as I get older, I don’t want to age and cheapen my look.

Another thing I want to mention, during one of my conversations with David, he asked me a question to which the answer shocked me:

“Do you know what causes the most damage to your hair?”

Of course I thought it was bleach or heating products, but his answer shocked me.

“Hair colorists!” 

Yes, you heard that correctly! When you think about it, it makes sense! Do you know how many times I’ve went to a colorist that has rushed through the process, overlapping bleach on beach, resulting in more damage than ever. Obviously bleach is not good, but when it’s not done the right way, it’s 10x worse. Just something to be mindful of.

These days, I see David about 3-4x a year. Like I mentioned above, he mixes Aveda color to weave through a look that has dimension, without compromising my condition. I love that as it grows out, the color “line” is not harsh and I can get away with going longer between appointments. The bottom of my hair is still older hair. But I see such a huge difference from roots to the middle of my hair, which we call “David” hair. Of course, I could get a shorter cut to get rid of all of my older, damaged hair, but I’m not ready for that. I like my hair longer, so I’m going at it with a bit more patience.

In addition to quitting bleach, I am still taking Nutrafol supplements and incorporating the Aveda Invati line.

Now, I don’t use the line every single time I wash, but every other wash or so. I really believe that the combination of these things have resulted in much healthier hair. I also love the Aveda Dry Remedy Mask and Aveda Damage Remedy. One is for moisture and one is for protein, something my hair (and most hair) need both of.

I still have a long way to go and my hair will never look like Blake Lively’s (genetically, I will never have that type of hair). I know I’ll still have plenty of bad hair days, but overall, I’m much happier and more confident with how it looks and feels. Before, it was such a source of frustration and insecurity and being able to come to a place where I’m actually happy, is the best feeling in the world.

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36 comments

  • Ewa Macherowska

    Great post dear!

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

  • Kat

    Blondorexia is a very real thing! As a recovering addict myself (double process all through college and early 20s), I am now in my mid 30s and have taken the same road: found a very trusted colorist, quit bleach and go with balayage highlights to create less of a root line. Your hair over the past year has definitely been an inspiration and I LOVE you going darker. Can you please post some close of pictures of your color (on the ‘David’ hair!) I am switching to an Aveda salon in my area and would love to give them a good ‘reference’ photo.

    thank you! and Happy New Year

    • Helena

      Hi Kat,
      It really is a REAL thing. YES! I’ll try to get some better, up close photos.

  • Barbara Frank

    You look much more chic and sophisticated now than in 2010’s ‘took a turn for the worst” photo.

    • Helena

      I agree – almost 10 years ago! it was not my best period and unfortunately for me, it was all documented! ha.

  • Janine

    This was really interesting to read! It’s amazing that you found a style you are comfortable and happy with, that can be such a confidence booster as well I think!
    Now I really want to book an appointment at my hairdressers and just tell him to do whatever he thinks I need haha!
    xx Janine
    https://walkinmysneaks.blogspot.com/

  • Natasha

    You looks so elegant! Love!

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  • Maricela

    Truly enjoyed your post, thank you for sharing and being vulnerable, I can relate as i too suffered from too much bleach at one point. When I look at pictures from that time, I cannot believe a trusted friend or family member didn’t take me aside and gently talk to me about it. Love your site and your hair looks fabulous!

    • Helena

      haha, same!!

  • Young

    I love how your hair looks now! Thanks for this post. I loved how there was a good amount of tips and vulnerability.

    The Style Intermission

  • Rachelle

    I bleached my hair ONCE and I was like never again. My hair is dry and the bleach only made it worse. I would love to have more dimension but I’ve come to terms that my hair is dark and I would rather have healthy hair. You looked beautiful in your older pics but your darker color is for sure more sophisticated. It also looks well a lot more natural and effortless.

    xo
    Pinksole

  • Sue Burpee

    A good stylist and colourist are worth their weight in gold, aren’t they? Especially ones who will tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not.
    I love your colour now, It’s really flattering and has so much dimension.

  • prakash

    Just loved the post. the photo which is been added here is amazing. keep sharing.

  • Kristina

    I think you are a bit harsh on yourself:). People grow, so does their style, including hair. The bottom line is that you feel good and happy now. People tend to mock their choices in early life, but hey, we have all been there.:))

    • Helena

      I probably am being a bit harsh on myself! Although when too many photos of you live on the internet (by choice, of course), you cannot help and look back and think “WHYYYYY?” hahaha. But all part of the process of growing. That’s for sure!

  • Janet

    Which Aveda Invati products do you think works best?

    • Helena

      Hi Janet!
      I used the shampoo, conditioner and the volumizing spray – but I think the shampoo is my favorite. I’ve learned that we get so much scalp buildup which prevents new growth. The shampoo really helps to “clean up” the scalp and unclog buildup that could be preventing the growth of new hair.

  • Nancy

    I don’t even think it was that bad, I have seen worse. But it looks very beautiful now!

  • Joanna

    Why do people attach others online? They musn’t Be happy. I have even found people responding to a comment I, are someone else, left in a negative way. I’m afraid it has gone too far. Sorry this happened to you! Your hair does look healthy and luxurious.

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  • Sam Brown

    You are a lovely, young woman, but I would like to give you some advice. I am much older. However, please refrain from saying “I should have went!” The correct word is “gone!” It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard when someone says that. It immediately makes one look uneducated or unclassy! Please accept this advice with my kindest intentions!

    • Helena

      Hi Sam,

      Hmmm.. I read the post three times trying to find and correct the grammar mistake. I must be missing it because I cannot seem to find it! Anyhoo, while I welcome any constructive criticism, especially when it’s related to grammar (because god knows, I’m sure there are a lot), kindly correcting me would have been enough. Adding “it makes one look uneducated or unclassy,” even if it is the truth in your eyes, is a bit harsh. I accept your advice and will be mindful of that mistake in the future, but I believe it would be far more effective, without adding an insult to go along with it.

  • Jenn

    I went through the same phase. I loved it at the time but wow, the pictures are humbling! We’re aging like fine wine. Hair and all. 😏😘

  • Nan

    Your hair never looked that bad to me – I think the blonde on blonde look was a thing then; it was fashionable and young. Edgy in a blonde way

    • Helena

      Hi Nan,
      I’d like to think (or at least, hope!) you are right!

  • Britt

    I’m not a blonde, but as a brunette who has to cover up the grays, I enjoyed reading your “recovery” process! I remember following you way back in those processed days!! You’ve always been stunning, but I love your natural look now! ❤️

  • A Woman Of A Certain Age

    We live and learn. Your hair looks beautiful!

    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com

  • Angela

    Beautiful then, beautiful now. Love your color now and admire you for putting yourself out there – those who are critical and harsh wouldn’t have the courage. 🙂

  • whitty

    now fix those kusty lips

  • Florence

    This is why we read you blog – thank you for keeping it real!

  • Jessica Mason

    Thank you so much for posting this! I was stuck in a vicious cycle of too blonde and then adding low lights and messing with my fine, naturally medium blonde hair. I finally cut it in one length (letting it grow) and use your pictures as the example for my hair dresser! You are beautiful!

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  • Lisa

    To keep it short my love for Australia started with a tv show about families trying to see if it was possible for them to move and I have been obsessed ever since! I am still not in the right place to move yet but you really keep me going 😀 To the point where I have downloaded your book and shared it with my family. We are going for a holiday in the near future and I can’t wait! It helps so much to show my family and say “See this!” Or “This is a person just like us.” which has helped the dream come together slowly, keep doing what you are doing! I look forward to more blogs :))

  • Psychologist perth

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. I hope that you could try to take the comments with a pinch of salt, and give yourself kudos for putting yourself into the spotlight on various issues like you do

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