Dark Hair Diaries: A Lesson in Orange
If you've had your hair lightened and you have dark hair like mine, chances are you've experienced what I feel is a rite of passage; Brassy, Orange Hair.
Like any individual that's enamoured with the world of coloured hair, it's only natural for me to look into experimenting with my own. Don't get me wrong, I love my dark Asian locks but the thought of having a fashion hue on this little head of mine? Yes please!
As a child, I remember flicking through tattered hair magazines as I waited for Mum to finish getting her blow-out. I was always fascinated by the models I saw in the pages — How was their hair as pink as candy floss? What was the magic behind it? — I'd spend countless hours fascinated by those papers, wondering if I could ever have those cool colours for myself.
At 16, I had cash and I had a dream. I hastily visited our local hairdresser with the intention of going blonde. As you can probably imagine, I left looking like a not-so-musically talented Ed Sheeran. I was heartbroken. You know when your hairdresser finishes up with your hair and asks you if you like it; you nod, pay at the counter, get into the driver’s seat of your car and cry? That was me. I’d condemned myself to never having lightened hair that didn’t resemble a tangerine.
And then I joined the Matrix Australia team.
I was introduced to our campaign for the first half of 2022, Shades of Summer. Shades of Summer was inspired by road trips during an Australian summer with pit stops at iconic landmarks including Wave Rock, the Wimmera Region and more. The Matrix Artistry team created looks that reflected these remarkable places; Wave Rock with Mat Johnson (@mjhair) showcased luscious brown coils with hints of honey highlights – lightened with a gentle application of our Curl Lights. Wimmera Region by Kim Astro featured a brunette bombshell with beachy waves for days.
But it was the Whitehaven Beach look by Adam Ciaccia that caught my attention.
A platinum blonde bob on an Asian model? Sign me up. After all my troubles with brassy, orange hair, it was like I had seen the light. Without too much deliberation, I enlisted the help of our expert Matrix Educators Domenica Dalberto and Sara Oakley on my quest for a lighter and pinker hairdo. While they worked their magic, I had to ask: “Why is it that I’ve gotten brassy, orange hair in the past?”
“It’s about how dark the hair starts and how much pigment you need to expose — Asian hair has red pigment to begin with and you have to go from red to orange and eventually yellow to get that blonde you’re looking for. People with coarser hair textures also have a lot more travelling to do compared to those with finer hair.”
A toner, a colour and a blow-dry later, I am pink, proud, and prettier than ever. I have since explored the journey of maintaining lightened hair and who am I to keep my routine a secret?
A little behind-the-scenes on my journey to pink!
Unbreaking My Blonde.
Although I am currently a brilliant shade of pink, my haircare is still that of a lightened blonde. My current routine consists of three key ranges in the Matrix Total Results Collection; Unbreak My Blonde, So Silver and Keep Me Vivid.
In the span of a week, I’ll start off with the Unbreak My Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner which are an excellent duo for those who are looking to revive and strengthen chemically damaged hair. Both products are infused with citric acid which work to strengthen, soften and reinforce any weakened bonds within the hair during the colouring process. I typically like to use Unbreak My Blonde when I feel that my hair needs a bit of a pick-me-up and once a week usually does the trick.
If I feel that my colour is heading towards a brassier end, I’ll incorporate the So Silver products into my second wash of the week. The So Silver duo consist of a professional salon purple shampoo that is accompanied with a non-pigmented conditioner which hydrates dry and porous hair, leaving your strands silky smooth. The So Silver range especially works wonders for anyone who wants to neutralise the brassy warmth in their hair and eliminate dull or yellow tones.
Styling can be a little tricky as the last thing you want to apply to your lightened hair is heat. Thankfully, the Keep Me Vivid Color Velvetiser has been my newest holy grail with its’ smoothing capabilities, colour-protecting UV filter and heat protecting qualities. I use this on my damp hair and blow dry on cold before applying my styling product of choice.
Today, I’m walking around with a newfound appreciation for my once dark do’. The next time I look into the salon mirror and see brassy, orange hair gleaming back at me, I can look forward to the creative colours to come. I’ll leave you with some final words of haircare wisdom: Brassy, orange hair is part of the journey, not the destination. Trust the process; brassy orange is the step towards a brighter, blonder you.