Happy Accident?

Monday, October 17, 2011

I mentioned in my sloppy special occasion hair and makeup post that my hair is currently two different colors. I've had the same so-dark-it's-almost-black-but-in-the-sunlight-you-can-tell-it's-more-brown hair color for almost my whole life as that's my natural shade. But every now and then, I crave a little change and the last time it struck was around my high school graduation almost two years ago. That summer, I got incredibly sick of my dark hair and wanted to go lighter, but didn't want to do a fully dramatic salon job and was scared of trying at-home hair color. My blonde friend swore by Sun-In--she, normally a caramel-blonde, turned almost platinum every summer thanks to her "wonder product." It sounded perfect because I just wanted to go a little lighter (frankly, I would look ridiculous with anything but dark hair). The Sun-In packaging warned that it wouldn't really work on black or dark brown hair, but I cockily waved that off as nonsense. What did they know about their own product? The morning of my high school graduation (god knows why I picked such a photographed day in my life!) I sprayed it in and left it to work while we were lining up outside the venue in the bright June sunshine. 

In every single one of my cap and gown photos, I have orange hair. 

For weeks afterward, everyone from friends to family members told me how terrible it looked but I loved it! Looking back at photos now, I'm wondering how on earth that was ever possible, but the change was so welcome that my tangerine-auburn hair looked magnificent in my eyes. (You should also know that while my hair color was drastically different, I didn't fill in my eyebrows with a redder shade or anything so I looked even more ridiculous).

Almost two years later, as you can tell by the photo, parts of my hair are still tinged reddish. It's a lot more obvious when I straighten my hair as I did for the picture, but when I wear it naturally wavy, it's hard to even see the difference. Truthfully, I tend to forgot about my slightly unnatural hair color, but on the whole I actually like it. 

At this point, my hair has grown out enough so that the line between the two colors is very smudged and it looks a bit more like a gradient. (If I were pushing it, I might even say that it almost looks like I'm in on the ombre hair thing). I don't absolutely love it, but I definitely like how it provides my hair with some dimension--before, if I made a braid or something my color was too flat for it to even be seen. 

(Under normal, not-so-bright lights the color is much more subtle)

Would I do it again? Absolutely not. From now on, If I want a different hair color, I'll go to a salon or try swatching some boxed dye for a good shade. But as far as beautifying accidents go, this one could have been a lot worse. (Or in this case, it was pretty bad for a while but I really wasn't aware of it). 

I might get it fixed one day, or wait until my hair grows out enough to cut off the colored part--but for now, I'm okay with the way it looks.

The lesson here is A) Sun-In is really not meant for dark hair and B) when everyone tells you your hair looks like crap, it probably does. But hey, life would be so much more boring if we didn't experiment and switch things up!

I'd love to hear about any beauty mishaps you've had--hair or makeup! The first eyeshadow color I wore was actually a bright, frosted blue that I got from Claire's. But to be fair, I wore it to distract from my braces, thick glasses and big metal earrings. (I had an awkward stage like no other!) Oh, and then there was the time my cousin bleached my eyebrows...but that could be a whole post on its own!

Leave me a comment telling me all about your beauty blunders, or if you've ever made a huge change and loved the results!

PS, if you live in New York, the Nordstrom Rack in Union Square has Supersized Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butters for $13 when they normally retail for $50! That kind of bargain simply forces you to get two, doesn't it? =)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Monday!


  1. Hi Leili!

    Thanks for all your great posts. I love curling my hair but I have fine, straight hair that won't hold a curl for anything. Can you recommend any products with great hold that won't turn my hair hard? Looking forward to your response!

  2. Alana (I love your name!), your timing is incredible!

    I troll for beauty products online a lot, and was actually just looking at a heat protectant spray that is designed to help hold curl. It's made by got2b, meaning you should be able to find it in drugstores but I kept seeing it for months when it suddenly disappeared. From the perusing I've done on their website, it's now discontinued (clearly I should have bought it when I had the chance) but I really want to try it out so I found it online at amazon. Here's the link! Obviously, then, I haven't used it myself but aside from that one crappy review, everyone seems to like it and it has the added benefit of protecting your hair from the iron.

    Product-wise, aside from a light mist of hairspray, the got2b one is the only thing I can think of that will really help hold the curls. Gels and mousses are so uncomfortable to feel in your hair and will probably wind up weighing your hair down more than anything else.

    You might try hot rollers--I don't have too much experience with them myself, but on the few times I've tried them, the curls stuck around really well. Something to do with how much longer the hair is wrapped around the heated tool?

    But probably the best tip I have for you is something I witnessed firsthand a few weeks ago. I was getting my hair done for a wedding and the stylist caught each curl as he pulled the iron out, and then pinned it up. I'd heard before that could be helpful, but by letting my curls cool in their shape, they still looked almost perfect 3 days later! (I used dry shampoo!) It takes a bit more time to do, but I really did see a difference and my hair curls pretty well.

    Now in terms of the way you curl, I've heard before that wrapping your hair around the barrel like you would with a conical wand will hold better, but apparently the longest-lasting curls come from doing it with a narrow flat iron. (Never done it myself, but I'm sure there are some YouTube videos on it).

    Whew! Hopefully that helps!

    Thanks so much for reading, Alana, I really do appreciate it!

  3. Whoops! Forgot to give you the link to the got2b product on Amazon:


  4. do you have any hair highlighting kits you recommend? i am also asian and am looking for a chestnut type color and not too red...

    1. I'm sorry, I don't!

      I've only colored my hair once since then, and i used a single color all-over dye.

      I know what you mean, though, I've always wanted reddish-brown highlights that still look natural. From what I hear, getting highlights to blend is tricky, so you may want to go to a salon.