For the first three years of my life, I had white blonde hair. I was a toehead, and it was wonderful. But then tragedy hit at year four: my hair faded into a mousy, dishwater blonde color, so I spent the next 22 years on an impossible crusade to be as blonde as humanly possible. I tried Sun-In, lemon juice, lightening shampoos, highlights, and conveniently took a job as a lifeguard for maximum sun exposure. But no matter what, I never felt blonde enough. Hair dysmorphia is real, people, and I definitely have it.
So nearly three years ago, I resorted to the double process. Since then, my hair has become more of a commitment than the PTA (I’ve never been in the PTA, but I hear it’s a lot to deal with) with its monthly touch-ups, weekly treatments, and constant special demands (rinse with Pellegrino, no blow-drying, no heat-styling, no back-combing, etc). And now that the frigidity of winter is upon us, I must take even more drastic measures to protect my hair from Mother Nature’s harsh elements. I have slowly but surely morphed into a creature more protective of, and obsessed with, my hair than Jesse Katsopolis, which is to say: very. It’s at least once per week that I wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare in which my hair turned a brassy, orange shade, or broke off completely. So you get the picture: I am obsessed.
Thankfully, despite some breakage, my hair hasn’t completely snapped off my scalp (yet), which is awesome because I have always fully identified with being blonde, and don’t ever plan on going back to my natural shade. I attribute what hair I have left to the following products which keep my hair strong, supple, and brass-free.
This was the first purple shampoo I ever used, and continues to be a favorite because its protein-enriched, bright indigo formula tones down brassiness in a single use. Fair warning: if you leave it on for more than a couple of minutes, however, your hair WILL turn lavender whether you like it or not.
Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo, $6.49; at Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond
This mask was recommended to me by several different colorists because it’s specifically formulated for people with over-processed hair (🙋), and I try to use it at least 1-2x/week. I’ll saturate my whole head with it and leave it on for an hour or so while I’m doing things at home or working out. It’s definitely improved the quality and shine of my hair.
Résistance Masque Thérapiste, $65; at Kérastase
This is probably my favorite mask of all time because it’s super nourishing AND combats and brassy or yellow undertones.
Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care Nutritive Mask in Baby Blond, $51; at Sephora
At any given time, I probably have six different oils in my rotation, but this one is the best for restoring shine. I apply it twice-daily, in the morning and at night, concentrating on my ends and hairline. My hair just soaks it right up!
Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil, $69; at Shu Uemura
You know how Regina George’s hair was said to be insured for $10,000? Yeah, this miracle in-salon, 3-step treatment is basically breakage insurance for your hair (except it’s not $10,000). I’ve been using it for the past 6 months or so, and the difference in my hair is really like night and day.
No. 3 Hair Perfector, $28; at Olaplex
One of the only upsides to having double-processed hair is that I really only have to wash it twice per week. In between washes, I like to refresh with a good dry shampoo for a little boost of volume, and this one is great because it is very powdery and makes my hair even whiter!
Batiste Dry Shampoo Original Scent, $7.99; at Walgreens
This, right here, is the holy grail of hair serums. It’s packed with amino acids that seal split ends and prevent further breakage.
Résistance Sérum Thérapiste, $43; at Kérastase
In the winter especially, I like to mix some coconut oil into my hair masks and let it sit for at least an hour as it’s super moisturizing.
Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, $23.65 (was $37.99); at Thrive Market
A silk pillowcase is a must for anyone with bleached hair as it greatly reduces breakage, particularly if you’re a wild sleeper (like me).
Slip Embroidered Silk Queen Pillowcase, $80; at Net-A-Porter
Credit photo. StyleCaster