White. Silver. Pink. Lavender. Even rainbow. I kept seeing colored hair. And I wanted it too! But I have the blackest of black Asian hair. Could I really stand the scalp-burning sessions that would be required to get a candy-colored hue? I decided to try.
Me and my au naturel hair. (Photo: Roy Beeson)
Prior to now, I’ve never dyed my hair any drastic color aside from the typical Asian favorite: auburn. Cute, but boring. But I figured white — or anything light — just wasn’t doable.
But the Paint Box, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has an Instagram filled with rainbow hair that still looks healthy. Their work is a unicorn’s dream come true. If they couldn’t transform my hair, no one could.
Jenny Reger, hair colorist extraordinaire and owner of the Paint Box, sat me down and explained the process. She said on average for people with dark hair, the entire process takes about six to eight hours. First, she would have to bleach the hair to lift out my natural color. Then, before the actual dye, a toner would be necessary to neutralize any discoloration from the bleach (i.e., any yellow or orange hues).
The bleach didn’t touch my scalp, so it was easy enough. (I was thankful to avoid any ANTM crying model moments.) I did have to go through two bleaching sessions though: Each one lasted a bit over an hour.
Next was the toner, which was even easier. And then, finally, came the color! I asked for something pastel but different. So Jenny went with a rose gold. It’s something completely different from what I’ve ever seen. I personally love it and can’t wait to see how it fades.
The final results! (Photo: Derek Nguyen)
All in all the session took five hours (less than the initial estimate, but whew!). Post-dye-session, Jenny and her team gave me the 411 on how to care for my new rose gold hair.
In order to prolong the color, I got a custom conditioner (made from conditioner and the color dye). Jenny also told me to wash my hair as little as possible to keep the color from fading. (She suggested limiting shampoos to twice a week.)
Then to soothe damaged hair, once a week, use a deep conditioning mask, like one from Kevin Murphy, or an oil treatment, like one from Je Veux (but make sure the oil is not tinted or it will affect the color of your hair). Also, silk pillowcases are easier on your strands than cotton ones.
With my rose gold hair, I feel like a different person, like I’ve tapped a facet of myself that I never knew existed. I’ve never been happier — and I definitely won’t be going back to black anytime soon.