With a name like Crohnically Blonde it is only fitting that I at least am a LITTLE bit into haircare. Fun fact: I did go to hair school and I have my barbering license, what whattttt. But also fun fact, I hate doing hair now, especially my own. Weird right?
Not so much. I went to hair school kind of on a limb (an expensive one), and I love the concepts behind everything I did I just hated the school that I went to; therefore, lost the love of it and went on to pursue makeup sales to fulfill my beauty junkie side until I hit the corporate world. I never really thought that doing hair would be my forever career, I just thought it would be a cool way to make some extra dollahs while in college. That was the case but I actually enjoyed the science behind the products more than I did the actual artistry. Also weird, right?
Well it helped me sell haircare products and to this day, that knowledge helps me select what I want to use on my hair. Now I am no expert anymore but I am a self proclaimed guinea pig for many things hair related. Since quite a few years of experimenting with some less than flattering and often wild hair (thanks hair school), I finally went back to my roots (pun intended) and settled on blonde. Full disclosure: my roots are more of a mousey, dirty blonde but still..... Anyone who had bleached their hair or went through any extent of serious processing knows that it can be a rough time for your hair's health. Me, personally, I have so really freaking thin hair that is flat and gets greasy super easily and also breaks off by just looking at it the wrong way. I may shed more than my dogs. Not. Kidding.
My entire life I have HATED my hair. Like really hated it. But now with the right stylist, the right products, and the right extensions (occasionally), I have finally started the journey to kind of loving my haircare routine. I received quite a few questions about how I maintain a cool toned blonde look. To be full disclosure, my hair girl, Lauren, absolutely kills it and hooks me up with the perfect cocktail of toner that is equal parts Stassi Schroeder and Pinterest success. So she should get all of the credit. The problem is, let's get real, going to the salon is expensive. I can honestly say I try and stretch my appointments as far out as I can to save money. I started getting my highlights painted in, instead of just regular highlights which really helps them grow out more naturally, but the problem I run into isn't my roots. The ombre trend has really helped us money saving girls out but the tone of my hair is the problem. I HATE when my hair gets brassy and recently it has been out of control on the brassy bus. I was using a moisturizing shampoo to help with my dry ends but totally neglecting the color maintenance at home.
Let me just go on the record here and say:
PURPLE SHAMPOO IS EVERYTHING.
But you have to get the right one. I have been through so many and finally found my cocktail of two shampoo/conditioner combos that keep my hair up to my standards.
The first one is Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo and Conditioner. You can get the shampoo and conditioner for around $30 for both at Ulta, but often times they have deals like "2 for $20" and stuff like that which is great. This shampoo and conditioner combo is actually great for every time you wash your hair because it doesn't have a huge color payoff. It definitely tones but doesn't cause an insanely noticeable difference. This is my go to, every wash kind of stuff. It is also decently moisturizing without leaving your hair greasy. Yay.
When I get towards the latter end of my time I can go between salon appointments, it is time to bring out the heavy duty hitter. AKA Clairol Shimmer Lights. Okay, I know I sounds like a 75 year old woman but let me tell you, this stuff freaking works! The smell isn't fabulous but the color payoff is out of control. So much so that I can only use this combo maybe once per week. When I first got it, I was so obsessed with the cool toned results that I definitely overkilled and got a grayish lavender tone to my hair for a couple of days which is super cool but not for my corporate life. I highly recommend this combination to use once per week if you are looking to cut the brassiness in your blonde. The best part.... it is SO cheap. You can get each of these products on Amazon for under $12. SCORE.
Next up on my hair necessities are hair extensions. I have been through some really, really bad extensions. Like soooo bad. But I finally have found some that I am liking. They took a bit to master styling just right but now I have them down pat and only have to ask Matt maybe three times if you can see my clips before we go out.... thin haired girls, you know the struggle. I have always had super fine hair and not a lot of it for my entire life. Between various periods of lacking nutrients due to medical reasons and a slew of medication side effects to follow, my hair just continues to suffer. I am a firm believer that if there is something small you can do to make you feel better about yourself and more confident then why not do it? Hence, my love of hair extensions.
My huge hair extension tip is:
GET THEM COLORED AND CUT TO MATCH YOUR HAIR BY YOUR STYLIST.
My stylist, a hair extension enthusiast herself, did a killer job of taking my extensions and making them look like they grew out of my head. I made the mistake at first of wearing them super long when my hair was around collar bone length. She made them blend really well but they just still looked stingy at the ends because of the lack of hair. Things changed BIG TIME when she cut them only about two inches longer than my natural hair and we went for volume not length. The scraggly ends were gone and my hair actually looked nice and full for the first time that I can remember. She also carefully toned my extensions to match my hair exactly. Big warning here, do not try and tone them at home, especially if you are a blonde. Having super blonde extensions, they will just suck up the color so it is best to let a professional do their work.
I like to purchase a more blonde extension than I actually need because it is easier to deposit color/toner as opposed to lifting color out of them. I like THESE, the Piccolina Ash Blonde 120g 18" from Bellami. Since I have thin hair, anything more than the 120g would be too much and anything longer than 18" would be unnecessary since I mainly use them for volume. These are only around $120 (you can get promo codes all over Instagram for various percentages off as well), which isn't bad compare to what I have seen other brands come out to.
These bad boys have lasted me for OVER a year which is amazing. I only wash them once every few wears which I know may sound gross but I don't wear them for physically active events. I usually only wear them on weekends for events which only last a couple of hours, which has definitely help me extend the life of these.
The only downsides are that since my hair is so thin sometimes you can see the clips if they aren't styled perfectly. That is more of a me problem than an extensions problem. The other downside, they are too much upkeep to wear everyday. For more of a permanent look (thinking engagement, wedding, honeymoon situation, hint hint wink wink) I am thinking of getting some tape ins. Believe me there will be a WHOLE other Crohnically Blonde post about that.
Anyway, I hope this post helps! I know I scour endless blogs trying to discover what the best of the best is when it comes to keeping blonde hair blonde and when it comes to making my hair not look so wimpy. My last tip is to realize that a lot of the hair you see today is fake so don't be hard on yourself. I tell myself this almost 24/7. For the longest time I would admire reality TV stars and wonder how the hell they all were blessed with such perfect hair. Now don't get me wrong, some of them are, Brittany Cartwright I'm looking at you. But a majority of them utilize the secrets (and the staff) that we all wish we had. That being said, DO NOT hold yourself to unrealistic standards. You are beautiful no matter what you hair looks like. So own it. And if taking these tips and putting them into action makes you feel a little better and more confident, then I say go for it.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.