hair color

[beauty] Goodbye #ProjectRedhead, Hello #ProjectBrunette

It’s been fun, but, sadly (as in you have no idea how sad I am about this decision), all good things must needs come to an end.  And while #ProjectRedhead was definitely a good thing–or, well, at least a fun thing–I’m starting to miss my healthier-looking, “hidden ginger” natural hair.  Or, rather, I’m starting to miss how much moneysaved by keeping my healthier-looking, “hidden ginger” natural hair.

As I keep reiterating on these blogs, taking the plunge into redhead territory is a major commitment.  With constant fading (the mark of a true red dye), the bleeding-after-a-shower, and the need for regular salon (or at-home) touch-ups, being ginge (or titian, or auburn, or copper, or whatever shade) requires obsessiveness and a somewhat disposable income.  And while I do have the former…

…well, let’s just say, I don’t have the latter.

So I’ve decided to (admittedly reluctantly; I look quite a bit nicer as a Tully-Stark) embrace going back to au naturel after ticking getting a dye job off of my bucket list.  While I’ve explored several options such as dyeing all my hair back to my natural colour (next-to-impossible, as every salon I went to told me my natural colour was nearly-impossible to properly replicate) and cutting it all off (which would mean spending on a haircut, and as I mentioned I don’t really have money to burn right now), the best option, at the end of the day, was to do as little to it as possible.

Basically, leave my hair alone.

Fortunately, the “ombre” hairstyle hasn’t exactly gone out of fashion yet, so this is a viable option for a soon-to-be ex-redhead such as myself, but unfortunately my hair is currently an unnatural shade of red which, ten-to-one, won’t really blend well with my dark-brown regrowth.

Photo on 6-6-14 at 7.24 PMAforementioned unnaturally-red (occasionally pink) hair.

With hair the shade of a strobe light (and you should see what actual strobe lights do to it), not doing anything to my hair is not exactly an option.  At the very least, I’ll have to tone down it’s gloriously bright flame-ness.  I’ve started the process already by using clarifying and balancing shampoos daily (yep, breaking my “don’t wash your hair every day” rule) to gently strip the semi-permanent topcoat (Manic Panic Vampire Red), which will probably leave a great pseudo-blonde, pseudo-ginger mess at the end of the week.

Step two of this process will be to dye my hair for the second to the last time, with Herbatint box colours I’ve had in stock for a few months already.  They were supposed to be used as ingredients for colour-depositing conditioner, but since I won’t be trying to deposit any more colour onto my hair I might as well use them to darken my light lengths into a more blendable shade.  Currently I have one box of “Light copper brown” and one-and-a-half boxes of “copper blonde” from this brand, which, considering how long my hair is, should be enough to cover my whole head (sans roots) and will hopefully develop into an ombre-worthy shade.

Once this colour fades out (and more roots likely grow in), step three–and the last dyeing step–will come into effect.  My mum has unused boxes of Herbatint Dark Mahogany Brown which she’s graciously allowed me to use, and I will to finally make the transition from red to brown, hopefully buying me time to get used to idea before my whole dark mass grows in.

Then, well, Project Brunette begins, until perhaps I can save up a fund to have red-brown highlights, since those are quite a bit easier to maintain (I think).  Or else henna.  But I’m trying not to think about that right now (I’m too busy mourning the red. :)) )

While the roots grow out, I’ve been experimenting with hairstyles that make them look less sloppy and more rocker-chic, and I’ll be getting to seven different iterations I’ve discovered in the next post. For now, this is an official announcement: out with the new, and back in with the old! I’m going back to my roots…literally. :))

How about you, dear readers? Have any of you had to grow out your hair? How did you do it?


[beauty blog] Project Redhead: Stealth Ginger No More!

A picture is supposedly worth a thousand words.  Here’s two.


 Before: My “Cheer Up Emo Kid” look post-Christmas, with my original, born-this-way, hair color.


After: Post-Valentines, Post-Project Redhead Implementation, complete with three-week fade.  Taken a few hours ago.

As you can see, I am now…kind of a ginger.  In some lights, it’s glaringly (and I mean glaringly obvious), and by obvious, I mean orange.


Image…sort of.

In the words of my good friend Yua Valenton, my hair color is techically closer to “some kind of nut,” with a strong orange-y cast, or so (HRH) Rashmi tells me.  Technicalities aside though, my hair is definitely a different color than it used to be, and that color is most assuredly closer to red compared to what it used to be.  It’s not Sea of Shoes-ginger, true, nor is it Amy Pond, but it’s close enough that I feel justified in captioning some of my photos with the hashtag #PondLife.

In short: I quite like my new hair.

Okay, some nitty-gritty details.  Unlike my original plans–truth be told, very few of my original plans actually got implemented–I did not wait until graduation to get my hair done.  My mum caved on Valentines Day, during our mother-daughter bonding/psychological therapy session (bonding for her, therapy for me).  I ended up choosing Hairshaft Salon in Podium, on the recommendation of my friend Annika, and my color-change was supervised by their senior stylist, Mr. Miguel, and assisted by Mr. Ralph.


Photographed: The process of lifting the color for my highlights

Unlike the Guy Tang balayage that I’d researched, Mr. Miguel had his own process, which consisted of lightening certain strands of my hair  while coloring the base a slightly more warm, coffee-to-cinnamon hue, before putting the red shade all over everything, resulting in coppery highlights over a vaguely auburn, vaguely cinnamon–I will persist in Yua’s description of “some kind of nut”–base.  The whole process took about four hours.

Salon Survival Tip: BRING A BOOK.

The process would have taken longer if I had sprung for the digital perm before the dyeing process, but I decided that my perm-trauma was still too strong, and decided not to subject my hair to any more punishment.  For now, I am content with putting my hair up in a bun or else using my curling iron to achieve those loose, Amy Pond-esque waves.

The color itself, just to give a quick background, came from two sources:


Base color.



So there you have it.  My magical redhead transformation.  Of course, this isn’t the end of Project Redhead as we know it.  Since I’m still not a full redhead yet, there’s still a ways to go.  Next move: henna.

When?  You’ll see.


[beauty blog] Project Redhead: Outing My Stealth Ginger

When I was sixteen, I had a very bad perm.

I know that statement sounds like it was made in the 70s and 80s, back when nearly every girl (and a few guys) had a bad perm, but my story happened in 2009.  That was the year I graduated from high school, and also the year quite a few of the girls in my high school got their hair permed.  It looked really nice on them, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon myself, resulting, after two tries (my hair wisely rebelled on the first go), in the 80s happening all over again, on my head.


Never again!

Obviously from the photo above, that choice was a complete disaster, and eventually the truth became clear even to my dense sixteen-year-old self, so I started cutting my hair progressively shorter in order to speed up the process.  Along the way there was a disastrous *third* perm (note to all my readers: DO NOT GET THREE PERMS IN FOUR MONTHS.  DO NOT.  BAD IDEA.), which set me back all over again, but finally I got it to a length where the curls could safely grow out, and where it looked slightly more modern, though honestly still nowhere near a “good perm.”

The only *good* thing that came about from my year of hair experimentation, frankly, was an odd discovery by my friend JV, “The Doctor.”  Being freshmen with pre-enlisted schedules and really strange, four-hour breaks in between chunks of classes, the lot of us had a ton of spare time on our hands, which we spent taking photos of each other.  Or, rather, me taking photos of them and them playing along with it.  After one of these “photoshoots,” JV, being British, started referring to me as the “Asian ginger.”  I didn’t understand why, until I took a look at my photos from the album.


 Ladies and gentlemen, the Asian ginger.

Just to be clear, I have never actually colored my hair.  Ever.  So what you’re seeing above–as much as you don’t believe it–is my actual color.  There aren’t any filters applied to any of the photos either.  Granted, it’s the photo where the “red” is more obvious–other pictures look like I’ve had a balayage ombré (more on that later) technique done with dark brown roots gradually brightening to the auburn-red you see in the above photo–but otherwise this is really what my head looks like.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, really, because I’ve known my hair to have copper-y highlights when the sun hits a bit of it–usually the standing or baby hair near the edge of my more conventionally Asian dark-brown mass–but to get this intensely pigmented hair was a bit of a shock.  My theory–which my mum, who gave me this hair in the first place, agrees with–is that it was a result of the perm making my strands stand apart more, allowing the sun to filter through my hair and reveal the red.

Eventually, though, the perm grew out, and my hair returned to looking largely black in photos and dark-brown in person.  I never did forget my stealth ginger, though–The Doctor (JV) eventually declared me his Amy Pond, which made it easier to remember–so when 2014, my graduating year, finally rolled around, I decided to take the plunge and be a “secret” redhead no more.

My mum didn’t take too kindly to this, but after much convincing and a promise not to dye my hair any color that did not naturally appear on a human head (pink, purple, green, etc.) at my age (white/silver blonde), she agreed to let me unleash my inner ginger goddess after my graduation in June.  June 7th, to be exact.

If I needed any more motivation to work on my thesis, that would be it.

Image Karen Gillan: doing for redheads what Matt Smith did for bowties.

Since I definitely want to go the Amy Pond route in terms of general effect (if not the color match–more on that later), I’ll need to give my arrow-straight hair some curly volume.  The exact look I want is usually achieved with a curling-iron, but after battling with one for a couple of weeks I decided that the smell of burning hair is not how I want to begin most mornings.  Thankfully, there is a more…permanent beauty solution.

A perm.

The word alone was enough to give my flashbacks of my version of the 80s (a.k.a. 2009), but after doing a bit of research, I discovered the power of the digital perm, which sort of combines the power of a standard perm with the look of a hot iron to produce something like this:


Photo taken from Skin So Deep.


How a digital perm looks like without styling product.  Photo again from Skin So Deep.

I definitely have to do this before I get the color, because the perm chemicals can strip artificial color from hair, so I figure this is “Phase 1,” and I’ll be doing it sometime after I finish my thesis defense in April.

After doing a bit more research–I am really invested in this transformation; my band Stories Told has already taken to calling me “Hayley Williams” on occasion–I also managed to find a technique that would suit my low-maintenance laziness best: balayage, a hair-painting technique which blends the eventual grow-out with the hair, meaning longer times in between touch-ups.  There aren’t many salons in the Philippines that do it, but thankfully the salon my friend Annika recommended to me, Hairshaft, apparently does it, as does Hairworks, the L’Oreal-run salon in Makati.  After that, my only concerns will be having to wash my hair with cold water to delay the eventual fading–something I’m not too concerned about, to be honest; I’ve already started practicing washing with cold water and it’s not so bad.

Which leads me to the final consideration in this whole Project Redhead process: my shade of red.

According to, the rule goes “The darker your skin tone, the darker the red hair color should be.”  For people with more yellow/olive undertones like my Asian-pale self, colors should be toward the more copper and ginger shades, with auburns and chestnuts being the *safest* option (but since when have I played it all that safe?).  Since copper/ginger is definitely the end of the red spectrum I’m aiming for (or, rather, Amy-ing for), this is fine by me, although if possible I’d prefer to bring out the color of my redhead photo above, since it’ll obviously be the most natural on my skin (since, well, it’s already there).

Other than that, here are two of my other redhead pegs:


Ashley Clements, star of the hugely popular, Emmy-winning webseries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.


Some random redhead from a wallpapers website.  This one kind of looks more like my “red,” I think.

According to a study by Pureology, a hair-color line, redheads are much more likely to consider themselves as“fearless,” “self-confident,” and “sensual.” (, 2013; that has got to be the first time an APA citation turned up on my blog)  I am none of those things, but I’d definitely like to be, and while I’m not silly enough to think that red hair will magically solve all my insecurity issues, maybe taking the plunge might help.

Well, that’s that!  I’m definitely going red in 2014!  For all you artificial redheads out there, how should I prepare?