Oh to have the luxurious, sun kissed hair of a Victoria's Secret model! That's the dream folks. Many a brunette babe has felt the irresistible pull towards the hairdresser's chair and their bleach kit. I've had balayaged hair for almost a year now (I used to go to the truly excellent Balayage Hair Studio back home) and I firmly believe that once you start highlighting your hair, it's very hard to stop. Maybe there's something addictive in ammonia fumes but there's just something about having lighter hair... perhaps blondes really do have more fun. That being said, bleached hair is much like having a very high maintenance pet - you have to wash, feed and groom it in the hopes that someone will tell you it's pretty! *Sigh*
My natural hair texture is very dry and coarse, so for the longest time, I've been using hair masks in lieu of regular conditioner. Since highlighting your hair only tends to exacerbate your dry ends, using treatments to condition my hair has become all the more necessary. If you have particularly fine hair, you may find that regular use of masks can weigh your hair down but you could try using a clarifying shampoo to combat this. On the subject of clarifying shampoos, I also find they're handy when it comes to getting rid of mineral deposits from London's hard water and product buildup from my addiction to dry shampoo. I really like the Toni & Guy Cleanse Shampoo for Advanced Detox which I use once a week or so to 'reset' my hair.
Coconut oil is the next thing in my arsenal against split ends. I seriously love this stuff. I use it for just about everything - hair, nails, skin and cake. So much so, that I walk around, conscious that I smell like a Bounty bar. Speaking of which - good, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil should actually smell of coconuts. Strange, I know. The other way you know you're getting the good stuff is if it comes with a price tag that makes your wince. Once a week or so, I'll smother my hair in coconut oil and let it sit for an hour or so before I shower. My fellow bleached beauties should also douse their hair in coconut oil before going out to sunbathe (naughty!) or to swim (in either chlorine or the sea!) to prevent any damage.
Growing up, my mum always warned me against sleeping with damp hair. Apparently it would send me blind. I never listened and am now super short sighted. Go figure. My reasoning was that sleeping with damp hair always left me with the best volume and texture for curling with a curling iron the next day. What it also did though, was make my hair snag and tangle so I'd have to spend ages untangling it the next morning. This leads to breakage and flyaways ladies! Don't be like me! If you wash your hair before you sleep and can't let it air dry before hitting the hay, gently dry it with your hair dryer on the lowest setting.
Speaking of bedtime rituals; if you're a long haired lass like myself, you may want to wrangle your locks into a loose braid before sleeping to help minimise frizz. I've also heard that sleeping on a satin pillowcase helps but let's be real, only Lady Marmalade and Hugh Hefner could pull off satin sheets in the boudoir.
Confession time - I honestly don't think I could live without my curling iron. My hair texture is as indecisive as I am and can't make up its mind between wavy and straight so I always have to help push it in either direction. So while I'd like to tell you all to minimise your use of hot tools; it would be very much a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I've tried cutting back but the best I can do is only washing my hair every 2 days so that my waves only need to be refreshed half as often. Sorry, hair. I make sure that I use a silicone free hair oil and a heat protectant on my hair as well. This video also reminds me to keep my hot tool addiction under control.
Lastly - and specifically aimed at my fellow bottle blondes - you need a good toner! Back home, I used Schwarzkopf Nordic Blonde Toner which was a thick, bright blue violet paste that I smeared all over my hair once every two weeks to keep those brassy tones away. Depending on how light your hair has been lifted, it may make your hair even lighter. In the UK, toners are much milder and I'm yet to find one I like as much as Schwarzkopf's. I might try cooking up my own by mixing a violet wash out dye with conditioner. Worst comes to worst, I'll end up like Dame Edna up there. Stay tuned.