Peroxide brightened up my whole life! How hair dye CAN change your personality
21:52 GMT, 25 March 2012
Last week, I made a decision I hoped would shake up my staid middle-aged life.
I didn’t move to a new country, embark on a wild affair or audition for The Voice. No, I simply dyed my dull, brown, shoulder-length mop peroxide blonde.
As my hairdresser finally unveiled my new look, the entire staff of the salon gathered round my chair, murmuring: ‘Wow… you look so… different!’
Blonde ambition: Flic before and after her peroxide treatment
As one pointed out, I was almost
entirely unrecognisable from the grumpy, mousey-haired woman who’d
arrived seven hours earlier. I looked ten years younger, several times
happier and, while I wasn’t a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe, I could
have auditioned to play her in a straight-to-DVD biopic.
And I’m not the only one to reach for the bleach. Right now, according to Vogue, peroxide is the hottest trend in hair. Sienna Miller, Cameron Diaz, Gwen Stefani, Rihanna and model Agyness Deyn have all reverted to blonde after experimenting with other colours.
Since the early days of Hollywood, when actresses dyed their hair white-blonde because it showed up better in monochrome, platinum blonde has been the ultimate symbol of femininity. Blonde equals sexy, glamorous and young, or at least it does on the big screen, where every pin-up from Jean Harlow to Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn herself taught the public that blonde meant bad — in the best possible way. My family wasn’t keen on my blonde ambitions.
The peroxide trend: From left, model Agyness Dey, Cameron Diaz and Gwen Stefani
‘You’re too pale, it won’t suit you,’
warned my 19-year-old son. ‘You’ll look exactly like your mum,’ added my
husband, which did make me waver. Although my mother is an attractive
63-year-old who has had flowing, dyed blonde hair since before I was
born, I’m not ready to be her clone.
I was also fearful I’d resemble the
kind of woman who starts pub brawls wearing a plastic leopard-skin mac.
After all, for every exquisite Grace Kelly ice-blonde, there’s a Cindy
from EastEnders. Besides which, sophisticated blonde hair requires
constant (and expensive) upkeep.
The first safe commercial hair colour was created in 1909 by French chemist Eugene Schueller, founder of L’Oreal
this spectre hanging over me, I booked myself in with colourist Ben at
Manchester’s Trevor Sorbie salon, who informed me that because I still
had old brown hair dye in my hair, which would need to be stripped out
before he could begin, the process of turning it blonde would take
longer than a flight across the Atlantic.
would have been the point to back out, but things happened on
autopilot. My hair was washed, a solution was applied to strip the old
dye out, it was washed again, the bleaching solution was brushed on,
there was a long wait, it was washed for a third time, then more bleach
was needed on the ends.
was then carefully applied to my roots, washed out again, some ‘toner’
added (which Ben said ‘tingles’ and I say ‘seared my scalp agonisingly’)
before a fifth hair wash. It
felt as though weeks had passed but, in reality, I had spent an entire
day in the chair. I was told I’ll need to re-touch my roots at least
every four weeks and was also given something of a masterclass on the
new eye make-up I’ll be needing (panda eyes, apparently, don’t work with
white blonde hair). But I was finally peroxide blonde.
Flic says for every exquisite Grace Kelly ice-blonde, there's a Cindy from EastEnders (pictured)
was so radical I laughed. I looked (to myself at least) several years
younger, my hopelessly fine hair appeared thicker, and I suddenly
realised what I’ve been missing out all my life. So this is how it feels
to be blonde: confident, noticeable and strangely happy.
‘Most people never go back,’ confirms Vince, the stylist who gives me a
new cut to go with the colour. ‘They want to stay blonde for ever.’
My husband Simon reeled when he picked me up from the salon.
‘Wow,’ he managed. He later admitted he didn’t recognise me. To show
off my new look, we headed to a bar we often go to, and a friend walked
straight past me, sees Simon, and does a double take.
‘I thought Simon was having an affair,’ he said. Simon admitted that he feels as though he is.
I certainly feel like a different woman — and it’s not just because I look like one. I feel like someone more daring, who can embrace my age rather than let it dictate how I feel. Peroxide says rock ’n’ roll — it says crazy glamour. I feel like the sort of woman who cracks open champagne and dances on tables.
After years of hair obscurity, I feel reborn. I’ve stopped hiding in black and bought a couple of bits in pastel colours — something I’d never have done before. I’ve also reverted to wearing relaxed jeans and T-shirts for most occasions (being blonde and formally dressed makes me feel like Hillary Clinton). There are certain downsides. When I first wake up, I now look like Tippi Hedren in the middle of being attacked by Hitchcock’s birds.
And my old make-up makes me look like Lily Savage, so I’ve swiftly had to learn the lost art of subtlety, and ditch my red lipstick and black eyeliner in favour of rose shades and brown mascara. But these are small sacrifices. I thought going peroxide blonde was a high-risk strategy, but I honestly don’t have a single regret. Until I get the bill for my next roots touch-up (this hair-do is likely to cost me several hundreds of pounds a year in maintenance), of course.