Things to Consider Before Dyeing Your Hair

For the most part, I try to keep this space positive and uplifting and shy away from negative reviews. I’m breaking my rule today to share a recent negative experience involving my hair. Hoping my experience can save one of you from a bad (and possibly damaging dye job). To set the stage, let me tell you, I love my hair. It’s one of the few things in my look that I’m certain about. I wear my jet black hair straight (with the help from some styling tools) most days, and I like it long.

As a teenager I was desperate for lighter hair. Trying everything from expensive salon visits to botched box jobs, and Sun In, but nothing worked on my hair. I once sat in a salon for 6 hours with bleach in my hair and ended up with slightly lighter dark brown hair that you could only see in bright sunlight. Eventually I gave up on the idea and started embracing black.

Fast forward to my 35th birthday, and after years, I got the itch again to change up my hair colour again. I wanted pink or burgundy streaks so bad! What followed was another heart-breaking salon visit, and another seriously botched home dye job. I had pretty much given up on ever having a different hair colour, and then I went to get my hair blown out for an event and met this most amazing, inspiring young hairstylist (cue the suspense music).

Guys….I loved this girl the moment I met her. Cheerful, inspiring, and confident. The kind of confident that I would have killed to be in my 20’s. She loved her looks, her hair, her job – she was amazing. I told her about how my previous dye jobs had been a disaster, and how I’d been using box dye on my grays for a couple of years, and she was all ‘girlfriend, you just haven’t met the right stylist yet, I can totally dye your hair.’

We booked a time and I started to search for burgundy balayage pictures on google images – I was stoked. A few days before my appointment I texted her to ask if she wanted me to send her those pictures, and she told me she had already bought the perfect colour for my hair. My stomach did that mini flip-flop thing but I didn’t listen. How could she buy a colour without seeing what I wanted? But she was so darn confident and happy, I decided to go along with it.

hair dye 4[This picture really shows the frizz and damage at the ends of my hair]

When I got to her place, the studio was beautiful – it was pink, white, and sparkly, and I was instantly at ease. My stylist assured me that this dye she was using was the most amazing hair dye ever, and worked over every single box dye out there. Well, after 3 hours in the chair, she washed my hair, and it was a disaster. The colour was blotchy, uneven, and just bad!

I remained calm even though I was freaking out on the inside and even let her cut my hair after all that! (I’m kind of an idiot and it was not a good cut).She assured me that she could fix it and tried to convince me to stay. Thankfully I had to get home that day so I couldn’t. She kept a strand of my hair to test.

Later that night she texted me to stay that the strand test revealed I would have to bleach my hair and then re-dye it. The whole evening my head was spinning, and I kept thinking … THERE WAS A DAMN STRAND TEST YOU COULD HAVE DONE?!?! You know how much time and stress that would have saved both of us?

Then it got worse, the next day my hair started falling out in clumps. This continued for days after the appointment, and the ends started to feel like sandpaper. My original stylist was not impressed when I told her I didn’t want to go back to her to try again. I went to another salon and a stylist was like ‘Girl you crazy? You let some stylist dye your hair in her house without doing a strand test?’ I was gutted. Basically all three stylists I talked to after the fact told me that no one can dye right over hair that has layers of drugstore dye on it (which my stylist knew fully well it did).

Long story short (most hurtful pun ever), it’s been almost 3 months and it looks like I have no choice but to cut my hair short. No amount of hair masks and deep conditioning treatments are helping.


If you are still with me and considering getting your hair dyed, her are a few things I’ve learned since this awful ordeal:

If you have been dying your grays at home with drugstore dye, look for a stylist who has experience with drugstore dyes. A professional stylist will tell you that it takes a few visits to adjust your colour.

Before committing to something like a hair colour change, get your new stylist to show you pictures of work they’ve done before, and maybe even call their references.

Do your homework! Turns out hair styling isn’t even a regulated industry in my province! While I believe the gal who did my hair had some sort of training, there are lots of people who don’t have training and hang up a sign.



  1. Jackie
    June 7, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    Oh Raj, im so sorry. Seriously the biggest fear of most women who colour their hair. Ive had my share of botched home jobs and I finally decided no more home dyes. I got lucky and found an amazing stylist with incredible colour skills. But she’s in Chilliwack. Far for me even though I’m in Mission. I once streaked my own hair and came out looking like I had poured a bowl of spaghetti on my head. I won’t even talk about the Sun In days. If I’ve learned one thing, its that hair grows back. Sucks to wait for it, but if you have to go shorter, play with the style as it grows out. Have some fun with it.

    But yeah, it’s heartbreaking

    • June 18, 2017 / 9:34 am

      Thanks Jackie, good point – it is just hair! And I would totally drive to Chilliwack for a good hairstylist.

  2. Pooja
    June 8, 2017 / 9:30 am

    Thanks for sharing! I am sorry you had to go through the whole situation. I have thinking of adding blue or red into my hair this summer and you advice will come in handy. Embrace the short hair and you might discover that you love it.

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