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16th May 2024

To dye or not to dye: The blonde dilemma

Niamh Ryan


When I started bleaching my originally dirty blonde hair two years ago, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into

The blonde upkeep required took me – and my bank account – by surprise.

While I tend to be on top of skincare and makeup, unfortunately my hair doesn’t always get the same amount of love.

Having such a hectic schedule lately means I don’t have time for a salon appointment, so I’m trying to love my hair even while my roots are growing out.

Luckily I have an extremely knowledgable hairstylist that has given me a plethora of tips and tricks over the years that help to keep my hair in great condition.

Metal Detox

By far the best trick my hairdresser has taught me is to metal detox. If you’re like me and live in an area with ‘hard’ water, your showers can affect your hair more than you think. Hard water essentially means there’s heightened levels of calcium and magnesium in the water, which affect growth and strength in our hair. For anyone who is blonde, these metals can make hair brassy or dull.

Every 3-4 washes I do a metal detox to prevent this build up, and the results are astonishing. It’s made my hair last longer and the highlights are brighter after each wash. All you have to do is spray it on your hair until it’s slightly damp (I use Dream Filter by Colour Wow) and wait about three minutes before shampooing.

(P.S – if you’re unsure whether or not you have hard water, you can search your address on Uisce Eireann and it can tell you exactly the exact information for your water supply zone.)

A delicate touch

Although my hair isn’t as delicate now that I haven’t been dying it blonde, that doesn’t mean I should neglecting it altogether. I’ve never been one to use much heat except for blowdrying, but using heat protectant will always be a must.

Another big tip my stylist gave me was for during the shower and it makes a big difference. Brushing your hair while your conditioner is in saves you from ripping through tangles after the shower, therefore keeping it soft with minimal breakage.

Your hair is at its most fragile when wet, so it’s best to avoid practices that encourage breakage. While I love a towel turban, I now just towel dry it without putting it up, which also stops tangles from happening. Microfibre towels are also a great option as they’re far more absorbent than regular cotton and are also known to reduce frizz.

Another big tip I’ve learned is to wear a protective style to bed. Wearing my hair down while sleeping was always my go-to, but I’ve found it to be less frizzy when I have it in a bun. Satin is a wonderful material for pillowcases, and you can even get a satin bonnet to wear at night which keeps all of your hair up and protected.

Summertime protection 

Last summer I made the mistake of bleaching my hair blonde the day before a two-week trip to Italy…in July…during one of their biggest heat waves in years.

To stop my then vulnerable hair from becoming too bleached, I made sure to pack plenty of hats and cute silk bandanas to not only protect my hair but also my scalp. The only thing worse than your roots showing is a burned scalp, so unless you’ll remember to put SPF on, a good scarf or having an alternative parting is key.

If you’re in your sea swimming era, be mindful of the salt (or chlorine if you’re more of a pool girl) as it can affect the texture of your hair. My stylist advised me to apply conditioner before going for a dip to create a protective layer. That way you can enjoy your swim without worrying about any damage.

Fake it ’til you make it

A big part of owning your grown out dyed blonde hair is confidence. I used to dread going longer than eight weeks without a root touch up, but at the end of the day there’s more to life than fresh highlights. It’s also been a pretty goof way to save money, I will admit.

Having a hairstyle you love and feel good in is key to still loving your hair even when it’s not in the best state. I personally love a slick back bun with a cute scrunchie, and when paired with the right outfit and some hoop earrings, it looks effortlessly chic. I use Eco gel and the Cantu bristle brush to keep it as sleek as possible, but there’s a multitude of products to choose from.

If you’re very conscious of darker roots, there’s plenty of touch up products on the market, and a spritz of dry shampoo has never done me wrong. Toner can also tide you over and make your lengths appear less yellow, and getting lowlights can make the contrast in colours seem less drastic.

At the end of the day, there’s no rule that you have to make yourself ‘presentable’ for anyone, but feeling good about yourself is never a bad thing.