by Casey

Wedding_Day_HairThis blog post is going to be about something that happened to me that I don’t love talking about. In fact, I struggled with whether or not I should even share this story. However, 3 years later, I think enough time has passed and I’m ready to talk about my pre-wedding hair disaster.

Instead of focusing on who did what, where things went wrong, and who is to “blame,” I want to focus on the recovery process. It’s true what they say, “Everything happens for a reason,” and now I realize that this incident was when I truly began my journey into the world of health & beauty, and eventually set me on my path to becoming The Blondeshell.

Although I don’t want to focus too much on the negative, I do feel it is important to explain (briefly) what happened. For several years prior, I had been seeing the same stylist. I will refer to this stylist as “Molly.” I regularly got my hair done by this person and still to this day, I consider this person a good friend, and despite what happened to me, I still consider them to be a wildly talented stylist. After all, everyone has a bad day once in a while, right?

How My Wedding Hair Disaster All Began…

I’ve always been blonde and my stylist always did a great job getting me to a beautiful light blonde and managed to keep my hair healthy. My wedding was “Old Hollywood” theme and I, like many others, have always marveled at the beauty of Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. I had a vision of myself walking down the aisle with those gorgeous platinum blonde, soft curls that Marilyn made famous. Excited about the potential of having the same hair as some of my beauty idols, I began the journey to platinum.

In this photo from my makeup trial, you can see how bad the breakage was around my face.
In this photo from my makeup trial, you can see how bad the breakage was around my face.

The first few times Molly lifted my hair, it was fine. I dealt with the usual burning scalp and the expected breakage, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. I was as happy as I could be and growing more and more excited about the big day. I didn’t put a lot of stock into other details about my wedding. I didn’t care all that much about what my bridesmaids did to their hair, or what kinds of flowers they were holding. I didn’t even think about what music I would walk down the aisle to until a few weeks before. The only thing I could really think about was wanting to make my husband-to-be’s jaw drop when I walked down the aisle. I only wanted to be beautiful.

That’s why what happened was so traumatizing. One day in March, I went in to have my roots touched up. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t coming in too frequently and risking overprocessing my hair, but Molly assured me I was fine. For the sake of protecting Molly, I’m going to skip some details here. No matter what was done right or wrong, the end result was still the same. Not even 2 days later, I was losing my hair by the handfuls. I panicked. I thought I was going crazy and convinced myself maybe it wasn’t nearly as bas as I thought. Until one day, my husband pointed out a “bald spot” on the back of my head. Mortified, I broke down.

The photos you see in this post have never been shared before, but hopefully they give you an idea of what I was dealing with.

The Search for an Answer…

I contacted Molly and she gave me some samples of some product and said it should fix it. My gut told me differently, but I figured it was worth a try. My gut was right, and as I was washing my hair, the shower wouldn’t even drain because of all the hair plugging it up. Each day, the breakage got worse and worse until I finally went back into the salon, seeking some advice. I was still in denial that I would have to cut all my hair off, so I was grasping for anything that would help me keep my blonde bombshell bridal image alive. Then, that image was shattered when one of the lead stylists told me my best bet was to just “get a wig” for my wedding day.

Yes. A wig.

I left devastated. I know it’s only hair and it grows back. I understand how some people may think I am being overdramatic, and maybe I was/am. However, every girl wants to look and feel beautiful on their wedding day, and with a chemical haircut from Hell, it was becoming apparent that this was not going to be a reality for me.

My husband-to-be kept telling me it wasn’t as bad as I thought (he now tells me it really was) and tried to be positive. Trying to be gentle with his “man thoughts,” I told him, “For a woman, losing her hair is the equivalent of you having a testicle cut off. Except, the difference is I have to wear my testicle on my head for everyone to see!”

Heartbroken, I ended up researching wigs and blowing $500 on one. When the wig came, I felt a burst of joy at the thought of having my problems temporarily solved, but that joy quickly dissipated when I put the wig on. The wig, which was advertised as being made of platinum blonde human hair, was a yellow blonde and it made me look like a busted RuPaul. Needless to say, the wig went straight to the back of my closest and wasn’t touched until 2 years later when I wore it as part of my Princess Peach Halloween costume.

A few weeks later, I received a call from the salon manager. They wanted me to come in for a keratin express blowout treatment. At the time, I had no idea what this was, and willing to try anything, I agreed.

In hindsight, the thought of loading severely compromised hair up with protein, washing/drying, and then putting a hot flat iron through it seems like a terrible idea. And it was. My hair did NOT recover, but only got worse. At this point, I had arrived at the end of the road, and was considering postponing my wedding.

To Cancel or Not To Cancel…?

The extensions allowed me to somewhat hide my breakage.
The extensions allowed me to somewhat hide my breakage.

Now, I may be a slightly vain person, but at the end of the day, I remembered I was having a wedding to marry the love of my life, not look like a 1950s pinup model, and I quickly snapped out of it.

One day, my husband-to-be told his mother what happened. Being a former stylist and a salon owner, she called the salon, and for lack of a better word, she raised Hell. By the end of the call, the salon agreed to do what they should have done all along: pay for some extensions. (Mind you, they never refunded me the money I spent for my chemical haircut…)

To make this already entirely too long story shorter, I got my extensions put in at another salon. The extensions they used were called “fusion” extensions, and because my breakage was so bad, they had to be cut into very small sections and strategically placed throughout my hair. Getting the extensions didn’t make everything 100% okay, but it was a huge improvement from where I was. Washing/drying, and caring for the extensions was a real pain, and not something I was looking forward to having to do on my honeymoon, but at this point, I was just happy to have hair.

Finally, A Solution…

Thankfully, one of my bridesmaids’ mothers was a stylist and worked with me to create a hairstyle that managed to hide the breakage, and help me feel as beautiful on my big day as I could.

In this photo, you can see how my hair was strategically styled.
In this photo, you can see how my hair was strategically styled.

After the wedding, I cut a good portion of my hair off. A pixie cut would have been the best way to get rid of all the damage, but I was terrified of having a cut that short. (I just don’t think I could pull it off). I kept my extensions for several months, until finally, I didn’t need them anymore.

The recovery process was a long one, and three years later, my hair is just now getting back to normal. Finding a stylist that was willing to help me was a struggle. Many of them didn’t want to risk making my hair worse than it already was. This sent me on journey of self-education, and after countless Google searches, digging through several blogs, and more forum posts than I’m willing to admit, I’ve learned a lot. Realizing there are others out there experiencing something similar, with the same feelings of frustration and hopelessness, I wanted to share my story.

To make the best out of a bad situation, I’m going to be sharing what I’ve learned with you guys in some of my other blog posts throughout the next few weeks, and I hope if any of you are going through something similar, you’re able to learn something from my experience.

In the end, I realize that there are much bigger problems in the world. In the course of a lifetime, I’m sure this will seem like nothing at all. But in that moment, it was traumatizing. Luckily, with some help from my friends, family, and my husband-to-be, I was able to make the best out of an awful situation. And no matter what happened in this story, it has a happy ending because I still married the love of my life.

The happy ending! Here we are as newlyweds on our big day in July 2011.
The happy ending! Here we are as newlyweds on our big day in July 2011.

Have you ever had a similar experience? If so, what did you learn? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

Casey

Casey

Vegetarian, Chicago Bears fan, dog lover, former (really) big girl. Early in life, Casey found out that good cosmetics can change anyone’s life… even an outspoken, larger than life (literally) girl in South Georgia. The perfect red lip and flawless eye makeup is sure to make people look at your face, not the powdered sugar on your shirt. A lover of make-up, hair, fashion, and all things that make life more glamorous.
Casey
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