As promised, here is a story about why I don't do my own highlights anymore.
I color my hair. I have for a loooooong time, I can't really even remember what my natural hair color is. Most of the time I'm coloring my hair red, or reddish brown sorts of colors (although I've gone more to the golden brown-blonde side - I just don't think blonde works as well with my coloring, which is pink. I am pink.). If I had my laptop here, I could post 'Lisa's hair: a retrospective' too. Anyhow, its believeable that I would have red hair because my mom does. Ok, so maybe my mom's hair has a little help now too, but honestly - it used to grow that way. Anyhow, usually I color my own hair because I am cheap, and also I always go to expensive hairdressers which makes a professional coloring even more expensive.
My first foray into hair coloring was in middle school, I'd guess, when I tried the whole 'Sun-in' thing. That wasn't really giving me what I wanted though, so I decided to try highlighting. This was now my freshman year of high school. My mom bought me one of those Clairol 'Frost-n-tip' kits, and we went to work. This is one of those kits where you wear this plastic cap on your head and use a crochet needle-type thing to pull strands of hair through the holes in the cap. Then you smear the bleachy stuff all over the exposed hair, wait, and voila! You're frosted and tipped.
Well, the first time we did this, I wasn't that impressed with the results. I think I was hoping for something a little more obvious than what I'd gotten, which was not a big change from my pre-frost-n-tip hair. A few months later, we decided to try again. We bought the same kit, but made some adjustments to the protocol and decided to leave the bleach on a little longer. Also, I feel that this second time, my mom was being a little excessive with the crochet needle thingie. Instead of pulling 'a few strands' through each hole or whatever, she was pulling through bigger chunks of hair and the holes were getting all stretched out. My mom might remember this differently, but thats what I think. To recap: much more hair pulled through the cap + extended time in the bleach.
When the time was up, I went to wash my hair out. I had fairly long hair at the time, so I could see parts of it while I was still in the shower, and I felt like something might be wrong. When I got out and looked at myself in the mirror I could tell that something was DEFINITELY wrong. The bleached sections were really blonde. My natural hair color, if I ever let you see that, is pretty dark brown. So there was a major contrast between highlighted and non-highlighted parts. I was a little traumatized, and started yelling for my mom to come in. My mom was getting ready to go to a wedding or something that day. She told me to dry it, and maybe it would look better. I don't know why I believed her, because obviously the blonde parts look darker when they are wet. When I got my hair dried, it was even more horrifying. I had black and white striped hair. Seriously, the blonde parts were so blonde, they were practically colorless. OMG, I thought I was going to die of embarrassment right there.
My mom recognized how traumatic this was, and decided that she was going to skip out on this wedding and help me get my hair fixed. So she called our wonderful hairdresser, Frank, and he said he could probably fix it. We piled in the car and drove down to Kenosha (and I bet I was weeping softly the whole time). Frank didn't think it was as bad as it could have been because my hair hadn't turned green or anything, which was a good point. I may have looked like a skunk, but at least my hair had not turned a primary color. He put some toner on it to try to make the white parts look more blonde, but that didn't make an enormous difference. He also tried to color it darker, but the color wasn't really taking on those parts. So when I left, I still had stripey hair, but now it was more of a normal blonde color + dark stripes, instead of white + dark stripes.
Aaaaand, I had to go back to school the next day. I don't even remember what happened at school, I think I blocked it out. I had the stripey parts in my hair until my senior year. I think actually my first haircut before my senior year started is when the last of the stripey parts got cut out, and I think I celebrated.
And this is why I won't highlight my own hair. Its a bummer too, because they have these cool 'Color Experte' kits out now that combine highlights with all over color, and I'd love to try them. But no, I am too terrified. Actually, what I try to do now is be a guinea pig for my hairdresser (who I love). She does hair coloring classes at her salon, and I have been her model for this. Then she colors my hair for free, and she usually does something really cool.