A Hair Story

Like A Christmas story. But better. And longer. Stay with me, I promise it’s worth it if you’re blonde. If you’re a brunette just go buy this dry shampoo and you’ll be set for life.
This story begins during my senior year of college. A DIY cap blonde turned bottle brunette Criminal Justice major whose mother insisted she go back to blonde for graduation pictures. So much so that aforementioned mother offered to pay for the chestnut brown to be stripped in order for her daughter to be pigeon-holed as one of those girls who really do have more fun. So I went to the fanciest salon in all of Bloomington, Indiana where it was less than $200 (jump to paragraph two and four years later where this blasphemous tidbit will come in handy) to get my hair stripped, deep conditioned, and bleached. I had found the greatest cut and colorist. All was right in the world. And then I moved back to DC.
I came back home and wanted to go a little more natural. Chestnut low lights, I thought. That’s the key. So my new colorist at the Fair Oaks mall whipped up some “low lights” and slapped them on. Two hours later I was a warm burgundy brown. All over. ALL OVER BURGUNDY BROWN. Thanks, I’m no longer blonde but no worries I’m just having a panic attack. A week later I had his manager strip it. Free99. A week after that I went to another stylist in the mall. $400 later I was a smooth electric orange. Where did these people go to hair school? My hair was a Lindsey Lohan circa 2009 mess. The only fix? Chop it off and start from scratch. I chopped off my long locks and went for a 2009 Rihanna inspired short in the back, long in the front bob. I immediately regretted this decision. My flowing blonde tresses were chopped into what I can only describe as the second worst haircut I’ve ever had in my life. The first was this past summer. It’s hard to forget that monstrosity. We’ll circle back to that later. Birthdays, graduations, boyfriends, IMPORTANT WORK MEETINGS, and other major life events came and went all the while having awful, terribad hair. I grew it out, found a hairstylist in Dupont who spoke my kinda language when it came to blonde, and was delighted with her work for about two years. Then, one day, I asked for champagne blonde balyage and walked out with orange hair. Again. Two days later her manager stripped it back to my “natural” color. I never stepped foot in that salon again. I quickly made an appointment at another salon, that recently went under, to try and turn my highlighter yellow hair into something a little less Treasure Troll doll. It worked. For awhile. But I still had no idea how to maintain my blonde and honestly, couldn’t be bothered with it.
YOUR HAIR is your greatest accessory. It’s the one thing you wear every day. Take care of it. Invest in it. 
This past summer, I needed a trim. So I headed to Miracles in Rosslyn for a quick cut. I wanted a textured bob. I got a chopped mom hair cut. Do. Not. Go. Here. At this point, I was fed up. I needed someone I could trust that wouldn’t cost a fortune. I reached out to a girlfriend of mine whose hair is always on point. Homegirl feathered the blunt cut and got me back to a decent blonde. But we’re still in boy-short territory where I want to cry every time I looked in the mirror. First world problems. This hairstylist was on point but she was out in Fair Oaks Mall, at a different salon, where this hair nightmare all began. Too far. Too much traffic. Too much I-66. Onto the next.
Enter: Ian McCabe Studio. He started his own studio after recently leaving that aforementioned relatively well known salon that recently went under. And all the blonde experts followed him. He also picked up random blonde magic workers like Allie, MY HOMEGIRL. Ladies, she does a bad ass blonde and it’s the most fun 3 hours of my month. I’m impatient and fidgety and the Ian McCabe staff are friendly, deal with my shenanigans, and most importantly WON’T F UP YOUR ‘DO.
Here at DS, I’m big on testing clothes, beauty products, and anything else I peer pressure you guys into buying. How can I expect YOU to buy something that I don’t actually use? If you’re a blonde in need of a new colorist or you’re just looking for something new, I highly recommend heading over to Ian McCabe’s new spot in the West End and booking an appointment with Allie. If she’s not available, go for Jess. And then send me an email telling me how quickly you became best friends and how much you love your new blonde.
These ladies were also SUPER helpful with educating me on how to maintain my kinda blonde. Find their tips below and shop the products I use weekly at the very end of this post.
+ Use a violet-toned conditioner (as opposed to a shampoo) to help preserve and enhance your color. You should use this conditioner on every third wash, or approximately once per week. Ian’s favorite is Davines Alchemic Conditioner Silver.
+ Wash your blonde every other day (shampoo + conditioner). If your hair is particularly fine and gets oily quickly, they recommend using dry shampoo. If you limit your hair washing to every other day, your scalp will become trained on the release of oil and over time become less oily.
+ Gloss in between highlights. This will allow you to go more time between services while maintaining shine and tone.
+ Sun damaged hair? Davines Living Enzyme Infusion Spray is a fantastic product to help nourish, restructure and revitalize sun damaged hair.
+ Try a deep conditioning treatment, such as ORIBE Masque for Beautiful Color, Gold Lust Transformative Masque or Davines Vegetarian Miracle Conditioner every 1-2 weeks.
+ To keep your hair healthy and prevent split ends that can ultimately damage hair, Ian recommends a regular trim every 6 to 10 weeks, depending on the style, cut and length of your locks.
Shop the products I use:
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  • Samantha
    December 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Not sure who you saw at Miracles, but in their defense, both my husband and I have been customers for several years, seen several different stylists, and have never been disappointed. But I keep my haircuts pretty simple so maybe it wasn’t the right stylist for what you wanted. Sorry it was unpleasant!

    • identicon
      District Sparkle
      December 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Truth. Different strokes for different folks. The stylist told me he was the owner of the salon. Very glad someone else had a pleasant experience here. Unfortunately, mine was a disaster.

  • Ashley
    December 12, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Not a blonde but as a new DC resident I’m looking for a stylist – this is perfect timing!

  • The Yuppie Files
    December 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve struggled too & ended up with David at Karma by Erwin Gomez (yes, we did meet at the event that you & I met at!). Fixed my over-processed hair & gave me the best haircut ever. Even though it’s a hike now from Fairfax, I’m sold. Finding that person to keep your blonde= harder than any relationship!

  • Anna
    December 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I should look into getting a gloss, thanks!