DIY Hair with Malia

Almost everywhere I go, someone compliments my hair and asks if I do it myself… The answer is YES! However I wasn’t always this good at it. In fact when I was in 7th grade and we didn’t have YouTube, I decided I wanted to be blonde and used Clorox bleach to pull the color… little did I know that would turn my hair green under the fluorescent lights at school. Needless to say I wasn’t very popular back then and got teased a lot. Over the years I learned more about how to properly color my hair by sticking to the packets they sold in grocery stores and keeping it simple with more natural colors like Dark red/violets and sometimes black. I worked at a bank for 8 years during my 20’s and they told us we could only have “natural” looking hair, so the week that I quit I decided that I was going to try all the colors in the rainbow!! 

One big factor of why I left the financial industry (along with realizing how corrupt the industry was) is that I never felt like I could be myself. Halfway through my career I went to Burning Man and began hosting community events on the weekends. I was always jealous of people with bright colorful locks and fun vibrant clothes but I was stuck feeling like a blue collar banker during the week and had to limit my creative personality. When I left the bank I decided that I would never again work at any place that wouldn’t allow me to have freedom of expression. While I was searching for a new career that would allow me such luxuries, I realized I needed to manifest what I wanted and the best way to manifest anything is to show the Universe that you are serious by taking the steps towards what you want. The Law of Attraction and all that. I moved all of my banker clothes into another closet and only kept my costumes, yoga gear and the clothing in my closet that made me feel like *myself*. I vowed to never submit to the default world setting… When I met my new clients who I have now been with for 8 years, the one thing I expressed in our interview was that they needed to be ok with my (at the time) blue hair. They said yes and since then I have tried many hair colors, styles and cuts over the years. 

I started with Pink because my brother wanted to try pink hair for a festival so we ventured as a team. Pink faded quickly and my dark roots stood out against the light color so I decided next to try red. Red would bleed on all my clothes, sheets, shower and even on my face so I later switched to Blue. I kept blue for a while as it was vibrant and the color held up longer than the others. After a while however it would fade to a greenish color and the roots would turn a brownish/orange which was just wrong. I began doing  two tones and experimenting with Purple roots & blue ends. That was a brilliant combo and I began to call it “Blurple”.

After about a year of experimenting, I decided I wanted to try going silver. It always looked so cool on other people! Unfortunately for me being of Hispanic descent, this required more bleaching than normal to lift all the previous colors and the remaining pigment of my naturally dark hair. After 2 sessions my hair turned into tinsel! It was so thin and crunchy that the color didn’t stay shiny for very long and after one wash it faded to a dull grey. The ends of my hair were fried from all the bleach which left me no choice but to cut off my locks and start over. I started with cutting it shorter.. Then I shaved my neck and started working on designs for the shaved portion. My hair grows rather fast so keeping it looking nice required a lot of maintenance but I got really good at cutting designs into my head like zig zags, waves and lightning bolts… Maybe this was my way of being cool like Vanilla Ice back in the day…

Eventually I kept shaving more and more and ended up with a fauxhawk. I was never brave enough to try the Demi Moore GI Jane cut and go all the way bald but I got pretty close. I tried a vibrant green color for a while but then realized that green made my face look very pale. Back to Blurple it is! It took me 5 years to grow back my hair to a point where I could actually put it in a ponytail. I am sure this process could have gone faster if I was only willing to push through the awkward phase of shaggy ears and neck… But I wanted to grow it back in style so that required me to maintain the undercut while attempting to grow the top layer that could later be long enough to cover up the shag. Then Covid happened and I decided what better time than during quarantine to endure the awkward phase?! All events were cancelled and not very many people had to see me plus everyone who did see me was also wearing pajamas and had crazy hair days so I fit right in! It took one full year with no cuts to get my long Mermaid Hair back! 

Here is a video of my DIY Hair day & previous colors & styles: https://youtu.be/Ql-mtSpHZiI

I have been doing this for decades so I don’t follow all the guidelines you see in a professional salon. For example they use foil for the roots but I find it much more simple to just do layer after layer. This can burn your skin if you get too close to the scalp and leave the bleach on too long so beware: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. I use Ion powder lightener and 40 Developer which is best to lift color as opposed to depositing it. After turning my hair into tinsel from over bleaching, I only bleach my roots once every couple months and DO NOT bleach the ends. This way my hair stays soft and doesn’t break due to over exposure of chemicals. After one session my roots are strawberry blonde but a deep purple will usually cover this up pretty well. Sometimes I run out of one color and will have to improvise with another tone but typically I stick with purple variations so the tones match well. This time I used Neon Purple for the top & roots and Purple for the under layers. My favorite hair color is Argan Oil from a local Sally’s Beauty Shop because it doesn’t require more chemicals to be added to the base and it leaves my hair super shiny! It is also a thinner formula so it’s easy to spread throughout my thick hair. In the past I have used Ion Semi permanent hair color but the formula is very thick and requires more packets as my hair gets longer. Some of their formulas also require a developer additive which is a chemical base so I try to avoid that.

I always leave the color in for a full hour so the color sticks. Then I wash it out and avoid washing a second time for a few days. One trick I’ve learned over the years is not using shampoo because it washes out the color too fast. I live in Colorado where the air is dry so I’ve noticed soap filled shampoo also dries out my scalp and causes flaking so there is another reason to avoid it. My favorite conditioner is Herbal Essences with Rose Hips. I started using that when I was a teenager because I loved the smell and it leaves my hair silky smooth. Over the years I tried several other products but have never found anything quite as good with a smell that I like. I have been loyal to this product now for over 20 years. 

I do not color hair for other people but I’ve tried and learned that it’s one thing to be good at doing your own hair but entirely different how other peoples hair types will react to what I know.  After all, I am no professional! The best I have gotten for nailing someone else’s hair was my son Josh who has similar thickness to my hair and who allows me to experiment on him.

Please leave me comments on what your favorite “flavor” is and if you found this blog helpful! Also like & subscribe to my page for future DIY days and other fun adventures!

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