Trailer trash-tastic! I wore my hair in a bun to hide it for far too long this summer.
Since June I have been taking a break with my pinch braid extensions to give my scalp a vacation and grow my roots out a little…plus summer is in full swing so it’s too hot to have extra thick hair! After a month or two I noticed the black roots started to creep in and I was looking quite gross…time to do something about it *gulp*
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When I need my blonde hair “done” in Korea it usually just involves the stylist bleaching my roots till it matches the other hair. I have talked to other blondes with this same experience in Korea, it can be very hard to find a place that will help tone your blonde to a desirable shade or even dye your hair properly! Your choice of blonde on the hair color chart in Korea is often how long they leave that bleach in, which is not too pretty on most of us.
>> The concept of using “toner” is puzzling here… most salons have no idea what it even is, just straight bleach or color+bleach <<
Don’t believe me? Check out this other blonde expats hair adventure, I can relate.
I paid almost 150,000 won ($150) for this swamp mess in Edae. Took some time to fix 100% (-_-;)
I have had my brown hair dried out from simple lightening, roots that did not match, hair that turned green, color that washed out, scalp burned, and just general stupid mistakes. I have thin, pin-straight, black Italian hair naturally~ it is not that different here from Korean hair VS someone who is say an ashy blonde with curly hair. What gives?
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♥ Girls in Korea overall do not go too crazy with hair color and style. Most salons deal with the same 3 browns all day, so many just do not have experience with a wider range of colors that more ambitious places like Japan do♥
♥ Korean hair generally is thicker vs most western hair so it can take more abuse + needs stronger bleach♥
♥ Different training and methods that are the industry norm back home, but may not be here♥
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If someone handles western hair well they often have had special training or lots of exp with it (like Itaewon)
So now you may be thinking why I do not just go to a salon that specialises in dealing with foerigner’s hair like Lucy Hair, Hair & Joy, etc ? Well, because they often have very inflated prices because they are dealing with foerigners! I used to pay my stylist $180 in California to get a cut, root retouch, and full color or tone all over at a very popular salon! I called the popular Lucy Hair on the phone last month and was quoted at 150,000 won ($150) JUST to do my roots that you see in the photo above. No tone, color, or cut included… those ran another $100-$150 each. Are you serious? I am not cheap, but I hate being overcharged because I am not Korean and desperate.
Most girls in Korea pay 100,000 won or less for a normal visit to the salon!
Enjoy your new crazy bleach orange hair. I was so worried that day…
Over-priced places aside, touching up roots can get randomly expensive in general here in Korea… I have paid around 50,000-80,000 won at some salons when I used to pay maybe $30-$40 back home. I started thinking that if they usually fry my roots anyway + charge so much, maybe I would just start doing that step myself here. I will lighten my own hair and/or roots and then I can easily box color it myself or go to the salon for the 2nd half.
Now what do I use to dye my hair blonde in Korea that I can easily find AND will not cook my hair off?
UPDATE! The box style had changed a bit, check the bottom of the post for a pic of the new one + info!
Thankfully my friend here has similar hair to mine and gave me some great advice! She has been box coloring her roots and overall hair with this box of Berry Trendy hair – Tony Moly Milky Blonde for the last year with great results! I assumed this whole time she was going to a salon, but you can buy this at any Tony Moly location for just 5,500 won!!
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This is worth sharing because finding a nice basic blonde box color like this can be VERY hard here in Korea! Color choices are so limited here, usually between two blondes and they are often very dark or ashy~ which is bad for damaged blonde hair like mine because it turns my hair green! This is bright sunny orange-ish blonde at last, hurray!!
♥If you need to lighten your overall hair and do not want to use harsh straight bleach, this can do the job for you and did NOT fry my hair at all!♥
Basic instructions are provided in English, thanks Korea!
The contents are exactly what you would expect in a box color~ including 1 pair of gloves.
Like all box colors, add the cream to the bottle and shake it like a poloroid picture!! lol
My friend had slightly lighter brown hair vs mine, she advised me to keep it on my roots for maybe 40 min to lighten before putting the rest on my hair. If you have never had to apply color just to your roots before it is not as hard as you would think! I start with the center and just keep folding back my hair in sections to make sure I hit all the roots and massage it around a little.
The bleach in this must be very low because it did not itch or burn at all! No smell either!!
After about 40 min I saw some progress, but my roots still looked a bit too dark so I brushed my hair a bit and reapplied a little more color. To help box color get even lighter you can hit it with a blow dryer all around, which is what I did to give it the extra push. Keep in mind, this can be really risky to keep color on your hair this long~but in my case I was covering such a large and very dark area of roots that I took the risk. Not a pro here, just a lady who is desperate lol.
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After 10 min of blow drying I saw it get considerably lighter, so I put the rest in for maybe 10 min all over to tone!
Since my hair is thin it makes SO much difference when I use deep conditioners and oils. Tony Moly provides a deep conditioning cream in the box that I slathered that all over and covered with a shower cap for 10 min to soak in and work some magic. I love the cream they included in the box, my hair felt so smooth after and soaked it up very well!
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When I got out air-dried my hair and sprayed Shiseido Tsubaki Water all over and the thicker K-pak color therapy oil by Joico on my tips and roots… these two things are amazing if you have fried hair. I swear by K-pak, it is a godsend.
(I link to where to buy these at the bottom of the post!)
Looks almost like the color on the box model!
and here is the result right after! I was extremely pleased that the box did its job very well (I mean, my roots were black!), did not itch, and did not fry my hair at all even though I had to leave it in for quite a long time! The roots did not come out 100% perfectly matched, but they never have when I paid to have this done at salons here (._.) so I don’t mind so much. It is actually quite hard to tell unless you get super close and eyeball it a ton~ I’m impressed how well it did for one application and it took out a lot of that orange that I had going on from the Korean salon bleaching sessions.
now that I have a nice light color to work with I am giving my hair a break for a week or two to condition and oil it a bit before I finish the job and have a salon color it from here or just use another box color to tint it a little differently + match up the roots perfectly. Also, I need a haircut badly! haha! The box color overall is very pretty though, I don’t think it is very “Milky” but it looks very close to the photo on the box~ a nice sunny blonde!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ROUND TWO~ UPDATE ! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
My regrowth gives you a good picture of how light one box got my natural black hair
So after a good month I was ready to dye my hair one more time to match my roots. When I first colored it in the photos above it seemed to match a bit better, but over a few weeks it did darken somewhat. Again, my natural hair is brown black, so the lasting result was a milk tea light brown from the looks of it! Even though it looks a bit bad in the photo, when it was styled it was still a bit hard to notice the roots, but I wanted to give it one more lightening session to make it match much better! ROUND TWO
I went about it the same way as before~ put it on my roots for around 30 min with a hair dryer~ followed by 10-15 min all over since I thought I would lighten it a tad more.
The result was a bit more sunny orange this time, but I am extremely happy with it now!! My roots match about 85% I would say. My tips are a little dry now which is the only downside, but I was growing out extremely damaged hair so that is most likely just an issue with my hair that will resolve once it gets a bit longer and I can trim it some more! Again, I still highly recommend this dye if you are looking to lighten up your hair here!
UPDATE #2 New box design & Availability
Sometime in 2013 it seems that Tony Moly revamped the “Berry Trendy Hair” line of dye~ I can not say 100% what is going on (and neither can the shop girls, since I keep hearing mixed answers) just share my observation here from the last few months. It started to become hard to find “Milky Blonde” in many shops as several of you noted and I started to notice myself all around Korea. I thought the Berry line would be discontinued because around the same time another line of hair dye appeared in the shop, but then “Berry Trendy” reappeared with new packaging and the dates on the box are from this year 2013 so I know they are not old inventory. Yes, I have used this and YES~ IT IS THE SAME THING AS BEFORE! ^^
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The boxes now have a Korean girl vs the old Caucasian girl…. it’s a bit horrid if you ask me, looks like she has a wig on :/ whatever though. The blonde seems to still be poorly stocked though, since people are commonly spotting “Milky Golden BROWN” note that I have never used that color and yes the girl is deceivingly blond on the brown box for some goofy reason. You need to look for “Milky BLONDE“. If you use the brown version and found success with it please do share in the comments here for others.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Pros ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
- Cheap + easy to find. Tony Moly shops are all over Korea.
- Did not damage my hair or dry it out like most Asian hair dyes. Hair felt soft and shiny!!
- Has the power to lighten your hair several shades, I jumped 3!
- Minimal wash out of color. I waited 2 days to wash it after dying it.
- useful to pre-lighten your hair or roots before salon visit here to save money/stress
- handy if you want to lighten and tint in one go with a box color.
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- it is a box color… so ya know~ Salons are better..but in this situation, maybe not lol.
- if your overall starting color is very dark it will come out a bit more like strawberry blonde.
I have used several other brands of Korean box dyes here and they all either dried out my hair BADLY, washed out in a week leaving me with an ugly raw blonde, came out ashy, or came out crazy orange. Unless you can get your hands on some imported colors at an international market, this may very well be one of the best box blondes for you to buy here. They sell a few other color choices which are also very pretty so if you are worried about frying your hair on Korean brands this could be a very nice line to try. I googled around and overall everyone had very positive things to say about the dye, Tony Moly should expand the line!
Lovely (yet mostly brown) Japanese color choices at Watsons by Freshlight
If you are not looking to go Barbie blonde, but want a brand suggestion for other box dyes here I suggest the Japanese brand Palty or Freshlight which makes beautiful trendy colors and is easily found at places like Watsons or Olive Young. I often use these a few weeks AFTER my hair has been lightened in order to tint it, so if you are looking for something dramatic I can’t give you an honest opinion atm~ but for general color they are lovely! Heads up though, sometimes the color on Freshlight can be really minimal.