I've been a blonde my whole life. That is to say, I was born blonde. Not the super bright Norwegian kind from my dad's side, I am instead blessed with a modest shade of mousey. It's for this reason I've been highlighting my hair every three months for the best part of 14 years. I've always taken pride in my particular brand of blonde — milky and creamy but not at all ash — so when my hair turned green while I was on holiday in Greece recently, I was a little beside myself.
I've been seeing the same colourist for six years and she was approximately 16,000 kms away. My husband and I were staying in a small village with a corner shop, so buying a toning shampoo and mixing it back with Olaplex was basically the mirage on my green hair horizon.
What I still find weird though, is being Australian and spending a lot of time in friends' pools growing up and at swimming carnivals — the literal water works — I'd never experienced a green hair situation. I'd heard horror stories about women diving into chlorinated pools and stepping out with green hair. Never me.
To make matters worse, I'd been on yet another tireless hair growing mission and let me tell you, my hair grows slow. Because the green was most prominent on the ends, I immediately thought I'd have to chop off the one inch I'd spent the last 18 months squeezing from my scalp like Vegemite through a Salada.
But praise be — cutting is not necessary.
First of all, let's clear up this chlorine myth. It's not what turns blonde hair green. Because I can't make a decision without Google, I went into a very targeted keyword search vortex. I then launched into an Instagram messaging session with senior beauty editor, Lisa, and took counsel from my friend and hair expert Christina of Hair Romance fame (she's a HANDY one to know, let me tell you). All three revealed the same thing — it's the copper not the chlorine. And that there's also an apparently very well-known blonde hair trick where you enter the pool with wet hair soaked in a treatment or conditioner. It creates a barrier.
Does everyone know about this? Have I been living under a big blonde rock?
Lisa and Christina both told me to go and buy tomato sauce and put it in my hair, to which I laughed and was like, no really guys, help me. But what do you know, tomato sauce really is the remedy. I sent my little husband helper to the local store to get me some Big Red and then got to work.
(I should add that to make matters worse I was also trialling beaded hair extensions for volume and they went really green. So the poor thing also had to source pliers and unhinge each one from my hair. Made for amazing Instagram Stories content though.)
It got better though, because Christina had experienced green hair on a trip to Bali and promptly filmed a tomato sauce tutorial from her villa. That's when I had a real "I love you, internet" moment. She suggested I wet my hair, towel dry it, apply the sauce and leave it to soak in for 20 minutes. Wash, condition, repeat if needed.
I did have to do it twice, but the red pigment from the tomato completely neutralised the green.
So that's my tomato sauce story.