Josie Laro, 19, from Grand Forks, North Dakota HATED her dark hair color. Because all the celebrities and people in her community who she admired had blonde locks, she decided that she would get them, too. However, Laro did not want to shell out the cost for going to a hair salon and having the stylist do a proper job – so she bought bleach from the dollar store and got to work doing it herself.
As Laro doused her dark hair with toilet-cleaner bleach, she admitted it was painful. However, it stripped the color from her hair almost immediately. It was working – until it wasn’t. Laro then watched in horror as the bleach melted her hair and made it fall out of her head in massive clumps that left her bald and embarrassed.
Laro was not new to the process. She’d “bleached” her hair twice before and thought her locks would be able to handle the strain. But she didn’t do it right this time, and the teen, who works as a certified nursing assistant, watched in horror as the intense burning soon gave way to hair falling out.
She will never forget what it was like when she removed the shower cap. She smelt the scent of burning hair. It left her with a feeling of dread deep in the pit of her stomach.
Laro jumped into the shower and tried to wash the bleach out of her hair. But it was too late. As she ran her hands through her hair, giant clumps fell out and dropped to the floor. The chemical had melted her hair and left her in a desperate state.
“I used the same bleach and developers that I had before. I never expected anything to go wrong. I have really long hair, so once I put the bleach in, I put it up into a shower cap to ensure it didn’t make a mess of everything.”
She added, “My head started getting really hot about twenty minutes in. I took the cap off to see how light my hair had become. Then I could smell my hair burning. I panicked and realized I needed to get the bleach out straight away. But as I ran my fingers through my hair, clumps started falling out, and it just didn’t stop. I kept screaming ‘oh my god, oh no!’. It was really traumatic, and I was freaking out.
“It looked like a huge pile of spaghetti or noodles in the shower. I felt so sick, it was like something from a horror movie. All their hair on the back side of my head fell off, but the front was the same, so it was all uneven.”
For the next three days, Laro stayed home crying.
She turned to the internet to see if she could get any help. A local hair salon said they thought they could save her hair – or what was left of it. And they did.
“I went a couple of days just feeling so depressed about what I’d done. I felt so ashamed. I was so upset when I brushed my hair; it was all brittle. It felt like barbie hair. I lost a lot of self-esteem. I didn’t want to go out and do anything or see anyone.”
She concluded: “I’ll never color or bleach my hair at home again. I’ve definitely learnt my lesson.”
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