Bleaching My Brows Was The Best Beauty Decision I Ever Made

Daring, spontaneous, wild... these are not words anyone would ever use to describe me. I grew up in Connecticut, I shop at the Gap, and I only recently got my first bikini wax. Basically, I'm the Rory Gilmore of the Refinery29 beauty team. But when a co-worker recently dared someone to bleach their brows, in a very out-of-character move, I volunteered without even making a list detailing the pros and cons. I was in a transformative mood — and I couldn't wait.

Roxie Darling
, New York-based colourist at Hairstory Studio (and the genius behind one writer's platinum hair journey), was to be my bleaching fairy godmother. I knew if anyone could turn me into the type of person who gets photographed during NYFW, it was her. (Spoiler alert: That still didn't happen this season, so I give up.)

But before the bleach job, I booked an appointment with celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend for a shag cut and colourist Jenna Perry, who works out of Ion Salon in NYC, for some Lily Collins-inspired colour, which she told me would contrast better with my new brows than my medium-brown shade would. Then, it was time.
Before
The first step: bleach. Since my natural brow colour was so dark, Roxie had to leave the formula on for just under an hour to make sure it would pull all the pigment out. Surprisingly, I didn't really feel
stinging or burning during — I think my adrenaline was running high. And pull out the pigment it did: My brows were stark white when she wiped it off.
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Photographed by Alyssa Faden.
Far from being freaked out, I felt cooler and more badass than ever before in my life — and I immediately opened Snapchat to document the moment. I looked like a different person. My complexion looked brighter, my eyes seemed bigger, and my new hair appeared much darker. The old, play-it-safe Sam was left behind in the bowl of bleach.
Photographed by Alyssa Faden.
Next, Roxie toned the brow hairs to a slightly more natural hue (think Spencer Pratt's beige beard), shampooed them with New Wash, then soothed the redness with a cream. But after all that was done, it hit me: I looked like an alien. My eyes were popping out of their sockets, my cheekbones were jutting out, my head shape looked different somehow, and I wondered what the hell I'd done.
Photographed by Alyssa Faden.
Photographed by Alyssa Faden.
After
Day one was just about over by the time I got home that night. I washed my face, proceeded to douse my brows in essential oils and vitamin E like Roxie recommended (bleach makes your hair soft, but super brittle), and stared at myself in the mirror until I decided I loved my brows again. What a whirlwind.

I didn’t wake up the next day with the confidence that I could walk in the Alexander Wang show, but I did feel inspired to rock a super dark smoky eye to work. I was only slightly self-conscious of my new face while riding the subway in, but this is NYC, so no one did a double take.

My co-workers repeatedly told me how cool and high-fashion I looked, so that was a nice ego boost, but it was a whole different story when I went home to Connecticut a few days later and everyone from the supermarket cashier to the neighbour's dog had an opinion. I also scared off a WASPy guy from Bumble, who stood me up at the bar after viewing my Snapchat. You win some, you lose some.

By the second week, things were starting to go downhill. My black hairs were coming back, giving my brows a salt-and-pepper effect. I wanted to be the White Witch of Narnia again, damn it.
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Photographed by Alyssa Faden.
Photographed by Alyssa Faden.
It's been a month and my dark roots are basically grown in, but I can still get away with using a light, ashy-toned brow gel. Weirdly, I find myself daydreaming of the day I can dye my arches again (though I know I shouldn't make a habit of it if I want to keep my hair from falling out). Turns out, all I needed was a taste of the blond life to know they definitely have more fun.
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