Woman who lost handfuls of hair after bad bleach job gets free flight to L.A. for extensions: 'The amount I've cried over this...'
After a woman shared her journey of losing her hair following a bleach job gone wrong, a Los Angeles hair salon saw the story and offered to fly her out to fix the situation.
TikTok user @thestephseries, who goes by Steph on other platforms, documented the situation in a video on May 6. The video, which is captioned “watch me lose all my hair in a day,” has since clocked over 66 million views.
Through tears, Steph is seen holding clumps of her wet hair in her shower. Throughout the video, she shows herself using her fingers to comb through her hair and effortlessly pulling out more and more of it, piling it up in a ball on the shower shelf.
“All my hair is gonna come out,” she said, crying. “I was so happy that my hair was getting so long, and I don’t even know what it’s gonna look like.”
In a follow-up video, Steph shared a clip of her hair 24 hours before she filmed the TikTok and then compared it with her much shorter post-shower look.
“This is your sign to just go to a professional,” she said. “I have bleached my hair a million times at home … the only difference in any other time I’ve bleached my hair and this time is this time I had brown hair and I had to use color remover first and then bleach my hair.”
Steph even included a clip of her hair after just using the color remover, during which she said she didn’t feel like her hair felt unhealthy at that moment either. Steph did not name the color remover brand nor the type of bleach she used.
“But after I let the bleach sit on my hair, I rinsed it out with soap and water and without pulling on my hair at all, I already knew that it was all gonna come off,” she explained.
According to some commenters, it may have been the color remover process that caused the breakage.
“I highly do not recommend color remover, especially if you are planning to bleach it after,” one person wrote on Steph’s video. “That is what fried my hair completely.”
Hair color remover uses a sulfur-based chemical process to remove permanent hair color, Joy Johnson, a master colorist at Haus Salon Northeast in Minneapolis, told Allure. The best way to apply the remover is to put it on dirty hair.
“This is because the remover strips your hair of not just color but also natural oils,” Johnson said. She also recommended waiting at least 48 hours after washing hair to start the color removal process. It’s not clear what Steph’s exact process was like.
There also seems to be a debate about how long someone should wait between washing out the hair color removal and then applying bleach. Some sources say 48 hours, others say a few days. Steph did not specify how long she waited between steps.
But it’s clear Steph was devastated. In various captions, she said she “felt so ugly” and called the situation her “worst nightmare.” In one video playing off of the hair theory trend on TikTok, she wrote, “the amount I’ve cried over this…”
As Steph’s videos continued to gain traction, they also caught the attention of L.A.-based hairstylists Alfredo Lewis and Alex Pardoe.
“Steph we know how tramatic these things can be and we want to help,” Lewis wrote in the caption. “My friend Alex Pardoe and I want to fly you to Beverly Hills and give you the hair color of your dreams and hair extensions to save your hair.”
The group coordinated a time and date and filmed an update on May 23. According to the caption, the hair extension brand Bellami Hair paid for Steph’s flight, while another hair brand, K18, sent Steph products to prep her hair before the appointment.
In another video, before she flew to California, Steph addressed that while she felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to fix her mistake, some people aren’t as lucky.
“There are so many people who lose their hair to other circumstances,” she said. “I do not compare this experience to something like that because this was, ultimately, completely my fault.”
Steph went on to thank viewers who left kind comments and the few who even offered to send her wigs.
“After all is said and done, I definitely want to give every single wig away to people who have lost their hair to circumstances that they couldn’t control,” she continued.
Hair loss can sometimes be caused by medical conditions — for example, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), which causes hair loss in the center of the scalp, affects nearly 15% of Black women in the U.S. Roughly 49% of women will experience hair loss in their lives — with female pattern hair loss (FPHL) being the most common cause — and studies have confirmed it can cause psychosocial distress.
“Remember that at the end of the day, hair is not what makes you beautiful,” Steph concluded.
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