Ackhh! My roots are showing! I winced after seeing these photos.
I know, I know. It’s perfectly normal for our roots to grow—and I had been very busy the past months, after all—but still. I felt like I had let myself go the past few months. It was about time to take a break from work and actually make time for myself. And so one day, I finally freed up my schedule and had my hair dyed!
I was too busy the past months, that I totally forgot to give myself some tender, loving care!
Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. However, I had my hair coloring treatment done by the L'Oréal team for free in exchange of a review on my blog.
When L'Oréal e-mailed me to introduce their best-selling shade—Ultra Light Ash Brown 03—I said ‘YES’ to this collaboration right away. I had just seen one of my girl crushes Sarah Lahbati post about the exact shade the other day—wouldn’t it be cool to cop her look, too?
The DIY box dye promises to lighten one’s hair up to 4x, without bleaching—intrigued, I was very eager to try it myself.
I headed to the SM Makati Department Store to try out the L'Oréal Ultra Light Ash Brown 03 dye myself.
Here’s a fun fact: People who buy hair dyes from the L'Oréal booth located inside the department store can get their hair colored for free right then and there! That can really help one save a lot of money. I usually pay around 3K-5K just to get my hair re-touched, so discovering this hack was very helpful. (I’m a cheapo, I tell you!) I’m just not sure when this offer would last, but I’m hoping it’ll stick around. I’m (already) planning to head back in a few months!
These photos share what your hair will look like after dying your hair with the exact shade.
Here’s the obligatory ‘before’ shot, showing off my cringey roots. I had my hair dyed red-brown four months ago, which explains why my hair looked “copper-y” (like rust or kalawang)!
And here’s the ‘after’ photo! The result was lighter hair that didn’t need bleaching.
For those asking, we used three and a half boxes of L'Oréal Ultra Light Ash Brown 03, because my hair is super thick!
Yay! Look—no dark roots anymore!
OMG gusto niyo yung pinag-tabi ko talaga photos namin ni Sarah Lahbati? HAHAHA #confidence! LOL. This photo is just to show you how the L'Oreal Ultra Light Ash Brown 03 shade looks on two different people :)
A Review of the L'Oréal ultra light ash brown hair dye
The L'Oréal Ultra Light Ash Brown 03 shade is a universally flattering color. It suits both morenas and mestizas!
This particular L'Oréal dye also lightens your hair up to 4x without bleaching!
The DIY hair color is easy to apply at home!
If you’re not comfortable dyeing your own hair, you can opt to get your hair colored for free at the L'Oréal booth at the SM Makati Department Store (but take note that I’m not sure if this offer is permanent). You can also opt to go to your neighourhood salon and ask them to color your hair using the hair dye you bought—just pay for the service!
It’s super affordable, priced at PHP 399 per box.
As with any hair dye, I felt that my hair started to dry up right after coloring it. The trick is to use a trusty conditioner often.
Would I recommend this?
YES! I’m really happy with how this look turned out. It’s been a month since I’ve been rocking this new hair color, and I’ve been receiving loads of compliments! :) I also love how the shade is light—but not too light. I’m definitely keeping this look, and will buy boxes of this dye once my roots start to show.
On a more personal note
(trigger warning for harassment victors and people with PTSD)
I’ll be 100% candid here: I love my light brown hair! As in!
But honestly, the moment I first saw my new look, I almost cried. I was sad—not because I didn’t like my new look, but because I saw my 19-year-old self in the mirror. The very person I tried so hard to run away from. To forget.
2016 me vs 2019 me. It’s true what they say—sadness shows.
I am tearing up as I type this. Sometimes, I feel like people judge me for not being able to move on from my past, because I always talk about it. But this is my way of coping—this is my way of healing. And I want to reach out to other women (and men) who have experienced this narrative, too.
You see, back in 2015, I was fighting a harassment case—but because my parents’ mental and physical health (as well as mine) were already being compromised, I (hesitantly) decided to let the case go.
Every night, I still get What Ifs in my head. What if I didn’t let go of the case? What if I was stronger? What if I fought harder? Plenty of years have passed, but I still get nightmares.
As a feminist and a supporter of women’s rights, I knew that seeking justice was the right thing to do. But things are very different when you’re already there in court—I never knew how hard it was to prove my own innocence when my harasser and his accomplices kept twisting the story. As I type this, I shake my head at the memory of it—things are always easier said than done. I tried so hard to hide my depression. I kept a “happy, strong facade” , but secretly, I felt so anxious. Angry. And frustrated—at the system, at my harasser, and at myself.
The Saddest Mother’s Day Celebration
Over dinner on Mother’s Day in 2016, my mom asked a favor from me: after eight months of fighting for justice, she gently asked if I could let my harassment case go. They started to fear that our lives were on the line . (My harasser’s dad, a police, called my parents up and told them that his son was depressed because of what was happening. My harasser’s dad told my father that he was “hiding his gun”.)
I was so mad at my parents because I wanted them to be on MY side—I wanted them to support me in my fight. I didn’t want them to be afraid—I wanted them to be brave for me. I stormed out of our table and locked myself in the restaurant’s comfort room for an hour. It was the saddest Mother’s Day I’ve ever had.
After a few years, I realized that my parents did support me. And that they were brave. They only wanted me to be safe. I may have not understood it then, but they showed their love for me by keeping me away from harm, the way they knew how. Our love languages were far different from one another. We may have not understood each other back then—but in the end, love prevailed.
The Turning Point
A few weeks later, while my family and I were discussing our plans on what to do with the harassment case, my mom suddenly felt extremely dizzy. Her blood pressure went up, and she couldn’t stand straight on her two feet. We had to rush her to the emergency room. I thought I was going to lose her.
I cried to God and said, “Father, if keeping my mom means I have to let go of the case, I’ll do it. My family matters to me more than winning the case. My harasser and his family—they’ve done evil things to us. Whether or not my harasser gets punished, they’ll still be evil. They’ll still hurt us. Right now, it just doesn’t make a difference. Right now, all I could think of is my mom. So Lord, I’m going to lay everything on your feet. I’m going to let go of the case—not because I think it’s the right thing to do, but because I need you to take over. All this time, I’ve been calling my own shots—but Lord, it’s time I surrender. Lord, this is not the justice I’ve been seeking—but you are a just God. And I know that you will vindicate me. You will win the battle for me.”
I eventually let go of the case. I hated myself for doing it—but I loved my family so much that I couldn’t stand to see them sick and hurting. And although it was not the justice I wanted and envisioned, my God still vindicated me. He saved me in ways I didn’t know were possible. Today, I am happy. Healthy. I am FREE!
I may have let go of the harassment case, but he gave me a brand new start—right away. A few months after I let go of my case, I entered my first job, a digital production company where I met the funniest, most creative people. I wrote articles, did copywriting, and produced videos—my first job trained me to become the digital content creator I am today! And you know what’s funny? The first company I worked full-time for was named Blank Slate—and that’s exactly what God gave me. A blank slate. A fresh start. A new chapter to write.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. —Isaiah 43:18-19
New Hair, Old Me
My past was filled with so much hurt. When I started to work at my first job, I tried so hard to forget about that 19-year-old girl who gave up a harassment case. I gradually changed my appearance. I dyed my hair red and changed my wardrobe. After almost a year, I was eventually given an offer to work for another company. I took the risk. I dyed my hair brown and changed the partition of my hair. Threw away everything that reminded me Goodbye, old self— I was living a new life!
My red hair in 2017
My red-brown hair in 2018
So when I saw myself in the mirror—and realized that my new, light brown hair looked similar to my blonde hair in 2016— I felt a sharp pain in my chest.
It was like I was being stabbed by the ghosts of my past, all over again. I know it may seem silly to cry over hair—but I’ve always thought that our hair tells a story. I am still the very girl I’ve been trying to run away from, I thought.
I am the very girl I’ve been trying to run away from, I sighed. But then—a light bulb moment. My eyes lit up and I smiled. I am the very girl I’ve ben trying to run away from! I started giggling by myself, because I finally started to see the beauty of it all.
My new look—my light brown locks—reminded me so much of my old self. I was incredibly sad seeing myself in the mirror and being reminded of my “failures”, my “mistakes”, my “what ifs”. But you know what? I AM who I am because of who I was. I am who I am because I overcame. I wasn’t a failure—I was brave. Letting go of my case because I wanted to take care of my family wasn’t a mistake—it was a sacrifice done out of love. And all those what ifs? They don’t matter anymore. Life is happening now! And God has written the best success story for me.
Yes, I let go of my case. I didn’t reach the finish line. I couldn’t share a success story to my fellow victims of harassment who want to fight for a case.
But you know what?
I’d like to believe that not all battles are won by being fought. Because there are a few battles that are won the moment you let go of them.
Seeking justice isn’t a one-size-fits all. I may have not won a case—but through God, I still came out victorious of life.
And so, I thank my new hair for reminding me of my old hair; that the new me is still the old me, only wiser. Stronger. Braver.
I embrace myself—who I was, who I am, and who I am about to be. :)