About a year ago, I decided to supercharge my subtle balayage with a more dramatic all-over blond. I follow L.A. colourist Johnny Ramirez on Instagram and became obsessed with the California-girl highlights he created. Unfortunately those inspo pix didn’t quite translate, and I ended up with brassy-blond ends and chemical damage to boot. (Yep, that month of side bangs was unintentional.) After several months of repairing protein masks, purple toning shampoos and follow-up dye jobs at salons all over Toronto, I was ready to give up and go back to my natural light-brown colour. “You won’t be happy,” my latest colourist told me bluntly, adding that I’d be back for highlights within a week. He talked me through a couple of back-to-blond options before suggesting that I “just go lavender.” At first I laughed, but I soon reconsidered. I love being creative with clothes, but I’ve never been a huge risk taker—I don’t have any tattoos, and when, as a teen, I got a second hole pierced in my ears, that felt rebellious enough. Suddenly, I wanted to know what it would feel like to be the girl with purple hair. And? I loved it. When it started to fade after a few washes, I felt sad and began thinking about all the other colours I want to try next: bubble-gum pink, sterling blue.... In the meantime, the washed-out lavender has toned my blond highlights to that perfect ashy shade I was chasing a year ago. Sometimes you really can’t lose by taking a risk—if you have a good colourist.