So much about the Kardashian family is implausible. Their openness about life’s big and little moments and no-shame conversations about embarrassing, personal and private matters along with our constant ability to have contact with them through social platforms, products, media and re-runs makes them seem relatable. But, their strategic rise to success, excess of wealth and social power are signposts that this side of America’s most modern family is purely superficial. The latest florid event that perfectly sums up this unbalanced tension is without doubt Kim Kardashian’s hair transformation.
As the New Yorker once callously said, ‘Kardashian West’s empire is a shallow, relentless exploration of how a twenty-first-century American woman might take her sexuality and her family life to market at the same time.’ Keeping Up With The Kardashians, like all reality television is a subterfuge. These shows are scripted, conversations are rehearsed and events are edited. It’s a shameless industry that provokes insecurities and dials up advertising. Kim’s recent hair transformation from brunette to platinum blonde to Pepto Bismal pink and back again is as untrue as the TV show’s format.
The first time the star debuted platinum hair was in 2015. At the time her make-up artist Joyce Bonelli took full credit telling Allure, ‘I think for two years before Kim had her platinum coming out party in Paris, Kanye was obsessed with my colour and style’.
See: Kim Kardashian's Hair Transformations
Evolution of Kim Kardashian's Hair
Like clockwork, every time Kardashian colours her hair the news cycle refreshes her to the top of the feed. No wonder she and her hairdresser Chris Appleton are constantly transforming her image. For her latest bout, she tweeted in December that she: ‘Spent the last few days bleaching my roots (we do it in stages so it doesn't break off). OMG 13 hours & still going. This blonde is very high maintenance. Love you @ChrisAppleton1 but getting over this.’ Previously she mentioned on her app that: ‘The last time I went platinum, a few years back, I dyed it in one sitting and never gave it the proper time, so this time I sat there 12 hours straight. Then, we did another 5-hour session.’
‘Bleach is the most damaging chemical we can legally use on your hair.’ Not Another Salon’s Sophia Hilton explains, ‘It slowly collapses the internal structure of the hair when used in excess and I'm not being dramatic here.’ Whether you bleach your hair in stages or all at once the result is the same: your hair will come saturated with a strong chemical formula that can reek long-term damage.
‘Sadly, some 'non-natural' colours, like pink, fade like there's no tomorrow!’ adds Hilton, ‘There are only two ways to help colours like pink fade at a less rapid rate. The first is to top up your colour weekly…The second, and most important, is to have healthy hair. [T]he outside of your hair is made up of millions of cuticles. Cuticles are like lots of little doors wrapped around the hair to protect it. With heat, colouring and lots of other factors, the doors are constantly opening and closing and so the hinges get weekend and some of the doors fall off. Then, when you are desperately trying to keep a colour particle in, in this case, your pink shade, you can't because the colour literally keeps falling out of the door frames!’ The same can be said for tinting, which is the plausible way Kim kept her pink hair in check.’ The biggest issue with constant tinting is the build-up of colour on your ends. For brunettes, you'll notice you start to get darker or the tone is harder to see. The only way to stop that once it's happened is to strip it out - and as I’m sure you can guess, that's not great for your poor locks. To avoid it, you need to focus on just getting your roots done, not your ends…. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass, but is so much better for your hair,’ adds Sophia.
The look takes hours upon hours to create, the risks of breakage and long-term damage are high and the results don’t last long and yet Kim Kardashian flaunts her hair, like everything in her life, as accessible to all. An attainable look you can get at your hairdressers if only you had the patience, money and wherewithal. Kim has since gone back to a colour near her natural brunette, which IMHO exemplifies more than anything how this extreme faddish aesthetic is a byword for how calculated her world is.
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.