Hair bleaching definitely flirts on the fine between empowering success and complete ‘never leaving the house again’ disaster. From unintentional bright orange and yellow locks, to dry, broken, frizzed out strands, making the decision to go blonde – bombshell can be a rather daunting and risky one.
But don’t give up yet! These tips will have averting the crisis and shaking about your luminous Draco Malfoy inspired locks in no time!
How Does Bleach Work / What Is It?
Bleach strips the hair of its natural melanin and pigment, the same way that it does to stains on clothes (or leaves a big white patch on them if spilt by accident).
By breaking down the keratin bonds in the hair, the hair can be ‘lifted’ to a lighter level.
It is virtually impossible to lighten one’s hair without the chemical process of bleaching first, then adding the desired colour over the top (ie. a transition from black to light brown hair). Hair needs to be as white as it possibly can be in order for a lighter colour to show up over the top.
See below: A pastel tone that can only be achieved through bleach, followed by adding colour over the top.
1. Make Sure Your Hair Is Super Healthy
I’m talking once a week conditioning masks and treatments beginning AT LEAST two months prior to hittin’ the bleach. This will help you avoid excessive hair breakage, damage, and dryness.
2. Make Sure Any Chemical Treatments Have Been Grown Out Or Trimmed Away
This includes any old colour build up. Any left over chemical in the hair can compromise the final colour and cause it to refuse to lighten.
You will see the difference against your virgin roots!
3. Allow Time (And Patience) For Dark Hair
Hair that is light brown or lighter can be treated in one session, but anyone with darker hair will have to be a little more patient and allow for multiple sessions for perfectly silver locks.
Not to panic though, there are some beautiful ashy brown tones you can chill in in the meantime! (See below)
4. Make Sure Your Hair Is Dirty
Sounds like strange advice from a hair expert, but freshly washed hair with a scalp stripped of natural oils can get irritated and dry when exposed to bleach.
5. Spend Less Time Bleaching The Roots
Roots require less time than the ends as the heat from your head speeds up the process. Keep this in mind, starting from the bottom before doing the roots as not to cause breakage from the top.
6. Tone Tone Tone!
A common misconception is that the bleach itself is what achieves that silvery look – and if you think this is the case, boy will you be surprised at your unintentional bright yellow and orange head of hair!
Toning is what turns bleached hair into the shade you desire – whether that be platinum, ash, golden etc.
7. Always Use A Purple Or Blue Shampoo
Once you are light, the tone in your hair is artificial as there is no longer any pigment left. Using cheap shampoo and conditioner, or ones containing sulphate, will wash the tone right out.
Using a blue or purple shampoo will rid the hair of unwanted brassy tones in between bleaches, as blue cancels orange and purple cancels yellow.
8. Use A Hydrating Hair Mask Or Treatment Once A Week Post Bleach
Hydration is key after a bleach sesh! You’ll see the difference in how dehydrated and dry your hair becomes in comparison afterwards, which is why it’ll need a desperate pick-me-up hydration boost.
Also use hair oil on the ends as often as possible to smooth them out, as they are what will suffer most post bleach.
Always use heat protection before styling.
9. Leave Six To Eight Weeks Between Treatment Times
Don’t get impatient and book a bleach appointment any time sooner, or you’ll risk damaging your hair significantly and causing heaps of breakage!
Ever heard of an unintentional mullet? They’re all too common amongst impatient bleachers.
10. If Doing a Home Job, ALWAYS Read The Safety Instructions On Products
My best advice would be to go to a hairdresser. Like, I beg you. If the cost is an issue, believe me when I say it costs more to fix a bleach job gone wrong.
But, if you’re feeling brave *eye roll*, to avoid a burnt scalp and patches of missing hair (where the remainder feels and looks like straw, yikes), be sure to follow instructions on home bleaching kits extremely carefully!