How To Bleach Your Hair
Platinum blonde hair has always been one of the most stylish shades to go for. Trend setters such as Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence and Rita Ora have all recently dabbled with this sleek look, but many of us shy away from the idea.
Getting your hair bleached in a professional salon can be very expensive, especially if your hair is quite dark, as this could require multiple sessions.
If you’re wondering whether you can successfully bleach your hair at home, the answer is yes. But you do need to be careful, as it is easy to end up with an orangey hue or to severely damage your hair. The shorter your hair is, the easier it will be for you to do at home.
Doing it yourself will be much cheaper, but you might have to put up with a shade you’re not completely happy with for a while. It’s best to allow some time between bleaching sessions so your hair stays strong and healthy.
Just follow my simple steps below, and you should be able to achieve shiny, platinum locks without spending a ton of money in a salon. You will need to be patient though, as rushing the process could make your hair brittle and unmanageable.
Things You’ll Need
One of the most important things to do if you’re considering bleaching your hair is to keep it as moisturised as possible. Bleaching agents work by removing colour pigment from hair follicles, and this process raises the outer cuticle so that the bleach can properly penetrate hair (PhilipKingsley).
Repeating this process means that hair loses its moisture more quickly, and can become dry, brittle and more prone to breakages. Taking a few preventative steps and following through with proper aftercare should help keep your hair healthier whilst using bleaching agents.
It’s a good idea to use a conditioning shampoo three of four days before you bleach your hair. You’ll want to build up as much strength as possible to minimise the damage caused by bleaching.
If your hair is properly hydrated, it will have a better chance against the drying effects caused by bleaching, which is called oxidisation. Burt's Bees pre-shampoo treatment is sulfate free, and is a great option for nourishing hair and restoring moisture.
Apply a small amount to wet hair before shampooing, and leave it in for at least 15 minutes. You don’t have to use it before every hair wash, but the aim is to make your hair as healthy as possible.
If you have dry hair that is easily tangled, you’ll be used to using conditioner with every hair wash. And if you don’t usually need it, it’s a good idea to start using a deep conditioner about two weeks before you bleach your hair.
For the same reasons a pre-shampoo treatment will help lock in moisture, a good quality conditioner such as It's a 10 will help protect your hair against breakages and split ends.
Bleaching your hair at home does require a few steps, and you’ll need to make sure you mix the correct amount of ingredients together.
Powder bleach should be mixed with a volume developer, which comes in different strengths. There are many brands of powder bleach available, which you can buy in tubs or packets.
This is also known as creme developer, and is available in different strengths (10, 20, 30 and 40). Most people will get good results from a 20 or 30. It’s best to avoid the 40 if you can, as it can cause more damage to your hair (Bustle).
Clairol's 30 Creme Developer has a creamy consistency which is easier to manage in a mixing bowl, and is good for touching up roots as well as applying to your whole hair.
As a general rule, the lower the volume, the less damage it will do. However, with lower strengths it will probably take longer to achieve the shade you’re going for. If your hair is already a light shade or quite fine, a 20 should be strong enough for you.
When you bleach your hair, colour pigment is removed, but you often end up with a yellow or orange tint due to a natural protein called keratin (PhilipKingsley).
Professional colourist Carley McInery explains that complementary colours are used to add pigment back into your hair and cancel out unwanted tones.
Blue helps tone down orange hues, and violet works to counteract yellow. This is why toner is usually blue or purple in colour.
It’s important not to skip using toner if you want to achieve a silvery blonde look instead of straw like shades. Wella T18 Liquid Toner is a great option which helps combat brassy tones too.
Hair Dye Kit
As you’re using bleach, you’ll want to use a plastic bowl and mixer to avoid doing any damage. One of the most economical ways to get everything you need is to buy a hair dye kit such as ATB’s Coloring Dyeing Kit.
It also includes a hairbrush and comb with pointy tips, to help you get right down to the roots. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to use hair clips to separate your hair into sections, and access the roots more easily.
The best way to protect your hands whilst handling bleach is to wear plastic gloves, which are widely available from supermarkets or online.
Purple Shampoo And Conditioner
Once you’ve bleached your hair, it’s a good idea to regularly use a purple shampoo and conditioner.
Shampoos such as Joico Color Balance offset yellow or brassy shades, and should help maintain the lovely icy tones you’re after.
As I mentioned earlier, repeated use of bleaching agents which usually contain hydrogen peroxide and ammonia can cause hair to dry out and be more prone to breakages and split ends (PhilipKingsley).
Using a strengthening oil such as Fig+Yarrow Organic Hair & Scalp Tonic can help add sheen and vitality to colour treated hair. Using it once a week should be enough to help keep your hair healthy.
Applying coconut oil to your hair before and after bleaching could also help keep your hair nourished. It’s a natural product and an inexpensive option to add to your haircare routine.
Steps For Bleaching Your Hair
Before you start, bare in mind that it can take a while to achieve your dream shade of blonde. The darker your shade is to start with, the more times you might have go through the bleaching process.
1. Prepare Hair
Use a strengthening shampoo and deep conditioner for a few weeks before bleaching to make your hair as strong and hydrated as possible. Try not to wash your hair just before, as this should help avoid irritating your scalp.
2. Apply Bleach With A Brush
Wearing plastic gloves, mix the powder bleach with your volume developer according to the instructions on the bottle. A 30 should be strong enough for most hair shades, and still be gentle on sensitive scalps.
If you’re not used to bleaching your hair yourself, it’s a good idea to protect the skin around your neck with some plastic wrap, and try to get as little of the mixture as possible on the skin around your face.
Apply the bleach all over your hair with a brush, and use the pointy end to separate your hair and get as close to your roots as possible.
Try not to rub the bleach into your scalp though, as this can irritate your skin. Wait for 30 to 45 minutes, checking for a consistent light yellow colour.
If you’re trying this for the first time, you might want to ask a friend to help you reach the hair on the back of your head. Remember that if you feel any burning on your scalp or other parts of your skin, it’s better to wash the bleach out immediately so you don’t suffer any chemical burns.
If you have very dark hair and think you’ll need to bleach your hair more than once to achieve your dream shade, it’s best to wait at least a week before applying it again.
Damaging your hair too much could make it fall out, which you definitely want to avoid. You might not be happy with the shade for a little while, but it will be worth the wait.
3. Mix In Toner And Volume Developer
After bleaching, wash your hair with a light sulfate free shampoo and towel dry. Mix the toner and volume developer according to the instructions on the bottle. Either a 20 or 30 developer should be strong enough for this step.
Apply the toner all over damp hair, wait about 30 minutes, and then wash it out using a moisturising shampoo and conditioner.
This process will help cancel out any unwanted brassy or yellowish tones, so a little patience is required before you can achieve a bright blonde look.
Remember to wear old clothes as this process can get a bit messy, and if you feel any uncomfortable burning, wash the product out immediately.
4. Use Purple Shampoo And Oil
You might not be happy with the shade you get after bleaching your hair for the first time. If this is the case, it’s best to wait at least a week before going through the process again.
To help combat orange and yellow tones, use a purple shampoo and conditioner regularly. This can also help you towards the perfect shade of blonde even if you’re not happy with the colour straight after bleaching.
Use a strengthening oil to help keep your hair healthy and hydrated. Bleached hair is more susceptible to environmental damage, so the more nourishment it gets the better.
Try and be gentle with your hair, and take care not to overheat it if you use a hair dryer, as bleaching can make it weaker.
Touching up your roots might be enough to maintain your new look, but in case you decide to bleach your hair again, it’s best to keep it as healthy as possible by using the right products for colour treated hair.
Achieving beautiful platinum blonde hair doesn’t have to be expensive. With some perseverance and determination it can be done at home, and following the steps I mentioned earlier will help make the process more simple.
Bleach usually has the best results on hair that isn’t coloured, and hair that has a naturally light shade such as brown. But with a little patience anyone can achieve their dream shade, without spending an extortionate amount in professional salons.
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