We all love getting makeovers, don't we? And for most of us, it simply begins with hair. Whether it’s for a party or a wedding, a new job or if we’re just simply craving a fresh look - there’s nothing more satisfying than getting an exciting new hairdo. Not only does it leave you feeling more confident than before but also, makes you feel like an entirely new person. So, if life has been getting a bit too mundane and unenthusiastic lately, a gorgeous hair transformation is all that you require.
As much as I love getting haircuts and experimenting with highlights, there’s a whole new thrill in opting for a hair colour outside of my comfort zone. If your natural colour has been always been dark/warm, thoughts of going blonde must have crossed your mind at least once. Haven’t you ever imagined yourself in thick ashy blondes, stunning rose-gold or shiny, pearly opals? It’s trendsetters like Marilyn Monroe, Taylor Swift and Lisa Haydon who are known to ace these strikingly glamorous looks. But as edgy and amazing as it can be, it’s something most of us shy away from. We always think, ‘What if it doesn’t suit me?’ ‘What if I look too flashy and weird?’ Well, I have a question for you, as well - what if it turns out to be the most rocking look of your life?
Bleaching is basically, a process of lightening the shades of your hair through a method called oxidation. It decolourises the natural pigment in your hair shaft through hydrogen peroxide which is used in combination with ammonia and toner. It lightens the shade of your hair colour by a substantial amount only for you to achieve your choice of trendy blonde looks, afterwards.
Since bleaching your hair in a salon gets a tad too expensive, if you’re wondering for a possibility of doing it at home, the answer is yes. However, every best outcome comes with a little bit of risk. I must warn you that it can lead to hair damage or even an unsatisfying shade. But if done correctly, you can certainly get a look that will leave everyone awestruck! So, if you’re ready to jazz up your hair (and life) with a shimmery new colour, go ahead and read on.
1. Make sure you do your research before buying any products for your hair. Ask your hairstylist for suggestions or read as many reviews as you can. Treating your hair with trusted brands is a must, to avoid any damage.
2. Create a checklist and make sure you have all the supplies you require for bleaching your hair at home. This leaves less room for error and saves your time. Any last-minute delays or lack of products can lead to troublesome results.
3. Do not skip the allergy test, no matter how many times you may have done it before. Like yourself, your hair/skin also changes with time and becomes prone to sensitivity or allergies caused due to the chemicals in the bleaches. A strand test will ensure that the bleach is perfectly safe.
4. You must read all the instructions mentioned on the products you’re going to use. Follow the exact same technique and quantities of ingredients required to avoid any mistakes.
5. Do not leave the bleach on longer than instructed. It’s a huge risk and could not only damage your hair beyond repair but even burn your scalp.
6. You must be aware of all the precautions and side-effects before you decide to bleach your hair. Nobody knows your hair better than you. So, bleach it only if you’re 100% ready to deal with its consequences and if you’re willing to put in all the efforts required in taking care of your hair more than ever before. After all, isn’t your hair worth it?
For your hair to build up as much strength as it possibly can to minimize the damage caused by bleaching, here are a few steps you must abide to keep it healthy and safe from all the chemicals.
1. It’s important to start with completely natural and unprocessed hair. No matter what bleaching product you’re going to use, it will make your hair drier and more sensitive than before. Hence, make sure that you don’t dye or undergo any heated/chemical treatment on your hair for 3 months before you bleach it.
2. Refrain from using shampoos and products containing sulfates and alcohol. Use gentle products like those made from 100% natural ingredients to prevent any moisture loss in your hair and to retain its important nutrients.
3. If you have dry hair that gets easily tangled, you’ll be used to conditioning your hair regularly. If you’re not, it’s a good idea to start conditioning your hair two weeks prior to bleaching it. It’s also, advisable to use deep-conditioning hair masks at least twice a week. You can even make them at home using ingredients like bananas, avocados, yogurt, eggs, etc.
4. Oiling your hair can prevent a whole lot of unnecessary damage. Soak your hair in coconut oil a night before you bleach it to form a protective barrier over your hair shafts.
5. Make sure you condition your hair on the same day you decide to bleach it, as it puts some of the nutrients back into your hair, making it more manageable and stronger.
Put on your gloves and an old t-shirt that you wouldn’t mind getting the bleach on, as things are about to get messy.
To do an allergy test, dab a small portion of the bleach solution on a patch of your skin and hair. Leave it there for 2-3 hours and check for any allergic reaction, burning, or an itching sensation on the same. If you do, rinse it well with water and replace it with some other bleaching product that suits your skin and hair. If you don’t, go ahead with the following process.
Create sections in your hair and clip them away. Divide your hair using easily removable clips so that you can simply take them off and clip them back again as per your requirements, once the bleaching process starts.
Read the instructions mentioned on the boxes of the bleaching powder and developer on how they must be used. Ideally, you are advised to mix the bleaching powder and the creme developer (using precise measurements) together in a bowl. Blend them perfectly until the mixture forms a cream-like consistency and is devoid of any lumps.
Begin applying the bleach on your hair with a brush, using the pointy end to separate your hair and get as closer to your roots as possible.
It’s advised that you should begin by colouring the ends and mid-lengths of your hair first as they take a much longer time to lighten than the roots. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then apply colour to the roots and the rest of your hair.
Once you’re done with the front layers and roots, apply the mixture to the back of your hair. You can either ask someone to do it for you or use a back-mirror to ensure that all the sections have been coloured accurately.
As soon as your hair is covered in bleach, wrap it all up with a shower cap or some cellophane. Now, all you have to do is sit back, relax and let the magic begin!
Don’t leave the bleach on your hair any longer than 30-45 minutes and keep checking a strand of hair after every 10 minutes to ensure your desired colour.
Once it's done, jump into the shower and wash your hair thoroughly with cold water. Rinse out every bit of the bleach in your hair and use a good quality, protein-enriched shampoo and conditioner.
Let your hair dry. If you like the colour, you can stop right there. If not, you could always use a toner to achieve an even lighter shade of blonde (like more of a platinum-grey or white) or try to even out some of the colour imperfections in your hair. Simply replace the bleach with the toner and follow the same steps listed above to get rid of all the dark tones from your hair.
Leave the toner on your hair for a minimum of 30 minutes. However, applying the toner is not as time-sensitive as the bleach, so you can take your time to let the colour soak-in to achieve your desired result. Rinse it with cold water again. This stops the developing process and the chemicals from removing more colour from your hair. Let it dry and voila! It’s done.
Bleaching can affect the moisture level of your hair, causing it to become dry and brittle, and lead to breakage as well. The bleach can also have an adverse reaction on your scalp resulting in a tingling or burning sensation, followed by some itching, redness and development of sores. Since your scalp is made of the same basic proteins as your hair, you’re also likely to experience some discolouration on your scalp when it comes in contact with the bleach.
Although out of all colouring methods in the world, bleaching is potentially the most damaging of the lot - the results are not permanent. If treated with care and perseverance, your hair can rejuvenate and attain its lost shine and softness with time, sooner or later.
Now that you have aced the blonde look, it’s time for some damage control. Pamper your hair with good quality shampoos to add shine, bounce and increase manageability. Since bleaching also raises your hair’s cuticles, quench your hair’s thirst by indulging in deep-conditioning to seal the moisture and prevent your hair from getting entangled unnecessarily. Stop using blow-dryers, hair straighteners, hair curlers or any other heat-styling tools to further over-dry and damage your hair. Also, do not brush or pull your hair too roughly in order to prevent breakage.
Cool the area right away by applying some tender coconut oil, aloe vera gel or some diluted lemon juice to soothe your scalp instantly and reduce the itching after bleaching your hair.
It’s best to wait for at least six to seven weeks before re-bleaching your already processed hair. But it's best to wait for as long as possible considering the damage it causes.
Bleaching your hair twice in a row will only damage and destroy your hair all over again. No matter how strong it is, our hair can only endure so much before it starts looking fried and dead. Hence, it’s advisable to wait for at least a month or six weeks to bleach your hair again.
Consider conditioners as your new best friend! Don’t go a week without conditioning your hair at least 2-3 times to retain all of the nutrients and moisture back into your hair. You could even use homemade deep-conditioning masks made from natural ingredients. Massage tender coconut oil on a regular basis to nurture your hair back to life before it became dull and brittle from all the chemicals involved in the bleach.
One of the easiest ways to prevent breakage is to comb your hair gently or with a good-quality conditioner on your hair. When your hair starts becoming dry and frizzy thereby increasing the possibility of breakage while combing, this is what you can do. Wet your hair a little and apply the conditioner on this towel-dried hair. Massage and comb through all of your hair and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then, rinse it off and shampoo your hair to get soft, shiny hair.
You should wait for at least three to seven days before you get your hair further coloured.
One of the best shampoos for bleached or coloured hair is the TRESemme Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo as it’s low in sulfate and induced with keratin and Moroccan Argan oil. It gently controls the frizz whilst cleansing your coloured hair with care. (Price: Rs 385. Buy it here.)
Image Sources: Pexel and Burst.Shopify.
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