Bleaching your hair without wrecking it

Hi Strangekittens! It’s time to talk hair. I mentioned on FB how i’m bleaching my hair twice. Below i’ll tell you how i do this without my hair turning into cotton candy!

Kids, don’t try this at home. Really. Ask your mom to help if you’re really keen on it. I don’t want angry parent emails ūüėõ

I see a lot of ladies try to bleach their hair and wreck it. As a long time hair dying addict, I’ve learnt the best ways to do it without wrecking my hair. I am NOT a hairdresser; this is just through personal trial and error, and research.

1. Is your hair currently healthy? If it’s shiny and strong, carry on. If it’s rough and dry, stop right there! Bring your hair back to good health before you bleach. Give it a break if you want to keep it. A healthy diet with plenty of animal protein and saturated fats loves on your hair like nothing else! The Paleo lifestyle has done wonders for my hair, personally.

It’s well known that bleach does do some damage to your hair. That can’t be avoided. But we can mitigate the damage and not end up with clumps falling out.

2. Ok, so assuming your hair is decently healthy. First thing I do, and yes this is a little gross, is not wash my hair for about 4 days. Yes, it makes it greasy, but that’s the point! You want the natural protection to your scalp and hair that hair grease provides. Meanwhile…learn about ballerina buns ūüėõ Because you’re gonna want your hair tied back while it’s looking yuck!

My hair gets greasy pretty quick, yours may not. Don’t worry about it too much; you just want a little bit.

3. Next, with your greasy hair suitably disguised (or do this before and become a hermit for days, lol), go find some good quality hair bleach. Now, if you’ve bleached your hair before, you will¬†have¬†noticed that there’s labels saying 20/30/40% vol on the kits. This is the strength of the developer, basically. 20% being the lowest, 40 being the highest. ¬†You could go for 40% but it’s incredibly strong, and will most definitely wreck you hair if you don’t know what you’re doing. I personally stick with the 30%. It’s strong enough for most people; depending on if you have natural, un-dyed hair, or permanent dye in it. This time¬†I’m¬†bleaching mine twice, because I had blue-black in it, and it’s super resistant!

You may also want to pick up a protein mask for the next step. I can highly recommend Nioxin’s repair masks, they’re pricey but very worth it. Although, if you go to a beauty supply store, they have the smaller tubes for under $10. But anything should help; Pantene makes some nice ones too. LiveClean makes a great Argan Oil conditioning treatment too.

I¬†have¬†used many brands, and¬†most¬†are pretty similar. These days I use Jerome Russell (the brand that makes Punky¬†colours). I’ve also used Manic Panic, and found that they were pretty decent, but ohgawdwhy stay away from the 40% vol. There’s a few good drug store brands, the easiest one to find is a lightening kit called Blondissima, it’s actually¬†pretty¬†strong!

Note: If you’re planning on going white blonde, or silver like me, buy some purple toner. Or silver toner. You can use this as colour corrector after to take the yellow out of your hair.

4. Ok, next! Once you¬†have¬†you hot little paws on some bleach and developer (and gloves, and a plastic mixing bowl.¬†DON’T¬†USE METAL! Bleach reacts badly with metal), we’re gonna prepare you hair for the ordeal you’re about to put it through. You’ll also want a plastic comb.

First, use whatever mask you bought. I generally leave it in twice as long as the pack says; but this is more to make sure it’s soaked into my jungle-thick hair.

Rinse, dry. Be gentle drying your hair. I air dry it after gently squeezing out excess water. You don’t want to rough things up before you’re started, you’ll undo all your good work!

Find an old white shirt to wear. Bleach is gonna bleach.

5. When it’s COMPLETELY dry, get your latex gloves on and start mixin’! If you bought a kit, it will have instructions. If you bought a separate bleach pack and developer like¬†I¬†did, they should still¬†have¬†instructions on them. I¬†basically¬†mix by eye at this point; a good rule is that the mix should not be very grainy, and it should be paste like. Most bleach is white, some have toner in them, it might be bluish or light purple. This just means your hair won’t come out as yellow. Use a plastic spoon, or the provided brush that came with your kit.

Be gentle with the powder. Do not inhale this stuff, it’s toxic! The Jerome Russell one is not as messy as most, and doesn’t tend to fly around.

Once you¬†have¬†this mixed, make sure you’re doing this in a ventilated area, with a mirror. If you¬†have¬†exhaust fans in your¬†bathroom, it’s good to turn those on¬†now¬†ūüôā

6. Working quickly, and from the ends up, distribute and coat your hair evenly. Combing it through helps, but only comb it¬†once, or you’ll take out more than you want.

Personally,¬†I¬†section my hair up to make this easier to get to the back sections. Everything from the ears up gets twisted up in a¬†plastic¬†clip, and I work from the nape of the neck upwards, taking down sections as I go. This bit is pretty self explanatory. You want your hair coated but not drippy. Also, don’t rub it into your scalp! It will¬†burn¬†your skin. ¬†When you’re good, twist it into a bun or roll, and clip it out of the way. You can use a plastic dye cap too, to help it along. Personally, I just use a plastic grocery bag and tie it at the back, because generally I always forget to pick up a cap, lol!

7. Once you’re got this done, you’ll want to clean up a bit. Fetch a damp cloth or paper towel and wipe off any bleach that’s got on your skin. Don’t forget your ears. This stuff burns like a bitch if you leave it on!

8. And now, we find something to do. I usually surf the internet a bit, or so some housework.

Your brand of bleach should have some timer¬†guidelines¬†on it;¬†I’ve¬†found i¬†have¬†to leave mine on for up to 2hrs. But don’t do this if you’re not sure. Check your hair every 10mins or so to see what¬†colour¬†it is. Yes, at some point it may be orange (if you’re going from dark hair). In that case, it’s not quite done yet. You want to get as close to yellow as you can get. But don’t leave it on¬†more¬†than 90mins! I do two hours because I know what¬†I’m¬†doing, and my hair is VERY thick.

9. When your time is up, rise it out gently and condition your hair heavily in the shower. This is a good time to use your hair mask again! You want to help your hair recover.

10. Let it air dry like before, and if you’re happy with how it looks, then WOOOT! Mission accomplished. If you want less yellow, use the toner you bought.

If it’s too dark still, you’ll¬†have¬†to repeat the process from step 4. But wait at least a day for your hair to recover and take to some of that nourishing mask you got!

Better still, give it a week. MY hair can take it. Like I have mentioned, it’s super thick and resistant as steel wire. Yours probably isn’t, so give it a break. Bleaching is harsh on your hair.

After doing this, you’re going to want to baby your hair for a couple weeks. No heat treatments (straightening, curling etc). If you absolutely HAVE to, use a good quality heat protectant.

So, hopefully you did this right, and your hair hasn’t fallen out. I have done this dozens of times and never wrecked my hair. Now go dye ūüėõ

 

-Dannielle

 

Like this post? Pin it to your recipe boards!
  • Sonja

    thank you very very much for this in-depth explanation. I have naturally dark brown hair, though no where near black. like you my hair is super thick, and at this moment in pretty good health. I have damage to my ends and need a trim, but that aside its thick and shiny and pretty healthy. I do dye it about once every two months.

    you explained all the items I will need so well! I have never done this before and I’ve been reading up and trying to research, but I didn’t understand what all these items were, “developer?” “30%vol?” “purple shampoo..for serious? Why??”

    I am hitting up Sally’s tonight to buy a few of the small tubes of the Nioxin protein mask you recommended, and a few clips and bowls and a brush. Unless the girls at Sally’s point me in the direction of a good alternative, I’m going to use Blondissima to strip my colour since it has really positive buzz on the forums. I understand full well that it will make my hair orange lol. I’ll also pick up some ash blonde colour, since I read an ash colour will help take away brassiness. I also read that I should put a colour into my hair after stripping it with the bleach..I hope I’m not misunderstanding that step. I’m also getting either Manic Panic Virgin Snow toner, or Wella Colour Charm White Lady. I’ll also pick up that Jolene dye for my black brows.

    I’ve already followed your advice to allow my hair to get greasy to protect it first. I’m really excited to do this tonight and hopefully I will end this process with at least a medium or dark blonde. We’ll see what I can do from there!! I’m the only brunette in a Swedish family, and I’m tired of people thinking I’m Italian. I can’t wait!!!!

    Thank you again. Best advice and instructions I’ve found so far.

    • Nionvox

      Thanks for commenting, I hope it goes well! As long as you’re careful, and take care of your hair, it’ll turn out well.