I bought a candle today at the farmer’s market, brought it home, lit it, and then managed to drag my hair through the flame enough that the very ends started melting… So I gave myself an impromptu trim and then remembered that once upon a time I was going to write this post but never did.
Personally, I’ve always been a hands-on person, and I don’t mind experimenting with hair because it will grow back. So ever since I first decided to bleach my hair over four years ago, I’ve done it myself. If you’re scared of messing up or working with chemicals that could sting, burn, or irritate your skin, go to a salon for at least the bleaching. Professionals know what they’re doing.
After the disclaimer, a reminder that bleach should never be left on for more than an hour. Hair bleach removes color by breaking down your hair, and if left alone it can begin to disintegrate your hair. The good thing about using this on the tips is that if there is a malfunction, you only need to trim your hair to get rid of the bad parts.
If you, like me, prefer bright, bold colors (I’ve heard them called punky colors, fashion colors, and fun colors, even though I’d say punk and fashion are kind of opposite), bleaching hair that isn’t a light blonde is a good idea. If you don’t bleach your hair some of the color will still shine through but it will be more muted. Or you can use a natural shade of dye. If you do bleach your hair, you may need to do multiple sessions with at least a week between them. You also should wait between bleaching and dyeing hair.
When buying bright colors, do NOT buy the Splat brand. It’s a pretty bad, cheap dye and while buying it at Walmart is inexpensive and accessible, there are so many other brands that are ten times better! Personally I prefer Manic Panic, but a quick search can bring up others. If you really want to be cheap, use Kool-Aid (though I’ve never tried this method before).
Step one: Assemble all the products and tools. Plastic bowls, small plastic spatulas, and coloring brushes are useful for mixing and applying bleach or colors. Get your newspapers laid down and keep gloves nearby. Make sure to read all the directions thoroughly. Wear a shirt you don’t mind destroying and/or use an old towel.
Step two: Get your head ready! To get my entire head even, I break up my hair into 10-12 sections and secure each one with a mini rubber band right at the height that I want my color to go to. You can buy packs of 500 bands at the dollar store.
Step three: Put on your gloves and begin! Prepare your bleach mix and colors, and start adding color. I like to start at the back of my head and do two sections on each side before switching to the other side. This keeps my color more consistent. Really work the color into the area right around/underneath the rubber bands. Make sure everything is fully saturated.
Step four: For bleach, do a strand test as the directions call for. Usually this is after twenty or thirty minutes.
For bright colors, many brands don’t use harsh chemicals so you can leave it in for hours to get more intensity. I prefer wrapping up my ends in tin foil and going to sleep, rinsing it out in the morning. The tin foil stops colors getting all over my sheets and clothes, and any heat trapped inside helps the color stain even more!
Step five: Rinse out, removing the rubber bands while doing so. Shampoo and condition your hair as normal.
Some upkeep tips:
Bleaching your hair takes out many nutrients, so really rely on conditioners (including leave-in conditioner and deep conditioner) to help it stay healthy. Lay off the heat tools. You may need to get a slight trim after to stop split ends.
Bright colors may stain your towels. I’ve never had a problem with using bright orange towels, though. These colors are semi-permanent, so try to wash your hair less often and to use a sulfate-free, color-safe shampoo.
So how many of you have played around with your hair color like this, and what do you think of this method? I came up with the rubber band idea myself, and have no idea what professionals use. The rubber bands also separate your hair if you want to use different colors.