Thinking About Bleaching Your Hair? Here Are 9 Things You Need to Know Before Going Lighter
This one is a major (sometimes painful) commitment. Make it worth it!
People who love to switch things up with their hair up know this full well: a different cut or color is one of the easiest ways to “turn a new leaf” when it comes to beauty. As they do in Hollywood: new hair equals a new persona. Remember when Miley went for a drastic platinum pixie cut to usher in the “Bangerz” era? How about Emma Stone upping her beauty chameleon game by going blonde, brunette, red and blonde again?
Unfortunately for those with naturally dark hair, it cannot be left up to plain hair dye to get the job done. The right foundations have to be set. And in this case, it’s bleaching your natural hair color before adding on dye with the shade you want. You can’t exactly expect to go golden blonde from black with just hair dye, do you? (The kalawang look is a real thing, you guys).
But when you think “bleach,” you think “harsh chemical.” You look back at the forever ruined blue sweater you overlooked on laundry day that now has a large splatter mark of bleach. You can even recall horrific America’s Next Top Model makeovers where the model’s hair breaks off. It can make you rethink the whole tiis ganda concept. But then again, the final look—when bleaching is done right—is always worth it.
Before you go take the dive, give this a read. It pays to know what you’re getting yourself into! Here, how you can finally get it right with your dream hair color (and do those hairstyling pegs justice) without the blunders of dealing with bleach:
When is the best time to go lighter?
The best—and only—time you should go lighter using bleach is when your hair is healthy. It should have enough time to recover from previous chemical treatments like perms, relaxers or a Brazilian blow-dry if you’ve had any. If you’re experiencing hair fall or breakage, work on rescuing and repairing your hair first.
Where should you get your hair bleached?
via @beautylounge.ph on Instagram
Research on the salons in the metro before anything else. Apart from finding a reputable salon for your bleaching session, go right ahead and look up particular hairstylists who specialize in your desired dye job so you know specifically who to ask for. Thankfully a lot of colorists now use Instagram to show their body of work, complete with before and after photos of their clients. You can even use these as points of reference. If these colorists have done it already, they can definitely do it again. This way, you can manage your expectations.
Prepare for the sting.
via @framarint on Instagram
This is the tiis ganda moment people talk about, but remember that it makes sense up to a point. The goal is to keep bleach away from the roots of your hair, and surely your colorist should know how to troubleshoot matters should bleach get on your scalp. Don’t be afraid to speak up or tell your colorist to check on you if the burning sensation worsens over time. You can also take preventive measures by skipping shampoo two to three days before your appointment. This way, your scalp is protected by the natural oils that are usually stripped off when you cleanse your hair.
Depending on how light you want to go, it may take several sessions.
Any hair transformation involving bleach isn’t for the impatient person. Whether it’s achieving the balayage, ombré or going full-on platinum, bleaching sessions ideally shouldn’t be done in one sitting. The color you end up with as you make your way to your final hair color (especially when you’re dyeing a full head of hair) may be unsightly, but it’s a small price to pay if we’re talking about maintaining healthy locks. Look up ways you can style your hair during the in-between rest period instead. An updo perhaps? Or what about throw on a hat?
Two words: conditioning treatments.
The damage from bleaching is unavoidable and it manifests as dry, brittle hair. Following your bleaching session, make sure to give your hair extra love as it recovers. The best part is you don’t need to head back to the salon for an effective, nourishing hair treatment. There are plenty of at-home deep conditioning hair masks and leave-on’s you can shop online like Aveda’s Damage Remedy Treatment, Kawaii's Essential Rich Damage Care Treatment and Phil Smith's Total Treat Transforming Argan Oil. Leave-in conditioner is also your new best friend.
Take your skin tone into consideration when choosing your hair color.
Moreover, it’s about the hair color that complements your undertone. Is it warm, cold or neutral? You can check your wrist to find out which one yours is. If the veins on your wrist look greenish, your undertone is warm. Meanwhile, if they look blue or violet, your undertone is cold. If you can’t make it out or it appears to be a combination of green, blue and violet, your undertone is neutral.
Toner is the real hero.
We mentioned the dreaded kalawang look earlier, didn’t we? Well, meet its antidote. Toner is what removes the brassiness in colored hair and it’s an absolute godsend. It works to neutralize yellowish, brassy undertones of the hair dye without altering the shade. It’s how salons achieve flattering ash tones, gorgeous strawberry blonde shades and of course, the platinum blonde.
Skip the shampoo after salon day.
Cleansing your hair is enough to strip away dye, so you don’t want to do this right after your salon day. Wait a day or two before shampooing your hair, so the dye and toner have time to settle. Make it a point to switch to a color-saving shampoo and conditioner as well to extend the vibrancy of your hair color.
If you’re having doubts about going lighter, start small.
via @beautylounge.ph on Instagram
A great way to make small changes and feel your way into going lighter is to start out with highlights. The most flattering version of this by far is the balayage. This is where colorists focus on creating more natural-looking highlights that frame the face and aren’t particularly spaced out in a uniform manner. Another great thing about this is that you don’t have to douse your whole head in bleach for this, so hair damage is easier to manage.
Once you get the hair color of your dreams, don’t forget to maintain your look with a periodic trim. Nothing gives away dull, unhealthy hair like split ends!