7 Things to Know Before Bleaching Hair
We’ve all thought about it, or done it: bleached locks. Anyone with darker hair has fantasized about lighter hair, myself included. I recently bleached the ends of my hair for an at-home ombré look and couldn’t have been happier with the results.
However, there are a few things they don’t tell you on the box about bleaching blonde. That’s why we tapped Boulder-based salon expert, Casey Hebb, at The Downtown Refinery, to give us the 4-1-1 on bleached hair. Whether you’re thinking about doing it yourself, or going to a salon, these seven tips are essential to think about before taking the plunge.
1. Take the patch test.
If you’re afraid to dive in with the whole head, or with the ends for an ombré, try a patch test (I did!). All you have to do it use a lock from the inside of your hair and bleach as you would. I tried SPLAT Bleach and Complete Color Kit ($11, Amazon).
2. Toner is your new best friend.
If you’re a blonde going blonder or a brunette in need of change, a good toner could be your new best friend. Meet Color Wow ($24, Walmart), a mousse that counteracts unwanted orange and gold tones that sometimes occur post-bleach. You can get rid of that unwanted red tint with this oxidizing mousse.
3. You need to protect beforehand.
Even if you’re hitting the salon for bleach, you still might want to consider prepping with coconut oil ($15, Amazon). That’s right, you heard me! Online hair blogs rave about using coconut oil to protect your hair from the harsh bleach that can strip hair of its healthy bounce. An hour before the bleach, rub the coconut oil for added protection. You can thank us later.
4. You should probably try some restorative masks.
After you’ve bleached, your hair isn’t going to look as healthy as before. Give it time to heal, which can take a couple of days! You’ll need an intense, restorative hair mask or deep conditioner after you’ve bleached. My favorite is Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask, ($43, Sephora) as it is the only mask that genuinely leaves my hair softer.
5. Know that you can lighten without bleach.
Meet the soap cap: an equal combination of shampoo and peroxide developer. Mix your go-to shampoo with an equal amount of Salon Care Developer ($5, Amazon) (20 or 30-volume) and apply to damp hair to lighten. It gives you a subtle color lift and doesn’t damage your hair the way bleach does. I did this to my bangs and left the soap cap in for roughly 25 minutes (the recommended time is usually 5-20 minutes). If you’re intimidated by straight-up bleach, this is the method for you!
6. Grab a purple shampoo.
Like the Color Wow Mousse, there’s purple toning shampoo that even natural blondes should invest in. Keeping your blonde vibrant calls for this product almost more than anything else. There are so many types, but we recommend Tigi Dumb Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo ($16.50, Walgreens). Toning shampoo intensifies cool shades and helps to neutralize unwanted brassiness. Don’t use it every wash, and instead try to use it once or twice a week to maintain your color.
7. As always, us a heat protectant.
Again, bleach is really harsh on your hair so you’ll want to go easy on your usual hot tool regimen. To protect your hair from the blow dryer or flat iron, we recommend L’Oreal Color Vibrancy Dual Protect Spray. ($20, Amazon) Heat styling can actually make your color fade, but don’t be too discouraged. This spray uses wheat proteins and citric acid to prolong your hair color, all while protecting it from damaging heat. Not bad!
We hope these seven products will help you prep and maintain your blonde! Love any of these products? Let us know in the comments below!