Are you ready? Ready to have more fun? Chances are, you’ve been thinking about going blonde for a minute. Let this serve as a sign of the universe to go there! While it’s always best to see a professional, if your 40s have you locked inside, here’s a step-by-step guide to bleaching your own hair safely at home. ELLE.com spoke to Colorist and R + Co Collective Richy Kandasamy, Wella Colorcharm, and Clairol’s top professional artist, Oliver Adams, who broke down 12 steps to give you the ultimate bleach in the comfort of your own home. If you still can’t hear us, read on for a safe guide to DIY bleached blonde hair.
Step 1: Check your situation
How do you feel your hair? Can he really handle the damage you’re about to do to him? Kandasamy recommends starting with a test. If the wet hair stretches more than usual or the texture becomes a little gummy, it is not safe to dye, if the hair returns to its natural state, it is in good condition for fading.
Additionally, it is important to understand your current hair color situation. If your hair is already treated, if you have used any type of canned dye, or if you have unprocessed virgin hair, it can cause variations in the way your hair will lift with the bleach.
Step 2: Gather Your Materials
You are going to need a few items in your toolkit before you begin.
+ Developer (30v & 20v): This is the liquid base of your bleach (and toner) blend, when combined it creates what we all know to be bleach.
+ Lightening: Usually found in powder form, this is the second part of a bleach mixture that causes the actual lightening of the hair.
+ Purple Shampoo: This will help tone the brassy color of your hair and neutralize unwanted yellow and orange hues.
+ Toner: Like purple shampoos, these will neutralize brassy hair chemically.
+ Mixing bowl, gloves, brush
+ Plastic bag / shower cap
Step 3: Prepare! Preparation! Preparation!
When you start to prep your hair, Kandasamy recommends sectioning it into four parts. For extra protection, rub coconut oil from root to tip into cut hair to moisturize hair. Kandasamy adds, “Before lightening the hair, using coconut oil can be very beneficial for the hair condition.”
Step 4: Mixing the product
Once all of the necessary materials and prep have been done, you’re ready to apply the bleach mixture.
- Read the directions on your highlighter and developer materials, not all brands are the same, but most bleach blends require a 2: 1 ratio (which means two parts developer to one part highlighter) .
- Don’t the eyeball – proper portions are important, so measure correctly! Depending on how much hair you are trying to bleach you may need more mixing as you go, but start with 2oz of 30v developer and 1oz of highlighter, add ingredients in your bowl and combine them using the brush. until smooth.
- Kandasamy recommends using a blend of bleach with 30v developer for hair length, then another blend of bleach with 20v developer for roots.
Step 5: Apply (no turning back now!)
For each of the sections that you have divided, you will follow the instructions below. Adams and Kandasamy both suggest taking small portions in sections of your hair and saturating strands to make sure the hair is completely covered.
Adams explains that warm roots are what happens when you apply bleach to the hair (from root to tip) at the same time and after the treatment the roots become a much lighter blonde shade by. compared to yellow hair in length.
This means that when you make a virgin (hair that does not have the application has not been colored) you must apply the color to the roots last, not first.
Kandasamy also recommends making sure you use enough of the bleach mixture on your strands. Once the mixture is applied, simply insert a shower cap or plastic bag and set your timer.
Step 6: Now you wait
Alright, let’s talk about hair levels and wait time!
It can be confusing, but like Kandasamy said, it’s important to understand what level of hair (shade) you’re starting with and what color you want to achieve in determining how long the bleach mixture should stay on your hair. head. This graph from Wella shows exactly what a hair level is.
Adams explains, “The system of hair level tells how dark or light your color will be. One is the darkest and the 10 is the lightest. It is important to understand that all blondes should be on. minus at level seven or higher. So if you start at level one you have to lift (bleach / lighten) your hair six levels at level seven to even start seeing any type of blonde.”
Once you have determined your hair level and the brightness you want, you can determine the wait time. If you want your hair to be as light as possible, let the mixture sit for 35 to 4 minutes (remember to never exceed 45 minutes).
Step 7: Wash it
It’s time to wash it off when it’s fully processed. Using lukewarm water, water that is too hot or too cold can shock your hair in its already fragile state. Make sure to rinse off the bleach completely and gently wash your hair to get all of the product out.
Step 8: Evaluate and bleach again (if necessary)
Do not panic! Your hair may even look yellow or orange and that’s okay, it just means you may need to bleach again! Make sure to assess and check the health of your hair using the Kandasamy stretching technique recommended in step one. Using the hair level chart discussed in step 6, determine your hair level to see if you need to bleach it again. If you need to bleach again, follow steps 3-7 again (your hair should be dry).
Most importantly, make sure you give your hair enough recovery time and consider waiting a few days before doing another bleaching treatment.
Step 9: It’s time to tone up
Remember the elementary school color wheel, this is where it comes to play. The toner will help neutralize any brassy or yellow highlights that will linger in your hair after bleaching.
Before you can tone, just make sure your hair is light enough (remember the chart from step 6). that you are using the toner at the correct level (hair).”
The toner can be applied to slightly damp hair and uses the same 2: 1 mixing ratio and application method as bleach.
- For two parts 20v developer, use one part toner: Mix using the same method in step 4 with the same measurements as your bleach mixture. If you used 2 oz of developer for 1 oz of highlighter, make the same proportions for the toner: 2 oz of 20 V developer for 1 oz of toner.
- Use gloves and apply the mixture to the cut hair: Similar to the bleach application method, you will want to section your hair and saturate the strands with the product; first, mid-lengths then the roots.
- The toner and mixture will turn purple and this is normal: purple means the toner is activating to remove yellow / orange tones from the hair.
- Wait for the toner to process: Let the toner sit on your hair for 20 to 25 minutes or as long as recommended on the label. You don’t want to leave it on for too long as it can tint your hair purple.
- Washing and shampooing: Rinse your hair with lukewarm water and then gently with shampoo and conditioner.
Step 10: Invest in a purple mask / shampoo
Similar to toner, a purple shampoo helps remove orange or yellow tints from your hair. Using a non-chemical toner (purple shampoo) is a great way to maintain your blonde hair to keep it from turning brassy. Use purple shampoo once or a week or whenever your hair starts to get too yellow.
My favorite is the Matrix Total Results Brass Off, but there are tons of great purple shampoos to choose from.
Step 11: Repair
After all the chemical damage you’ve done to your hair, it’s important to give it some love back to try and fix it. “My best advice is always to use a professional hair product – once or twice a week, use a moisturizing hair mask,” says Kandasamy.
Step 12: Live your best blonde life
At this point, you are blonde! Since this is a hairstyling job at home, it may look different than you might think, but know you did it on your own and rock it with pride! Now make Dolly Parton, Billie Eilish and Selena Gomez proud and embrace your new shade.