Change is fun. It’s exciting and adventurous experimenting with your looks, imagining yourself in a new light, and then making that into reality. It’s somewhat less exciting if all of your hair falls out and you burn your freaking scalp. Here’s why people write guides. Before starting, know this:
- I am not a beautician, cosmetologist, or any other adjective indicating a profession that knows what the fuck it’s doing.
- I am gifted with thick, forgiving hair and a scalp that apparently feels nothing. Consider your own physical characteristics and act like a responsible adult with them unless you like to suffer pain and look ugly and gross.
- I have no fear when it comes to bad results. My reasoning: if it goes bad it’s either time for a wig investment or that glorious bald haircut I never wanted to try but can probably live with. I’m pretty stupid maybe.
- I spent a long time researching this, reading what other people did, watching videos, talking to professionals, and cross checking everything. Even still, you can burn your scalp or melt your hair off. If you’re worried, know that I will explain some precautions you should take. It’s probably a good idea not to tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) those if you want to take care of your precious nerve endings.
- If you’re one of those people with notoriously sensitive everythings pay special attention to cautions, and if those fail you just give up, okay? No good will come of this. If you have already done “things” to your hair (permanant dye, relaxing, perming, etc) pay close attention to strand testing and consider abandoning this guide and seeing a professional.
Scared? Still here?
Cool. I wasn’t trying to terrify you into a corner with nothing left but rocking and moaning to soothe you. Just know the worst case and prep for it so it doesn’t happen. Having super white blonde hair can be SO FUN you guys don’t even know.
Some advantages include:
- You can make yourself look younger, if you’re into that. (I am.)
- Your hair is white enough for any fake color you want. Blue, Pink, Orange, Unicorn.
- The texture of your hair will make it easy to add volume for teasing, poofs, 40’s hair, scene hair, 80’s hair, and weird shit. Or you can just rock it straight.
- White blonde goes with everything.
- You can pretend you’re Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.
Let’s get started
With my guide you will need to spend somewhere between 30 and 55 US dollars. I’ll be including links so you can see examples but if you want to find cheaper products you probably can. Truly frugal and clever people could probably do this bleaching stuff for about $20. If you’re a first-timer there’s no shame in spending slightly more for now so you can do it right, though. Pick the option that’s right for you and keep in mind that some of these are one-time costs for shit like bowls. Also you will likely have enough product for bleaching more hair or retouching your roots for 1-2 years. When I started I literally could not believe how cheap these products were.
You will need:
1.”Lightener” Also called “bleach” in the parlance of beauty. You want one with blue or purple tones. The reason is that when you bleach your hair it comes out orange no matter what, and these “tones” will kill the orange and make you blonde. I bought the one that was on sale.
- L’Oreal Quick Blue Powder Lightener 1 lb ($25) This is the shit I use and I like it. I think it does a great job of bleaching and when I bought it it was on sale for like $10.
- Ion Color Brilliance Powder Lightener 1 lb ($20) Next time I buy bleach I want to try this one. Arbitrary reasons, really.
2. “Developer” You will be mixing this in with bleach when you actually color your hair. ALWAYS. These come in 10, 20, 30, 40 strength in stores (professionals can get stronger stuff but you should not), and they correlate with more color “lift”. Stronger formulas are higher numbers.
- Salon Care 40, 30, 20, 10 Creme Developer 16 oz (red label) ($3) This is the brand I get but that probably doesn’t matter. I like creme developer because it’s easier to work with (i.e. less likely to cast droplets into your eyes or on your pants). This stuff is so cheap I own it in every strength.
3. “Crap” This includes applicator brushes (handy to have 2, one wide, one thin), a plastic bowl that won’t melt, shower cap for processing (I use my normal cap and just rinse it well), hair clips to section your hair, gloves if your kit doesn’t come with them, and Vaseline to coat your skinparts. Together you shouldn’t have to spend a lot here, but don’t skip one of these just to save like $1. You may already have many of these items.
- Brushes Get a skinny one (root touchups) and a wide one. You’ll think you don’t need a brush but when your hair has spots that you missed and you hate it you’ll go back in shame and buy one I promise.
- Bowl If you use one of your own you risk melting it. Sacrifice at your own risk.
- Hair Clips Literally any non-fancy thing that works that you like.
4. “Aftercare Crap” This is stuff you want for your hair to keep it awesome after you bleach it.
- Toner shampoo: this comes in Brand Name or Knock Off varieties (I always use the knock off). What it does is dump a gentle amount purple dye in your hair to keep it from being orange. I’ve seen people take purple hair dye and add it to conditioner to get the same effect. Use this every time you shampoo (if you shampoo twice use this last), if it gets too purpley ease up. Too orange, leave it in for a bit before rinsing (3 minutes).
- A great conditioner: I’m still looking for my HG (Holy Grail) conditioner. Recommendations are welcome. My friends in beauty chemistry assure me that there’s no reason to spend more than $15 on a conditioner.
- Smoothing crap: I’m trying different ones, but I generally like products with dimethicones (or other silicones). They smooth the cuticles of the hair and make it shiny, manageable, and pretty. These would be less ideal for those with fine hair as they could weigh you down but it all depends on the formula. Some formulations that include silicones can be rather lightweight. I’ll get back to you on favorites.