We all need a change from time to time and for some of us that might be changing our hair colour. There are several options out there but for those of us that have dark hair and want to go a few shades lighter one of the available options is bleaching out hair. Bleach basically strips out the natural colour (pigments) from the hair and that can allow you to move onto dying your hair in the desired colour you are looking for.
Before you make the decision to bleach your hair, there are a few things you need to know about the chemical so that you are well informed and a few steps you should take before taking the “plunge”.
Bleach also known as hydrogen peroxide is quite a harsh chemical and can have a pH level of anywhere from 1 – 4 depending on how it was produced and what was included in the production. The natural pH level of human hair ranges between 4.5 – 5.5. so, with that in mind, I would first point out that your best option is to leave the bleaching process in the hands of a professional. Due to the pH level of the bleach, it lifts the hair’s cuticle (outer layer) and this allows it to penetrate the strands and strip out the colour. The process of lifting the cuticle can weaken hair strands and this can make our hair even more fragile.
A lot of things can go wrong if you are not familiar with hair bleach (e.g. damaged hair, hair loss, breakage, undesired bleaching results) so if you decide to bleach your hair I suggest going to a salon that knows how to dye natural hair.
If you have really dark hair e.g. black hair and really want to go much lighter e.g. blond, you definitely want to go to professional and most professionals will tell you it will most likely be a two-step process. Getting the pigment out of really dark hair is quite a process and trying to get blond hair in one go (bleaching then dying it on the same day) can end up with detrimental results for your hair and perhaps even your scalp! So keep in mind that you might first have to lighten your hair first, wait a bit (a good few weeks) and then go back in for another session. Again, I do not recommend doing this by yourself!
Now all my “warnings” are out of the way I have a few suggestions you might want to consider before going to get your hair bleached. If you are working with naturally curly/coily hair, we all know that our hair tends to be drier compared to naturally straight hair. Our hair is also extremely fragile and that is why I suggest:
Deep conditioning: It is best to deep condition your hair once a week a least one month prior to bleaching your hair. This can help the overall condition of your hair in preparation for the bleach.
Protein Treatments: Proteins help strengthen the hair and fill in any gaps in the cuticle therefore, it is recommend to strengthen the hair prior to bleaching in order to limit any potential damage. You will also want to do protein treatments afterwards to rebuild the strength of the hair.
Trim: You don’t want bleach damaged frayed ends! Do a quick trim/dusting to ensure you have no split ends, single strand knots etc prior to bleaching your hair.
Reduce Heat: This applies both before and after using bleach. You don’t want to increase your chances of hair damage prior to or after bleaching and/or dying.
Strand Test: If you really decided to bleach your hair at home, do a strand test and a patch test a few days prior to application. If you notice any itching, rashes or irritations DO NOT bleach your hair.
Go for a Consultation: Book a consultation at the salon and speak with the person who will be bleaching your hair. Let them see your hair prior to the day of the bleaching, check if there is any way to do tests, ask questions etc. You will find out if the end result you desire will be attainable during the consultation instead of on the day you make the booking.