Blonde hair is very hot right now. I keep begging my fellow brunettes to stay far away from the bleach….but obviously…..no one listens!
“It’s soooo pretty!”
“It’s soooo sexy!”
“It’s soooo feminine”
Yes, I agree with all the above points. Blonde hair is frickin beautiful! I mentioned in my previous post that blonde curls are like hair porn….it’s the hot commodity that is starting to become very coveted in the beauty world.
However, I have to ask…..is it really worth damaging the overall health of your hair?! If you naturally are blessed with a darker hue….then bleach can do some pretty severe damage, more damage than a basic conditioner could ever heal!
If you really do insist on taking your hair to a honey/champagne/ strawberry blonde shade…..then this article is for you! This article is useful for both straighty’s and curly’s alike……the bleach is our biggest frenemy!
Before You Go Blonde
Now it needs to be worth noting that these are the basics of hair colouring…..I am NOT a professional! Your best bet is to always go to a professional for any drastic changes….the information here is just to help you understand what you can expect from your hair!
Before you even consider whether to go blonde or not….you need to understand the hair colour levels and the wheel chart. Hair stylists recommend that you do not lighten your hair any more than 2-3 levels to avoid damage.
Going by the hair levels chart, I would have to describe my natural hair colour being between levels 2 and 3. This means that I would be able to safely lighten my hair to at lightest, level 6. This would be a light brown shade and due to the natural tones in my hair, I’m likely to achieve a light golden/caramel brown.
I have previously lightened my hair up to level 7, which was a dark golden blonde. However this was achieved by a professional and I did experience a small amount of damage (although I do blame heat styling for that).
The point of this mini cosmetology lesson is to help manage expectations and set some kind of guidelines for maintaining healthy hair. If your hair is level 1, it is absolutely foolish to try and go to a level 10. As you can see by the chart, the lightest a level 1 (natural jet black) can safely go to is level 4, which is a dark-medium brown. If you wish to go lighter….I firmly recommend going only 2-3 levels higher overall, and then getting partial highlights on top of that.
The great thing about highlights is that they only damage small sections of your hair, leaving you a bit of leeway to get creative and to make the hair look “sunkissed” as opposed to straw-like.
The only ladies who I think can aim for true blonde hues (levels 8-10), would be those who naturally have light brown, light ginger, mousey brown or dark blonde hair. However, there are obviously going to be brunettes who choose to do it anyway….
So You Went Blonde….
Yup, you stepped out of the safety zone and went from jet black to platinum! What do you do now?!
First of all, you have to be prepared to make a serious commitment to your hair! Both time wise and financially! Daily maintenance and good quality products will be the only thing that’ll stop all your hair from breaking off…..after breaking the hair colourist commandments, there is no room for laziness or being cheap!
Your hair is not bionic! Bleaching the hair strips the keratin and protein from the cuticle, making the hair weaker, drier and more prone to breakage. You’ll need to incorporate a healthy dose of protein into your hair routine. Look for these ingredients in your products:
Hydrolized Wheat Protein, Hydrolized Keratin, Hydrolized Collagen, Hydrolized Soy Protein, Hydrolized Silk Protein, Hydrolized Almond Protein, etc….Aphogee, Joico, Redken
It’s worth noting here, that without infusing the protein back into the strand, your hair will NOT retain moisture! Bleached hair needs a healthy balance of protein and moisture as they work together to maintain hairs health.
Bleached hair WILL dry out, so you need to make sure you moisturise daily! Deep condition with EVERY SINGLE wash and make sure to use a good leave in conditioner. Sealing with an oil such as pure coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc will help to lock in the moisture and keep your hair nourished!Mixed Chicks, Aussie, Aphogee, Carols Daughter
Protective styling is a MUST now that your ends have been damaged! Exposure to the elements can be incredibly harsh for your bleached hair…..particularly dry summer heat! A chic updo is the perfect way to protect your hair from the uncontrollable climate….as well as any snagging that might occur with your clothes!
This is essential! Your hair WILL start to break off after it’s been bleached drastically….that’s just an inevitable compromise that we have to make when we embrace the peroxide!
The best way to minimize the amount of length lost is to regularly trim your ends. Getting rid of broken, split and weak ends will help to maintain the overall health of your hair and to stop any splits from travelling up the shaft. It’s a paradox that trimming regularly will allow you to retain length and possibly continue to grow your tresses longer.
However, I would like to add please understand that by bleaching your hair….the condition may be compromised. It is possible to maintain your hairs health after it has been bleached, however it is unlikely that you’ll be able to retain enough length to grow it significantly. If you are looking to grow your hair to waist length/tailbone length, then reaching for the bleach may not be the wisest of moves.
Is now a big no no! By bleaching the hair you have already lifted the cuticle and will most likely be dealing with porosity issues. This will lead to difficulty retaining moisture and nutrients, this will eventually lead to breakage. The LAST thing you want to do is use high heat to style! This will lift the cuticle even further, evaporate the moisture within the shaft instantly and lead to excessive dry, brittle and breaking hair.
Flat irons are out! Hairdryers should be used with caution (as I understand that air-drying in wet, cold, rainy Britain isn’t always advisable!), always diffuse on a low/cool setting and only use when the hair is 90% dry. Air-drying is always preferable after bleaching and is ideal for the summer!
If you are looking for versatility with your texture, then try wrap sets and roller sets for a straight look. Non heat styling such as twist outs and braid outs are much kinder to your tresses.
Peroxide isn’t the only option if you want to go blonde! Weaves and lace wigs are amazing alternatives which allow you to experiment and play with colour without the damage.
For great quality human hair, check out my girl Nia Knows Hair. She’s an awesome weaveologist and natural hair blogger!
Lace wigs these days are incredibly realistic and can be worn without damage to your natural hair and scalp. Check out this throwback snap of me in my Beyonce inspired lace wig! Incredibly realistic and it allowed me to whip my hair back and forth in the club without coming off!
So You Want To Go Blonde……
I hope this article is useful to anyone who is considering going from black/brown to blonde. I feel as though the dangers to the hair’s health are ignored/underplayed. A lot of people go blonde and are then genuinely surprised when they experience severe damage!
However, with all the know-how….it is definitely possible to have fun with your hair and experiment with a kaleidoscope of colours!
The Curly Cockney