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About Bleaching Hair

Bleaching Your Hair :: what are you getting into?

In order to achieve a true vibrant unnatural hair color, you will need to bleach your hair prior to any coloring. Bleaching will remove the natural pigment and make hair more porous, allowing more dye to penetrate the hair shaft. Please read about dyeing for an explanation on why this is recommended.

The decision to bleach your hair is an important one. Bleach is made of peroxides, ammonias, and lightening agents that remove the pigment melanin from the hair shaft by oxidative destruction. This process is permanent, and there is no way for your hair to magically go back to its natural color other than by letting it grow out. The good news, is if you want to go back to a natural color after bleaching your hair - you can always dye your hair a color similar to your natural shade as it grows in to make it less noticeable.

Bleaching will definitely damage your hair, but this is considered intentional damage and is ok for your hair if done properly. The amount of damage your hair will undergo depends on the strength/volume of bleach you use, and the length of time it is left on your hair. It is a good idea to do a strand test to get an idea of how your hair will react to it if you've never bleached before.

It is important to be very cautious when bleaching your hair, follow instructions, and don't leave the bleach in too long, Do not bleach more than once in a day - unless of course you WANT your hair to melt off and go bald (you don't). If it doesn't come out light enough the first time, wait at least a day before bleaching again. If you want to be prepared for the worst, buy a bottle of a darker "normal" hair color just in case it comes out awful and you are starting to have second thoughts!

If you decide to do this yourself rather than go to a salon, you can buy either a bleaching kit or you can buy developer and bleach separately, they both get the job done. When buying the developer and bleach separately you will not get complete instructions, you can follow the general bleaching instructiosn on this site with caution. If the products you buy come with instructions, please follow them!

Mostly what you want to consider is the developer volume you want to buy. The lowest strength is 10, then 20, 30, and 40 is the strongest level for normal processing. You probably want at least 20 volume developer for a good bleach

Here's a guide that you can follow to help you decide what volume to buy:
20 vol. - for blonde, or severely damaged hair
30 vol. - for medium brown to blonde, or damaged hair
40 vol. - for dark brown or black hair (see below)

The powder bleach packet should be about 25 grams (1 oz.) to mix with about 2 1/2 fl. oz. of cream developer. Cream developer will most likely be in larger bottle for more than one use. It's a good idea to buy more than one (25 gram) packet of powder bleach as well just in case you don't have enough.

BUY BLEACH KITS HERE

Below is information submitted, advising against the use of higher volumes of developer for SCALP BLEACHING - take this into consideration when bleaching your hair. Be sure to avoid leaving bleach directly on your scalp when using 40 volume developer.

It is recommend to using only 20 vol. for scalp bleaching (on the scalp and generally all over the head) as any more can cause scalp burns.

With darker hair you should -
1. Have plenty of time, it can take up to 30 min. per application.
2. Reapply, if it looks like the bleach has stopped working wash the hair in cool water dry and do it all again. As you are only using 20 vol. the hair will be less damaged and the risk of chemical burns are much much less.

For those who use a higher the volume for the quicker the process, use lower volume and let it take its time since you still want hair at the end of the process. By using a lower volume the semi-permanent dyes will last longer as the cuticle layer of the hair is not blown open while removing the natural color.

With 20 vol. you can reapply without waiting as the action is reasonably gentle, and you can reapply 4 or 5 times if needs be (if you notice your hair starting to get a bit tender you should stop!).

From experience, black hair typically only needs 3 applications when using 20 volume developer.

Be nice to your hair!
Conditioner is a MUST if you bleach your hair. It is a good idea to invest in a quality deep conditioner, or hot oil treatment. Use strong deep conditioner every day. Take care of your hair!

So you want to bleach? Here are some more things to consider
Bleach on a weekend and give yourself time in case you mess up. This allows you to rebleach, or dye and correct mistakes without having to worry about being seen in public with messed up hair. Buy more bleach than you think you'll need, because you don't want to get half way through and realize you don't have enough for your whole head! This will also be helpful in case you missed some spots and need to bleach again.

If this is the first time you've bleached your hair, it's a good idea to get a friend to help you or get it done professionally. You want to do the best you can to avoid getting bleach on your scalp, and for the bleach to be applied evenly.

For more information on bleaching, see the bleaching guide on this site.

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