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:
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.
Be nice to your hair!
So you want to bleach? Here are some more things to consider
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.