Read this before you bleach your hair – or lighten or colour your hair – so you know what to expect and how to care for your hair.
I’m no stranger to changing my hair and I’ve tried pretty much every single hair colour possible. I love the transformative power of a lighter hair colour and how it can make you look like a completely different person.
There are some things you need to know before you start colouring your hair and in particular, using a high lift colour or bleach. There are some common misconceptions and I want you to feel comfortable and educated when you sit at any hairdresser’s chair.
11 things to know before you bleach your hair
1. You can’t go platinum overnight
Well maybe you can, but not if you want to keep your hair.
When celebrities like Kim Kardashian change from dark brown to platinum overnight, it can give the false impression that it’s easy to do. While a dedicated stylist can keep you in the chair for 12 hours to finish this platinum process, my advice to you is to do it over a few separate appointments so that you can keep your hair.
It’s quite an expensive process to go platinum and by breaking it up, you can spread out the costs.
Beware of a hairdresser that promises you platinum hair in a few hours. You might think you’ll save by going platinum in one session but you’ll need to put your money aside to pay for hair extensions soon after.
2. Bleaching can burn
Now I don’t want to frighten you, but you should be careful when bleaching your hair to make sure your scalp is protected before the process.
You need to read my post on why you shouldn’t wash your hair before getting your hair coloured, as it is important to have the natural hair oils still on your scalp. I made the mistake of washing my hair on the day and trust me, it’s not nice.
The good news is it does heal and it’s not necessarily your hairdresser’s fault. It’s just sensitivity to the colour on your scalp.
3. Each process will take a different time
Every time you get your hair coloured it will be a slightly different timing. This is because your hair reacts differently and also the temperature of your body can impact the colour process. If you have a fever or you’re unwell, the hair colour will process faster as your body is warmer.
4. Choose the day you bleach your hair carefully
Now I don’t want to get too personal, but might I suggest you avoid booking an appointment on the first day of your period if you haven’t bleached your hair before.
You’re more sensitive to pain on the first day and a normal colour process can actually become quite unbearable. You know your own cycle best, so it may not be so bad for you, but for me it’s a nightmare. If that’s the only day you can go to the salon, don’t worry! Just tell your stylist and they’ll be careful to monitor your hair.
5. Wash your hair with cold water afterwards
As bleach is strong on your scalp, it’s important not to use hot water to wash your hair afterwards. This could aggravate your scalp. Make sure to use cooler water to wash and condition your hair following the process.
It’s also a good idea for the first week or two at home to be gentle and take a little more care when washing your hair.
6. It can make your hair thicker
So it’s not all bad news! One of the best things about bleaching your hair is that it makes your hair thicker.
The colour swells your hair so that each individual strand becomes thicker. If you have fine hair, getting highlights can really add volume.
7. It can change your curl pattern
This might be bad news as bleaching can change your curl pattern. Again this depends on your hair, and while my curls are still ok, I’ve seen some hair become straighter. I’ve also seen straight hair become wavy. The lightener swells the hair shaft and alters the structure of your hair so it will affect how your hair dries naturally.
Being lighter makes my hair much easier to blow dry straight so that is a bonus.
8. You don’t need to wash your hair as often
Another major bonus that I love about colouring my hair is that I need to wash my hair less frequently. The process can dry the scalp slightly and it makes my hair a lot less oily. I find my hair is so much easier to manage.
9. You’ll need to bulk buy treatments
Prepare to spend more time caring for your hair now. My obsession with hair treatments started when I lightened my hair and continues today.
I do a deep treatment once a week and I also make sure to use plex products at home to strengthen my hair.
10. It’s the only way to go lighter
Remember the rule that colour over colour always goes darker.
If you want to achieve a lighter or brighter shade, you do need to use a high lift tint or bleach. Bleach isn’t just for blondes, and you will need it to achieve bright reds in dark hair too.
If you are looking at trying a box colour or you have a shade in mind for your hairdresser, be aware that if it’s lighter or brighter than your current hair colour, you will need to use a high lift or bleach.
11. It can be expensive
Blonde hair is high maintenance. Having a full colour like I do now, you notice your regrowth immediately. I probably get my hair coloured about every five weeks because I’m styling it here on the blog.
Most people who bleach their hair have to colour every four to eight weeks, depending on how fast their hair grows. Consider the on-going costs of having brightly coloured hair in your beauty budget.
So why would you bleach your hair?
Yes it’s expensive and can change your hair, but this process also adds volume and lets me have fun with my hair!
I love changing my hair colour and I don’t worry about the damage because I use a bond product like Olaplex, Bond or Omegaplex, which helps protect my hair.
I feel more me as a blonde and I don’t mind the extra care my hair needs to maintain it.
Do you colour your hair? And how do you find bleach reacts with your hair? And tell me I’m not the only one who’s more sensitive to pain on the first day?