You cannot go blonde, especially if you’re a brunette or have black hair, by using a box color kit. You’ll end up with orange hair. Instead you must bleach hair first if you plan to lighten your hair more than three shades. To bleach hair, especially if you’d like to be a medium or darker blonde, you need to go through a two-step process of bleaching first and coloring afterward.
Unless you’re truly experienced with applying color to your hair, you’ll definitely want to get an assistant to help you bleach hair. It’s difficult to apply bleaching formulas especially to the areas of your hair you can’t see, like the back of your head. In truth, if you want the best results, use a professional colorist instead of doing this on your own. They bleach hair every day, and are much more experienced at the process than you. You’re likely to be more satisfied with the results than if you do it yourself. However, for the people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on hair coloring, this is the standard method to bleach hair at home.
You will need the following things to bleach hair:
- One to two towels that you won’t worry about if they become stained
- A plastic or wooden bowl for mixing ingredients
- An old shirt, preferably collarless
- A small brush, no metal, for applying product
- Rubber gloves
- A ruler
- Access to a shower
- A helper
- A minute timer
- Hair bleaching package, two or three if you have long hair, or peroxide and powdered hair bleach
A package specifically designed to bleach hair is easier to use, with more accurately measured ingredients. Buy at least two packages if your hair is shoulder length. If you’re using peroxide and powdered hair bleach, ask your local beauty supply store for mixing directions. Peroxide comes in three strengths, and the strongest, 60% peroxide, may be needed if you have extremely dark hair. The disadvantage to stronger peroxide formulations is that they are more caustic and more likely to cause skin irritation. Many suggest a 40% solution is workable for most people.
Glove up and mix the bleach solution, but don’t immediately start slathering it on your head. Instead, take a small section of hair, about a centimeter across to test how long it takes to get to the appropriate color. Time this, and check color every two-three minutes by removing a little bleach and rubbing the hair dry.
Reapply a little bleach if the desired color is not reached. Also recognize that wet hair will be darker in color. You should be aiming for a light yellow shade. If you develop allergic reactions like skin rashes while doing your test strand, don’t bleach your hair. Instead check with a professional colorist on how to gently lighten hair.
Once you’ve calculated the time needed to bleach the test strand, apply bleach, beginning a centimeter from the roots in a downward fashion. You need to evenly distribute the bleach, and you need to work fairly quickly. Don’t apply bleach directly on the scalp. You can lighten this hair slightly with an application of bleach once the rest of the hair is yellow in color. Hair at the roots will bleach more quickly and will mean you have less irritating bleach on your scalp for a shorter period of time. Be sure to check that you’ve completely covered all the hair in an even fashion. The hair should look pasty with the bleach substance.
Set your timer for the test strand time, and check a minute or two before you reach this time. Once again, rub a strand dry to check color. You may shorten the time by using a plastic cap or even plastic wrap around the hair. Blowdrying may also help shorten bleaching time.
Once the hair is at the appropriate color, rinse out the bleach completely and apply conditioner, unless you plan to follow through with coloring your hair that day. You can rinse and then apply color, though some people like to give their scalp a day to rest. When you’re finished with the coloring process, apply a strong conditioner to help restore some moisture to your hair. You should leave this on for 5-10 minutes prior to rinsing.