Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Going Blonde at Home: Black to Platinum

I talked through my process of going brown to blonde and now it's time for Emaya's story!

Emaya's Hair Type 
My hair is naturally thick, wavy and black. Not dark brown; black. Similar to Fee, I've been going the minimal-shampoo route for the past few years so I've only needed to wash my hair a maximum of twice a week. My hair is highly porous so required a lot of moisture even in its natural state. My usual hair cycle is to grow it looong and then chop it/shave it off, then rinse, lather and repeat. Last year I shaved all my hair off and have kept it 'virgin' since then.

Goal: To take my black hair to white 

THE PROCESSDAY 1 (Saturday 16th)
Round 1: Emaya had let her hair get naturally greasy over the week (to help prevent hair damage), we’d also picked up some 40% developer to try and tackle the bleaching of black hair. This time we mixed the bleach with the developer making sure, the paste was quite wet/runny. During round 1 we’d decided we’d skip Emaya’s roots and just focus on the rest of the hair. Since it was just me doing the bleaching and being my first time, I made the rookie error of doing one side of her hair first. When Emaya rinsed out the bleach we could see one side was definitely much lighter. Even though the first bleaching resulted in orange hair we were both really surprised at how much black was lifted. I was also surprised at how patchy my job was – thinking I had done quite an even job whilst bleaching! 

Steps: 40% developer and bleach left on for 45minutes to an hour 

How did Emaya’s hair hold up after bleach 1? My hair actually felt normal and I didn't feel like there was any damage at all. I won't lie – this stage looked pretty horrendous. My roots were black and the rest of my hair was a patchy orangey-brown. But I was expecting this and this is why we timed my bleaching to be done over the weekend (: 

Things to Improve: Consistency with bleaching, faster with application for more even result and not focusing on one side first. Also looking back on the whole process, we've both concluded 40% developer is a little extreme and if we were to do Emaya's hair all over again we'd just use 30%. 

DAY 2 (Sunday 17th) 
Round 2: Being the day after her first bleaching, Emaya put a coconut oil treatment through her hair the night before to minimalise hair/scalp damage. The oil treatment simply involves a few tablespoons of coconut oil melted in the microwave and applied to scalp + hair once cooled. You can wear something like a shower cap if you want to sleep with it in overnight. We had a crazy theory that the (bleach + developer) mixture is more potent when first mixed together, so from here on in we mixed up smaller batches throughout the bleaching. Since Emaya’s last bleaching had resulted in one side being lighter I made sure this time around to target the other side first and any other darker patches. We noticed once Emaya had washed off this bleach the hair underneath was almost a light blonde. Her hair was still quite orange in places and we knew we had to do another bleaching to get it lighter before putting in a colour correcting toner.

Steps: 40% developer and bleach left on for 45 minutes to an hour

How did Emaya’s hair hold up after bleach 2? My hair definitely felt drier but it still seemed strong. There wasn't any more than the usual amount of hair that ended up in the shower drainer thing. Since Fee got right up near to my roots this time around, I wasn't looking two much like a two-toned freak, but even though my hair was lightening up really fast, it was still quite orange and patchy. This is definitely the stage when I think a lot of people who bleach their hair at home FREAK OUT and run to a hair salon in shame. But we knew that this stage is a very normal stage that the hair needs to go through in order to become that pale yellow that we were both coveting. My hair still felt strong so I decided that it would be okay to do another 'correctional' bleach on the same day. 

Round 3: Emaya keen to get out of the orange stage went for a second bleaching on the same day. She did a coconut oil treatment before we went to work with bleaching. The aim of this bleaching was overall coverage but to also target the darker patchy areas first to even things out. This round Emaya freaked out about her scalp hurting so hence the shorter developing time.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned before but Emaya and I both had uncomfortable (itchy/mild burning sensation) scalp's during bleaching.  I personally knew this would happen to me, as I have pretty sensitive skin and have had similar reactions when dying my hair in the past.  If you are not okay with this, then there is the recommendation to do a sensitivity test (instructions on the bleach bottle) and go from there.  

Steps: 40% developer and bleach left on for 30 minutes

How did Emaya’s hair hold up after Round 3? Okay, I admit that I let the internet hysteria re: DIY bleaching affect me. Yes, my scalp was hurting and yes, this was the third round of bleaching done in less than 24 hrs but this was my FIRST on scalp bleach so, in actuality, there was no reason for me to panic. I did feel that I washed it off too early but who knows what would've happened if I had left it in for 15 minutes more? Maybe I'd be here writing about my awful bleach burns? Anyway, my scalp was fine, my hair was definitely less patchy – Fee's skills were levelling up with all this practice! However, my roots were still darker than the rest of my hair. That super annoying little 2mm of hair! At this point, my hair is feeling a lot drier and frizzier than normal. I let my hair dry naturally and I noticed that my curls were less defined and more frizzy.

Things to Improve: I'll quickly point out that Emaya put through Fudge's "whiter shade of pale" to tone her hair at this point and it really didn't do anything.  Perhaps her hair needed to be much lighter but for us permanent toners have been the key to colour success!  Finally, bleaching your hair twice in one day is do-able but the longer you can go between bleachings the better :)

DAY 4 (Tuesday 19th) 
Round 4: Emaya did a coconut overnight treatment on Monday and was ready for her final bleaching. The goal for this round was to target the darker areas and get everything up to a light enough level we could then put her ash toner through – aka get rid of orange! After rinsing out the bleach and having her hair light enough she was ready for toner time. 

Steps: 40% developer and bleach left on for 45 minutes to an hour

How did Emaya’s hair hold up after Round 4? It was only at this stage that my hair started feeling quite fragile and straw-like to the touch. Which is not surprisingly really, since my hair had gone through FOUR BLEACHINGS IN 72HRS! 


Steps: We poured out the tube of violet ash blonde toner and mixed it was 30% developer. Emaya left hers in for over an hour and really manage to convert those yellows into something more believable :P 

So this is how Emaya’s hair looked at the end taking on 4 bleachings and a toner 

Final comments from Emaya: I was incredibly worried around Bleach Three/Four that we'd never get my hair to the lightness that I was striving for. I was even sceptical about the toner being able to take out all the yellow brassiness of my hair – it just looked so yellow! But seriously, toners are MAGIC! I left mine on until I could see the hairs near the crown of my turning quite ashy. That was how much I just did not believe in the ability of the toner! The toner made my hair an amazing blonde and I was very pleasantly surprised at the result (: 

Thanks Emaya for sharing! 

We have two installments left in our home bleaching series.  Tomorrow we're going to update you guys on how our hair is one month later. A lot of forums we read (that scared us) mentioned we wouldn’t noticed hair damage straight away so we wanted to check back in and let you guys know how our hair has held up!


  1. Beautiful :) Love the way it came out!

    1. It looks really good on her hey :)


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