Friday, August 14, 2015

Going Blonde at Home: Roots

Thursday 23rd July – About 2 months after we started Emaya’s initial bleaching 

Emaya was in my hood and asked if I would tackle her roots for her. In between now and her update she’d done one roots session that left her with very orange roots that not even a toner could fix. 

We were a bit more diligent this time we taking photos to show you, so here is Emaya putting to good use the $3 hair dye set and mixing together the bleach and developer. Remember you want the mixture quite runny – but not too runny that it’s going to run down your head. Bleach in eyes = worst case scenario. Play it safe kids.

The photo on the left is after I have sectioned off Emaya’s hair using a combo of bobby pins and small butterfly clips. This does take time but I work fairly slow when I apply the bleach so having it all sectioned off beforehand speeds up the process and allows a more even bleaching! The photo on the right is the bleach mixture applied to her roots + orange regrowth. Hopefully you can see it’s quite thick and wet! 

Steps: olive oil applied to scalp + hair (half an hour before bleaching). 30% developer with bleach, left on roots + grown out roots for 50 minutes with silver shower cap over top.  We worked together on her hair and it took us around 15 minutes.

You can see her roots bleached to a nice light colour! Okay full, disclosure we (or I) did miss one tiny patch in the back (about the size of a teaspoon) that we had to re-do but hey I'm only human!

After washing out the bleach in the shower with shampoo (no conditioner) we then put her toner in. We mixed the toner with 10% developer. The toner is a little harder to mix then the developer/bleach combo but you'll want to persist to get a nice even paste. You’ll visually see if it’s mixed together plus it releases a horrid chemical smell too.  The nice thing about putting in the toner is it's a really quick application, we still used a brush to apply but you could almost get away with wearing gloves and putting it through your hair like conditioner!

How did Emaya’s hair hold up after? This was the final straw for a section of Emaya hair, about the size of a bottle cap broke off and yup she held a clump of blonde strands in her hand – Nooooooooo! This is what they say may happen and it did. Looking back and if we could do it all over again, I’d space her initial bleachings out over 2 weeks and only use 30% developer unlike the 40% we used.  I’ll let Emaya give you her final thoughts....

I'm classically a very lazy person when it comes to personal upkeep so it was really amazing that I even attempted to maintain my regrowth at all.

My first mistake was definitely thinking that my roots could become that pale yellow level of blonde in just one bleaching. What was I thinking?! But all the youtube videos/forums/everything that I read on root bleaching online only ever talked of doing it once and I stupidly thought that applied to me and my Level 10 Black Hair too. It doesn't. So my first attempt to bleach my roots was a giant FAIL in that I had only budgeted time for one bleach and one toning session. Even though the bleaching had only lightened my hair to a goldy-orange level, I clung onto the belief that the toner would lift and tone to the colour of the rest of my hair. Also, I used 40 Vol with the bleach because I thought that is what I would need to lift my black black black-as-the-night hair in one go. THIS WAS STUPID. I burned my scalp. It wasn't great.

I wish the internet had told me this (as I'm telling you guys now): If you have black/Asian hair, and you are touching up your roots, you will need at least TWO bleachings to get to the pale yellow stage. Yes, it is a bummer and super time consuming but that is how it is. Two bleachings of 20/30Vol. Not 40 Vol. (Never 40 Vol. It's not worth it. You'll have to do two bleachings anyway so might as well keep your poor scalp safe!) Then you will need to tone.

Please learn from my mistakes! Don't let my hair loss/scalp scabs be in vain! 

I rocked my weird golden roots + cool blonde lengths for three weeks mostly because I wanted to give my scalp time to heal before I tried to correct the colour. Scalp scabs are gross. You want to try and NOT get these as much as possible.

Serendipitiously, I flew up to Brisbane around three weeks later and I knew that I wanted my Number One Colourist on the case as she seemed to maintaining her roots like a champ! And even though we were expecting to do two bleachings and a toning, a perfect pale yellow was achieved after one go! (Probably because the majority of the roots were already bleached once.) Unfortunately, as Fee's already mentioned, there was A LOT of hair loss after this bleaching. Most of the breakages occurred at the areas (like the bleach overlap areas etc) where the hair would've been bleached like 5 or 6 times!!! Which is totally crazy so the hair melts are totally understandable. The fistfuls of hair that were coming out didn't really stress me out too much because I have incredibly thick hair so a little thinning of the mane didn't seem like such a catastrophe but I can see how it would upset some people.

But seeing the fragility of my hair (and scalp!) made me realise that I probably shouldn't be doing more bleaching anytime soon so this may be my last few months as a blonde! I'm definitely very sad about it but it was wonderful while it lasted. And if anyone has any good ideas how to gracefully grow out blonde hair without just dying it back to black, I'm open to suggestions :) :)

Thanks Emaya!

Even though we're leaving on a kind of low, I think it gives the bigger picture of the ways bleaching can go.  You can definitely learn from our mistakes and do less hair damage - nail the bleach consistency and application, never use 40% developer, space those bleachings apart and lather your hair up with oil in between!  My motto has always been - it's just hair and I hope the series has provided some value to another tight-arse/hairdresser scared individual out there as well :)

Quick Links to the Previous Posts


  1. ooh the patience you'd need for all this! you're amazing! I love the fact that we learn as we go, yes? :)

    1. I never knew being a blonde took so much time! We definitely learn as we go - big time!

  2. I love how you patiently sectioned off Emaya's hair like that before starting. I used to hate those time consuming tasks that actually make life easier but now I always remind myself that it's be for the best. Great job on the roots!

    1. I think I'm definitely the same, sometimes it does pay to do the annoying bit first though hey :)

  3. Ouch Emaya, sorry you had to deal with some burnt scalp issues! Your hair is super pretty blonde though, and just as pretty black :) you both rocked the blonde look xx

    1. She does rock both, I now have super sympathy for those with black hair wanting to go blonde


If you would like to be notified of further replies click the "notify me" box (in the bottom right hand corner)