Thursday, August 13, 2015

Going Blonde at Home: THE UPDATE & TIPS

The almost last part of our home bleaching series is a little update a month later to see how our hair has held up and also some tips if you want to tackle home bleaching yourself 

UPDATE FEE: A month later and one root touch up already under my belt (thanks Ben!) I decided I’d do my whole hair + roots again just to get my hair that little bit lighter. For bleaching I used the bleach powder mixed with 40% developer (watered down to 20%). Something to note when I went to the chemist to buy more bleach, I just grabbed whatever tub they had (a white powered bleach) and I definitely reacted way more severely to this bleach. My eyes stung and as I’ll go onto mention had some more severe reactions.

* I'm back updating this section with some more experience under my belt.  The blue bleach, helps to tone the hair more during the initial bleaching.  So my recommendation is to still go with the blue or purple bleach.  As I was nearing the end of my tub of blue bleach (had for 6 months or so) I found the effectiveness of the bleach had diminished - orange roots anyone!!  On the other end I found the new batch of blue bleach I then bought, caused a bad reaction with my scalp and in hindsight I should of watered down the developer a lot more! So just something to be aware of!

A few hours before the bleaching I also covered my hair in olive oil to lessen hair damage during the bleaching process. I made a rookie error of not making a note of the start time which was a big fail on my behalf! We did my roots first then everywhere else – I did the front and my boyfriend did the back of my hair. I had previously sectioned off my hair with little butterfly clips which really helped to speed up the application time. I also lathered the bleach mixture on this time, especially around my front hairline. I did feel my scalp burning but having super sensitive skin and already encountering a similar burning sensation before, I wasn’t overly concerned. When I washed off the bleach, I noticed two small red dots on my forehead close to my hairline, which I’m guessing were a chemical burn – not cool!

Steps: Drowned hair in olive oil 2 hours beforehand, left bleach (with a very thick application) for around 30 - 40 minutes

Things to Improve: Use blue blonde highlighter bleach, make a protective barrier (with vaseline) on skin close to hairline and don't be too liberal with application - thick is good but not crazy thick! Also keep an eye on the time - including when you started!

After bleaching I put a 9.0 permanent clairol colour “very light blonde” toner on which helped give my hair a slightly more natural tone – aka less yellow. 

I can say now that I really love my hair. I have learned that bleaching is a lot of work, only because your hair grows and you have to keep bleaching those roots – who would of thought! BUT my hair feels great, it’s thick and super soft (thanks Evo!) and talking about products, I’ve eased up on the no shampoo route and use a combo of products...

*evo for conditioning (once a week) 
*apple cider vinegar to keep my dandruff down 
*a lush bar when I want to combat grease. 

Before bleaching I’d had to wash my hair every single day due to grease – it was something I was super conscious about. I tried the no shampoo route but I had mixed results and felt a little stuck. After bleaching I feel now I can wash my hair every few days. Probably the funniest thing is that I have hair I’m semi-attached too and I never thought I’d ever say that 

Will I keep the blonde? For now but I can definitely see the root touch up becoming super annoying and probably not something I will want to continue forever. My pinterest board is full of colourful hair so the blonde will probably just be a gateway to some pastel dreamland! 

UPDATE EMAYA: A month later...and I still hadn't done my regrowth. What can I say – I'm a low-maintenance/lazy kinda gal! My hair health was pretty great. This is probably due to the fact that I had adopted an intense hair care regimen since I wanted to be really vigilant about curbing any ongoing damage. I now only had to wash my hair once a week so that's the excellent news! The bad news is that this one day of haircare was quite laborious. I slathered hot coconut oil in my hair the night before, washed hair with purple shampoo the morning after, applied a protein treatment, applied a conditioning hair masque. Then I'd get out of the shower, potter around the house for as long as possible with the masque on and then wash it out. I wasn't loving all the time that this routine took but I knew that maintaining the colour was 80% of the struggle so I was well aware of what I was in for. I'm quite sad that my natural wave has all but disappeared so I've had to also invest a bit more time into styling my hair than I normally would've needed 

Emaya after getting a trim from the hairdressers and the dreaded re-growth town.

A fun fact, the hairdressers had no idea it was a home job and she got so many compliments from random people on the streets about her hair – proud moment!

UPDATE: Since then we've re-done Emaya's roots (and took photos!) so that's going to be the final blog installment :)

TIPS/things we learned 
Check out our Part 1 for everything you need first! 

* buy a cheap bleach set from a dollar store and use things round the house for protection, like old garbage bags, old towels and clothes 
* buy 40% developer and simple water it down to get different percentages. Watering it down by 50% will get you back to 20% developer :) (no-brainer there!)
* re-wash your plastic gloves! 

* make sure when you mix the bleach and developer you get a wet/sloppy mix and lather it generously onto the hair you’re bleaching. Once the mixture dries on the hair it is less effective in bleaching but be careful when it sits on your skin/scalp as you risk chemical burns 
* the more people working on your hair, the quicker the applications and the more even outcome
* make sure you check the time your start bleaching and stay within the 45 minute mark, you can also visually check your hair to see how light it’s getting. Also remember once your hair dries it becomes lighter too! 
* we got the best results after putting a silver shower cap over our hair during the bleaching process. Heat seems to help as it accelerates the process but something to also use with caution as well! 
* don't condition your hair after bleaching if you still want to put in a toner. Definitely condition after using a toner though
* toner is essential after bleaching if you want your hair to be a pretty blonde
* hi-lift blue bleach (or purple) will act to tone (somewhat!) you hair during the bleaching compared to just white powered bleach.  A toner applied after the bleaching is still important though!

* let your hair go naturally oily before bleaching or apply oil directly to your hair – olive oil or coconut work well.
* A protective barrier of oil on your hairline and ears is great, don't worry about being excessive with it - I personally slather on coconut oil until a third of my forehead is covered!
* your hair will be worse off after bleaching – don't expect to have better hair afterwards! 
* work in a well ventilated area and always protect yourself– those chemicals are nasty! 
* we both found our scalp reacted to the bleaching. I personally know I have very sensitive skin so was expecting it, but it would be irresponsible of us not to tell you to do a sensitively test (instructions found on the bleach label) before beginning – safety first! 
* the longer you have the bleach on your shelf the less effective it will become, so you may have to change how much developer % you use when mixing together with the bleach.  I would mix around a 10% developer with bleach when I first open the bleach packet and I would then go as far as using 30% when using the last of the bleach.
*hair grows slower in winter, you won't need to bleach your roots as often :)

make sure to moisturize a lot! - Rae
* one thing I do when I bleach my hair is put a tuque (beanie) over the plastic bag on my hair. It gives a similar effect to using a silver shower cap and helps to speed up the process a bit. - Mariko

Also maybe do it in winter so you can spread out the bleachings and just wear a cute beanie in between :P

There seems to be a professional-only-club full of blonde hair secrets you have to go to the saloon, cash in hand, to reap. Okay, maybe I’m being slightly cynical but for us messing with our hair wasn’t a big deal and a huge part of the decision to do a home bleach job was the cost factor. I’ll admit I was slightly hesitant to blog about our experiences, knowing that we really don’t know all the answers ourselves and there are probably better ways of doing things. I hope these blog entries are simply to show that we did it and to provide starting points for others as well. I’m also super open to comments from peeps who have gone through it themselves and have further suggestions of what worked and didn’t – tell us, so we can learn more! :) :)


Oh and tomorrow, the last blog post - Emaya's roots!


  1. The blonde looks amazing on you!! Just make sure to moisturize a lot!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

    1. for sure! Moisture seems to be the key for those healthy locks :)

  2. That's great that you use apple cider vinegar! :) And I have greys so I dye my hair and taking care of the roots every month is definitely a pain in the butt!

    1. arghhhh roots are super annoying, I guess you eventually get quicker at them?!? Do you do them by yourself? Apple cider seems to be working for me, I didn't have much luck with baking soda whilst doing the no-shampoo route but I really think it's dependent on your scalp/hair type. I also got on the lush train after seeing your post but I'm thinking of mixing my routine up again. So much trial and error to find the perfect combo!

  3. Thanks so much for these thorough posts. One thing I do when I bleach my hair is put a tuque (beanie) over the plastic bag on my hair. It gives a similar effect to using a silver shower cap and helps to speed up the process a bit.

    1. That's an awesome idea! I might add these tips to the post!

  4. this makes me wanna dye my hair, and great tips too! I use apple cider vinegar too sometimes, so great for the scalp :)

    1. out of all the alternative options for hair care I definitely found apple cider the best for my scalp!

  5. I love this post, sometimes it raises more questions about the maintenance than the steps themselves :) I've never used coconut oil for the hair, but this summer I find it to be drier than it used to be, I was looking for a Lush product, but I'll certainly take a look :)

    1. damn to the maintenance! I really want to explore more lush products myself but all this product exploring does add up too :P


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