Ever since I was a teenager I have abused my hair in so many ways to achieve a more edgy look. I've gone from the most basic of browns to pink, blue, purple, even bright orange at one point (it wasn't as bad as you think). However for the past 6-7 years I have stuck with being a full blown red head, and I don't mean your typical Karen Gillan type of look, I mean vibrant in your face "look at me" red hair.
Its not easy maintaining bleached vibrant hair. A lot of effort goes into ensuring you don't make a total mess of it. Back when I first started using bleach I was naive and didn't take the proper precautions and gradually it fell out to the point it barely came up to my shoulders. It took a good year or so for it to grow entirely back to how I liked it and since then I have always put the most effort into looking after my hair.
Based off that past disaster and now being older and a bit wiser I thought I'd share how I bleach my hair the correct way. I have maintained this look for 4 years and haven't had any problems. In fact, my hair has grown even longer!
First things first if you're using any new kind of bleach or dye you should always do a patch test 48 hours prior. If you suffer with any discomfort or irritation then do not proceed. Also note that I am in no way, shape or form a professional so always make sure you follow the correct guide lines/instructions. Bleaching hair is not something you want to take lightly.
Now that the boring parts out of the way I'll explain what I typically use.
1x Sachet of Jerome Russell's high lift powder bleach
1x Bottle of Jerome Russell's maximum lift cream peroxide (40% Vol 12% peroxide)
1x Mixing bowl/tub
1x Tint brush applicator
1x Directions "Poppy Red" hair dye
1x Pair of gloves
1x Towel you don't mind getting ruined
All these products are easy enough to get a hold of. I picked up the Jerome Russell powder and peroxide from Boots. You could even buy the gloves, applicator and tub from there too but I saved some money by buying them from a pound shop instead.
I picked up the directions dye from my local alternative shop but I find that most tattoo and piercing shops stock it as well. If that fails you can always resort to good old amazon/ebay to home deliver.
So the first thing I do is empty the sachet and peroxide into a tub and mix thoroughly through with the tinting brush until it becomes a nice smooth even mixture. I usually use the 40% peroxide as my hair is so stubbornly dark that it takes a greater amount to strip the colour. I recommend finding the right percentage for the type of hair you have. Putting on too much or the wrong type will result in breakages and ruin your hair completely.
Once the mixture is ready I separate my hair down the middle and using the tint brush I apply a small amount onto the crown of my head completely covering any roots that are on show (as you can see from the below pictures mine are disgraceful). Once the top is done, moving downwards on one side of my head I fold over and paint underneath. I repeat this process by taking sections bit by bit and making sure each part is completely covered. Once one side of my head is done I repeat the process on the other side and then again applying to the back. (Doing the back in my experience can be quite tricky so ask someone to help if you're struggling.)
Once I have completely covered my hair/roots I make sure I leave it on for the recommended amount of time, ensuring I keep checking the process to see how it is developing. The setting process usually takes up to 45 minutes for myself. However I usually speed this up by putting a plastic bag (lols) around my hair as the trapped heat makes it develop much quicker, resulting in less time for my hair to get damaged. Once I can clearly see that the bleach has done its job and my hair is white/yellow I rinse off with warm water and shampoo. If you're doing this I also recommend using a strong deep conditioner as the bleach will likely dry out your hair.
Once I have rinsed out the bleach from my hair and towel dried I then go ahead and slap the directions hair dye generously all over my hair. Don't worry if your bleached hair is looking a little yellow, the bright hair dye will guarantee to cover this. I repeat the waiting process and leave on for a good 40 minutes or so (again, make sure you follow the correct recommended waiting time if using any other dye).
For the final time I wash, shampoo, condition and towel dry and its done!
Below is my achieved look.
Once I have completed the entire process I take extra care of my hair. I try not to use too much heat and if I'm blow drying I'll make sure to use the cool setting. I also invest in some good hair treatment masks/oils as I want my hair to stop drying out as much as possible. Dry shampoo is also my best friend. It keeps my hair looking vibrant for longer.
I have been using this process now for the past 4 years without needing to take a break away from bleaching. I never go over the same area twice once bleached and only ever top up my roots. Doing this has resulted in my hair growing naturally and not falling out. I top up my roots every 3 months or so but depending on how quick your hair grows its totally up to you how often you do it. I recommend leaving it for as long as possible though as constant bleaching will only result in damage.
Bleaching from home may seem a daunting process but its honestly a piece of cake once you're fully aware of what you're doing. There is also the added bonus of saving a few pennies at the hair dressers.
I can honestly say that I love my hair and the time and effort that goes into maintaining the look of it is well spent. I couldn't imagine being any other colour anymore.
What do you think bleaching hair from home? Have you ever done it before? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments section and if you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll get back to you.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helped.
Photos & Words : Sammeh Williamson