Saturday, June 15, 2013

How to bleach and dye your hair

When you first dye your hair you might feel incredibly nervous, you don't want to do anything wrong and cause damage to your hair. It's normal to feel this way, and it can be beneficial to be worried and want to find out how to do things correctly in order to avoid blunders. 

I've been bleaching and dyeing my hair since I was around 10 years old. My nan was a hairdresser for years and owned her own salon, my mom and sister dabbled in it, and I just learned techniques along the way. I barely went to hair salons, I didn't need to with the amount of experience my family had, and they were more than happy to let me experiment and go own my own little hair adventure. I'm 18 now and I've been every color of the rainbow, and I always do my hair myself. I will share with you my experiences and what I've learned throughout the post. I hope to answer any questions you have, if not please comment below and I'll answer asap!

Am I able to dye/bleach my hair?

Mostly anyone can have their hair bleach or dyed, but before you do either you must do an allergy test to make sure you aren't allergic to any of the products being used. Potential reactions can be detected by carrying out the skin allergy test 48 hours before you wish to use the product. Mostly all hair dye and bleach packets will include a leaflet which will explain how to carry out the test (you can also have this done at a salon), but if you don't have this then here is how to carry out the test:
  1. Using a cotton bud, apply a little of the unmixed colourant product sufficient to cover an area the size of a penny (1 – 2cm²) behind your ear.
  2. Re-apply two or three times allowing it to dry between each application. Carefully reseal the colourant container.
  3. Leave for roughly 48 hours without washing, covering or touching.
  4. If during this period you notice any abnormal reactions such as itching, redness or swelling in or around the test area, wash the product off and do not use the product again - this means you're allergic to the dye.

Home VS Salon

Another common question is whether to go to a professional or do it yourself. I would always recommend someone who is doing it for the first time to go to a professional, whether that be a family member, friend, or at a salon. I had my family and some hairdresser friends do mine over the years when I wasn't sure on how to do something. If you're just putting a simple colour dye over your natural hair, you can do this at home. It will be cheaper for you and really is very simple to do. I will go through this later on.

If you're wanting to bleach your hair (whether it be highlights or your whole head) I would suggest going to a salon or professional who knows what they're doing and is very experienced. When I first bleached my hair, I had a hairdresser friend who used the cap method for highlights, and OH MY GOSH it hurt. It wasn't the bleaching process that hurt, it was the pulling and tugging of the hair through the cap using a needle that hurt! I wouldn't do it again, that was the first and last time for me. Most people use foils when bleaching hair now, which is a much better way of bleaching hair than the cap method. The foils help to keep the bleach warm, helping it to work better and strip more colour from the hair.


 "Will my hair fall out?"

If you are going to bleach or dye your hair occasionally, and you take relatively good care of your hair, it won't fall out any more than normal (we humans lose up to 50 hairs a day). If you're going to bleach it multiple times frequently, you will find your hair becoming more weak and brittle, leading to more hairs breaking off easier than usual. This doesn't mean you'll go bald, it just means you find more hairs in your bath plug than normal, and that you need to lay off the bleach until your hair has recovered. 

With dyes, your hair won't be as badly damaged as it would with bleach. With bleach, you're stripping all the colours from your hair, but with dye you're just overlaying another colour onto your current hair. To stop your hair from becoming weak, dry, and brittle, it's important you take good care of your hair, especially after bleaching/dyeing it. I will go into more detail about aftercare later.

How to dye your own hair

Of course having the help of someone else to dye your hair is a lot easier than doing it yourself, but some of us haven't got an extra pair of hands and need to make sure we get every spot. If you're able to get a friend or family member to help you reach those hard to reach places, or even to do your whole head for you, that would be a great help!

Firstly; you need to choose what dye you want. Remember, if you want to go a lighter colour than you already are, you will need to bleach your hair. Have a look around for what colour you like. Most hair dye boxes have a "before and after" hair colour chart on the side of the box for you to compare your own colour with. You will also need a towel you don't mind getting dirty, or an old t-shirt to wear whilst dyeing your hair. Hair dye can be quite messy! If you're allergic to certain gloves, you might want to buy your own just in case the ones in the box are the ones you're allergic too.

Once you've chosen the dye you want, you'll need to make sure your hair is freshly washed and dried for the dye to stick well. Read the instructions before you do this, as some dyes are better on damp hair. The instruction leaflet should let you know how to mix and apply the dye, and how long to leave the dye on for (it's roughly 30-45 minutes). Make sure you massage the dye in and comb it all through your hair so you don't miss out any places. I personally like to get a little messy with mine and massage my whole head to make sure it gets everywhere before clipping it out the way and leaving it. 

Once the time is up, just rinse the dye off in the bath/shower with either cold or lukewarm water (cold water helps the dye to stick better and last longer). It is also a good idea to wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner as normal, and continue to rinse with water until all of the colour is out and the water runs clear from your head. Then towel dry or blow dry, and wha-la!

How to bleach your own hair

This is similar to dyeing hair, but a little more complicated if you've not done it before. Like I said I would recommend a professional to do this for you, but sometimes it's not possible, and salons can be very expensive, so from my experience here is a guide to bleaching your hair. Again in the bleach kit you will find an instruction leaflet on how to apply, allergy testing, and so on.

I would recommend using Jerome Russell's bBlonde kit. You will have to buy the cream and powder separately, but it works very well in my experience. In a box you get 4 powders, and one bottle of cream goes to one powder of bleach. You will also need to mix it in a hair dye/bleach bowl and brush which is available at most chemists and drug stores such as Boots and Superdrug. These aren't very expensive and are re-useable.

Most bleaches recommend leaving the bleach on for no longer than 30 minutes, I personally have never left it on longer than 45 minutes and even then my skin wash itching like crazy. When you wash off the bleach, make sure you wash all of it off with warm/hot water. I like to wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner twice, and use a deep conditioner afterwards for 30-60 minutes. When I bleach my hair, I find that using a good, thick conditioner such as herbal essences or tresemme works wonders. Don't be afraid to put a lot on a deeply massage it onto your scalp. I would recommend leaving it to dry naturally as your head as been through a lot of heat with the bleach, but if you need to then try and use some protection to minimize the damage.

Aftercare for bleach/dyed hair

Like I mentioned, using a good shampoo and conditioner will help your hair to recover from the products used. Washing your dyed hair with cold water will help the dye to stick longer, and I find it makes your hair and scalp feel a lot healthier. Washing your freshly dyed hair with a colour friendly shampoo will help decrease the chance of bleeding onto towels, pillows and clothes etc (although usually it will come out on a hot wash). Be gentle with your hair, try not to use so many heating tools such as hairdryers and hair straighteners. Use heat protectors if you are going to use styling tools. Some good heat protectors I've used are the Vo5 sprays and creams, but others may work better for you. I just use whatever my mom has in the cupboard.

I hope this helped answer any of your hair dyeing/bleaching questions. If not please comment below and I'll be more than happy to reply and help as much as possible!


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