Understanding Hair Bleaching
Bleaching your hair can be a great way to give your hairstyle a dramatic makeover and achieve a variety of different looks. It can also help to lighten your natural hair color or even out uneven tones. However, it can be a tricky process, and it’s important to understand the basics of hair bleaching before you attempt to bleach your own hair at home.
Let’s take a closer look at the basics of hair bleaching:
Different types of bleach
When it comes to bleaching your hair, there are many products available on the market and it can be confusing to know which one will give you the best results. There are two major categories of hair bleach: oxidative and non-oxidative. The type you choose will depend on the desired effect, as well as how experienced you are in bleaching hair at home.
Oxidative dyes contain ammonia and an oxidizing agent, such as hydrogen peroxide. This type of bleach penetrates deeply into hair follicles, breaking down melanin and lightening the color of the strand from root to end. Oxidative bleaches provide a longer lasting effect than non-oxidative products, but can cause more damage if not used properly due to their strong ingredients.
Non-oxidative dyes often come in a cream or foam form and usually don’t contain ammonia or hydrogen peroxide so they don’t penetrate as deeply into follicles. This is beneficial for those with lighter skin tones who may feel uncomfortable with extreme lightening of their natural color. Non-oxidative bleaches temporarily alter pigment molecules on the surface of each strand, which makes them much less damaging to strands than oxidative dyes.
Depending on your experience level and desired outcome, different types of hair bleach may work better for you than others. If you’re new to bleaching at home, it’s recommended that you start with a lower strength non-oxidative product before attempting any form of oxidative dyeing that requires more precision and care when handling strong ingredients like ammonia or hydrogen peroxide.
How hair bleaching works
In order to understand how hair bleaching works, it’s important to understand how your hair color is created. Hair color is produced by pigments called melanin. The two types of melanin are Eumelanin, which is responsible for brown and black shades; and Pheomelanin, which is responsible for red or yellow tones in hair.
When you use a bleach product to lighten your hair, it breaks down the smallest type of melanin pigment known as eumelanic pigment particles. Consequently, this causes the reductive darkening effect featured in mild levels of bleaching. As the process continues and more eumelanic pigment particles dissolve away, lighter shades will begin to appear on your head until eventually your desired look has been achieved.
Hair bleaching can be divided into two categories – non-lift and lift. Non-lift bleaching works by reducing the existing pigment instead of lifting it out of the cuticle layer whereas lift quite literally lifts out specific toners or tints from existing color pigments in strands of hair.
- Non-lift products include products such as bleach baths (for individualizing highlights) or peroxide-based creams designed to neutralize too-dark results derived from permanent dyes. These do not necessarily contain ammonia but they are more damaging than other options due to their composition as they contain hydrogen peroxide rather than ammonia or other gentle ingredients used in more natural / organic haircare products.
- Lift products include higher volume peroxide (20 vol or higher) which helps lift out unwanted tones from colored hair. Although effective at achieving lighter results without any guesswork, these do tend to be harsher and thus more damaging when used regularly over an extended period of time – so always test a patch first before committing!
Preparing for Bleaching
Bleaching can give your hair a lighter and brighter look, but it is important to properly prepare before bleaching. You’ll need to make sure you have the right tools and products, as well as know how to use them safely and correctly in order to achieve the desired results.
Here, we will discuss the importance of preparation and give you pointers on how to prepare for bleaching your hair:
- Make sure you have the right tools and products.
- Know how to use them safely and correctly.
- Consult a professional if needed.
- Do a strand test to test the bleaching results.
- Protect your skin and eyes from the bleaching chemicals.
- Deep condition your hair after bleaching.
Choosing the right bleach
When it comes to bleaching, you want to make sure you’re getting the right product for your hair type and desired results. It’s important to take into consideration your pre-existing hair color, condition, texture and the shade you are aiming for. The wrong bleach can cause permanent damage such as breakage and even discoloration of your natural hue. Here are a few types of bleach you may encounter:
- Powdered Bleach: This type of bleach is generally preferred when lifting more than 5 shades. It’s great for hard-to-lighten dark hair and is used with a 20 or 40 volume developer to lighten locks safely. The powder should be mixed with a developer before being applied – so it’s important to read the product instructions carefully in order to achieve the desired shade safely.
- Cream Bleach: This product works best when you’re only looking to lift up to 3 shades (or when creating pastel tones) since the effects aren’t as potent as other forms of bleach. It comes in its own container – usually a tube – and does not need any added product before application.
- Double-Process Bleaching: This method works best if you have thick hair that needs lightening more than 4 levels from its original color. To begin this process, your colorist will apply a bleaching powder directly onto your tresses or use double-process highlighting techniques, which involve separating tresses into small sections before painting them with bleach (usually cream) followed by a toner afterwards for added brightness and shine.
Doing a patch test
Before bleaching your hair, it is important to do a patch test to make sure that your hair and scalp can handle the bleach. Test the effects of a small strand of hair in an area not normally seen but can be easily covered up if you decide to proceed.
In order to do the patch test, mix the bleach per instructions, separate a small strand of dry, unwashed hair near your nape (back of neck), and apply a bit of the bleach mixture to it. With clean hands (gloves are also recommended) wait for 30 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Afterward, check for any signs of irritation or burning on your scalp before continuing with bleaching your hair.
If you experience any severe discomfort or adverse reaction (scalp sensitivity or rash) then we recommend that you abort this procedure as it may cause further damage to your scalp or hair if done incorrectly or by using ineffective products.
Determining the amount of bleach needed
Before you start bleaching your hair, you will need to determine the amount of bleach you need. Obviously, if you have longer hair or thicker hair, you will need more bleach. Start by estimating the amount based on your own judgment since some estimate variations may be needed depending on your hair type and color.
The most common methods used to determine the necessary amount of bleach are calculating the volume of bleach mixing liquid and the calculation of total bleaching time. To calculate the volume of mixing liquid you will need for one application, multiply length x width x height/volume (in cm) of each section. Then double it for both sections that need to be bleached.
To calculate this amount in ounces (fl oz) divide 14 grams by 1/4 oz (7 g/fl oz) and multiply this figure times 2 for each section that needs to be bleached. For example, if a single back of chestnut-colored hair is 13 cm long, 4 cm wide and 0.5 cm high (volume is 3 cm3), multiplication will give us 24 ml or 8 fl oz for both sections that need to be bleached.
Alternatively, total bleaching time can also be used as an estimate as to how much bleach is needed where 5-10 minutes is usually needed per application which may work out convenient especially if working with a professional hairdresser who generally have experience in determining these matters quickly and accurately based on their many years of experience with clients’ varying complexions and styles.
Bleaching Hair at Home
Bleaching your hair can be a great way to give your hair a new look and color. However, it is a very involved process and can be difficult to do it at home. Before deciding to bleach your hair, it is important to know the risks and the process involved.
In this article, we will dive into the process of bleaching hair at home, the risks and things to consider before deciding to bleach your hair:
Applying the bleach
If you have decided to bleach your hair at home, it is important to take the necessary precautions before you start. Depending on how light you want your hair to be, it may take multiple bleaching sessions and/or kits. Before attempting to bleach your hair it’s very important that you familiarize yourself with the safety warnings associated with using a bleach-based product.
When applying the bleach, it’s advisable to do a patch test first in order to reduce the risk of an adverse chemical reaction. To complete a patch test, divert a small strand of your hair and apply some of the makeup blend (or just plain bleach powder if that’s all that’s available ) onto this strand for two minutes, then rinse away! If there is any redness, swelling or itching afterwards – DO NOT use any bleaching products on your whole head!
When applying the bleaching mixture onto your entire head of hair make sure you wear gloves as exposure to bleaching powder can damage skin and nails on contact. Start by dividing up sections of your hair using clips and begin applying the bleach beginning at ends working up towards roots until all strands are covered. Make sure everything is evenly distributed across sectioned off parts of your hair, this way each strand will receive an even amount of bleaching agents in order for all strands to lighten single uniformly – avoid direct contact between scalp and skin as much as possible!
Before beginning, take the following steps:
- Apply petroleum jelly on skin surrounding forehead eyes etc…
- Use cotton balls over eye area
- Wear old towel draped around neck
- Turn off heating unit or adjust system if too hot
- Turn on fans etc…
When all these preparations are completed, plop several towels over shoulders or sitting clean area so excess mixture does not get anywhere else…Put shower cap over with several rubber bands ensuring tight fit. Wait recommended set time before rinsing thoroughly with cool water. Afterwards, follow these instructions:
- Laundry detergent (use sparingly)
- Rinse out well
- Style accordingly
Now enjoy your newly achieved lighter shade hairstyle!
Timing the bleach
Before you attempt to bleach your hair, it is important to understand the timing aspect of it. Bleaching is a process and each person’s hair will handle the process differently.
When you are bleaching at home, timing will be essential. For most bleaches, you will want to leave it on for 10-15 minutes, but no more than 20 minutes. If your hair has been dyed before this time should be decreased as too much exposure to bleach can damage the hair greatly. Conversely, if you have naturally dark hair, you may need more time in order for the bleach to take effect properly and lighten your locks at all.
Lightening the hair too quickly can result in an orange or brassy color, while leaving it in longer than necessary could cause extreme dryness or even breakage due to drying out and weakening of the strands. To minimize damage during this process:
- Test a strand of your hair regularly
- Remove the bleach when desired lightness is achieved
For best results without compromising your hair’s integrity.
Rinsing and conditioning the hair
Once you’ve finished bleaching your hair, it is essential that you immediately rinse the bleach out with cold water to stop the chemical reaction. Do not shampoo your hair as shampoo can irritate and dry out sensitive scalp, allowing dye molecules to adhere onto the scalp or skin and potentially cause an allergic reaction.
After rinsing thoroughly, deeply condition the hair with a moisturizing conditioner or a deep conditioning mask. Be sure to apply from mid-lengths to ends in order to restore moisture to the hair. It is also important that you use products free from any extreme sulfate as this can strip away any color left behind from bleaching.
Alternatively, opt for an olive oil-based mask at least once or twice per week for extra protection for your newly lightened strands. Leave on for at least 15 minutes before rinsing out completely, and then apply your favorite leave in conditioner product before blow drying if desired.
Once you have bleached your hair, it is important to look after it properly to ensure the best results. After bleaching, you need to make sure that you use the right products to maintain your new colour, as certain products can cause damage to your hair.
In this section, you will learn about the best ways to take care of your hair after bleaching:
Avoiding sun exposure
In the days and weeks after bleaching your hair, you should avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. Sun-bleached hair fades quickly and loses its vitality, so you should keep your hair covered whenever possible. Try wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a scarf if you’re planning to spend extended periods of time outdoors.
When your hair is wet, it is at its most vulnerable, so use an umbrella to protect against dampening rain where possible. If you can’t avoid being in the sun, use a leave-in conditioner with sunscreen properties – applying this product daily will help protect both the color and health of your bleached hair.
Using hair masks
Using a hair mask is an important part of aftercare to help maintain shine, strength and suppleness. When used on bleached hair, they help to revive and restore the damaged cuticles that can lead to breakage and split ends. Generally, masks are left on for five minutes or more to allow the nourishing ingredients time to penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
Once a week for best results, look for masks that contain deeply hydrating ingredients like avocado oil, olive oil and wheat germ oil which help correct the pH balance of your hair and replenish lost protein and moisture. For extra conditioning benefits, use a hot oil or leave-in conditioner after each shampoo as well.
Hair color should be re-applied in order to keep it looking its best; you will want to wait at least two weeks after bleaching before doing so as this allows enough time for your strands to heal before adding harsh chemicals once again. However, staying two shades similar or darker is recommended since bleach can only lift pigment one level lighter between applications. For those with very dark hair who are trying to go a lot lighter without completely stripping out their natural color first, it is important to be aware of limitations in order to prevent extreme damage:
- Staying two shades similar or darker is recommended.
- Wait at least two weeks after bleaching before re-applying hair color.
- Be aware of limitations in order to prevent extreme damage.
Avoiding heat styling
Proper aftercare is essential to maintain the health and condition of your hair following a bleaching session. One of the most important things you can do is avoid using heat on your hair, as this can damage the strands. This includes blow-drying and styling with heated curling or straightening irons.
When washing your hair, always use lukewarm (not hot) water, and use sulfate-free shampoos meant for color-treated hair only, which will help remove any residue from the bleach process without fading or stripping the dyed color. If your scalp tends to be dry, build up algae or cause irritation easily, try using a deep conditioning scrub once a week or so, to gently remove dirt while maintaining natural oils. Leave conditioners in for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
Next you should choose haircare products meant for bleached hair such as moisturizing shampoo and Serums – these are designed to hydrate and protect vulnerable strands caused by bleaching treatments, as well as lock in moisture to keep your dyed color vibrant for longer.
You also need to cover up when outdoors – exposure to direct sunlight can fade freshly colored hair over time. Wear a cap when in the sun and avoid swimming in chlorinated pools too (the chemical reacts badly with dye molecules).
Bleaching your hair with bleach can lead to some serious damage to your hair. Not only can it dry your hair out but it can also make it brittle and weak. Additionally, it can also lead to scalp irritation.
Before you decide to use bleach to lighten your hair, it is important to understand the possible risks and side effects that come along with this process:
- Dry hair
- Brittle and weak hair
- Scalp irritation
Bleaching your hair with bleach can cause damage, especially if it’s not done properly. Bleaching too often, using bleaches of the wrong strength or not having sufficient knowledge can damage the hair. Hydrogen peroxide and ammonia are two common ingredients in hair bleach that can be particularly damaging to the hair shaft.
Extremely strong bleaches and prolonged exposure can cause serious breakage of the hair shaft. This will lead to split ends, dryness and even balding if left unchecked. The most common form of damage is over-bleaching – when too much bleach is used, or if left on for too long, it will start to dissolve away fragile cuticles exposing the inner cortex which further leads to breakage and thinning of hair strands. Strands are weakened from over-processed chemical treatments, leaving them more susceptible to damage from heat styling tools and environmental exposure.
It’s also important to consider what type of bleach is being used since there are many different types such as
- permanent or semi-permanent formulas
- powder versus liquid compounds,
each with their own set of risks related to over-processing. Additionally, many home bleaching kits require one or more applications so when using any product it’s important to follow directions explicitly and keep an eye on time elapsed between applications.
Using bleach to dye your hair can present a variety of risks, particularly if not used properly. One of the most common risks is scalp irritation, resulting in redness, stinging, burning and itching. The scalp is especially sensitive because bleach is designed to break down and remove existing pigments, potentially causing corrosion on your skin and leading to a possible allergic reaction.
To prevent this from occurring, it’s best to use professional-grade bleaches and limit contact with the scalp as much as possible. For added protection before using bleach for hair dyeing:
- Wear gloves.
- Use a patch test.
- Always perform a strand test before applying the product to all of your hair.
Using bleach on your hair carries a risk of allergic reactions. Reactions range in severity, but can cause burning sensations, rashes and extreme itching. If you have had any type of reaction to hair dye products before, then it is best not to try bleaching your hair when experimenting with a new look. If you suspect that an allergy is developing after using bleach on your hair, stop using it immediately and consult a doctor for further advice.
Precautions must taken care when using hair bleaching products as the chemicals used can cause skin burns or problems if left in contact with the scalp for too long. Long exposure to bleach on the scalp could also lead to respiratory irritation, so it is advised that people attempt bleaching their own hair only in well ventilated areas, or seek professional help for application.