Q: For the moment my hair is black. This is not permanent though, and after the Summer I guess it will be back to
middle-brown. Then I would like to have my hair Nancy Spungen-ish. Like white, or as close I can get. But is this possible? Some
hairdressers that I’ve asked, warned me about it, although others just told me the price. Do you think this is a good idea? I have
had many other hair colors, but not blonde. I’d really like it.
A: I have to say that I generally discourage my own clients from making such dramatic shifts in their hair color. Here’s why:
The color of your hair is created by the combination of melanin molecules in the hair shaft. The
darker the hair is, the more melanin the hair contains. Lighteners and bleaching agents lighten the hair by penetrating the hair
shaft and dispersing these melanin molecules. This process can also destroy other elements in the hair shaft, causing structural
damage and making the hair weak and brittle. The more color you try to remove the more collateral damage will result.
If someone is insistent on having their hair lightened more than 5 color levels, I always insist that
they have it done at a salon by a professional. Such extensive lightening needs to be carefully monitored and should only be
performed by someone who is accustomed to performing color services.
The fact that you’ve had hairdressers warn you about the process, while others simply quoted
rates should give you a clue as to why you should proceed with caution. There will always be stylists who will do whatever you ask
without considering what is “right” for you. These same stylists are likely to use the argument, “you wanted it this way” when
something goes amiss. The stylists who urged caution, are you best bet if you insist on going for such drastic lightening, because
they will be most concerned with preventing damage to your hair.