Q: I have shoulder length black hair. I would like to have light blonde flashes of color throughout my hair. Should I use
bleach to strip my hair? And can I use a permanent blonde hair color on top of it afterwards to give it a more natural blonde shade?
A: I never advocate attempting to lighten your hair more than 3-4 levels without professional assistance. The hair could be seriously
damaged by trying to remove too much of the natural pigment from the hair. Your best bet is to consult a professional colorist about
having the blonde highlights put in your hair safely.
If you insist on performing this process on your own, you can use a bleaching agent combined with
20-volume peroxide developer. I recommend that you also use a highlighting cap to make sure you avoid getting the bleaching mixture on
your scalp. Most hair bleaches are designed for “off the scalp” use because of their strength.
It is also important to closely monitor the progress of the lightening. Depending on the condition
and texture of your hair, you could see rapid lightening and will need to be ready to rinse the hair before the lightening progresses too far.
It is also possible that the lightening process will be slow. In this case, you should remember
that applying heat to the bleach-covered hair speeds up the bleaching process. It is also important to remember that unlike color
application, bleach does not lose its potency. So long as it remains wet it will work. Because of this, you should cover the hair
with a plastic cap to retain the moisture and ensure even lightening.
When it comes to removing the bleach, be sure to rinse the hair with cool water and shampoo it
with a moisture-rich shampoo. The cool water will stop the lightening process and the shampoo will remove the bleach.
Starting with black hair, you may experience unexpected tones in the lightened hair depending on
the contributing pigments of your natural hair color. The most common tones are orange tones, yellow tones and greenish tones.