Go Blonde in Stages

Newly blonde girl looking surprised
Photo: Depositphotos
Q: Is it possible to go blonde in stages? I’m a brunette and would like to go platinum blonde gradually to make the change less noticeable and less scary. Is this possible?
A: Yes, it’s not only possible, but highly advisable to do it in steps when you decide to go blonde. There are two ways that people usually use to go from brunette to platinum blonde:
1. They bleach-bath their hair a couple of times over the span of a few days or two weeks, until the hair is light enough to tone to a platinum shade. A bleach bath is when you mix high-volume peroxide (30 vol or 40 vol) with bleach powder; add a certain amount of shampoo, and literally “bath” the hair in the bleach mix, usually in combination with a salon heat source such as a Climazon.
The bleach is left on the hair to develop for between 20-50 minutes, depending on a number of factors, such as the current color, depth and condition of the hair. During this time, the hair is continually worked by the stylist. She/he will gently rub the bleach into the hair for a maximum lift. Depending on how much the color level of the hair lifts, this process will have to be repeated two or three consecutive times over the span of a few days or weeks before the hair is lifted to a pale yellow color.
When the hair reaches a pale yellow color, (like the inside of a banana), a toner can be used to tone the hair to a platinum blonde shade. A toner is simply hair-color with a low developer volume, which has cool-undertones to minimize any brassiness that might be present in blonde hair. It goes without saying that the change is harsh and drastic, and this intensive chemical process wreaks havoc on the structure and condition of the hair. This isn’t the way that you want to go.
2. The second and much more recommended way is to go lighter in stages, on a much longer time span. This way will take a couple of months and at least three to four trips to the salon, but it’s much safer and gives you and all those around you ample time to get used to the change.
The stylist will begin by giving you a full head of highlights. This change will already be quite different than the brunette hair color that you’re used to. After 6-12 weeks, you’ll have a follow-up appointment, where the stylist will again do a full-head of highlights. He/she will ultimately concentrate to highlight the hair that is still brown.
This process will be repeated until all the hair on your head is blonde. Once this stage has been reached, the stylist will put a toner on your hair, to tone it from blonde to platinum blonde. After you have reached this stage, you can either have your regrowth bleached every 6-9 weeks, or you can have it highlighted.
The highlighted effect isn’t as solid-platinum as highlighted platinum, but highlights look more natural and leave the hair healthier. You can discuss this with your stylist when you get to that stage. Stylists also have their own preferences on this.
See also:
Going blonde
How to color hair
How does bleaching hair work?