I used to equate bleaching with fried hair. The first time I had my hair bleached was last year for some highlights and it was done by a professional. Despite watching countless tutorials by professionals and amateurs in Youtube and knowing that the entire process isn’t that complicated, I never have the courage to do it myself. Of course I can just buy all the products I need separately in any shops selling hair products here. But being the extra cautious me, I thought it’s best to start with ‘milder’ products to minimise the risk of damaging my hair. Most hair bleaching kits available in the drugstores like SYOSS Aufheller (lightener) are formulated for the average consumers’ at-home application. It is worth considering if your hair is used to salon-strength products, most of the ‘mild’ drugstore products may not work for you.
Very important to note that I’m not a professional in any way, I’m just sharing my experience of this entire process as a newbie to at-home hair bleaching using drugstore products.
1. Understand how bleaching works
Bleaching is a process to remove natural colour pigments in your hair to achieve a lighter hair colour. Hydrogen peroxide, the bleaching agent, soften the hair cuticle, penetrates hair shaft and oxidizes the existing pigments in your hair. This process removes the natural underlying pigments in your hair.
The leave-in time varies depending on how light you want your hair colour to be. However, I’d strongly advise those who are new to bleaching to adhere to the prescribed leave-in times. For most drugstore bleaching kits it is usually 30-45 minutes. Leaving the bleaching agent too long will only damage your hair.
When it comes to hair colour, ‘level’ refers to the lightness or darkness of your hair colour. It is NOT RECOMMENDED to try to lift your hair colour from Level 1 to 10 in one application. This will only completely destroying the structure of your hair. Step by step, my friend.
2. Manage your expectations
Just like skin colour, dark hair contains more melanin (colour pigment) than light hair. For example, black hair have more underlying red pigment compares to light blonde hair that have more yellow pigment.
Bleaching occurs in several steps. Different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and leave-in time removes the underlying pigments in different level. Assuming that your hair is naturally black and you’re going for light blonde hair, you’ll see that your hair colour gradually changes from shades of red to the dreaded orange and eventually yellow in the process.
Although it’s possible to go from jet-black hair to platinum blonde in one day, it is definitely not recommended to do so. Be kind to your hair, take your time and do it in stages.
3. Bleaching is permanent
Bleaching essentially is the permanent removal of hair colour. Once the natural pigments are removed from your hair, you can only add colour/dye to it or wait for your hair to regrow.
Now, on to my experience of bleaching my hair using drugstore hair bleach/lightener.
I don’t remember why I picked up SYOSS lighteners but I’m happy to say that the product totally works for me. It took me 3 sessions (approx. 2 weeks) to lighten my hair from Level 1 to 8, giving my hair 3 to 4-day break between each sessions. After each bleaching, I toned my hair with silver conditioner and deep-conditioned my hair with keratin-protein hair mask.
This is my hair before bleaching. I also cut about 15cm of my hair a few weeks prior to bleaching it.
The first bleaching using SYOSS Aufheller 13-0 (medium)
This kit comes with the mixing bottle (with emulsion), lightening cream, blond-booster powder, anti-damage care conditioner and 1 pair gloves. According to the instructions in SYOSS website, use this product on dry, not prewashed hair.
I should’ve known that 1 box of product is barely enough for my thick hair. I ended up using the very little products I had left on the top portion of my hair. As you can see from the picture below, the 13-0 Medium did little to lighten my hair. Based on my experience of using the product, you need to heavily saturate each section of hair for the bleach to really work. If you have thick or long hair, you’d need at least 2 boxes of these.
Second bleaching using SYOSS Aufheller 13-5 (platinum blonde)
Unlike the 13-0 Lightener, this kit comes with a sachet of hair mask (purple conditioner). Learning from the previous session, I bought and used 2 boxes to cover my entire head.
Third bleaching using SYOSS Aufheller 13-5 (platinum blonde)
I used 1 box of this product to touch up the top section of my hair and the sections where the colour are obviously uneven. I was really happy with the result, it took me from copper blonde to light blonde without frying my hair!
– I can really recommend this SYOSS Lightener for those who are new to hair bleach products. It took me about 2 weeks to get from black to light blond hair.
– Give your hair a break between each session and condition the heck out of it with keratin-protein conditioner/hair mask.
– Do not skip the silver/blue conditioner. It really helps reducing the yellowness or brassy colour after bleaching.
– Try not to wash your hair often and if you really need to, use cleansing conditioner.
– Avoid products with SLS and silicones (dimethicone) as they can further dry your bleached hair.
– AVOID USING HEAT ON YOUR HAIR! Salon or drugstore products, bleaching is harsh for your hair. Try not to use heat on your hair (hairdryer, curling iron etc) until your hair recovers from the bleaching process.
Part 3 will be about my attempt to get rose gold or at least, warm-tone pinkish hair (if that makes sense…). Stay tune to see if you want to see the end result!