Bleaching your hair is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s absolutely essential if you envision yourself sporting a cute blonde pixie cut or long silvery tresses. Going from dark hair to a very light hue isn’t just going to drastically alter your appearance—it’s going to shake up your lifestyle, too.
Before you take the plunge to go blonde, read up on a few important things you must know about bleaching your hair:
1. You’ll need to prep your hair before you even get to the salon.
Your hair will go through a lot of stress when it gets bleached, so it’s crucial that it’s at its best possible state before you begin. Use a hydrating mask or treatment every other night within two weeks of your appointment. Skip shampoo in the days leading up to the session and opt to wash your hair with a rich conditioner instead. Then, the night before bleaching, apply coconut oil on your scalp and strands to prevent them from being damaged.
2. Your current hair color will determine the entire process.
Bleaching dark brown or black hair will require several trips to the salon. When your hair is very dark, it will take time for the color to develop. If you’re going platinum, it wouldn’t be a good idea to have all your sessions done at once, since this could completely fry your strands. Doing things gradually will minimize damage to your hair and give your scalp time to recover.
3. Expect your hair to get very, very dry.
Bleached hair is synonymous with dry, brittle hair. There’s no other way to go about it—for bleaching agents to fully penetrate your hair, they raise the outer cuticles of the strands to allow pigment and moisture to escape. To combat the drying effects of the process, switch to a conditioner specially formulated for extremely damaged hair, like the Dove Intense Repair 1 Minute Serum Conditioner. Infused with serum capsules loaded with vitamin E, coconut oil, almond oil, argan oil, and sunflower seed oil, this heavy-duty conditioner penetrates strands to help deeply nourish and repair damaged hair. With each use, the Cosmo Beauty Award Winner for Best Serum Conditioner helps refine cuticles and nurture strands in just one minute, so you can expect hair that’s instantly softer, smoother, and moisturized.
4. You’re going to need a new shampoo.
Along with an intensive conditioner to counteract dryness, purple shampoo will be a necessary addition to your hair routine. Though it won’t take the place of your regular shampoo—since you’re only meant to use it once or twice a week—purple shampoo will keep hair from looking too yellow, orange, or even red. It neutralizes brassy and unwanted warm hues, and helps maintain your blonde ‘do’s vibrant cool tone.
5. You have to be more careful about heat styling bleached hair.
Given what we know about moisture loss in bleached hair, it makes sense not to aggravate it further with heat styling. Blow drying and ironing your hair on a daily basis opens it up to even more damage, so you might have to give up on these to keep your hair healthy. Try to limit heat styling to special events and always use a heat-protectant spray.
6. Root touch-ups will be a regular occurrence.
It’s important to find a colorist you like and trust, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of them from now on. To maintain the same pristine color throughout, you need to go back to the salon every six to eight weeks to dye your roots and treat your damaged tresses.
7. You might need to update your makeup choices.
Have you perfected your makeup routine? Heads up! You may need to tweak it after bleaching your hair. You might find that shades that never used to flatter you suddenly look ~*amazing*~, while your usual go-tos make you look dull and lifeless. Now is a great time to experiment until you find a look that complements your new hair color.