Bleaching hair by itself is a straightforward process but it is also very aggressive and unpredictable if you don’t know what you are doing. For that reason it is important to be aware of the implications and to evaluate whether or not your bleaching should be done by a professional before attempting this at home. Here we will give an overview of what you will need for bleaching hair.
What you need before bleaching hair
- Mixing bowl and brush. One nice mixing bowl is this one here from Ion that is graduated and allows accurate measurements.
- Plastic wrap for covering your work areas or yourself. You can also wrap your hair after the application for more efficient bleaching.
- Gloves for handling.
- Sulfate free shampoo, Rich conditioner for dry damaged hair, Leave-in conditioner or oil, and any other conditioning products that you might need.
- Lightener base or booster powder. This usually contains a persulfate powder such as potassium persulfate or ammonium persulfate. The persulfate helps to accelerate the bleaching process because it is itself an oxidizing agent.
- Hydrogen peroxide (developer) is the stronger oxidizer. By decomposing, it releases oxygen which acts on the pigments of the hair. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide is referred to by the volume(V) of oxygen that it releases. It is usually used between 10V to 40V, although 60V also exists. The choice of the peroxide volume is directly related to the extent of bleaching and thus to the extent of damage.
Optional but recommended:
- Many people also add a red gold corrector to the mix which helps to neutralize the red and gold hue in the hair, making the final shade a nicer bleached blonde.
- Maintaining with Purple shampoo is also great to prevent the brassy look over time. Remember not to overdo it with the purple dye though.
- Toners are often used as well to correct the underlying tones and enhance color in the hair. This is somewhat similar to depositing oxidative dyes in hair. It consists of a high pH color creme (often with monoethanolamine instead of ammonia) and a developer containing hydrogen peroxide. Toners are applied 5-30 mins depending on the brand. An example is Wella Color Charm.