This post will be an in depth bleaching and toning my hair and getting it to a pastel color. This post can really help those who especially have virgin hair or Asian hair.
Warning: this post will be really long so I included a track for you
I finally took the decision to get my hair to a pastel hair. Light colors cannot easily be colored on black hair and it will not show so well so a light shade of hair color is needed. This requires a couple of bleaching processes. I was looking for a blue steel color- sort of pastel blue infused with subtle greyish tones in it which makes it blue gray but I ended up not getting it (which is ok)
I did a lot of research about bleaching your own hair at home and there definitively was a lot but it was not based on virgin hair or Asian. It was indeed helpful because they did warn me about bleaching and ways to be careful and so forth. Most talked about their experiences and results that came from a salon. However, I wanted to find blogs/youtube videos that I can take deep reference so it can guide me on how to get blue steel hair color when doing it diy in home style. I wanted to try doing it at home considering that it is less costly but also fun at the same time. Here goes!!
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I bleached my hair a total of 3 times with the help of Brian and Sam. Here is what you need to consider getting
20-40 volume developer
wella toner 050 and T18
hair dye brush
gloves and vaseline
face mask (optional)
aluminum foil (optional)
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There are two parts when preparing for bleach- bleach powder and volume developer.
Bleach powder can come in several colors- just white, blue or purple. I don't know much about the difference but I'm told that it doesn't really matter. Brian and Sam took me to Ricky's beauty supply store to get all the necessary materials for our mini bleaching starter kit. It's too bad that Ricky's didn't sell bleach powder in bucket form because it is cheaper to buy when in larger quantities. I got 4 packets of L'oreal quick blue bleach powder.
Now for the developer, it is something that you mix with the bleach powder. You can go for the lowest 20 to highest 40 volume developer. The higher the volume developer, the more damaging it will be but it will give quicker lightening results. Brian and Sam stressed to me how dangerous a 40 developer could be and shoved me a 30 volume developer from clairol's. It came in a creamy liquid form. I trust their judgement since they both have experience with bleaching and dying hair.
So to mix the powder bleach and developer, you must follow a 1:2 ratio. I used a mini glass jar to help me measure. 1 cup/full jar of powder bleach, 2 cups/full jars of volume developer. Use a measuring cup or some ceramic, glass jar/bottle that you no longer need. It is very easy to create your own bleaching. All you have to do is mix with those two in a plastic bowl with a hair dye brush!
It is essential to know that bleaching your hair has many consequences. It will damage your hair a lot! The list that I provided including the optional materials will help you avoid mini bleach problems! You will need to bleach your hair at a well ventilated place and have the window open because the smell from the mixture of bleach powder and volume developer will make you squint your eyes so hard and scrunch up your nose so use that face mask! Also it is very skin irritant. If a spot of bleach gets on your skin, you will itch like crazy so you should be very careful with that too and apply generous amount of vaseline around your ears, neck, forehead, and wherever else you think needs to be safe. (I will explain what the rest of the materials are for)
Here are the results from bleaching it the first time and how I did it
As you can see after bleaching it the first time, it came out a smooth brown chestnut color. I wasn't a big fan of this first stage but it could not be helped. You cannot expect black Asian thick hair to go to blonde so quickly (maybe with a 60 volume developer...but you'll just melt your hair anyways).
I divided my hair into 6 parts (3 parts on left and right side) by using several hair clips and then started bleaching at the bottom and then making my way to the upper hair parts. Apparently, heat is the key that speeds up the process of bleaching. That is why many youtubers and bloggers say that you must apply bleach to the ends first and then do roots last. Many suggested to wrap aluminum foil around the bleached hair so that it can trap heat which Brian and Sam helped me do. Of course there are other materials that can substitute aluminium foil such as a shower cap or plastic wrap. We did the whole head except the roots and left it on for 35 minutes. 10 minutes before washing the bleach out, we applied bleach on the roots last because the heat can accelerate the bleaching process.
When washing bleach out of your hair, I washed it out with freezing cold water so that it wouldn't damage my hair any further. You notice that after you wash your hair from the bleach, your hair becomes stretchy (literally) and it is so fragile and sucked up a lot of water that's why it takes awhile to air dry. I immediately applied coconut oil right after. The whole process is quite troublesome and it makes me feel sad to see my black hair go away and be stuck with temporary brown hair. I waited for 1 week for my next bleaching session.
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2nd bleaching session results
The results are much lighter than before but it gives off a very brassy orange blonde situation, a strawberry blonde. Same as before, Brian and Sam applied bleach to the ends of my hair for 35 minutes and 15 minutes before washing it off, bleach was then applied to my roots and sideburns.
You can see that there are some patchy areas on my hair where some areas are lighter than other parts of the hair- that's the risk of bleaching. It is hard to get bleach to evenly distribute your hair because of heat and depending on how fast you applied bleach to the hair. Don't worry, it is fixable if you bleach your hair the next time. The next time you do another bleach session, you should know that you must apply bleach on the darker or orangy areas first and then later on the lighter areas to evenly get the same shade of bleached hair. Since my hair was still not light yellow, I had to bleach it once again and also fix the patchiness. I applied coconut oil and waited for two weeks.
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3rd bleaching session results
After bleaching it the 3rd time, my hair has finally gotten into the pale blonde club! Yas! This time I left it on shorter than before, maybe 20 minutes. After that I just washed my hair in purple shampoo so it could tone down the yellowness. So basically the process is just like before... now all I had to do was make it grey now that it's gotten pale enough. With a couple of weeks to wait and just a toner I am all good!!
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Ok so I wasn't sure if I wanted just pale blonde (close to white hair) or steel blue or just plain pastel gray so I just mixed the wella toner 050 and T18. The 050 is actually a color additive and it is suggested to mix it with a color dye but I've seen other people use it by itself or used it with the T18 toner but only used 3 drops of the 050 toner because the color is very cooling (ahem, the name is cooling violet so it is a strong color). I kind of just mixed half of 050 and T18 together and then added the developer. I guess it didn't really make a difference anyways because the 050 toner sure did most of the work. My hair ended up being too grey but it's all good.
To prepare yourself a toner, you must mix it with the developer by using the lowest- 20%. Although 10% is actually the lowest, I would not recommend using the 10% because I've been told that it actually makes your hair darker rather than making it lighter so just use 20%. Same thing like bleach, you mix it with a 1:2 ratio so 1 cup/jar full of toner and 2 cup/jar full of developer and mix on a plastic bowl.
Ok, I'm going to warn you now!! The smell is horrible... it's actually worse than the bleach. I thought bleach was the worst smell until I had the toner out. It was so bad, the smell is stinging to the nose and so strong... it felt like I was breathing in a nuclear chemical plant. The smell of the toner is just so crazy.. it's more than squinting your eyes and pulling a face. It's about throwing your head outside the window for a good minute or two to take a breather. That's how crazy the smell is.
The toner works so fast, it's crazy! You have to apply all over your hair quickly. You will see that the toner creme will turn into purple so make sure to apply it on your head and evenly spread it across your head. I left the toner on my hair for about 15-20 minutes but you'll be fine for 10 minutes, tops. When you're ready and think that you're good to see the results, wash your hair in cold water. To lock in the toner color, just wash it off with cold water. Try to wash it with freezing water but don't force yourself if you cannot and then just let your hair dry. You may not like the result immediately, but let it settle and if the toner looks patchy on several areas of the hair, don't worry! Unlike bleach, the patchy areas can be evenly toned out through a couple of hair washes.
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Now that I bleached, damaged, toned and let my hair go through a lot of crazy process, the only way to make it up is by not doing anything more crazy to the hair and just always deep condition the hair. The one that everyone recommend is coconut oil! It's your best bet and it really does keep the hair nourished (but it won't let your hair have the same feeling like virgin hair no mo).
Also the texture of your hair will never go away when you wash it. It will always stretch and will take forever to air dry since bleached hair will always be porous no matter how long you had the hair bleached (even if it is 6 months). DO NOT AIR DRY YOUR HAIR! Water damages your hair so you must quickly dry your hair with a professional hair dryer and use little heat as possible. If you leave the water left to air dry, the color may fade a bit faster and it will damage the hair even more!
So once your hair is damaged... that part of your hair will stay like that forever. The poofiness will appear due to the lack of oils that are stripped away from the hair so you need to straighten your hair! Of course coconut oil can help but cannot make it go back to how things were like when you had natural hair. But I stress that you put on coconut oil or deep conditioning treatments (preferably USDA organic) and leave it on as long as you can before washing it off.
To take care of your hair and the color and to avoid any further damages, I suggest you wash your hair in cold water and if possible not to wash your hair at all (but that's not possible so maybe wash your hair as little as you can). The color will fade off if you wash your hair too much and you will end up having to tone your hair sooner than expected and die a little in the inside when facing that disgusting smell of the toner. Another alternative is you can use dry shampoo. Also like I mentioned before, use coconut oil and slather it all over your head and wash it off with cold water.
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The toner color is slowly fading away, I'm starting to notice it but it's not bothering me a bit. The best of having bleached hair is that you can always change it to another color and know that the colors are just temporary. Make sure that the color is semi- permanent because those are the only dyes that fade away and are temporary such as pastel colors and toners.
Many people thought I went to a hairdresser and got my grey hair done and complimented my hair . When I told them it was a help of Sam and Brian, people were impressed. Even hair stylists wondered how I got it done. Although I've been getting a lot of stares and double takes from strangers but it's ok because it's New York and I'm sure people have taken other drastic measures than me.
Alright I'm done with my lengthy hair journey.
If you have any questions or comments please write them down below! I'll give my best answers or just reply. Hope this blog helps if you plan to do diy style.