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Bleach Wash - How To - Safely Lighten Dark Hair at Home

Sunday, July 23, 2017

So...you have naturally dark hair and you want to wear fantasy hair colors like blue or purple but you don't want to ruin your hair in the process? I'm here to help. First up, big disclaimer, I am not a hair stylist or cosmetologist or have any type of professional training in regards to hair color and hair care. I am simply a stay at home mom with an art degree who loves to color her hair in bright and bold crazy colors. I've been doing this for years (with a few breaks in between) and I ruined my hair about 10 years ago when I over did it with the chemical processes so I'm here to help you not do that.


This is an older pic of me with my natural hair color back in 2015. As you can see I have very dark brown, almost black hair. I wouldn't call it fully black because it tends to have lighter reddish gold highlights in the areas where the sun hits it and it doesn't look jet black in the sunlight.

When I originally dyed my hair it was supposed to be purple and teal but I didn't lighten my natural color enough for the purple to show up. It faded really fast and just looked like a burnt red, which is why I just kept the teal instead. I did a little research and came to the conclusion I would have to be as pale yellow blonde as I could be in order for purple to show up vibrantly. But how to bleach it again without damaging my hair? At this point, I had already bleached it a few times in order to maintain the teal blue. (Check out my Overtone or Arctic Fox reviews to see what that looked like.)


Bleach wash to the rescue! What's a bleach wash? Well, it's quite simple. It's a method of diluting the bleach mixture with clarifying shampoo so it's less harsh. I use a 2:2:1 ratio. 2 parts developer and shampoo to 1 part bleach powder. Mix it up and apply. Wash off in about 30 minutes.  Previously I used a 40 volume developer, but since I didn't want to ruin my hair this time I went with the milder 20 volume and bleached my hair over the course of a week.


1st pic is what my hair looked liked after a few weeks of using a clarifying shampoo to strip as much dye as I could from my hair. This is why I had switched to using Arctic Fox Hair Color (you can read about that here). 2nd pic is the result after about 30 minutes. I then spent a few days deep conditioning my hair. The purple you see in the pic is a strand test which confirmed that I would need to bleach it further.


About 4 days after the 1st wash, I repeated the process. And ta da! Super pale blonde perfect for any type of fantasy hair color I wanted. If I had wanted to stay blonde, I would have had to follow with a toner or permanent blonde hair color to neutralize the blue and purple from the test as well as the slightly brassy tone still left in my roots. But, as it was, it was the perfect base for my next purple and blue unicorn hair color and my hair was still soft and healthy. Do keep in mind that you have to deep condition your hair in between the bleach washes, otherwise your hair will be dried out and more prone to breakage. Next time, I'll show you how I did the hair color in my profile pic (purple/blue).
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