With summer around the corner, BeautyCrew approached Apotecari’s Simone Abaron for some insights into the bleaching process: the ‘how’, ‘what happens’ and ‘what we can do to ensure we don’t end up damaging our hair’. Here’s what followed:
BC: What are three things you should know before bleaching your hair?
Understanding that bleaching (or “powder lightening” in salon world) your hair is the process of stripping the hair strand of its natural pigment – its colour – is a fundamental step one in the bleaching process.
In addition to injecting our strands with colour, pigment plays a role in gloss or shine. If we think of grey hair as hair that has little or no pigment remaining through the natural ageing process, and the lack of light reflection of this hair, we can appreciate the attributes of pigment.
When it comes to bleaching or lightening hair, it’s important to know: the better the quality of hair at the outset, the better the result will be.
Planning at least 3-6 months before starting the lightening process can significantly change your outcome for the better. Hair is primarily fed by nutrition from within so feeding your body targeted nutrition to build strong healthy hair is recommended. Apotecari supplements Hair Food and Mane Event have been specifically formulated for this purpose.
Start minimising the use of heating tools, and using hydrating masks and treatments.
Prepare for more frequent visits to the salon following your lightening session, leaving it too long between touch ups can result in uneven colour, and blondes require more frequent trims.
BC: Can everyone bleach their hair? Does it matter what your natural hair colour is?
Understanding the process, you can appreciate bleaching is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’. There are cases where bleaching is discouraged, an instance being if you’ve been colouring your hair with dark tints for a long time.
The darker your natural hair colour is, the slower the bleaching process will need to be, reducing its natural pigment in steps. Slow and steady wins the race, so if you’re naturally quite dark and your dream is to go lighter, prepare yourself for a longer journey over several sessions.
BC: What is the process behind in-salon hair bleaching? What should you expect?
It’s a responsible colour specialist’s role to sit with you for a full consultation prior to any colour change. Expect to answer a comprehensive set of questions about your at-home care regime and your colouring history, and share pictures of the colour you are hoping to achieve. In an ideal world, your colour specialist will also assess the look and feel of your hair and perform a strand test, determining the quality of your hair, before proposing how they plan to go about your colour service. For instance, they may choose to use foils and/or free hand. They might also sit you under a heating appliance to encourage even and quick processing of the bleach. A great colour technician will talk you through the entire process, and will create a personalised plan including internal and external care for you and your hair goals.
BC: How long does the colour usually last?
Bleaching the hair involves a permanent removal of pigment. As your hair grows through, your natural hair colour will come through from the roots. A great colour technician will apply the bleach in a way that should soften your regrowth so it doesn’t look like its growing out a week after you’ve left the salon. At-home care will prolong the life of your colour and prevent it from turning brassy too.
BC: What should you look for when selecting a professional hairdresser to bleach your hair?
A great indicator of a skilful hair colourist is their prioritisation of the health of your hair. Listen to the language they use and what they propose; if your mane is naturally dark and they’re committing to turn you platinum blonde overnight, this isn’t responsible. A great hair colourist will use good quality professional-grade products, and go through a comprehensive consultation before starting. Do your research first by stalking their Instagram, Google and Facebook reviews. Also, ask your nearest and dearest for recommendations and make sure you ask why they love their colour technician.
BC: What’s the best way to bleach your hair at home? What tools are products do you need?
Do not bleach at home!
BC: What’s the best way to take care of your hair after bleaching?
Increasing your intake of premium hair health supplements like Crowning Glory will inject an acutely-required hydration boost after bleaching, while Hair Food will support the health and condition of your hair. Mane Event would also be a great addition for damaged or brittle hair.
Minimise heat tool use, and if you need to use them, ensure the lowest temperature setting is selected. If you do take to heat tools, make sure your hair is clean – burnt product can discolour your golden locks.
Because the bleaching process dehydrates hair, stay away from products that can further dry out the hair and scalp – like dry shampoo and hair spray.
Use topical products that will help with moisture from the outside, like serums, masks and oils. Steer clear of argan and olive oils which have a yellow or red pigment because they can slowly discolour your hair. Opt for coconut oil instead.
Speak with your colourist about purple or gold shampoo and for their at-home care recommendations, always asking how to use these products properly. It’s incredible how using a product correctly can improve the outcome.
BC: Anything you would like to add?
It’s important to create a personalised prescription for your hair using a carefully-curated marriage of internal nutrition and external treatments.
Your hair stylist should be your hair guru; it’s best not to keep anything from them (even ‘having an affair’ with another stylist) – you’ll only be doing yourself a disservice!