Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Blondening: Part 2 - Tips for maintaining Blonde Asian Hair

I'm back for Part 2 of The Blondening with tips, techniques and advice I wish I had taken before I started bleaching my hair! Once again, I am no hairdresser and I'm fairly new to this stuff so if I don't use the correct terminology etc, I apologise.

I'm a blonde asian.

Follow me after the jump to know more!

General tips for bleaching / dyeing hair

I'm giving you an opportunity here to learn from my mistakes. Read on!

  • Things to get: Wear an old shirt / a cape / pin an old towel around your shoulders. Have gloves. Get lots of clips to section the hair and a tint brush to give you a more even application than rubbing with hands. Also have your timing device handy and someone to help with the back sections, if possible.

  • Order matters: Apply bleach LAST to the roots and temples. These areas lighten a lot faster than the rest of the head, and I think it has something to do with the heat from the scalp warming the bleach and increasing the rate of lightening so TL;DR it does it's job faster in those areas.

  • Use lots: Have your hair SWIMMING in bleach: don't be stingy with the bleach application, otherwise the lightening will be extremely uneven. If you have long / thick hair like mine, you'll need more than one packet, so buy at least two and apply them together.

  • Slow and meticulous wins the race: Section the hair and paint on the bleach evenly with a brush, unless you want uneven colouration like mine. I just massaged mine in thoroughly with my hands. The unevenness does give the hair some depth I suppose!

  • Protect your skin: Put vaseline on your forehead / ears / neck in places near your hairline as a protective barrier against bleach burns on those areas. I didn't do this as my skin is resilient and I didn't get burns, HOWEVER everyone has different sensitivity so it is worth doing.

Vaseline on the forehead helps to protect it against accidental bleach application to the forehead

Open sesame: Tips to get bleach / colour into the hair

Been trying this conditioner on my hair, it's a little pricey but I like it.

  • Shampoo OPENS the hair cuticles, so you can do that BEFORE applying things to your hair.
  • Conditioner CLOSES the hair cuticles, so you want to do that AFTER applying things to your hair.
  • Hot water OPENS the hair cuticles, which would help strip colour from your hair. AKA It's ok to rinse out bleach with warm water.
  • Cold water CLOSES the hair cuticles, which helps to seal in coloured dyes or toner AFTER application. AKA Rinse out colour with cold water.

Just to reiterate: Conditioner before applying anything like bleach, toner, or coloured dye is a bad idea because closing the cuticle will coat the hair shaft and reduce penetration of product. However, conditioning the hair is good AFTER colouring or toning as it will help seal the newly deposited colour in and protect it.

By the way, using a conditioner with silicones and certain sulfates are not good. I think they coat the hair to make it shiny without actually making it healthier. I need to do some research into what exactly is going on there, but in the meantime, I'd suggest finding brands that are free of ingredients ending with "-cone".

More about shampoo: Do not shampoo your hair daily, as it will wash out your toner faster and it's better for your hair not to strip the natural oils from your hair with shampoo daily. If your hair is getting oily, you can try to push out the amount of time between washes with dry shampoo - some of them even have odour neutralisers to prevent oily hair smell.

Water temperatures: Do not rinse newly toned / coloured hair in hot water as this will wash away some of the newly deposited colour. If you can deal with the cold, use a cold shower to wash your hair. This applies to any coloured hair.

Your eyebrows will not match your hair anymore

This is just horror on the left, the foundation is also the wrong colour under flash, but you get the point...

I see four options here:

  1. Get them professionally lightened. Since I was trying to save money, professional eyebrow lightening was out of the question. I'd have to get them done regularly which means $$$ I do not wish to spend as well as the stress of finding times to attend appointments. I'm happy to fix my roots in my own time but this feels too hard.
  2. Lighten them yourself using facial bleach. I have used facial bleach on my upper lip once and although it didn't burn my skin significantly, it made my eyes water due to the chemicals in it and I couldn't imagine putting that stuff any closer to my eyes. Also, in the last post I talked about bleach making the hair go orange when you lighten it past brown - orange eyebrows would look worse than black eyebrows. I dare not try it but it is an option for the brave!
  3. Use makeup (aka eyebrow mascara) to lighten them. Japanese brand Dollywink makes eyebrow mascara in a variety of colours. I ordered some products via Yesstyle, which I will review eventually! I would suggest NOT buying the Dollywink eyebrow mascara in 01 Milk Tea as eyebrows should be about 3 shades darker than hair colour, and 01 makes the eyebrows far too non-existent for my taste (see below).
  4. Just leave them black. It's an option! Just rock it out.

Staying blonde takes work


Dyeing your hair and keeping it a different colour is going to involve some life adjustment. Consider:

  1. Root maintenance: Root touchups may not cost much money in the scheme of things if you do them at home, however they will take time and effort. You will need to dye the roots at least every 4-6 weeks, which is is the recommended time to let your hair rest between bleaching. However, in this time period, it will go through awkward periods with visible black roots so if your hair can handle it, doing it more often may be preferable.

    Like I said above, roots bleach quicker than the rest of the hair so it won't require as many rounds of bleaching. Doing my roots with Schwarzkopf "Nordic Blonde L1" will take them to a dark blonde - not quite light enough, so I will trial the "Nordic Blonde L1+" next time instead and see how that goes. Note: "L1" = lighten 4-6 shades, "L1+" = lighten 5-7 shades, "L1++" = up to 8 shades
  2. Battling the yellow/orange creep: You may want to invest in a purple shampoo / purple conditioner / "blonde revitaliser" or simply mix a little purple hair dye into your conditioner. This keeps the blonde a cooler tone and not so brassy (dull brown instead of bright yellow / orange). This toner is constantly washing out, revealing the radioactive colours beneath, which is why you need to constantly battle it with shampoos, conditioners or just straight up applying toner to your hair.
  3. Hair care: Bleached hair is damaged hair. You might try argan oil, or coconut oil, serums, apply hair masks, split end treatments etc etc. I'm no expert at this and still trialling products to see if I like them, so google and beauty blogs might be your best friend for suggestions. I am liking LUSH Retread Conditioner and The Body Shop Rainforest Radiance Detangling Spray. 

Hope some of that info was helpful. Unless there are any more questions, that's the end of "The Blondening" post series for now :)

More blonde asian-ness
Feel free to comment and correct me if anything doesn't sound quite right, I'm just learning this stuff. Good luck!

♥ Sabrina / Rose

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  1. I colored my hair but it turned to orange. What to do now? Should I bleach it again?

    1. Hi there! It depends on the state of your hair, if its feeling brittle then you should wait a month or two before bleaching again. i'd recommend toning your hair in the meantime so its more brown and less orange. hope that helps! ask a hairdresser if you get really worried :)

  2. Hi!

    I'd like to know how much damage did Nordic L1 do to your hair? I've previously attempted to go the DIY peroxide and developer route with a 30vol and basically had to chop my hair to shoulder length because my hair turned into mush after the second round. Fortunately, I'm not particularly attached to long hair but I still want to go blonde. Currently, I'd say my hair is a level 6-7 dark blonde/light brown colour and I'm aiming to go up to a light blonde (not platinum) so that I can do pink and purple!

    So yeah, I'd like to know what is the condition of your hair after multiple rounds of Nordic. How many times did you have to bleach it (on the same previously bleached hair, not virgin roots) to get it light?


  3. Im VERY impressed!!!

    I've never seen better self bleached hair. especially on hair that was originally really really dark in color and the end color looks like the perfect blonde tone!!!