have watched enough YouTube videos to know you should NEVER try to bleach your own hair at home… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try it anyway.
After two glasses of pinot grigio and two hours of googling, I felt confident enough that I could take my mousy brown hair to Gwen Stefani platinum without ever having to step into a salon. (Yup. This girl is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!)
Initially, I thought maybe I had done it. Sure, it wasn’t quite Gwen… but it was… blonde? Right?
That’s when the wine buzz wore off and I realized what I really had going on north of my eyebrows.
My hair was NOT the platinum blonde I envisioned. Not even close. In fact, it didn’t even feel like hair anymore. I was aiming for Glinda the good witch and I ended up as the Scarecrow. (Oh, if I only had a brain.)
The next day I went to a BBQ with my favorite scarf draped around my head in an attempt to hide the carnage.
My sister’s good friend, Thelma, a brilliant chemist for a popular hair care & color brand, immediately pulled me aside.
I pulled off the scarf (that, let's be honest, wasn’t hiding anything) and told Thelma all about my failed Gwen Stefani dreams.
“I just don’t know how this happened!” I cried.
She put her arm around me and quietly said, "Welcome to the club."
We laughed together (and cried some more) as she recounted the many horror hair bleaching stories she had witnessed (and had even experienced herself) throughout her 20+ year career.
1. Uncontrollable Frizz
Thelma explained to me that bleaching opens up the cuticles of your hair which lets the product in, but also makes your hair more porous. When this cuticle remains open then your hair doesn't just let the bleach in... it lets all of that vital moisture OUT. This results in dry, frizzy, and unmanageable hair.
2. Orange, Brassy Tones
Bleaching is essentially removing the underlying pigments of your hair, but when this color isn't completely lifted it can result in brassy, orange hair. In fact, in order to achieve a platinum blonde (like what I wanted), you would actually need to use a tint, as well, (yay science!) which is why most people (me) are disappointed by their at-home bleaching job.
3. Tiger Stripes
It takes a steady hand to truly achieve the look of natural, sun-kissed highlights. However, when you're not careful with your highlight placement and weaving, this "natural" look can become stark and chunky like tiger stripes (but less cute). That's why Thelma says it's usually best to have someone who can actually see your entire head place your highlights.
4. It Falls Out!
When bleach is left on the scalp too long it can compromise the integrity of your hair. This can make your follicles weak and fragile and will often require a lengthy healing process. Unfortunately, for many people, this damage can also lead to extreme breakage and even hair loss.
Though Thelma had seen plenty of hair disasters, she had also seen even more hair victories and...
Though they didn’t involve any ruby slippers or harajuku girls, she gave me 3 insanely easy tips, utilizing her many years of research and experience, to help breathe life back into my dead (like x’s over the eyes DEAD) hair.
1. Brush Gently
You have to remember, my hair was basically like a frightened deer at this point, any quick movements would totally have it standing on end (literally). So when it comes to brushing and styling, Thelma told me to be GENTLE. Minimize any heat and to brush lightly.
2. Hydrate Often
Another important thing Thelma told me to do was to keep my hair hydrated. My at-home bleach job had stripped my hair (and my soul) of everything, including moisture. She recommended I use natural oils, such as argan, jojoba, and even avocado (yum!) so I could close that cuticle and start locking in moisture and restoring my shine.
3. Nourish Regrowth
When I say my hair lost everything… I mean EVERYTHING! So it was important that I also replenish the vital nutrients I had bleached out and Thelma told me that starts from the inside. So she recommended I take a special multi-vitamin -- containing biotin, folic acid, and a bunch of other "hair food" -- that was specially formulated to help restore damaged hair and promote new growth. (Praise be!)
... without even having to shave my head (but believe me when I say I DEFINITELY thought about it).
Thelma taught me that great hair is always achievable, but it takes time -- and most of all, it takes love (and the right products).
She "prescribed" me Hair La Vie’s hair serum and revitalizing hair blend for my straw-like monstrosity and I’m not kidding when I say my hair has never felt so good (even before the bathroom bleach disaster of 2017).
And because Hair La Vie heard about my horror story, they decided to offer a special discount just for Some Type of Beauty readers. (It’s a secret! Shhh.)
Just enter OMGHAIR at checkout to receive 20% off your total! I personally love the serum and hair vitamins, but their masque is also divine. No matter what, you can’t go wrong -- they have something for every hair type and everything is 100% natural and cruelty free.