How I Bleached and Coloured My Hair at Home

Okay guys; in the name of research I sacrificed my hair on the altar of the Bleach Gods, and they have blessed me. Translation: I took the risk of bleaching and colouring my hair at home, it worked, and now I’m telling you guys about it because I’m a top gal.

I’ve always loved brightly coloured hair, and everyone knows that colour was MADE for TWAs (teeny weeny afros, yay)! But for us natural brunettes, the only chance of achieving a vibrant colour is bleach. The problems with this are, of course:

  1. If you do it yourself, it could go wrong, but…
  2. If you have a professional do it, your credit card will probably cry. Plus…
  3. YOUR FRO COULD BE RUINED! DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!

So what to do? Firstly, we’ll rule out the ‘professional’ option because, I don’t know about you, but I prefer to waste my money on leave-in conditioner, lipstick, and Louboutins (one of these is something I’m still saving for; I’ll leave you to decide which). So that leaves DIY-ing it. Risky, yes–but I’ve devised a system that I have now successfully used THREE TIMES without damage to my curl pattern or altering of my texture. Watch and learn, my lovelies!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

– sulphate free shampoo (my fave is the one by III Sisters of Nature)
– ORS Hair Mayonnaise
– Dr Miracle’s Double Deep Moisturising Masque
– conditioner (I like Palmer’s Olive Oil conditioner, OGX’s Coconut Water conditioner, and Alberto Balsam’s Anti-Oxidant Blueberry conditioner)
– coconut oil
– plastic shower caps
– L’Oreal Wild Ombre’s No1
– semi-permanent dye in the colour of your choice (I like Adore in Violet Gem for purple and Directions in Blue Lagoon for blue, my two most frequent hair colours)
– a tinting kit
– a timer

THE PREP

If you’re going to abuse your poor hair this way (shame on you!) you need to be truly dedicated to pampering–before, during, and after the bleach. Pinky promise. Treat yourself right, my friend.

Two weeks before your bleaching sesh (YES I said two weeks; dedication, remember?) you need to amp up your wash day. Use a protein treatment like the ORS Hair Mayonnaise, pictured above, to prepare the building blocks of your hair for the battering they’re about to get. The next week, do it again–protein overload is kinda necessary here.

Also, consider protective styling during this period to ensure your hair is as moisturised and strong as it’s gonna get–riiiiight before we throw a bunch of harsh chemicals at it. Because, you know, failure to prepare is preparing to fail and all that.

THE COCONUT BLEACHING METHOD

You may have heard of this before, and even if you haven’t, you’re probably aware of the many benefits of coconut oil. If you didn’t know, coconut oil is a magical, tropical concoction that, when applied to the desired area of improvement, can fix your skin, hair, digestion, credit rating, understanding of bio-mechanics and theoretical mathematics, and dress sense. Amongst other things.

It also serves as a pretty good erm… bleach… protectant. Which is to say that if you apply it the night before you bleach your hair, you’ll experience less damage!

I apply mine the afternoon before, usually, to really give it time to work. I section and twist my hair, working the coconut oil through each section generously, and detangling as I go. Then I pin up my twists, whack a plastic cap on top, and cover it with my scarf to keep it in place.

THE PROCESS

Okay, so you’ve done a couple of protein treatments, protective styled for a while (maybe) and spent a night with an extremely runny oil sliding around between your scalp and a plastic cap. If beauty is pain, you are ready to look fabulous.

Step One: Bleaching

I recommended the L’Oreal ombre bleach thingy rather than general bleach for a couple of reasons: firstly because real bleach is hella complicated, while the L’Oreal kit is nice and simple; and secondly because, if you purchase the No1 shade, it is designed to lighten dark hair in a nice, gradual, non-platinum kinda way. And we do not need platinum hair–we need lighter hair.

After following the box instructions for ready-ing the bleach mixture, do a patch-test on a little section of hair that’s hard to see–about a square inch, near the end of the strands. Time how long it takes your hair to lighten the desired amount; I like to go an orangey-cinnamon because it allows me to get bright colour without damage. I really wouldn’t recommend lightening too far here–you don’t want to damage your hair!

Once you’re sure you won’t have an allergic reaction or go bald, undo your twists. Your hair should remain in small, clumped sections, kind of like a twist-out before you separate and fluff. This makes it easier to use the comb applicator that comes with the kit, and makes thick hair easier to attack.

Apply the bleach to each clump; if, like me, you want a streaked or graduated effect, apply more bleach in the areas you want colour (like, say, the ends) and leave the rest untouched.

Now, the kit recommends that the bleach be left for between 25-45 minutes, so get your timer ready and leave your hair uncovered–this helps you monitor the bleach’s progress, and keep an eye on the, erm… structural integrity of your hair! I leave the bleach on for around thirty minutes, at which point my hair looks like this:

Who loves orange soda? ...KEL LOVES--ahem, uh, sorry
Who loves orange soda? …KEL LOVES–ahem, uh, sorry

After following the instructions to rinse out the bleach, treat your hair to fifteen minutes of a moisturising deep conditioner–my favourite is the Dr Miracle Masque listed above. Then, do fifteen minutes with your protein treatment again. And now you’re ready for the next step!

Step Two: Colouring

Now it’s time to really have fun. COLOUR!

First–put petroleum jelly around your hairline and on your ears to stop the dye staining your skin!

I like to use my hands to apply colour–so you can wear the plastic gloves that come with the L’Oreal kit, or just risk your bare hands (it’ll come off… eventually) or be sensible and use a tinting brush. Y’know, if you want to be boring or whatever.

Pour the colour into the tinting bowl, or mix your colours together if you’re going super DIY. I like to apply mine my smoothing it through my hair while leaning over the bath tub. Yeah, things are highly scientific at my house. After applying, put on another plastic cap and follow the dye instructions; the general rule is to leave it for 15-25 minutes, and some process better with heat. If you want to heat process, use a blow dryer on medium through the plastic cap. 

Now it’s time to rinse: use sulphate-free shampoo to avoid drying out your much-abused hair, and rinse til the water runs clear. Next, condition condition condition! Then style your hair as usual.

Step Three: Aftercare

Now that your hair is bleached, you really need to watch its moisture levels. Continue with sulphate-free shampoo where possible, and ALWAYS deep condition at least once a week. As for your stained bathtub and tiles: grab some bleach (as in, Domestos and so on) and pour it onto a paper kitchen towel. Rub at the colour stains and the bleach should return your bathroom to its former glory! I also rub the bleach between my palms and then rinse it off very, very quickly to remove any stains–but I’m not going to recommend that because I’m sure it’s bad for you somehow.

And that’s that! Here’s my result using this method and Adore’s Semi-Permanent Dye in 114-Violet Gem:

Let me know how it works out for you! Comment below or send me pics on IG: @naturallytiss

*NOTE: This blog was originally posted on the 21st of May 2015. It has since been edited for clarity.*

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