How I Bleached My Hair at Home

We all know by now that I can’t keep the same hair for *too* long. I love to switch things up and try new colors/cuts at home, and push the boundaries in ways that are unfamiliar and exciting for me. Since I don’t have all the time and money in the world as a full-time healthcare worker and grad school student, these hair adventures usually end up happening at home.

This is actually not the first time I’ve bleached my own hair at home, so I wasn’t *completely* unfamiliar with the process. That being said, this round of bleach did turn out MUCH better than the first time I tried to bleach my hair at home. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

With all of that being said, I want to make it clear that I am not an expert or a hairdresser, so any time you do your own hair at home, you are risking the possibility of botching up your hair. This is just personally what I felt like doing at home (knowing the risks fully,) but if you’re really not comfortable with doing your own hair, I would definitely recommend going to a professional instead.

What I used:

-Level 30 developer

-Ion color brilliance bleach

-Aluminum foil

-Gloves, hair color bowl, and color application brush

-Purple shampoo and conditioner

-Hair mask

Step 1: Mix bleach + bleach with foils.

The first thing I did, after slipping into some clothes that I didn’t mind potentially ruining, was mix all of my products. I decided to use level 30 developer, which was probably a liiiiiittle stronger than I realistically needed, so a 20 will definitely do the job instead if you don’t have 30. DO NOT GO ABOVE 30. You will risk completely destroying your head. My ratio is 1 part bleach to 2 parts developer. After I thoroughly mixed my developer and bleach, I slipped on my gloves, put a towel around my shoulders, and started applying the bleach all over my head with the brush. I used a mirror to see the back of my head and make sure I got every spot. Because my hair was already virgin (not previously color treated), it did not take long for the bleach to lift my hair. However, to really speed up the process, I placed a little homemade tinfoil hat on my head and let it sit for about a half hour. Feeling warmth and a little bit of tingling on your head is normal in this process. After all, you are literally frying your hair.

Step 2: Rinse.

After I was satisfied with the color, I went to the shower and washed my hair for a good 10-15 minutes. I made sure I tilted my head back instead of forward when I was rinsing, because otherwise I could risk getting bleach in my eyes. I washed my hair very thoroughly, then toweled it off and let it air dry for a bit so I could have an idea of what the color looked like dry.

Step 3: Bleach without foil.

After I dried my hair a bit, I noticed that I still had a few spots in the back of my head that hadn’t lifted enough and needed another round of bleach. So I only applied more bleach to those specific areas, and let the bleach sit again without the foil. Within another 15-20 minutes, I was able to get my entire head lightened to the level of blonde I desired.

Step 4: Rinse.

I rinsed my entire head again, for another ten minutes, and towel-dried off my hair. My hair did feel pretty fried by this point, but it looked fantastic and I knew I could get some of that healthiness back by applying high-quality treatments to my hair in the days to come.

Step 5: Tone.

Even though my hair was finally as light as I wanted it to be, it still needed to be toned to make it look less yellow and more platinum blonde. I used a bright creme toner, also by Ion, mixed the product, and applied it evenly all over my hair. I let that sit for 25 minutes or so, and then headed back to the shower to rinse for a third time.

Step 6: Rinse, Shampoo, Condition, Mask.

After rinsing for a third time, I went in with my purple shampoo and conditioner and used both of those products generously. It’s important to use a purple shampoo and conditioner specifically, as this type of product will cancel out any remaining orange tones in your hair and keep your hair looking consistently polished and blonde. After shampooing and conditioning, I applied a hair mask specifically formulated for damaged, color-treated hair, and let that sit on my head for ten or so minutes in the shower. Finally, after the last rinse of the mask, I was finished with the process. I towel-dried off my hair and admired my work, which you can see in the photos above.

Overall, the entire process took about 90-120 minutes, and all products and materials combined, cost about $30. It was marginally cheaper and less time consuming than a professional salon, but, of course, it is also super risky because you never really know what you’re going to end up with. For me personally, it was a risk worth taking and one that luckily paid off. I am continuing to use my purple shampoo and conditioner, but I actually have not needed to bleach or even tone again since I did this (more than a month ago by now). I haven’t decided yet if I want to keep my hair short, or let it keep growing. Either way, I am definitely going to keep bleaching it.

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