Platinum blonde men have been in style from Brad Pitt in ‘94 to Zayn Malik today. But ask any professional colorist how to bleach your hair at home, and more likely than not, they’ll laugh in your face and beg you to reconsider. There’s just no way around it: bleaching hair at home is a high-risk situation. Working with toxic chemicals on your head is hard enough, but getting the color right without damaging your hair is a whole other ball game. Going to try it anyways and bleach your hair at home? Here’s your guide to getting it right.
What You’ll Need
- Developer & Bleach Powder: This should be obvious, but you can’t use Clorox to bleach your head. You need bleach for hair, like Manic Panic’s Flash Lightning kit or Wella’s Blondor. The kit comes with both bleach powder and a developer, which ranges from Vol. 10 to Vol. 40. The darker your hair, the stronger developer you’ll need. With naturally blond hair, men can use just Vol. 10 to go platinum. Technically, Vol. 40 is how to bleach black hair, but it’s too strong for at-home use. With dark hair or brown hair, men should stick to a Vol. 30 developers at the max.
- Tinting Brush and Bowl: This comes included in a standard bleach kit. You’ll use it to mix the developer and bleach.
- Gloves and Shower Cap: Latex gloves and a plastic shower cap should come with the kit.
- Towel: You’ll want a towel that you can throw away.
- Comb: A plastic comb is best to make sure the bleach gets evenly applied.
- Mirror: A mirror is a must, and ideally, a friend, partner, or roommate can help as well to make sure you don’t miss any spots.
Do’s & Don’ts of an At-Home Bleach
Do take good care of your hair in the week leading up to your bleach. Try not to heat-dry, avoid overwashing, and use a good shampoo and conditioner when you do wash. You’ll need keratin-rich care that’s safe on color-treated hair after the bleach, so get started with shampoo like VirtueLabs to get your strands in good shape.
Don’t bleach your hair if you’ve had any chemical treatments, colors, or relaxers on your hair. Chemical treatments damage your hair, and bleaching it on top of that can make it fall out or react unexpectedly.
Don’t wash your hair the night before your bleach – and do wait until daytime to bleach. You’ll want the full sun to make sure you’re getting the right results.
Do read all the directions for how to bleach your hair on whatever developer kit you get.
Do be patient. You may need more than one application of bleach to get to your desired hot hairstyle. For platinum blonde hair, men can be in for a few rounds of bleach application spread out over a few days or weeks. It’s better to undershoot and reapply later than overdo it and have your hair break off.
How to Bleach Your Hair
Step 1: Put on gloves and make sure you have a towel that you can get bleach on handy. Wear an old t-shirt or something else that can get messy.
Step 2: Mix up the hair bleach with the developer. Read the directions on the kit to make sure you’re doing everything right. It should be creamy and smooth, with no lumps.
Step 3: To play it safe, try a strand test. Apply the bleach mixture to one small section of hair and follow the full directions for how long to leave the bleach on the hair to make sure you’ll like the results before starting on your full head.
Step 4: Skipped the strand test or loved the look? Use the tinting brush to apply the bleach mixture to your hair. Work as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the bleach sits on all your hair for the same length of time. Comb through the strands to make sure they’re evenly saturated. A friend can help make sure you’re not missing spots.
Step 5: Wait for how long the box tells you to with your hair covered with the shower cap. Don’t mess around with how long to leave bleach in your hair. Follow the directions exactly.
Step 6: Rinse out the bleach, then lightly shampoo and condition.
After the Bleach
So, you’ve done all the steps to bleach your hair, but it doesn’t have quite the right look to it? You can change up the shade using a toner, which tweaks the color of pre-lightened hair. Pick the shade of blonde you’re shooting for, and follow the directions on the toner to apply to hair after you’ve bleached. A toner like Overtone’s The Remedy or Manic Panic’s Virgin Snow works to neutralize brassy, orange tones. In contrast, something like Wella’s Liquid Toner is essentially a blond hair dye that colors bleached hair.
Once you’ve bleached and toned, adding a purple shampoo into your shower routine will help keep hair from looking too yellow. You can mix a little of a purple shampoo like Matrix Total Results into your regular shampoo, or use it on its own every so often for maximum results.
Remember, bleach damages your hair in order to lighten it, so after going blond, your hair will be naturally weaker. Bleach works by breaking down the keratin, or bonding protein in your hair, removing the natural pigment. For soft, smooth bleached hair, men will want to invest in protein-rich hair products, like this It’s A 10 hair mask.
If the DIY bleach job goes really wrong, then the best way to fix it is probably to cut it off. It may seem like a last resort, but stylists say a haircut is the best way to stop bleach-damaged hair from fraying further. Luckily, a reliable clipper and an at-home haircut is an easy fix for bleach gone wrong.
Bleaching hair at home can be tricky to get right. But if you follow the directions exactly, you can get your cool hairstyle and walk away with a fresh, lightened-up look.