First of all, let me start out by saying that I am in no means a cosmetologist. I never went to beauty school to study hair; I know what I know through experience and my sister who is a professional herself.
I’ve been doing my hair for years, I think the first time I ever put hair-dye on my hair was when I was, like, 11 years old. Yeah, that’s when it all started. Since then, I’ve been through many transformations and went through the entire spectrum of blonde to black.
Now, hair is becoming such an accessory to ones identity now, which in my opinion is an awesome thing. A friend of mine from high-school, Jude Valentin, has been faithfully dying her hair blue for almost five years now. It’s become a part of her identity in a way that it made her more confident with herself, as well as opened her up to new things that were possibly once outside of her comfort zone. Even as the years of pastel color trends came and went, she stood by her blue hair. I believe that’s what a good hair color will make a person feel like; hair can make a person feel like they have an identity they can accept nowadays.
But all hair stories aren’t as successful. See, knowing how to change your hair is one thing, but to maintain it afterwards is a completely different ballgame. There are people who walk around with damaged, blotchy hair that has no chance of surviving anymore. People, especially girls, will cry about their short haircut or their brassy hair color.
The truth of the matter is if you want a fast, clean job; go to a professional. But what if you don’t have the hundreds of dollars for that balayage hair color? If you’re ballsy enough to go ahead and do some changing yourself, then here’s a few things you need to know before doing anything to your hair:
The True Meaning of Volume Developer:
One of the many hair trends that’s been going around these last few years is the ability to become some sort of blonde, whether it’s honey blonde or platinum blonde. Bleach has become such an essential to a girl’s hair color change, but don’t really know how to use it.
- The Number in Volume Developer. In order to activate the bleach, you need to mix it with a developer. Developer comes in 4 different volumes; 10 being the lowest and 40 being the highest. One misconception that people have with volume developer is that people think “the higher the number, the lighter it will become.” HIGH VOLUME DEVELOPER LIFTS COLOR FASTER, NOT LIGHTEN IT MORE. People with brunette hair think that if they use 30 or 40 volume developer with bleach one time, they will achieve the blonde color they wanted. Where yes, in some cases your hair color will be lifted a couple shades after using a 30 vol developer more than a 10 vol developer would, BLEACH WITH ANY VOLUME DEVELOPER WILL LEAVE YOUR HAIR DELICATE AND DAMAGED. Where 10 vol developer doesn’t do that much damage to it, it doesn’t really lift the color for it to be noticeable, whereas a 40 vol developer will show the difference, but will leave your hair in such bad condition.
- Never use 40 Volume Developer to bleach your entire head of hair. 40 vol developer should NEVER be placed on your scalp. Your roots are virgin and new hair, and most likely “burn off” if applied with 40 vol. developer. This specific developer is used on highlights in salon settings, or on girls with very thick and coarse hair. Stay away from it completely; your hair will thank you later.
- Ideal Vol. Developer: 20 or 30. Typically, I use a 20 vol. developer to do lighten my hair because it does the job well, just at its own pace. The only time you should use 30 vol. developer is if, and only if, your dark hair color isn’t taking the 20 vol. developer. I would stay away from the 30 vol. as well, but if you know how your hair is with bleach, then do take the precautions before applying the mixture to your hair.
Knowing the different Types of Bleach:
Bleach is tricky. It comes in all these different colors and yes, they all give you different results. From what I know, there’s blue, violet, and white bleach.
- Blue bleach, or Quick-Blue, is bleach with blue tint in it. This is where it gets frustrating. Many beauty gurus on YouTube, typically go for Quick-Blue and make hair tutorials and at the end of it, the result looks amazing. Then you try it and you look like a hot mess. It depends on how your hair takes it, but in my experience, blue bleach leaves my hair very orange and brassy. Many people think the blue bleach will cancel out the orange in your hair, when in my opinion, I feel like it enhances more when I bleach it. I don’t recommend buying Quick-Blue.
- Violet bleach, or Kaleidocolors (also available in blue), is bleach with a violet tint in it. No, it will not turn your hair to lavender, but it is supposed to be used to cancel out yellow in your color, as violet’s suppose to do to yellow. I personally never tried it before, but I can only assume that it does the same thing that the blue bleach does, which is enhance the colors you don’t want showing. Again, everyone’s hair is different.
- White bleach, or L’Oreal Super Oreal Blanc (my go-to bleach), is a neutral bleach, which means it doesn’t specifically pick up any colors while bleaching; it gives off more of a natural bleached hair color instead of it being brassy or yellow. I’ve bleached my hair a couple of times, and this is what helped me get my desired ombre, highlights, and even went blonde twice with this bleach. This bleach works best with my hair, and it may not work for everyone, but every time I used it, I didn’t need to really tone down the color because the bleach helps the natural colors of your hair to come out. I realize a lot of people don’t use this brand, which I hope that anyone who is deciding to bleach their hair anytime soon uses this. Holy grail for bleaching.
The Color Wheel:
Have you ever wondered why Shampoo and Conditioner specifically made for blondes are purple? Because blondes tend to get brassy and yellow as time passes by, and to keep it neutral, adding violet to your hair helps cancel out the unwanted yellow in your hair. This is really what hair color is. you have to know the base color of your hair and find it’s opposite.
Which brings me to my next topic…
The Natural, Ash, and Golden Hair Dyes:
If you’re a consistent hair box dyer like me, it is important to know the differences between these sneaky words located next to the color hair dye.
- Natural doesn’t have any other colors in its undertones. in other words, the color is neutral. Black is a common neutral color because it’s too dark to have any other base color underneath it. If you’re looking for a solid color in other words, anything with the word “natural” is recommended.
- Ash colors are mostly cooler colors, typically with blue or green as the undertones in the color. Ash colors are usually popular in blonde hairs mainly because blonde is already such a warm hair color, that the cool colors in the dye tone it down, making it look more natural. You have to be careful with ash colors though, especially in the brown colors where ash can typically make your hair look green or sometimes that old-lady gray color.
- Golden colors are mostly warmer colors, with yellow or red as the undertones in the color. I typically like the golden brown hair dyes because they bring out my natural lowlights in my hair, but sometimes golden colors are hard to get out of your hair if you’re bleaching your hair for a ombre or blonde hair color.
The Short Haircut Myth:
I just recently cut my own hair back to almost shoulder length after being afraid to do so for months because I’ve always been a victim of “my hair is never going to grow back!” myth. Of course in beauty standards, a woman with long hair is considered more beautiful and feminine (which is proven time and time again to be bullshit, but we still believe it), and girls are able to do so much with their long hair, but sometimes you just need to lift a weight off your shoulders. Just like anything else, hair can start to feel like a burden more than anything else, and sometimes a big chop is all you need to feel like an actual human again. People, especially girls, fail to realize that hair will grow back and that one haircut will not kill you. Haircuts, whether minor or major, help your hair in the long run. If you go months without cutting or trimming your hair, the split ends in it will slowly begin to rise higher and higher close to the root, causing your hair to be brittle and dry-looking. Trimming your hair will at least control the split ends from going any higher than they are, which can even leave your hair looking better than ever. It might begin to have life and bounce in it again, looking healthier than it did before. If you’re more ballsy like I am, opt for a cut that will transform you! My sister cut her hair extremely short almost 10 years ago, and it became such a trademark for her; it definitely made her stand out from the others, which I believe she always was. If you’re still not convinced and still think that you’ll miss your long hair too much to actually change it, then opt for just a simple trim, just to get those split ends out of your hair once and for all… until they come back after a few months.
A few of my last-minute hair tips and tricks for hair care & color:
- When your hair is bleached, deep condition it with a deep conditioner at least once a week to keep it smooth, soft, and healthy looking.
- Buy color-treated shampoo to help your hair color not fade too quickly.
- If you notice your hair being brittle and gummy after multiple bleach process, your hair is over-processed and needs a serious repairing.
- Darker colors tend to keep your hair look more healthy than lighter ones.
- If you’re bleaching your hair but don’t want to completely damage the texture, apply coconut oil to your hair prior to bleaching.
- Bleach baths (bleach, volume developer, and conditioner) are essential to you if you don’t wanna damage your hair as much during the bleaching process. The conditioner helps moisturize your hair during the process.
- If a color is too dark for your liking, use Dawn dish soap to help strip away the color.
- If you’re trying to achieve a pastel hair color, mix conditioner with the hair dye to lighten up the color.
- Having black hair is a commitment. Once you go black, it’s hard to go back.
- If you have color treated hair and you find your hair being very greasy even after washing it, you might need to touch your roots up.
- Try to cut down on heat products for awhile; just how you have to be makeup-free for a few days to let your face breathe, your hair needs that same breathing treatment.
- Have fun with your hair! If you’re like me though… give your hair a natural break.