We think that every gal at one point in time has considered going blonde. And we mean really, really blonde—like platinum blonde (guilty as charged!). And why not? It’s a stunning shade evocative of sex symbols past and present. Who wouldn’t want to look like a modern screen siren?
Thing is, for all its sex appeal, there’s also that much work that goes into getting your hair to platinum blonde levels. We break down a general guideline of what all you aspiring blonde bombshells need to keep in mind. Read on:
The Platinum Blonde Process
1. Assess your base color.
First off, we’re leaving this to a professional—we’re never going to advocate going from zero to 100 (and by 100 we mean near-white) by yourself, especially if you’re a beginner. Ask your stylist to help you assess how many sessions you’ll need to lift your hair to your desired level. Note: It can take around three to four return trips to your salon to safely lift your base, especially if you have very dark hair.
2. Deep condition for weeks beforehand.
The process of going platinum blonde involves a lot of bleach, so make sure hair is prepped for all that color processing. Doing a deep conditioning treatment for a few days each week before your appointment can do wonders in improving the integrity of your hair on D-Day.
3. Don’t wash the night before.
Bleach can sting, but good news, your natural scalp oils can help lessen the pain factor. A thin layer of oil helps shield your scalp from chemical irritation, so hold off on the shampooing the night before.
4. Bleaching: Step 1
On the day of, your stylist will first apply bleach to remove any traces of pigment (from old dye jobs and your actual hair… eek) in order to effectively lift hair to platinum blonde. This process can take anywhere from two to three hours, depending on the length and thickness of your locks. Afterwards, hair is rinsed and blown dry, ready for color assessment. Your hair will have a very yellowish-orange tone at this stage—don’t panic!
5. Bleaching: Step 2*
Your stylist might recommend that you undergo a second bleaching process depending on the evenness of color left on your hair. A lot of people have uneven stripes of color due to past dye jobs (red dye is notoriously hard to bleach out, btw) and might need a second pass at the peroxide. Afterwards, hair is thoroughly rinsed as before and assessed.
6. Toning your hair.
When the magic happens! Toning takes your hair from scarecrow yellow to that gorgeous, celebrity platinum blonde of your dreams. It usually happens at the back bar, with your head over a sink, and with a stylist massaging a neutralizing toner onto your entire head. This gets rid of all brassiness and orange tones and leaves you with a bright head of platinum hair.
Some stylists recommend a haircut during the same day just to freshen up your ends, which might look worse for wear after rounds and rounds of bleaching. (Worry not, we hear the lob is going strong for 2017.)
Platinum blonde hair is very susceptible to staining. Hard water, chlorine, even sun exposure can cause it to brass out, so make sure you’ve got the proper color-safe products in your home-care arsenal. We like Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo as our purple shampoo of choice, which helps neutralize brassiness. We also love prepping hair with a pre-wash primer, such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer, which helps repel water so your color stays vibrant for longer.
For everyday, we’ve found that a low-sulfate system, such as Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner, together with a strengthening mask like Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Restoring Masque, helps keep porosity at bay.
Want more inspo on lightening your hair? Check out some tips on getting the best highlights this season.