Getting Perfect Platinum Blonde Hair

Eunice Lucero | 29 April 2016

It’s high time you brought out your inner bombshell.

Are you ready to rock a good old shade of platinum blonde hair? We say now is a good a time as any—blonde’s lightest level is one of the trendiest hair colors for 2016. Maybe the purist in us is showing after years of seeing all these subtle ombrés and earth-toned highlights, but something about going full throttle seems trés refreshing. Getting platinum blonde hair is a study in going hard or not going for it at all: The process takes forever and the upkeep is insane, but the payoff is head-turning, to say the least.

Okay, so you have your screenshots on the ready and have researched on the best stylist in three counties (Ed’s note: we strongly advocate seeing a pro the first time you attempt this—no exceptions!). Make sure you’re ready, because going icy blonde involves these things in spades: bleach, money/time and some serious attention to detail.

Let’s get started!

Getting Platinum Blonde Hair

how to get the perfect shade of platinum blonde hair
Platinum-dyed hair can get dry. Very dry. Photo credit:

Platinum Blonde Hair Timeline

2-4 weeks before: Prep your hair beforehand with conditioner specific to  colored hair, such as Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Conditioner (after rinsing off their Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Shampoo, that is).  Double up on the regular frequency that you deep-condition, and try to grow out any existing hair dye on your strands so that the bleach lifts your color as evenly as possible.

1 week before: Stock up on purple shampoo and conditioner (we like the the brass neutralizers in Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo) and an extra-moisturizing at-home hair treatment, like a deep conditioner such as Dove Nutritive Solutions Intensive Repair Deep Treatment Mask. This will make the core of your platinum upkeep kit. A purple shampoo and conditioner (yes, both really are a bright shade of violet) works to help counteract brassiness, or that sad, yellow color that inevitably stains hair when it’s dyed that white.

48 hours before: Don’t wash your hair at least two days before your appointment. Your natural hair grease actually works to coat and protect your scalp from the stinging effects of bleach. Though it won’t remove irritation completely, it’s been reported to make a significant difference.

Day of: Don’t make any other appointments around today—you’ll need at least half a day for bleaching and toning and everything else in between.

Bleaching, first process: Depending on your current hair color, bleaching can vary anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours. Virgin hair, even if it’s dark, usually takes a shorter time to bleach since the color lifts evenly all throughout. Hair that’s been perennially colored, on the other hand, may show unevenness or “stripes” where other dyes have been applied. Your stylist will even out these demarcations. Your scalp may also start to sting at this point—that’s the bleach for you!—and do let your stylist know if it becomes too uncomfortable.

Most people with dark hair end up with yellow-orange strands after this process. This is normal, and your stylist will gauge whether your strands can withstand a double-process bleach that same day. Those with weakened hair are advised to “rest” and deep-condition at home, and return for their second bleaching process.

Bleaching, second process: This second pass is what lightens the hair from that muppet-like yellow-orange color to an even lighter blonde, and again can last around 30 minutes upwards. After the bleach is rinsed out and your hair is blowdried, it might also be a good time to ask for a trim or haircut just to clean up any damaged ends.

Toning: That light yellow blonde isn’t the final stage. Platinum is an icy-white blonde, and therefore needs a toner to eliminate all that existing yellowness. This takes a shorter time than bleaching and is what lifts you to that enviable white-hot blonde you aim to be.

Roots, retouching and repeating the process: Some walk out with their ideal platinum shade, some might need a few more sessions to get there—it all depends on your current base color. And just like white paint color, there are several kinds of platinum too: ivory, winter wheat, eggshell, bluish white, you name it!

Six weeks is a good time to have your roots done, and if you’re confident enough, ask your stylist to teach you how to do them yourself. Otherwise, stick to a professional, and stick to toning at home.

Most beauty supply stores also sell toner for at-home toning use. Their directions are pretty straightforward, and they just involve saturating your strands in the product for around 10 minutes or less to get rid of any brassiness build-up. And don’t skip on the trims and deep-conditioning treatments, as bleach can make hair really porous and crunchy!

Looking for more info on platinum blonde hair? Check out some of our favorite blonde afro hair ideas.