The look? Divine. The process? Not that innocent.
What you’ll need
By now, we’d like to think we’re no strangers to all sorts of hair color trends. Highlighted hair, alternative, sunset, mermaid, pastel, candy-floss ombré—we’ve seen ’em all, almost virtually every ROYGBIV iteration, as they made their way onto the scene. Heck, even gray hair was a thing for a hot minute, but now, of course, people are taking the granny hair trend even further. White hair—and by this, we mean hair that’s dyed white blonde and not hair naturally white with age—is one of the latest looks making the rounds.
Why the appeal of white hair? Well, much like the gray hair color explosion, which was equal parts alterna-cool and geek-chic, pure white hair isn’t what you’d normally ask your stylist for. And that’s why, funnily enough, it’s the hottest new thing: It’s a unique hue with a healthy sense of irony, and though it may look good on almost all skintones, not all may have the guts to take the plunge.
Getting White Hair: Bottling It Up
So you’ve committed to this hyper-platinum blonde shade… now what? Well, be prepared to a good amount of time in the artist’s chair, for one, because there will be bleach. How long it has to sit on your strands largely depends on your current shade, but rest assured you’ll have to endure at least half an hour of color stripping. A lot of people find this to be the most damaging part of the process, and rightly so.
There really is no way to prevent some damage from occurring when hair is bleached, so the best course of action is to make sure it’s at its healthiest prior to the fact. Using a fortifying, protein-rich wash and care system before your appointment, such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Therappe Shampoo and Humectress Conditioner, as well as a deeply nourishing mask like Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Masque, can strengthen the hair fiber from within and help it withstand the damaging effects of processing.
The Process: Toning It Down
In order to lift hair to an icy-blonde, platinum or white shade, all pigments have to be removed from your hair. Doing so causes an orange or yellow tint to remain on your strands, especially in those with a dark base. So yes, don’t panic—that cartoon-yellow shade you’re now rocking isn’t the final product. Your stylist will then use a toner (or a gloss) to neutralize these brassy pigments and add some shine, as well as fix some porosity that the bleach has left your lengths with.
There are different color toners used to counteract different colors, so going to a professional, especially the first time you attempt white hair, is definitely worth the splurge. He or she will best know how to even out your tone, and, most importantly, how to lift your hair exactly to your desired level of lightness.
White Hair Aftercare
Now that you’re a bonafide super-platinum blonde, an excellent home care system is crucial to your arsenal. Hair that’s been colored and chemically processed to this extent is extremely prone to dryness and split ends. Bleach weakens hair bonds, and you’ll need to smother your strands in TLC to prevent them from breakage. A potent restorative hair mask, such as Dove Nutritive Solutions Intensive Repair Deep Treatment Mask, can be used as needed until your hair’s integrity returns to par.
Since it’s so light and porous, white hair is also really prone to brassiness and sopping up pigments. This can be brought on by chemicals in the pool, or even the water in your own shower. A pre-poo treatment that helps repel water and lock in color, such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer, can help keep your white as bright as can be. A purple shampoo, like Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo, can also help tone your locks back to their original coolness in case you’re noticing some yellow tints starting to creep in.
Looking for more hair color ideas? Check out some of these cool pastel hair colors you’ve got to try.