First things first: If you want brilliant platinum blonde in one fell swoop, or to go from brunette to blonde, bleaching is the only way. But if the colour change is not quite so radical – perhaps from dark blonde to light blonde – you can choose a somewhat gentler lightening method. Also ask yourself what effect you want to achieve: Would you like to shine with a permanent colour change or are you flirting with a temporary effect? Here is an overview of all the possibilities, including tips and tricks:
Going all the Way: Bleaching
Genuine bleaching can make your hair up to eight shades lighter. However, the chemical process is harder on your mane than a simple colouration. Of course the result is much more impressive: Blonde all the way!
Effect: Various bleaching products are available. Powder, cream or gel however, the process is the same: First the hair cuticle is opened, then a hydrogen peroxide cocktail – the dosage varies – dissolves the natural pigments to a greater or lesser extent, thereby lightening the hair. The procedure has a long-term effect, meaning the hair stays permanently lighter and gradually grows out.
By the way: The lightening process goes from red to yellow to the final blonde hue. It is therefore crucial to observe the bleaching exposure time exactly. If it is rinsed out too soon, a reddish or yellowish tinge may remain in the hair. On the other hand, the hair can become porous and tend to break easily if the bleaching product is left in the hair too long. So following the instructions precisely is best, then everything is going to be blonde...pardon, all right!
Luscious Colour: Colouration, not Bleaching
You can also lighten your hair by one or two nuances with colouration. That is gentler than bleaching because the hydrogen peroxide concentration is far lower. It is therefore ideal if you just want to lighten your existing blonde by a shade or are simply seeking a new colour highlight for your hair. For instance a gold nuance, a copper hue or an ashy pearl effect. By the way: Colouration is perfect to cover up those first few grey hairs.
Effect: Applying colouration opens the hair cuticle just like bleaching. But rather than just removing the natural pigments, it also replaces them with artificial new ones. The result is permanent. The colour cannot be simply washed out again. It has to grow out since the new colour molecules are sealed inside the hair.
By the way: You can identify colouration by the fact that two components, a colour cream and a developer, have to be mixed prior to application. What are known as intensive dyes also consist of two components, but they gradually wash out over time. Lightening nuances are also found within the colouration series. These are formulas that lighten hair by up to four shades, simultaneously adding permanent, lasting highlights (in pastel).
Lighter Sections: Streaks, not Bleaching
Streaks are a great way to gently add highlights to your hair, causing your entire mane to radiate with new brightness!
Effect: In principle, streaking works like bleaching. The lightening process is the same, it just does not cover the entire head. Partial application is somewhat gentler on your hair overall. If you want to conjure up the streaked look at home, have a friend help you with the sections on the back of the head. Handy do-it-yourself helpers: Depending on the application technique, you can easily create fine streaks yourself with a streaking hood or broader highlights with the supplied brush or applicator. Step-by-step instructions or application videos tell you how it’s done.
By the way: Combinations of blonde streaks in various shades appear very natural, making them highly appealing – here a bit of colouring routine or practice makes perfect!
Go Easy: Dyeing, not Bleaching
Unfortunately dyeing is generally not sufficient to effectively lighten your hair. However: Dyeing is ideal for creating interesting hair colour effects. Examples include various gold, red or light brown highlights from honey to amber to caramel or mocha.
Effect: Unlike colouration or bleaching, dyeing does not penetrate deep into the hair but merely deposits its colour particles directly under the hair cuticle. This makes dyeing very gentle and lends a particularly intensive gloss to the hair since the pigments increase light reflection.
By the way: If you are not satisfied with the resulting colour, you do not have to put up with it for months – dyeing does not last nearly as long in your hair as colouration or bleaching. Here the durability level is important: Level 1 identifies a washable dye that lasts about six to eight hair washings. For intensive level 2 dyes, oxidative colours are mixed with hydrogen peroxide. They can last for up to 24 hair washings.
Step-by-Step Brightening: Blonde Spray
If you prefer not to apply colour, blonde spray is another hair lightening choice. Get the blonde effect in a few pumps: As though kissed by the sun!
Effect: Apply the product to your hair before blow drying (heat intensifies the lightening effect). It gradually lightens the colour with very small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. A blonde spray should not be applied daily but only over a short period of time. When you hair has darkened in the winter and needs a bit of enlightenment for instance.
By the way: If you are using a blonde spray, treat yourself to a hair mask once a week. That keeps your lightened mane healthy and gleaming.