Here is the “meat and potatoes” of what I actually did to get my hair back to natural from bright red. These are the actual steps of the process, and I will provide a step-by-step instruction down below.
- Overnight Coconut Mask (for protection)
- Bleaching Process
- Final Color
- Cut and Style
For this process, you will need: (FYI: all of my products are in Portuguese, so they might be different than what is available at your beauty supply store.)
- Coconut Oil (I recommend Extra Virgin)
- Powder Bleach (I used Care Liss Blue Powder with Soy Protein)
- Volume Developer (I used Beira Alta 30 Volume Crème Developer) ** The level of developer you use has a direct effect on how light the hair goes and how much it damages your hair. It is better to do more than one treatment with a lower developer than using a high developer**
- Final Color Hair Dye (I used Garnier Nutrisse 51 Cool Tea (Medium Ash Brown)
- Mixing Bowl
- Tint Brush
- Processing Cap x2 (or you can rinse, they were cheap, so I bought 2)
- Sectioning Clips
- Shampoo/Conditioner of your choice
- Hair Tie x2
- Hair Cutting Scissors
Here is the step-by-step process.
1 – COCONUT OIL OVERNIGHT MASK
This process is done the night before, and I use additional oil about an hour before the bleaching. This is done for protection. If you have ever bleached your hair before, you know the ‘straw-like’ feeling that hair develops from being processed. Bleach dries out the hair as well as lifts color. Coconut oil saturates the hair in a protective coating and provides a level of moisture down to the core of the hair that helps prevent the severe dryness that comes from bleaching. This is one of the only ways to save your hair from damage while processing. (If you are allergic to coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil can be used as a substitute).
This process is described in Part 2, but here is a quick summary:
- Saturate your hair in coconut oil
- Cover with a shower cap (or) plastic wrap (or) grocery bag
- Sleep in the hair
- DO NOT RINSE in the morning or before processing
About an hour, but no less than 30 minutes, before processing, coat your hair in oil a second time. This adds another layer of protection.
2 – BLEACHING TREATMENT
Here is the scary part. To make it a little less scary I highly recommend DOING A STRAND TEST! Before I began bleaching, I was not sure which option I would need to lift as much of the red as possible. I was caught between a bleach bath and a straight bleaching, so I did a strand test.
I chose two small strands in the back of my head (it’s more of a ‘lock’ of hair, rather than a strand.) I mixed up a small sample of a straight bleach treatment (1:2 powder to developer) and applied it to one strand. Then I diluted with another part shampoo to try a bleach bath and applied to the second strand. I wrapped both strands in plastic wrap and waited 30 minutes for it to process.
After they were finished processing I was unhappy with the amount of lift that I saw in both categories, however, I decided to use the bleach treatment because it lifted the color the most.
Here is the shade lift with the bleach bath (approximately 1 shade)
**Photo shown is Before/After
And here is the shade life with the straight bleach (approximately 2-3 shades)
**Photo shown is After/Before
I decided to do a straight bleaching treatment, and I anticipated that I would have to do it a second time in a few days before I could apply the toner/final color. Fortunately for me, this was not the case.
I took the rest of my hair out of the processing cap and mixed the bleach. My powder bleach did not come with a scoop, so I used a shaving cream cap. I used one cap of powder and 2 caps of developer (1:2 powder to bleach). I mixed the contents until they were about the consistency of pancake batter.
I sectioned my hair into about four sections, and separated it into even smaller strands and used the tint brush to apply the bleach to my hair. I applied ENDS TO ROOTS. Roots process faster than ends do. Depending on the amount of regrowth, the amount of processing time on the midshaft to the ends changes. 98% of my hair was colored and 75% of that was the same color, so I applied from Ends to Roots and let the entire hair process for an identical time.
After the bleach was completely applied, I clipped my hair on the top of my head and wrapped the hair in another processing/shower cap. I let this sit on my hair for about 40 minutes (checking every ten minutes or so).
***It is important to NOT let your hair process TOO LONG with bleach! This is how you fry your hair!***
After the processing time was complete, I got in the shower, washed my hair with a mild shampoo and conditioned it like normal.
I let my hair air dry and DID NOT BRUSH IT. I finger-combed it only. This is important. Brushing wet, damaged hair can cause it to break mid-shaft and this is where your hair begins to fall out.
(I forgot to take pictures…but this is similar to what my hair looked like when finished. It was impressively light and yellow for only one treatment.)
3 – FINAL COLOR
The color of my hair after the bleaching came out almost as perfect as I could imagine. The red tone was almost completely gone and there was only a small blue tinge at the ends of the hair from the purple dye. This meant that I was able to just apply a final color over the hair instead of having to do another bleaching treatment or toning it. This was exciting because the fewer processes, the less damage caused.
For the next step, I mixed the dye according to the directions on the box, using the bottles and developer provided. I sectioned my hair into four sections, applied the dye all over my head and let it sit and process for 40 minutes.
When the color was done processing, I rinsed it out in the shower (again) using a mild shampoo to ensure all the product was washed out. I used the conditioner from the box and used it on my hair. Instead of the recommended time on the box, I let it soak into my hair for approximately 20 minutes and rinsed it again in cold water.
Again, I let my hair air dry WITHOUT BRUSHING it. When it was finally finished, I brushed out the tangles and prepared for the final step of the process, which was cutting a final style.
4 – CUTTING AND STYLING
I have heard that cutting your hair yourself is one of the scariest things a woman/man can do (except processing your hair, and I’ve already done that.) However, I hate letting people cut my hair, so I learned how to do it early in life, and still do.
The goal for my hair style: long layers with some fringe around my face. Apparently, and in practice, this is one of the easiest hair cuts to do yourself. I used the “pony-tail method”. There are actually several of these, but the particular method I used was the Hairline ponytail. (A video is linked below).
- Brush all of your hair to the front of your face, making sure it is smooth and free of bumps.
- Bring your hair into a ponytail at the front of your hairline, so your forehead looks a little like a unicorn, making sure the ponytail is centered.
- Using another ponytail, wrap this around the hair and pull it down to where you want the shortest layer to be.
- Using your scissors, cut straight across the length marked by the second ponytail.
- Using the scissors vertically, snip at the ends to make the cut look natural (it should be in the soft shape of a makeup brush. This is to avoid the ‘blunt-line’ cut.)
- Pull out both ponytails and brush your hair normally.
- Part your hair in half and bring the ends in front, and trim to the desired length, making sure it is even in the back.
- Voila! You are finished. A haircut with layers in about 5 minutes.
Here is the video:
Here are some of my photos from after the haircut:
Over the next couple of days, I put in an additional effort to give my hair some TLC. I did a deep overnight conditioning treatment (vlog to come), and made sure that I used leave-in conditioner every day before styling.
I had expected a large amount of damage from the level of processing I did to my hair, but all the precautions and the hair cut have left my hair is a far better condition that when I started. I don’t know how long it will be before I dye my hair again, but I’m hoping it will be a minimum of one year. I would like to let my natural hair grow out and see what color it is now.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you guys next time!