Six months. It’s been six months since we’ve been under safer-at-home orders and I’ve done a great job at not cutting bangs or going pink or another hair change I would regret. Well, until now. Luckily, I don’t regret it. I’ve had my eye on money piece hair for years but was worried I was too old or it was a little too trendy. But then I was sitting there with StyleCaster Shopping & E-commerce Editor Mia Maguire and she had the idea of us bleaching the front pieces of our hair just for a little upgrade to our highlighted blonde hair. It didn’t take her long at all to talk me into it and we were off to Sally Beauty.
The first thing I did was send a DM to a few hairstylists I’ve worked with throughout the years as a beauty editor. Each one told me the exact same thing: DO NOT DO IT. There were multiple emojis and more than a few exclamation points. Their reasoning? It’s risky in a lot of ways. Because you’re working with bleach close to your face, there’s a chance you could get some in your eye and cause serious injury. Less seriously, my hair would go orange and I would come to them crying to fix it. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) just this time, I didn’t listen.
That’s why I’m not recommending highlighting any of your hair without discussing it with your colorist first. But if you can’t get to the salon or you’re going to bleach at home anyway, there are a few things to keep in mind.
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Now, I’ve been through it with bleach damage. But in the past year, I’ve gotten my hair to a much healthier point that it could take a little lifting. Don’t do it if your hair is brittle from color, hot tools or chemical treatments. At Sally Beauty, Mia and I grabbed bleach, developer and toner (I went more golden and she went ashier), as well as an application brush and a bowl. You’ll need a spoolie too or an old toothbrush but I had those at home. We bought each separately but there are some great bleach kits, such as Manic Panic Flash Lightening 30 Volume Bleach Kit ($9.49 at Sally Beauty) and Good Dye Young Hair Lightening Kit ($15.99 at Sally Beauty).
Back at my apartment, we first did test strips on small pieces of underneath hair. We both liked the color and didn’t have any reactions so we sectioned off front pieces. Helping each other, we applied the mixed bleach and developer onto the strands while they were resting on aluminum foil. We went extremely slow not to get any on our skin. We used the spoolie to brush the bleach through the hair to the roots ensuring the chemicals didn’t touch the scalp. When it doubt, stop lower than you think.
Because my highlights are on the golden blonde side, I went into this not expecting to get white blonde money pieces. I’d much prefer them a little brassy than damage my hair trying to get the perfect platinum. I left the bleach in my hair 15 minutes and checked inside the foils every five minutes after that. I ended up leaving the bleach in for about 25 minutes. This is because we only used 20 volume bleach and it was a slower process. Next time I would probably use 40 volume and check it after 10 minutes.
When I took the foils out of my hair and rinsed out the bleach, I knew the shade was a little too brassy. That’s where toner comes in. I mixed it with the developer and left it on the pieces for another 30 minutes. Then, the big reveal. Not too bad, right?
I still think the color is a little on the golden side but I’m actually really liking it. It blends with my hair more than white blonde pieces would. It’s not as dramatic but still a nice change to give me a boost while I’m still at home. My hair grows very fast so I’m expecting to bleach the roots in about 3-4 weeks. I’ll take the spoolie and blend the bleach onto my hair, taking it down just a little bit onto the previous color. Don’t saturate the front pieces again or you’ll risk more damage.
As long as you’re safe, at the end of the day, it’s just hair. If I hated it, I would let my hair rest, wear a cute headband, and talk to my colorist about fixing them. I personally wouldn’t risk a full head of highlights or allover bleach without hitting the salon. But everyone’s hair is different. I know I’m only going to keep this trendy hair color going a few bleaching sessions before I want to switch it up again. And that time I probably will visit my colorist—wearing a mask, of course.