A few weeks back, I decided once again to test the old adage about gentlemen’s preferences, though this time without the assistance of a professional. I figured, however, that since the last hairdresser who helped lift my hair to blonde also burnt my head in the process and left my scalp leaking plasma for the three days that followed, I couldn’t really do a worse job by taking matters into my own hands. Here’s the step-by-step!

This time around, I used:

– 1 box of Bleach London’s Total Bleach
– 1 box of Bleach London’s White Toner (both available at Boots) and,
– 1 jar of 100% natural raw virgin coconut oil (from Holland & Barrett)

Having done a lot more research this time to save my hair (and pillows) another geyser of plasma, I discovered a) to leave my hair unwashed for two days prior to application, and b) the recent trend of using organic coconut oil to assist with bleaching. The theory goes that the coconut oil protects the hair from damage during bleaching, or – more scientifically – that it acts as a chelating agent by bonding the iron and copper in your dye to stop them reacting with the peroxide and thereby producing free radicals which cause damage to your hair. Spoiler alert: it works!

Step 1: I drowned my hair in coconut oil overnight, and since a lot of it had absorbed by the next morning, I reapplied an hour before bleaching just to make sure that the hair was still thoroughly drenched. Pro tip: have a towel on hand at all times during this stage because that coconut oil might be solid in the jar but it turns to a very messy liquid the minute you start rubbing it between your palms. I always had one towel over my shoulders when I was upright and one on my pillow while I was sleeping.

Step 2: Apply the bleach directly over the coconut oil while it’s still in your hair. (I opted not to do an all-over bleach because my hair grows ridiculously quickly and the short back and sides would look like a pint of Guinness within a matter of days.) The first major difference I noticed was that it hurt infinitely less this time than when I had it done in a salon, and never really got past the stage where it felt like an uncomfortable itch. This was probably due to a combination of the coconut oil coating my scalp and having remembered not to wash my hair directly beforehand.

Result: hair intact, impressive lift, but an unmistakably gross shade of yellow that would only pass for blonde on an episode of ANTM. (Seriously, how has that show gone on for 20 cycles and they still haven’t found a decent colourist?)

Step 3: The white toner. Please ignore the variable light quality in these photos – I should probably have thought twice before documenting the process by a west-facing window at sunset.

Result: A much more convincing shade of blonde, and still a full head of hair! Which is a drastic improvement over the time my former hairdresser did it and it was falling out in literal handfuls.

Since my ultimate goal was to start dyeing it pastel shades of decidedly less natural colours, however, this wasn’t quite sufficient lift for my purposes and so I repeated steps 1-4 a few days later. (Had I known in advance that it would require two bleaches, I would have skipped the white toner the first time round since all of the tone was removed by the second bleaching.) Thanks to the coconut oil, this actually didn’t ravage my hair, and the breakage was limited solely to the ends at the very front which were already damaged from excessive heat styling before I started.

Final result: Markus of the House Targaryen, the First of His Name, Taker of Photos, and Father of Persians.

  1. liznoir says:

    fierce picture!!!

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