With “Blonde” being the number 3 hair trend of the Fall season, according to Elle, I thought I should forewarn women of the damage that ensues once you go bleach blonde, from my personal experience. Yes, I used to be bleached blonde. “Platinum” if you will. It was absolutely awesome—blondes DO have more fun—but it wreaked havoc on my strands and would have wreaked havoc on my bank account, too, if I weren’t working in the salon! Below is my Before & After: sleek platinum locks (circa July 2011) to tousled natural waves (circa October 2012)
If you’re an avid Twitter bug, then I’m sure you’ve heard of OscarPRGirl, aka Erika Bearman. She is the Director of Communications for Oscar de la Renta, and is fawned over as she Tweets the goings-on within de la Renta’s design atelier. Last week, Bearman took the plunge and underwent a total transformation going from an espresso brunette to icy pale blonde. Vogue documented her whole experience here.
Undergoing this drastic of a change does much more than just change your outward appearance. Once the bleaching agent is applied, it penetrates the hair shaft in order to alter and strip your strands’ natural color. The chemicals force open your strands’ cuticle scales making your hair more porous, meaning that your hair won’t hold color as well and moisture as well as it did before. If you’ve ever heard a stylist say, “My hair drops color quickly” or “My ends feel like straw” it’s typically because they have bleached their hair at one point or another and they are facing the aftermath.
With platinum locks come a platinum price: the ultimate upkeep. After you’ve undergone the process, you will face maintenance in the most costly ways: moisture treatments, non-color depositing products, non-yellowing products, altering your shampooing habits (decrease to help retain moisture), frequent root touch ups depending on hair growth, salon trips for toner touch ups, etc.
Things to Consider Before Heading to the Salon:
1. Realize that it’s a Commitment
Talk about Maintenance!! Transforming your look to this near-zero pigment is difficult to maintain. Shampoos, hairsprays, gels, and oils can all cause yellowing or brassiness to occur. Be diligent when buying products—look for clear liquids and gels with NO pigment. Expect to make occasional trips to the salon for a toner treatment in-between full dye jobs to keep your look icy—not brassy.
2. It’s a Financial Investment
If your hair grows quickly, be prepared to be shelling out cash to maintain your tresses. As I would get my roots done at my former salon employer, I would ask how much my appointment would cost as a paying customer. I was astounded to learn that women actually pay upwards of $400 to have their strands professionally stripped of all pigment! Granted, I was working at an upscale fashion-forward downtown salon, but know that the upkeep and initial appointment may cost more than you think.
3. It’s Damaging to Your Strands
“Once you bleach [...] you’ve altered the strength of your hair, making it weaker. If you add blow drying and styling on top of bleaching, you can really damage your ‘do, causing hair breakage, a dull look, and split ends” (CBS News). Not to mention the straw-like feel and texture your ends will have after 6 months of upkeep. Did I mention that your hair will be significantly more porous? Sorry to ruin the surprise, but if you don’t like how you look with bleached tresses it will be nothing but an uphill battle to grow it out. Once color is applied over the porous strands, color will “drop” over the course of 5 shampoos or less (this often results in an unintended ombre). Overall: Your Hair Will Change in Texture, Moisture level, and Thickness/fullness.
4. Your Wardrobe May Need Tweaking
Ok, so no woman needs an excuse to go shopping, but undergoing a drastic change in hair color may change how you look at your clothes. When I was platinum I felt I could never wear pastels, white, or any light colors for that matter. I opted for darks, a lot of black, and jewel tones because of the high contrast it provided. While I don’t generally wear pastels because I’m very fair, the white-blonde hair made me almost monochromatic so I never even wanted to wear white.
- ∞ Also note that your skin tone may look different in the mirror as well. My blonde strands enhanced the pinky tones in my skin whenever I blushed or had a sunburn.
If you do decide to be on trend this season, I’d love to know how you’re liking it! Leave a comment, and I’d be happy to offer some tips and product recommendations