A cautionary poem
There once was a woman called Bethan
Who had her hair done by a profession(al)
She then bleached it herself
Without any expert help
She then had to cut it all off and was also forced to abandon the rhyme scheme
My hair history
As shown in the pictures above, I'm no stranger to bleaching/dying and generally playing around with my hair.
Over the years I've had a fair few mishaps (as chronicled in my *slightly* awful poem). The most notable forced me to adopt an extremely short pixie cut, as I ended up having to all but shave my head due to extreme hair damage.
However like they say, the best way to learn is to make mistakes. (By that reasoning I should be some kind of super hair-guru by now!).
In the spirit of preventing you, dear reader, from going down the same scissor filled paths. I thought I would share a few of the tips/tricks I have learnt on my hair journey so far.
1. Silver shampoo is your friend, but beware overuse
If you're lightening your hair and want to avoid yellow tones, silver shampoo is your secret toning weapon. Silver shampoo formulas contain violet tones which counteract brassiness on a wash by wash basis.
They are kind of like an extremely weak semi permanent hair dye.
After trying a fair few over the years, I have settled on Bleach London's version, which is both cruelty free and very pigmented.
I have however found that with all brands, silver shampoo is extremely drying if used regularly. In my case I'm semi convinced my overuse of silver shampoo has actively led to breakage and dryness.
I now tend to only use it once or twice a week max, which is a good middle ground between preserving both colour and texture.
2. Use a conditioning spray everyday
Alongside conditioning in-shower, I also apply a leave in conditioning spray after gently towel drying. If nothing else, this dramatically improves the day-to-day texture of my hair and helps to contain frizz.
I'm also struggling quite a lot with breakage around my hairline/nape of my neck as my hair gets longer, something which I'm keen to control.
My current go-to product is the Colour Fanatic Hair Treatment Spray from Pureology (also a cruelty free brand, though it must be noted the parent company is not cruelty free!) as I do think that this product does have some long term benefits and has somewhat reduced my breakage.
3. If in doubt, pay someone to help
I do think you can get away with dying your hair at home, especially when you're going for darker/plainer covers. I used to do this myself quite successfully in my first and second cash-strapped years at university.
However when it comes to bleach in any form, be it highlights or root touch ups, I do think you should seek an expert opinion. Yes it's costly, but it's also worth not having to ditch your entire mane.
4. Don't tie your hair up everyday
This is some advice I recently picked up from my hairdresser whilst I was discussing my breakage with her. Apparently when you tie up your hair, you are putting the follicles/strands under repeated strain which can lead to breakage and damage.
I am a serial tier-upper, as I much prefer to have my hair out of my face whilst I work at a computer or work out at the gym.
To get the best of both worlds, I'm trying to consciously revert to half up do's, which hopefully will be a lot less stressful on my hair.
I'm also trying not to play with the strands which fall out of my ponytail, which is another habit contributing to the problem!
5. Wash less, use less heat
You are probably already fully aware of the benefits of using less heat on your hair (heat is always damaging, even if you use hair protection products).
I've also found that washing less has a positive effect, as not only is there less opportunity to use heat, there's also a lot less combing whilst wet and removal of natural oils.
I now try to wash my hair a maximum of three times a week, which is working well when combined with liberal amounts of dry shampoo.
(Pro tip: if you go to the gym a lot, invest in a good headband. This keeps your hair from getting all sweaty and messed up).
6. Deep condition every week
Again, you've heard this one before. However I'm going to repeat it again, as this is something which has seriously revived my damaged locks recently. It's also pretty relaxing when combined with other pamper activities!
So run a bath, slap on some high grade product and soak for at least 20 minutes. Finally wash everything off and sashay away like the fabulous human you are!