Platinum, honey, ash, golden—there are so many shades to choose from. We’ve seen it everywhere, with every A-lister from Kim Kardashian to Rina Sawayama to Blackpink’s Jennie Kim sporting a blonde mop at one point or another.
We’re here to answer your burning FAQs on all things bleached blonde: from touch ups to maintenance to bleaching permed tresses and even whether it’s haram, we’ve covered all bases.
Why can’t I do it all in one sitting?
Going blonde is hard work and, most importantly, it takes time. Even a salon job will almost always mean multiple different bleaching sessions to get your hair light enough, while maintaining its structural integrity. To make this easy to explain, here’s the hair colour scale, which is an important tool in deciding exactly how blonde you want to go (and what it will take to go there).
Image: Madison Reed
Many of us will be starting from level 1-4, and aiming for a blonde within the range of levels 9-12. Say you’re looking to go platinum blonde, and your hair is currently at a level 2. That means that your stylist will be lifting your hair by 8 levels in total!
Even if they use the strongest bleach, your hair will only be lifted a maximum of around 5 levels, which means you will have to go through another round of bleach regardless as your hair will still be around a level 6-7 (and will definitely be a brassy orange). Although it’s tempting to go for a second round right off the bat when your hair is stuck in that brassy orange purgatory, please, please wait it out. Any good stylist will make you wait at least two weeks to give your hair time to recuperate—and if they don’t, run.
I did everything right—why is my hair still so dry post bleach?
Yes, you took all the possible steps you could take to make sure your hair is in the best condition it could be in post-bleach, but ultimately bleach will leave your hair damaged. It changes the porosity and elasticity of your hair, opening the hair cuticles (which is how the pigment escapes the hair strand) and breaking down the fatty acids that fortify the hair.
In short, you can deep condition your hair as much as you like, and it will definitely help to keep your hair looking and feeling healthy, but at the end of the day your hair will be weakened and dry from all the processing. Not to say that you shouldn’t bleach your hair at all—just a warning not to panic and to give your hair more TLC than you may be used to.
Can I bleach my hair if it’s permed or relaxed?
Perming your hair subjects it to a cocktail of chemical treatments and very high heat, so you are advised to avoid bleaching or colouring your tresses two weeks before and after getting a perm or relaxer. There are a lot of reasons behind this, but the bottom line is that because of the way the chemicals interact, not only will you ruin your perm, you’ll also most definitely not end up with the hair colour you’re going for. However, if you’re still really keen on blonde curls, wait the recommended period out and then consult your stylist.
Can I bleach my hair if it’s been bleached before?
It is by far easier to bleach virgin, unprocessed hair, but the simple answer to this is yes, you can. However, you need to be wary of who handles your vulnerable hair. In short, go to someone who specialises in hair colour. Any reputable colour-specialist will do a strand test to gauge the condition of your hair and see how it reacts to the lightener before they bleach it (and if they don’t, that’s a huge red flag).
Plus, they’ll know how to tone out unwanted undertones from previous dyes and avoid overprocessing your hair if your hair has been previously coloured as well as bleached. Basically, they’ll have their work cut out for them, so you’ll want to avoid inexperienced stylists and DIY jobs.
Can I bleach my hair if it has been treated with henna?
If you’re planning on a DIY job; it’s a flat no. If you’re thinking of going to a salon; it depends on your stylist. The reason behind this is that a lot (but not all) of henna formulations contain metallic salts that react badly with ammonia and other chemicals in hair dye, which may leave your blonde hair looking a lot a little greener than you want. The only way to be sure how your hair will react to being processed is to, again, do a strand test first or to grow the henna out.
How easy will it be to maintain?
Going blonde is a full-time job (kind of). The first round of bleaching from your natural hair to the finished look will take at least three hours for each session. It doesn’t stop there! Once it’s done, you’ll have to adopt a meticulous regiment of weekly toning shampoos and deep conditioner treatments to maintain the colour you left the salon with and keep your locks in tip top shape. Avoid the grown-in roots look by touching them up every six to eight weeks—this also prevents the dreaded blonde banding and keeps things seamless.
Yes, it’s definitely not low-maintenance if you’re wondering.
Is bleaching my hair halal?
There’s a lot of discourse as to whether bleaching hair is halal, and the answer is that it really depends on who you ask—the general consensus states that as long as the change in appearance is temporary, it is halal.
This goes for makeup, curling straight hair, straightening curly hair and even henna tattooing and hair dyeing. In the context of hair dyeing, using henna or other dyes to tint the hair is considered temporary as it washes out eventually. But if you have dark hair (as many Asian people do), the effects are not likely to be too obvious (which may not be what you’re going for) and, therefore, you may be looking to lighten your hair to help the dye show up better (and more true to colour). However, as soon as you throw bleaching into the mix, the line of what is permissible and what isn’t becomes a little fuzzy.
With bleaching, because the change is irreversible (you cannot put the original hair pigment back into the hair after you’ve stripped it with bleach), it is considered haram to some. Then again, because hair grows back in its natural colour, others consider it to be temporary and, therefore, halal.
In favour of bleaching, according to the Shariah, a woman is permitted to use bleach cream as long as all of the ingredients are halal and that the adornment is only for her husband. Do what you will with that information, but the bottom line is that if you’re worried or unsure whether it is halal or not, stay on the safe side and don’t go blonde.
So there you have it, your FAQs—answered.
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