7 Important things you need to know before going blonde

Blonde ambitions


By Redzhanna Jazmin

Image: Instagram/@flxssie
7 Important things you need to know before going blonde

Why is my hair dry after bleaching? Can I bleach it after getting a perm? If these questions are running through your mind right now, here’s what to know before your big bleach.

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 Jennie Kim sporting a blonde mop at one point or another. But, getting a big bleach is a daunting process.

That’s why 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?

Alright, so technically, you can. But, whether we’d advise it is a different story. Ultimately, it depends on three things: 1) how well your hair lifts with bleach, 2) the condition of your hair and 3) how sensitive your scalp is. All in all, 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—especially if you want to maintain 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).

hair colour chart
Source: Manic Panic

Many of us will be starting from a level one to three and aiming for a blonde within the range of levels nine to twelve. Say you’re looking to go platinum blonde, and your hair is currently at level two. That means that your stylist will be lifting your hair by eight levels in total!

Even if they use the strongest bleach, most Asian hair will only be lifted a maximum of five to seven levels, which means you will have to go through another round of bleach if you want to get to a true, genuine blonde (read: not yellow and not brassy). Some people can definitely take a few bleaches in one sitting, and getting your hair done professionally is definitely a must in this case, but it’s a very, very fine line between blonde and broken hair.

So, although it’s tempting to go for a second round right off the bat when your hair is stuck in that brassy orange purgatory, if you’re doing it by yourself or your stylist is refusing to push your hair further, then please wait it out. As for how long? You’ll want to wait at least two weeks to give your hair and scalp time to recuperate. Trust us, you’ll be thankful in the long run—there is nothing fun about chemical cuts and burned scalps.

Read: Celebrity-approved bangs to inspire your next hair makeover


I did everything right—why is my hair still so dry post-bleach?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lauren Tsai (@laurentsai)

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 always leave your hair damaged. Chemical processing 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 bleaching. This is 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?

going blonde faq malaysia
Image: Instagram/@jadahdale

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.

That said, keep your expectations low. It’s more likely than not that you’ll have to wait until you can chop your perm off before your stylist lets the bleach anywhere near you. Some things are just too much for your tresses to handle!


Can I bleach my hair if it’s been bleached before?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BLEACH (@bleachlondon)

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?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Alisha Dobson (@alishadobson)

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 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 greener than you want. The only way to be sure how your hair will react to being processed is to do a strand test first or to grow the henna out.

ReadAre sulfates really *that* bad for your hair?


How easy will it be to maintain?

going blonde faq malaysia
Image: Instagram/@lirisaw

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 any dreaded banding and keeps things seamless.

TL;DR: It’s definitely not low-maintenance, if you’re wondering.


Is bleaching my hair halal?

going blonde faq malaysia
Image: Instagram/@97.shaz

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.

READIs plucking your brows haram?

So there you have it, your FAQs—answered.


For more hair reads like this, click here.

Explore More