Bleach or lightening hair color?
The first rays of spring sun are an annual sign of stocking up on bleach and updating your hair lightening skills. Many are familiar with bleach, but it’s not necessarily the only or the best option for lightening your customer’s hair color. Are you already familiar with lightening hair colors?
From consultation to selecting the right lightening product
Selecting the correct lightening product starts from a detailed customer consultation. Only after you have a crystal-clear idea of the result your customer wants can you start to think of how best to achieve it.
Bleach is often the primary option when your customer wants a brighter and lighter outcome. It easily gives an even light base underneath any light shade, regardless of the starting point, but in certain cases, there is also another option. When the hair is fairly light to begin with and possibly brittle from previous bleaching and the customer wants to go for a natural result, you should consider using a lightening hair color instead of bleach.
Lightening hair color is a gentle option for natural blondes
When the desired result is “only” blonde, possibly natural and light in tone, bleaches offer an easy and delicate way of reaching the result. In particular, bleaching works in situations when the difference between the starting point and the desired outcome is not great and the base is on the easy side. Bleach is different from other hair colors in that its alkaline content is higher. This means that it can make the hair lighter in color than a regular hair dye. The amount of pigment has been designed so that it decreases yellow tones from the level of 10 and lightly tones the hair to a certain desired direction, without being excessive.
Differences of bleaches and lightening hair colors in a nutshell:
Lightening hair color
- smaller alkaline content and reactivity than bleach, gentler
- a more natural and softer outcome than with bleach
- the ability to slightly lighten already dyed hair
- suitable for when you want a natural result
- suitable for when the hair length and ends are not overly bleached
- not dependent on the starting point
- enables more specific definition of tone and brightness
- suitable for when you want to bring out the tone of the shade clearly
- suitable for when the base is too dark or dyed for using a lightening hair color
Three tips for successfully using lightening hair color:
Customize the shades as you like Lightening hair colors can be mixed and spiced up with mixers, just like regular hair colors. However, the amount of pigment in lightening hair colors is very low, which means that a small amount of mixer in the lightening hair color goes a long way. For instance, 5% of Optima’s pink mixer is clearly visible in the outcome. You can also created beautiful muted results by mixing cool and warm tones. For instance, Optima 11P + Copper Gold mixer creates a beautiful, rose gold result. You can add evenness to the outcome with a mix of 11P + 11NO.
Choose the correct oxidizer concentration The concentration of the oxidizer determines how much the base will lighten and how much the pigment will give out tone. In other words, an oxidizer with a higher concentration will create a brighter outcome but with a lesser tone, whereas with a lower oxidizer concentration, you will get a deeper outcome but a stronger tone. When choosing the oxidizer and pondering between 6% and 9%, think of the elements that matter the most in the end result: the lightening capacity or the strength of the tone.
Resort to bleach in detailed work When the desired outcome is a certain specific tone or the customer wants a really cool or pastel outcome, bleach is the best option. When bleaching, the most important thing is to get the base as even as possible after which toning the hair is easy. The hardest section of hair to bleach is approximately 1–2 cm from the roots. This means that you should start bleaching from approx. 2 cm from the roots and only bleach the roots when the rest of the hair is almost done. This way, the roots will not end up too pure or light.
A popular color product for toning bleached hair is Four Reasons Luxima. You can use its 8–10 shades to mix a variety of blonde tones that can be muted with either pastels to a lighter direction or regular mixers to deepen the tone.