I’d been contemplating dying my hair black for a while, sort of bored with my one-dimensional brunette look. But going from brown to black isn’t a huge deal, and I wasn’t sure if it was worth the time, damage and cost for results that might not give me the change I was craving. And when Emily Weiss (blogger/ beauty guru queen) went bleach blonde back a few months ago, I realized just how cool that look could be on naturally dark haired gals. But of course, that was COMPLETELY uncharted territory for me, as someone with completely virgin hair. It was an idea that I didn’t see happening anytime soon, mainly because it was terrifying, but I always had it in the back of my mind.
Now fast-forward three weeks ago, as I’m standing at Pearson Airport about to board my flight to Paris. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see yet another technicolour creation a la Bleach London, totally gawking at their creativity in hair colour that isn’t really seen in Canada all that much. It then dawned on me that I would be in London (for the very first time) not long from then and maybe this was a sign that it was my time to make a change. The next day, I made an appointment at their Dalston location (which I promptly missed) and spent the next two weeks freaking out and changing my mind. Nevertheless, I got in there, albeit a day after I was supposed to be there, and, well, I got bleached.
A beautiful, very curly haired lady named Sapphire did my virgin bleach (she’s also coloured Florence Welch’s and Caroline Flack’s hair), which is their version of a single process bleach for unbleached hair. I was informed that typically brunettes require a double process to get their hair to a white shade, but at Bleach they only do a single process per visit, and recommend that you lighten up at your next root appointment in 4-6 weeks. Nonetheless, I trusted her and she got right into it. She told me she used the second strongest bleach (out of three degrees)– I felt literally no burning or anything that I was told I would and that processed for about an hour after it was all applied. They do the roots later on because the bleach reacts faster closer to the scalp. After that’s all washed out, they toned my hair using purple and hues to knock out any yellow. To Sapphire’s and my own surprise, my hair went pearly white after the first process leaving me excited and way less terrified.
My overall experience at the salon was awesome (despite being there on the wrong day) and the actual salon has a super cool atmosphere. I brought back the Silver Shampoo and Conditioner, and their Reincarnation Mask by Sapphire’s recommendation– all of which were very inexpensive and available at Boots. I also took home with me their Bleach Bible, which I was advised I MUST follow if I want to maintain my white hair. This means no flat irons, curling irons, scrunchies, less regular shampooing (which I soon learned is quite easy), LOTS of hair masks and never sleeping on wet hair. In my short time with my bleached hair, I’ve learned that it is incredibly dry, very, very tangly and has a thicker, beachier texture that I love. That being said, I’ve basically been reaching for everything and anything that will make my hair softer and I’ve had to add quite a few products into my daily stash.
In the shower, I shampoo with Bleach’s Silver Shampoo, leaving it in for three or four minutes to eliminate any yellow tones or brassiness (plus I think it makes my hair more gray, hence the name). If I’m using my blow drier, I’ll first shampoo with my Kerastase heat-protecting shampoo, then follow with the Silver Shampoo. I follow up with a mix of their Silver Conditioner, which also has some lavender pigments, and Phytobaume Réparateur, leaving my hair to soak that up for a few minutes as well. Once I’m out of the shower, I carefully brush out my tangly white hair with a Tangle Teezer (another Bleach recommendation– that or a Mason Pearson Brush). I’ve basically employed every single mask and oil in my inventory–Klorane’s Desert Date Leave-In Conditioner and Mask and even straight-up avocado oil. Oh, and the Reincarnation Mask. I basically load up on one of those (or a mix) about half an hour before my shower to let my hair absorb some much needed moisture. It takes a good three or four days for my hair to get oily, meaning less showers and more moisture (and more laziness).
All this being said, it’s been only a week and I’m sure I have lots to learn in terms of my new do.