What you need to know before getting a hair bleaching treatment

by Justine Punzalan
Oct 18, 2019
Celebrity hairstylist Alex Carbonell says hair bleaching is "high maintenance" to ensure your locks are bright and bouncy.
PHOTO/S: @studiofixbyalexcarbonell on Instagram

Have you ever wanted to dye your hair in pink, blue, or purple, but clueless where to start?

These candy-hued hairstyles sure are adorable, and to help you get started, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talked to celebrity hairstylist Alex Carbonell on how the treatment is usually done in salons.

He is the creative director of his own salon, Studio Fix, and the man who does the hair of Judy Ann Santos, Jodi Sta. Maria, Maricar Reyes, to name a few.

Alex says with proper preparation and maintenance, you can have your candy-colored locks and keep them on fleek all the time.

WHAT IS HAIR BLEACHING?

Getting your hair dyed to a bright color sure is fun, but before dashing to the salon, you must first check if your hair is healthy enough to undergo bleaching treatment.

That is because, according to Alex, bleaching is the process of removing your hair's melanin—the brown or black pigment that protects your hair or skin from sun damage.

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He expounds, "Bleaching or pre-lightening is a hair color process where we lighten the hair according to one’s preferred color.

"It is literally stripping off any natural or chemically colored dark melanin to achieve the light reflect [color]."

So, if currently, your hair is dull or dry or weak, it would be best to strengthen it first before getting it bleached.

HAIR BLEACHING PROCESS

Bleached hair can be categorized into two types: warm and cool tones.

He explains, "The warm tones are red, orange and yellow.

"The cool tones are blue, green and iridescent."

And because Asians have naturally black or dark brown hair, it takes a bit more effort to do the bleaching process.

Colorists start the three to four-hour process by bleaching your hair to a light tone that will serve as your hair's base color.

Once done, that's the only time they proceed to dye it with the actual shade you have in mind.

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He gives the ash silver-gray color as an example: "As colorists, we need to achieve the required undertone to achieve the desired color.

"So, if an Asian client has black to dark brown natural pigment and desires for an ash silver-gray, the hair must be lightened up to palest yellow (10 levels lighter).

"Then to neutralize the bleached hair to cool ash before depositing the ash-gray color, the colorist must eliminate any warm reflect before achieving the cool tones."

The mixture that is used consists of one-part powder and two-part peroxide cream developer.

To make his blended solution gentler on the hair and scalp, Alex adds L'Oréal Smartbond into it.

"After achieving the last remaining undertone, trimming the ends is a must," he advises.

Alex says the whole process "may vary on existing hair color" and requires utmost caution.

He underlines, "The process becomes difficult because hair and scalp are sensitive... Extra care is highly required.

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"Never bleach the root area that’s near the scalp or skin. There are products that are designed for [that] area."

Alex adds that with today's technology, salons have developed their own coloring techniques.

At Alex's Studio Fix, you can have your hair bleached through any of these techniques—balayage, weaving, foliage, back-combing, or airbrushing.

Bleaching treatments start at PHP2,100 in Alex's salon.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE BLEACHING PROCEDURE

With all the chemicals that will be applied to your hair, Alex stresses, "To prepare for these difficult procedures, the client is supposed to have good hair condition."

The key, as healthline.com suggests, is making sure that your hair has medium or nomal porosity—meaning, its "cuticles are not too close together, but aren’t too open either. This allows moisture to penetrate easily, and it also makes it easier to retain moisture for a longer period of time."

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If you have low porosity hair or one that doesn't absorb products easily, you must use protein-free and oil-free conditioners.

And when you apply your conditioner to your hair, "use a steamer, heat cap, or hooded dryer."

For those with high porosity hair or one that is dry and frizzy, it's best to moisturize it by "washing your hair with lukewarm water, using conditioners with butter and oil, applying leave-on conditioners when your hair is dry, and applying heat protectant product on your hair before you blow drying it."

Aside from keeping your locks moisturized, it is also important to take care of your scalp and area around the hairline.

Alex adds, "The scalp and skin around the hairline should also be protected. A barrier cream is essential."

He also cautions against rebonding your hair, as it cannot be combined with bleaching.

"We prefer that the client does not scratch the scalp nor did any rebonding of the hair.

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"Rebonding and bleaching do not go together."

He reiterates, "'No' is a word for clients who are aggressively ignorant about hair condition."

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF BLEACHED HAIR

Bleached hair has the tendency to get dry, so Alex proposes several ways to keep yours vibrant and bouncy.

One way is by using hair care products that specially treat brittle or damaged hair.

He recommends L'Oréal's Professional Series Expert range and Kérastase Resistance line.

You can go for an apple cider vinegar if you want a more affordable alternative.

To start the DIY treatment, simply mix a few tablespoons of the vinegar with water.

Then, apply that mixture to your hair after shampooing and conditioning. Leave it for two to 10 minutes then rinse off.

Do this for a couple of times every week.

If you don't want to use apple cider vinegar, Alex suggests, "Coconut Oil or Castor Oil for the organic believers."

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Another option is availing yourself of post bleaching and monthly toning treatments at salons.

"Post bleaching treatment is prescribed [and] monthly toning because bleached hair is high maintenance."

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Celebrity hairstylist Alex Carbonell says hair bleaching is "high maintenance" to ensure your locks are bright and bouncy.
PHOTO/S: @studiofixbyalexcarbonell on Instagram
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