White blonde hair became very popular in the past few years. I decided to go blonde nearly 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. But although I love the colour, I don’t always love what it takes to maintain it… 

Here is what it looks like: you need to find a good hairdresser, who knows how to achieve your colour without your hair getting too damaged. Emphasis on ‘too’ because there is no damage free bleaching.

My hair was in the very good hands of Diana, at JM Haute Coiffure, for the past two years. It’s important to find someone who is honest about what can and can not  be done. Black hair can be bleached to white in one session, but you’re not going to like what your hair has become. Not everyone will tell you the truth though, because they are potentially losing  a client.

You also need someone you are on the same wavelength with. You are not going to a hairdresser to make a new BFF, but you are spending hours there each month and you also trust someone with something pretty big, so it’s better if you get along.

When you choose a salon, check that they use quality products. You can look up which are the leading brands and the best methods to achieve the desired look. Also ask for a consultation before your appointment. It’s one thing you saw it on Pinterest and it looked amazing but it doesn’t mean it can be done with your hair.

When it comes to bleaching, there a few important rules. Forget about heat styling. Even blow dries damage your hair, so try to limit these too. And you might as well throw out your straightener and curling iron, those damage even untreated hair, but they actually kill bleached hair, no matter how careful you are.

You need to use quality products. Not all shampoos and conditioners were created equal. If you keep your hair short, this isn’t as important as it is if you are trying to grow it or keep it’s length. To keep your hair healthy, you’ll need at least two types of shampoo: one to maintain the colour and one to help with the condition of your hair. You’ll need a good conditioner, hair masks and oils too. The condition of my hair really improved after I started using oils and it got even better when I started putting oil on my hair every day.

Try washing it less often. The structure of bleached hair is weaker and therefore your hair is more vulnerable when wet. Even just running your fingers through it can cause breakage. When your hair is bleached, your scalp is bleached too and it takes about a week for the skin to recover. The less often you strip away the natural oils, the better it is for your scalp. A healthier scalp also means healthier hair.

When I first met Diana, I had a brassy blonde and I hated it. It’s not that easy to pull off the perfect white, and I know that, but I really really hated the colour I had. At my first visit we dyed my whole hair and it was a really nice lilac/lavener colour. She couldn’t bleach it as it was bleached not long before and it would have been too damaging for my hair. By the time the lavender washed out, it was time to get it bleached. And she did a wonderful job. My hair was a lovely silver blonde. We experimented with various blondes from dark silver to perfect white. I then decided to grow my hair and this is when I took a break from bleach and instead went for a Balayage. I didn’t have my roots bleached for roughly 9 months, when I decided to go back to having totally white hair. My hair grew a lot during those months and luckily it survived having it bleached again. But it’s also down to the products I use.

In the past 4 years, I experimented a lot. From salon brands to whatever I could get my hands on in the supermarket, I tried various brands and different products and I finally figured it out:

  • Shampoo: maintaining the colour isn’t that straightforward. Even air pollution can make it go yellow/brassy and chemicals from other products you put on your hair will also have affect the colour. You’ll need a good silver shampoo to keep that silver blonde silver. I tried various brands, the one that works best for me is L’oreal Professionel Serie Expert Silver. You’ll also need a shampoo that hydrates and imrpoves hair quality as bleached hair is always damaged. Aussie Stop The Break and Toni & Guy Cleanse Dry Hair Shampoo are both great for dry and damaged hair.
  • Conditioner: I use either Aussie Miracle Moist or Tony&Guy Cleanse Dry Hair Conditioner. I always leave the conditioner on my hair for a few minutes, it really makes a difference.
  • Oils: I put coconut oil on my hair before I wash it and I leave for at least a few hours. I use Richard Ward argan anti-ageing 10 in 1 oil, John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment & Defrizzer after I washed my hair and I put a mix of rosehip and lavender oil on it every day before I brush it in the morning.
  • Treatments/masks: I use Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Mask once a week. I used this when I first had my hair bleached then bought it again recently and it really does reset my hair.
  • Styling tools and brushes: as I said before, heat stylers are off limits. A good brush does make a difference though. And again, not all brushes are made equal. I use a wide toothed comb to detangle my hair after washing it, then use a large round brush for blowdrying it. I try to avoid blowdrying it too often so I sometimes use a paddle brush to brush it out and just rough dry it. It won’t be that smooth but it’s better for my hair. For brushing it in the morning, I use a boar bristle brush – it’s more gentle on the hair and it smooths it too. A good hairdryer is essential too. Diana uses a GHD and I’m always amazed how good it is for my hair so I’m considering getting one for myself. For now, I’m using a Babyliss hairdryer, the key thing is that it has different heat settings, so although I use hot air to dry my hair, I won’t scorch it.

Long story short: having bleached hair requires time and patience and care. It’s not cheap either, but I wanted that perfect white hair for so long that right now, finally having it, is worth it.