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My Experience with Home Bleaching Kits

Girl with blonde hair sitting in wicker chair and smiling with "my experience with home bleaching kits" in purple text box

I hate hate hate my natural hair colour.

It’s something I’ve always despised, but to be fair, I suppose there’s not really much wrong with it. It’s pretty much brown, but being Scottish and all, there’s the slightest hint of red and that’s what I don’t like – I’m constantly told by my parents and grandparents to just embrace it, but I’d rather not!

One colour I always wanted to try was blonde – whether that was golden or platinum, I didn’t care; I just wanted something different from my own colour. I’d heard so many horror stories though, and that put me off for years, until I discovered ombre hair kits. After a couple months of using these, I figured last year, “hey, I’m managing this without any disasters, what’s the worst that could happen?”… and this is where my hair nightmare journey began :)))

The initial bleach

So I’ll admit, I’m not someone who’ll sit and properly plan this kind of thing through. When I get an idea in my head, I’m determined to race to go through with it. Of course, this is exactly what happened here.

I Googled a few tips on home bleaching, and went to Boots to pick out a range that my friend had recommended. I got home, followed all the instructions and my advice from Google, and went ahead with the application.

Girl with orange bleached hair with dark-haired boy


As you can see here, not exactly what I had intended (I also did all of this in my boyfriend’s flat while he was out at college, and his face here is exactly what I was greeted with when he came in the door that afternoon. Also, obviously not a good photo of me anyway. For some reason I thought over-contouring my nose would draw some attention away from the situation, don’t ask). Not only were the ends of my hair orange, but my roots had gone a weird yellow/orange/bright white fusion too. Really do your research, kids.

Girl with dirty blonde hair in pink polka dot top

I ended up staying indoors like this for near enough a week, before I decided enough was enough and I was going to get someone to fix it professionally. At least, that was the plan until I was quoted prices, none of which I could stretch my student budget for…

The second attempt

I KNOW I was being really stupid in doing it myself a second time, but I was poor, desperate and I HAD ORANGE HAIR. I was going back home for summer the next week, where there’s no drugstores selling hair dye nearby for a good few hours and no available hairdressers for months at a time, so I had to do something.

I waited about a week maybe, and then braved using the same product as before; I knew it worked for other people, so I was aware that it was just my inexperienced idiocy and not the dye’s fault. I think this time I actually left it on for a tiny bit longer, which was probably really stupid, but…

Girl with bleached blonde hair in pink vest top looking into camera

Still not great, I know. But at least it was no longer the colour of a traffic cone, and I’d managed to fix my roots by painting over them with a light brown root touch-up kit. I was able to go outside once more, and my flatmates finally saw me again and laughed at me a lot.

Thing was, it still looked ridiculously blonde. Like, in-your-face blonde. Bearing in mind that my colouring isn’t naturally suited to that shade, having a really bold colour made me look a bit stupid.

That’s right, there was a third step. Idiot.

The toner

Thankfully, I was well over my bleaching stage. All I had to do was get it to a point where it looked natural enough on me.

I decided to pick up some purple shampoo and conditioner just to get the remaining orange-y bits out (Touch of Silver, absolute life saver), and came across Bleach London’s White Toner, so I picked it up to try (because my hair was still intact, it was fine, right?). I am still so grateful that this existed because god knows what option I’d have gone for otherwise.

My experience with home bleaching kits - whathannahwrote

It doesn’t look much different here compared to the previous photo, but trust me, it was a miracle. It was a lot lighter in person, and I felt this was a good enough shade to return home with, so off I went.
The final touches
When I walked through the door, I thought my mum was going to burst into tears. I’ve never seen her look so distraught in my life. No attempt to hide feelings was made here, and I felt like crying myself.
Luckily, mum had an idea (which to be honest, I was a bit disappointed in myself for not thinking of) – putting a darker colour through as lowlights. Obviously. So obvious.
Smiling girl with blonde hair sitting in wicker chair at Orange Bar at Club Anastasia hotel, Marmaris, Turkey
For some reason, I just decided to stop taking selfies of my progress as a blonde at this point – probably because I was sick of the sight of myself – so this is the closest photo of me to the time the lowlights were put in. Annoyingly you can’t really see the colour up close, but it’s definitely not as “out there” as the previous attempts (ALSO I am wearing shorts in the photo, I was on holiday haha). I managed to keep it like this for a good few months, but it’s grown out now – I’m still too scared to touch it, even though I’ve started going to salons. It’s kind of worked it’s way into a dip-dye kind of look, but maybe one day I’ll go back to full blonde – professionally, of course.
So, what did Hannah learn?
  1. ALWAYS research this kind of thing before going straight into it. Learn the actual techniques rather than launch into it assuming it’ll all lighten no matter what
  2. Go to a professional when bleaching for the first time, or failing that, get someone who knows what they’re doing to help you apply DIY kits
  3. Don’t keep repeatedly bleaching thinking it’ll all be fine just because there’s no instant damage. The one thing I didn’t mention is that my hair in fact didn’t break throughout the bleaching process – but a small blonde chunk snapped off in my hand two weeks ago. I did all of this in May 2016 – it’s now April 2017. 11 months later and it’s still damaged! Don’t do it.
  4. Actually know what shade you want to go for. Not every shade of blonde suits all skin tones, and I just assumed that anything would be fine for me. Not the case.
  5. Be prepared to spend a whole lot more on hair products to maintain the colour. Ironically I only went for the initial box dye because it was like £4.99 and I couldn’t afford to go to a salon, but I’ve lost track of how much I’ve since spent in making sure it stays away from going brassy. V expensive.
  6. Just don’t do it again. Don’t even look at a home kit. Salon salon salon.





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