Ever since I bleached my hair, I’ve been getting a lot of sweet, and oftentimes demanding emails from readers that want to know EVERYTHING about going platinum. I already covered the part about bleaching dark brown hair platinum blonde (I do not recommend you to do this at home), and today, I’m going to share with you just what it takes to keep your bleached hair looking and feeling healthy. And while my hair may not be platinum anymore (it’s definitely a darker grey at the moment), at the end of the day, it’s still bleached hair, and it still demands a lot of maintenance. Below I share with you my (no longer) secret hair routine.
Step 1: Coconut Oil
First, I slather my hair and scalp with coconut oil. Lots and lots of it – until my hair looks wet/greasy all over. I let it sit for about an hour (longer on the weekends). During this hour I do pretty much everything I would do normally – go to the gym, run errands, watch TV…the coconut oil doesn’t really drip anywhere, so you don’t have to be precious about it.
Step 2: Shampoo and Purple Conditioner
Once a sufficient amount of time has passed, I jump in the shower and shampoo my hair thoroughly but gently with cool water (it helps keep your cuticles sealed). I love Moroccanoil’s Smoothing Shampoo, because my hair feels extra silky after. Post-shampoo, I get as much water out of my hair as possible, run a bath, and settle in for some purple goop action. I like to leave purple conditioner in my hair for at least 20-30 minutes to make sure it does as much toning as possible, and seeing how most purple conditioners I’ve tried have a runny consistency, I don’t want to stand in the shower for half an hour waiting for the hot water to run out. So taking a bath is my solution (and an excuse to have some relaxing “me” time). I put lots of purple conditioner in my hair, making sure to saturate the strands from root to tip, and then I sit back and enjoy my bath. If you don’t want to see any amount of purple or grey in your hair, keep your purple conditioner in your hair for 5-10 minutes max…sometimes my hair does pick up a bit of a purpleish tinge to it, but I actually like it. You’ve been warned.
I’ve tried several different purple conditioner brands, and my faves are Davines Alchemic Conditioner, Aveda’s Blue Malva, and Clairol’s Shimmer Lights. Usually, I would just mix Silver Lights into any purple conditioner I was testing out in order to intensify the colour, but it worked best when paired with Aveda. Davines didn’t need much help, but seeing how expensive that stuff is, I’d say give Shimmer Lights a try. Also, both Davines and Shimmer Lights made my hair feel a lot more dry and tangled, while Aveda’s conditioner actually conditioned my hair, so my winning formula at the moment is: Davines + Blue Malva.
Oh, and I almost forgot about a recent fave! I found this super dark bluish purple conditioner at Shoppers, and it’s called Light Blue Shade. I’ve been mixing it with Davines and Blue Malva to get even more purple in my hair. It’s not very moisturizing, but it’s got a great colour pay off, and it’s not expensive either. If you live in Canada, and don’t have access to Clairol’s Shimmer Lights, this is a nice alternative.
More after the jump!
Step 3: Hydrating Mask
Thirty minutes after applying the purple conditioner, I drain the tub, and rinse it off using cool water, and once again get as much water out of my hair as possible…gently. I apply a hydrating mask (Moroccanoil Smoothing Mask is a fave) on my damp hair, and keep it on for 5-10 minutes, and rinse again with cool water. Almost there!
Step 4: Leave-In Treatment and Air Dry
I then gently dab my wet hair with a towel, getting as much moisture out of it, and spray the damp locks with a Sally Hershberger Leave-in Keratin treatment. Once my hair is damp, I comb it with a wide-tooth comb, and apply some Shu Uemura Essence Absolue (aka camellia oil) to the ends. And then, I let it air dry…which takes hours. So make sure you don’t have any plans that evening, unless you’re willing to go outside with wet hair.
Step 5: Heat Protect, Flat Iron, Moisturize
Once it’s dry, my hair looks really wavy/curly. That’s not the look I like on me, so here’s where I do something that I shouldn’t to my poor hair. I flat iron it (and sometimes curl it). I know I’m not supposed to, but unfortunately, working with my natural hair texture is just not an option.
Before putting the hot iron plates to my hair, I make sure to spray a heat primer on my strands, which is supposed to provide at least some protection from the heat (current faves are Redken Pillow Proof primer, and Rusk Thermal Flat Iron Spray). Once my hair is nice and straight, I apply more camellia oil to my hair, and I’m done!
This routine is obviously VERY time consuming, but in my case, it’s been totally worth it. While my hair is definitely a lot more dry than it was pre-blondening, it is still in great shape. Sure, I get split ends here and there, but there’s been no significant breakage so far. I’m pretty sure if I stopped flat ironing my hair, my strands would be even healthier, but sadly, I would probably look like a hot (frizzy) mess. So until I figure out a way to style my hair without using heat, this’ll have to do. And the best part is, I am practically forced to have some alone me time at least twice a week. It’s quite nice to just sit back and enjoy a relaxing bath…both for my hair and for my mind.
Personal tips (gleaned from Lucille Javier and from personal experience):
- I wash my hair a maximum of 2 times a week. The less you wash it, the better it is for your hair and for your colour.
- Try to use cold/cool water to wash/rinse your hair. This will keep cuticles closed, and will allow your colour to last longer.
- Don’t use rough hair elastics, or put your hair up in tight hairstyles (ponies, buns, tight braids) – all of that will lead to more breakage. I was advised to use a scrunchy, but if that’s not your jam, soft elastics are a nice alternative.
- Using purple conditioner has a cumulative effect. If you use it after every wash, eventually, the blonde hair will take on a purplish/grayish tinge. If you’d like to avoid that, keep your purple conditioner use to once a week.
- In-between washes, I apply camellia oil all over my hair (avoiding the roots) in the morning and at night. My porous strands soak it right up, and become softer and more manageable as a result.
- I was advised not to use dry shampoos, as those will dry out your already dry hair. I break this rule once in a while when I’m in desperate need of some hair-refreshing, but try to stay away from dry shampoos otherwise.
So tell me, do you have chemically processed hair? How do you take care of it? Share you tips and questions in the comments.