Scalp Bleach Application: The Dos, the Don’t’s, and the Nevers

Scalp Bleach Application: The Dos, the Don'ts, and the Nevers
April 1, 2020

Rachael Waine

Like highlights, scalp bleach application requires preparation, caution, and care during and after the procedure. Highlights are done on partial hair sections: the bleach doesn’t come in direct contact with the scalp or if it does it is only on a very tiny surface. Once an activated powder or lightener gets in touch with the scalp, it penetrates deep into the hair follicles. It then restructures about one-fifth of the bonds in the hair. This is the main reason why repeating the scalp bleach application in short timeframes can be harmful to the hair.

As any hairdresser would suggest, you don’t want to be a platinum blonde with unhealthy, damaged, and weak hair that breaks easily. To keep the hair as healthy as possible, your hair must rest, as well get the proper nourishment and hydration in-between scalp bleach treatments.   

Scalp Bleach Application at Home: Why It is Not the Best Idea

As you can imagine, precision is one of the crucial factors that affect your hair. Will you end up with the glossy silver blonde of a Victoria’s Secret model or look like more like a scarecrow? 

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 To avoid any horror-like mishaps, it is best to entrust the scalp bleach application to a professional. 

Precision is not important only in terms of how much time you leave the bleach on the hair but also in choosing the right products. Bleach/developer ratio, and toning the hair afterwards. Moreover, a hairdresser will know all those small tricks about time-saving, such as becoming blonde faster, when time is scarce and you’re in a hurry. 

If you have ever tried to bleach your hair, you will know that you cannot reach out to the back of your head. Even if you have a 360-degree mirror, your hands can’t work at the required angle. Thus, DIY scalp bleach is best avoided. 

Your First Salon Bleaching? Here is What To Expect

Nothing beats the eye and the hands of an experienced hair artist. A professional would thoroughly explore your hair quality before lightening your hair with cream or powder bleach. They’d start by asking questions about previous treatments, your hair habits, and the desired outcome.

Discuss Your Colouring History 

Be as honest as possible. It’s worthwhile having a good memory and recalling any procedures done to your hair in the last two years. Colour is persistent, and if you have darker shades, they may still linger at your hair tips ruining the highlighting effect once the bleach is over. 

In case your blonde hair turns unequal, your hairdresser will need to fix the mess with toning, when possible. They may even need to apply additional lighteners and schedule you for another scalp bleach treatment in a few months. 

Nowadays, we are fortunate to have a selection of products that make colouring and decolouring much easier. But that doesn’t mean you should expose your hair to harsh chemicals at all costs. If you share all your hair secrets, you are more likely to end up with the desired result without ruining your hair. 

Don’t forget to mention any allergies because scalp bleach application is not exactly gentle. If you have a dry, sensitive scalp, it will cause tingling, somewhat burning sensation. It’s due to the bleach doing its work and changing the chemical structure of your hair to make it lighter. To avoid a harsh burn, don’t wash your hair at least two to three days prior treatment to help your scalp form its natural protective sebum layer close to the roots. Those that have virgin hair are at an advantage because virgin hair is healthier and more susceptible to the lightening effect of the bleach peroxide.  

Colour Removal or Head-on Cream Bleach? 

Decolouring or colour removal is not the same as bleaching. It is a completely different chemical procedure that will restore your natural hair colour as closest as possible by “washing” your hair from the inside. Nonetheless, it still includes man-made treatments that need to be executed carefully. 

Those that have dark brown or black hair and want to become blondes will need a colour removal before the scalp bleach. If you have natural light hair that doesn’t require lightening the hair for more than 4 or 5 nuances, you will probably immediately get a scalp bleach treatment.

Application Length

The length of the bleach application depends on your hair type and quality, as well as the result you want to achieve. 

Unfortunately, there is no ‘set’ time for bleach treatments. The hairdresser will check the process every couple of minutes. In general, though, it will take between 15 to 30 minutes minimum for the bleach to produce any effect. You hairdresser will wait for the bleach to highlight to a very pale yellow – level 9: ‘very light blonde’ or 10: ‘extra light blonde’. A platinum blonde will require lightening up to level 10.

Developer Ratio

Most bleaching powders require 20 Vol or 30 Vol developers. A 40 Vol developer is too strong, especially if your hair has been bleached previously. The hairstylist will mix the bleach powder and the developer in a 1:2 ratio.   

Regrowth or a Full Scalp Bleach Application?

If you are bleaching a regrowth, the hairdresser will apply the product close to your roots and avoid saturating your ends to eliminate excessive damage. If you have darker or brassier sections, they will get priority treatment, as well. The back of the head is slower to react to the bleach, so this is usually the first part to start with the application. Frequent checkups ensure the transitions between differently coloured parts are as smooth as possible. 

Hair Re-pigmentation 

Next, your bleached scalp will have to be re-pigmented or toned with a colour that has the desired overtone. For instance, ‘ash-blonde’, ‘silver-blonde’, or ‘cream-blonde’. Purple toners neutralise yellow bleach effects, while blue toners neutralise orange, brassy effects. 

It is always a good idea to have purple shampoo to extend the longevity of your new blonde hair and maximise the cool undertones. 

Additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you need a full scalp bleach application: some hairstyles can be achieved with foil highlights. 
  • Choose adequate blonde hair care products to prevent quick colour breakdown and maintain health and shine for as long as possible.
  • Get a wide-toothed comb to brush your hair after washing it to prevent mechanical damage to the delicate bleached fibres. Apply a leave-in conditioner or a detangler beforehand.
  • Schedule frequent trims to prevent hair breakage and split ends.
  • Never repeat or correct the bleach at home immediately after you come back from the hairdresser’s. Impulse decisions can produce more of the undesired effects rather than solving the issue!
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