First off, I am not a professional colorist or hairstylist. I’m just sharing with you how to Bleach Blonde hair at home yourself using Bright White Creme Lightener. If you use or do anything I did, you are doing so at your own risk.
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How to Bleach Blonde Hair at Home
I am a natural brunette but in my late twenties, I wanted a change and decided to go blonde. And going blonde was a process to be sure. This was back in the early 90s, by the way. I didn’t attempt a DIY bleach blonde back then, I just wanted to have lighter hair.
From Brunette to Blonde
My medium to dark brown hair was boring. And I’ve truly always felt like I should be blonde (I did have blonde hair when I was born all the way up till about four when it started getting darker and darker).
However, for about 3-4 months my hair was more… orange.
But every time I lightened it, it did get blonder and blonder.
And to be honest, I really don’t know how I didn’t completely fry my hair and go bald. Because on top of all the box color I was using on my hair, I also permed my hair. Well, I already had permed hair when I first dyed it blonde. I think I only permed it one more time before I realized that there was no way I was going to keep perming and coloring my hair at the same time.
One of them had to go.
Fast forward to 2020 and until last week I have only used box dyes/bleaches at home. I did have my hair colored by professionals twice, but with those two exceptions, I’ve always DIY’d it, or should I say DIM (Did It Myself).
As I said, last week I, for the first time, threw out the box dyes and did my own DIY bleach blonde.
I did have a couple of hiccups, but all-in-all, I am very pleased with the outcome.
I am thinking about going platinum (or more platinum) next time, which is what my goal was this time, but I think I got nervous and didn’t leave the bleach on long enough, nor did I apply it all over my hair (except the very ends – I definitely want to avoid that) for at least 10 minutes.
I will try to rectify this when I touch up my roots in a few weeks.
I shared a photo of my DIY bleach blonde results on Facebook and a couple of friends asked what I used and/or how I did it, so I thought it would be easier to write it all down in a blog post than to try and explain it on a Facebook comment…
What You Need to Get Bleach Blonde Hair at Home
I’m going to list everything I used, then towards the bottom, I’m going to list what I’m going to do use differently and some alternatives to what I used.
- Ion Bright White Creme Lightener I would think that a creme lightener would be easier to mix than a powder lightener.
- Sensitive Scalp 40 Volume Creme Developer
- Sensitive Scalp 30 Volume Creme Developer
- Absolute Perfection Color Sealer Step 2
- Absolute Perfection Booster Step 1 – If you’re familiar with Olaplex, this is an Olaplex dupe. (I bought 10 of these because they are cheap and I use them in both the lightening process and the toning process).
- Icy White Creme Toner – This is where my mistake happened. And it wasn’t the toner’s fault… it was operator error.
- Absolute Perfection Color Sealer Step 3
- Purple Hair Coloring Mixing Bowl – You could use any old bowl you have (just make sure it is plastic), but I wanted one with the measurements located on the inside of the mixing bowl. Seriously, any plastic bowl will do. Just do NOT use metal. Metal can have a chemical reaction with the metal.
- Purple Extra Wide Tint Brush
- Sensitive Scalp Protector – I have Psoriasis on my scalp and I know that bleach can really burn and mess up your scalp if you aren’t careful, so I bought this for extra protection. It worked wonderfully. I had no issues at all. I would highly recommend this if you have a sensitive scalp.
Before I share how I did my DIY bleach blonde hair, I wanted to say that my goal was to go to a level 10, or at least a level 9. My roots are a level 3 – darkest brown.
You can check out this hair color chart to see where you are and where you want to be. The Bright White Creme Lightener says it lifts up to 8 levels – since I want a more icy white or platinum blonde, I felt this was the best choice of lightener for me. Plus I used a 40 developer (the strongest).
How to Bleach Your Hair
First, do not bleach (color/dye) your hair if it’s been freshly washed. The longer the better, actually… especially for your scalp.
The natural oils will help protect your scalp.
I went 5 days without washing mine and still applied the Sensitive Scalp Protector to my scalp. I watched too many videos of people messing up their scalps using bleach. I mean like sores and scabs and stuff. Ugh.
I would recommend going a couple of days without washing your hair before coloring/dying/bleaching it.
Once I was ready to bleach my hair I gathered up all my products and materials. I recommend wearing an old t-shirt (I have a couple just for this purpose) and after combing your hair out, divide your hair into four sections.
Make your first part down the center of your scalp, from your forehead to the nape of your neck. Make the second part running from ear to ear across the top of your head like a headband. Use clips to secure each section.
If you are just touching up your roots you will start there. Work one section at a time. I started with my right front section, then front left, moving to the back sections the same way.
I mixed 1:1 part of the Bright White Creme Lightener with Sensitive Scalp 40 Volume Creme Developer. I ended up using 3 ounces of BWL with 3 ounces of developer. After mixing well with a mini whisk (but you can use the Purple Extra Wide Tint Brush just as easily), you will then add the Absolute Perfection Booster Step 1 mixing well.
Grab some disposable gloves, because bleach can dry out, or even burn your hands, and you’re ready to start bleaching your roots/hair.
Avoid Hot Roots When Bleaching Your Hair at Home
You want to be careful to avoid ‘hot roots’. Hot roots are when your regrowth doesn’t match the hair color of your colored ends because it’s either lighter or warmer.
Or if you are doing your whole head of hair and you start at your scalp first, you’ll get hot roots or a band of color around your scalp that is lighter than the rest of your hair. Our scalp heats up, so you should always do the length of your hair first and then do your roots.
If you do get hot root (a yellow band at your roots), you can use toner to correct it.
Since I was touching up my roots, I started there first. However, I did start out just a tad bit away from my scalp. I also was very careful to go just a tad over the regrowth to the hair that was already blonde.
You don’t want to put too much bleach on your already processed hair (except for the last few minutes of the processing time).
Once I applied the bleach to all my regrowth, I did add more to my gloved hands and just spread it around my scalp, since it took me approximately 30 minutes just to get my roots covered.
I put a disposable shower cap onto the back of my head to get heat to speed up the back processing time to catch up to the front of my head since I did it first.
Always follow the directions on your lightener. The Bright White Lightener says 50 minutes max, which is what I did. But adjust the time based on what color your hair already is and what color you are trying to achieve – just no longer than 50 minutes.
Once 50 minutes was up I rinsed the bleach out of my hair with warm water. I applied the Absolute Perfection Color Sealer Step 2 leaving it on for 10 minutes then rinse it off with warm water.
Time to Tone the Brassy Yellow
Mix 1:1 of the Icy White Creme Toner to the Sensitive Scalp 30 Volume Creme Developer and mix well. I used 2 ounces of each and after it was mixed, I added a vial of the Absolute Perfection Booster Step 1 (the Olaplex dupe) – which brought the developer to a 20 and mixed well.
This is the part where I messed up and made my first mistake.
I promise you I read the directions, but I think I’d watched so many how-to bleach your hair tutorials I got it mixed up in my head. See, most toners are applied to damp or towel-dried hair.
And this is what I did.
But, I was supposed to dry my hair and then use the Icy White Creme Toner.
I’ll get to the next step in a moment but I realized my error when the toner was rinsed out and I still had yellow, brassy hair. Not the roots though, they were a silvery purplish color.
Two days later I used the Wella Color Charm Permanent Liquid Hair Toner T18 (Lightest Ash Blonde). I emptied the bottle into my mixing bowl and then I filled the bottle with 20 Developer and mixed well. I followed the directions to the letter. However…
This was a mistake.
I ended up with grey, silver, blueish, purplish hair.
My entire head of hair was more a grayish-blue. No, I did not take any pictures, but I do wish I had. If this happens again, I’ll be sure to take pics and make an update.
I was so not happy. But since I don’t really go out that much due to Covid-19 (only when necessary or to enjoy the outdoors, I didn’t panic).
Well, I didn’t panic much.
I want to add that it was not the toner’s fault. I think my hair shafts were so open that it just held onto the toner.
After two more days of this, I started researching ways to fix my hair without damaging it. It seems you can do a bleach bath, but I felt like using bleach on my recently bleached hair, plus two rounds of toner (which used developer), I didn’t think that was the best option.
I’m happy to report that I did find a very simple DIY fix and I will link here what I did in detail in a couple of days, but lemons and cheap conditioner to the rescue.
I was able to get rid of all the gray/purple/blue/silver and even most of the yellow/brassy tones. All-in-all a win!
By the way, I learned that this is not only a DIY mistake, but many women have had the same thing happen by hairstylists.
Okay, so that’s everything. I know it’s a lot, but I wanted to be transparent and share my whole experience and process I took to finally achieve my bleach blonde hair.
I use a purple shampoo once a week to maintain the anti-brassy look. Fanola No Yellow Shampoo is the best purple shampoo I’ve ever used. It’s very economical, too. It’s 33.8 ounces and lasts forever since you only use it 1-2 times a month.
And be sure to wear gloves when applying this No Yellow shampoo because it will stain your hands. Although you can wash your hands a couple of times and it will fade somewhat quickly.
I hope this how to bleach blonde hair tutorial has helped you. And I want to give a shout out to April from aprilgolightly.com for her going blonder inspiration!
Now here is a list of alternate products (like the developers are really the same, so the brand doesn’t particularly matter) you can use, especially if you don’t have a Sally Beauty near you…
- Wella Color Charm 40 Developer with Tint Brush
- Clairol Professional Hair 30 Developer
- Blondest Blonde Creme Lightener
- Blonde Forte 1.1 Pound Tub 9+ Level Hair Bleaching Powder Lightener + Creme Developer +More – This bleaching set contains everything you need to bleach your hair.
- Wella Color Charm T11 Toner (Lightest Beige Blonde)
- Redken Color Extend Blondage Color Depositing Purple Conditioning Toner
Note: I do not recommend using a 40 developer on your hair unless you use the absolute Perfection Booster Step 1 or Olaplex with it. This Olaplex dupe takes the developer down to a 30. The dupe or Olaplex (which is expensive and you have to have a license to purchase it) will bring down any developer by 10, so keep that in mind. But the Booster Step 1 will help protect your hair from bleach (or color) damage, so I recommend using it.
If you do not use the Booster Step 1 or Olaplex 1, then use a 30 Developer when you bleach and a 20 Developer when you tone.
FYI: Next time I touch up my roots I’ll film it and add the video that way everything I’ve said above might make more sense.
And one more thing… my hair is no more damaged with all I did to it than when I do box dyes. In fact, my hair appears to be a bit healthier. I do use Olaplex 3 (which you can buy without a license) on my hair every two weeks, leaving it on almost an entire day each time.
I truly cannot recommend a hair product more than Olaplex 3 if you color your hair on a regular basis. It’s not a conditioner, it’s a treatment that actually repairs your hair. It usually averages $28 a bottle (and you get 2-3 uses out of it), this is the best deal I can find on it HERE for two bottles for $38.69.
I know this post is long. So, thank you for sticking around to learn how to bleach your own hair and a couple of things you want to avoid.