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How to Bleach Hair White Blonde Like a Pro

BY SALLY MADISON
NATIONAL COLOR TRAINER

How do I get to white blonde?

White Blonde

Getting to white blonde is totally achievable. It involves lifting the hair very well & very consistently to level 10. Then coloring it afterwards.

In this tutorial we will show you how to do it.

Is it even possible to go white blonde in one sitting?

Some people say that getting to white blonde is a process and that you need to be patient. That it needs to take several months of gradually going blonde.

But that simply isn’t true. At Ugly Duckling we really believe that provided you use the right products and the right results - anyone can achieve the whitest of white blonde hair color results. No matter what your current hair color.

How realistic are these Dark to Blonde transformations?

Any hair can be taken to white blonde. It is a simple matter of lifting with bleach all the way up to level 10 and eliminating all the yellow pigments on the way.Then coloring and toning it to get to that exact shade of white blonde.

White Blonde

The above hair was brown level 5 before this bleaching and coloring process.

Can all types of hair go white blonde?

Yes, all types of hair can go blonde. There are no exceptions whatsoever. The techniques we are going to teach you work on African hair, Latino hair, Asian hair. And of course they work particularly easily on European type hair which in general is much lighter and much easier to lighten and bleach.

Can I make my hair white without bleaching it?

It is possible to lift with high lift color using 30 Vol developer - see Ugly Duckling blogs on high lift color and bleach here.

But the simple truth is that to go white blonde you absolutely need to use bleach. There is no way you are going to eliminate all the yellow without it.

Is it possible to bleach hair without damage?

Yes it is, provided you use the right techniques and the right products. At Ugly Duckling, we are not a big fan of repeated bleaches and repeated color applications. Do it once and do it right would be our motto.

And we don't recommend that you compromise on product quality. We've seen too many stylists blow their client's hair apart because they used bleaches which did not lift well and as a result they used excessively strong developer and bleached multiple times. Don't be like that!

And we’re going to teach you how to do it without damage.

How Does Bleach Work?

Using bleach to lighten your hair means applying a mixture of bleach powder and hydrogen peroxide, or developer. This mixture creates an oxidizing environment and this reaction is what allows both bleach and also permanent hair dyes to work.

The key to understand bleaching is to be aware of what level the hair you are working with has got to and what level you need to lift it to. Bleaching is an open ended process in that as long as the mixture is wet and it is sitting on the hair, it will work and it will continue lifting.

What color is your hair right now?

First you need to check your hair level. If your hair has been previously lightened use this chart:

Hair color levels - lightened hair

If your hair has never been lightened (virgin hair), then use this chart:

Hair Color Levels

Hair Color Levels: First figure out what level your client's Regrowth, Mid-Length & Ends are.

It could be (and it very often is) that your regrowth is natural hair, because it has never been colored before, and your ends are lightened hair.

If that is the case you need to make a careful note of the different sections in your client's hair and note down:

So, always ask yourself the following 3 questions about your client's hair"

  • What color is your client's regrowth?
  • What color is your client's mid-ends?
  • What color are your client's ends.

Take the real life example below & let's practise doing a hair color level assessment:

Real Life Salon Example

  • You can see that this lady's regrowth is 1 or 2 (you can read it off the second chart for non-lightened hair)
  • Her mid-lengths are brassy yellow level 8 (you can read it off the first chart for lightened hair)
  • And her ends (which no doubt have been colored and lightened many many times in the past) are level 10.

Now Apply The Following Bleach & Developer Choice Rules.

  • Lifting by 1-2 levels: Use Bleach & 20 Vol Developer
  • Lifting by more than 2 levels: Use Bleach & 30 Vol Developer.
  • The right mix for Ugly Duckling bleaches is 2 parts developer to 1 part bleach.

Which Bleach Should I Use?

We recommend that you use Brilliant Blondexx Bleach with Bond Protect for most situations.

Brilliant Blondexx

It contains Bond Protect, and so it balances gentleness & lift very well.

You won't need to use anything stronger than 20 or 30 Vol developer with this bleach, so you don't compromise hair integrity.

And it produces a creamy, white, oily paste when mixed with developer which is ideal for near-root applications.

In most cases, it is suitable for sensitive scalps (although we do of course recommend a skin sensitivity test beforehand as will all bleach and color preparations.)

This is what the bleach and developer mix looks like:

Bleach & developer mix

Should I Use Olaplex or Any Other Additive?

Since Brilliant Blondexx contains Bond Protect built in, no other additive is required, although you can of course use one if you want.

Just be aware that when using Olaplex you need to bump up the developer strength, thus limiting the effectiveness of the product

How long should the Bleach Process? Where do I start First?

Always start applying at the part that is darkest.

Very often this will be the regrowth area.

There is no fixed rule as to how long the bleach processes. You need to keep checking the hair, rubbing it and looking at how much it is lifting.

Don't be afraid to add in more mix (make a fresh mix if necessary) if you can see that the hair is not lifting enough.

Look at the images below and you will see a typical case where the client's regrowth is much darker than the ends:

Dark Regrowth

Darker Regrowth

In the first image above, you would need to apply Brilliant Blondexx and 30 Vol to the very dark regrowth area, then extend to the lengths which are also way too dark. Then color the whole head once the hair has been consistently lifted.

In the second image, you would need to apply Brilliant Blondexx and 20 Vol to the regrowth area (not so dark this time, around level 6) and lift that oart up. Then color (but not apply bleach to the whole head).

When do I rinse the bleach off?

Rinse when you get to level 10. 

Remember: You are trying to take it to white blonde, so don't under-lift or under-process.

That is literally the most common mistake inexperienced stylists make.

You absolutely need to take the hair to a consistent level 10, which means minimal, minimal yellow.

See the pictures below:

Bleach application on the regrowth

Bleach processing on the regrowth area

Bleach Application Level 10

Hair that has been lifted to level 10 after rinsing.

Always get it to this level. Level 10. That is the best way to prepare the hair in order to take it to white blonde.

Apply Purple Shampoo or Mask at the Backwash

Once you are done rinsing, it is a good idea to apply purple shampoo or mask at the back wash. 

Rub in & let it sit for a few minutes.

Then rinse off.

This will help get rid of any remaining yellow in the hair.

Just remember. For white blonde, yellow is your enemy & you need to reduce it to a maximum.

Purple Mask applied at the backwash

Application Purple Mask at the Baskwash.

How Should I Tone the Hair After Bleaching?

Toning the hair after bleaching

To get to white blonde, we recommend that you use any of Ugly Duckling blue or violet based toners or colors.

They have powerful pigments built in which will help you take the hair to white blonde.

Here are a few which we recommend in particular:

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

No-Lift Pearl Blonde 10V

Blue Based Extra Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b (this is the color used in the picture above and in the result picture at the top of the page)

10.2 (a violet based extra light blonde).

The first 2 products mentioned above are toners, the second two are colors.

In general, colors will produce richer, more 3 D effects. Use them with 20 Vol developers with a 1+1 mix.

Toners will neutralize and provide a gloss. Our intense toners have extra lift, which is useful for kicking out yellow.

Use them also with 20 Vol developer, but with a mix of 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

How should I maintain my White Blonde hair & stop it from getting yellow?

Use Ugly Duckling's Purple Shampoo & Mask to keep the hair white. Use this at least twice a week.

How do I keep my White Blonde hair healthy?

Use Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blondexx Hair Care line to keep the hair strong, healthy and in good condition.

Does Ugly Duckling sell any kits which contain everything I need?

Yes we do. The set below contains everything you need:

Click on this link or on the image to learn more.

White Blonde Set

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

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