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7 Tips to Bleach Hair like a Pro - the 5th Will Surprise You!


Trying to Master the Art of Hair Bleaching?

Then you need to learn these 7 Tips.

In this blog, we are going to give you 7 tips which will completely transform the way you bleach.

Pay particular attention to the 5th tip.  Many stylists make mistakes here.

Get that 5th tip right, and you will see an amazing improvement in your hair bleaching results.

Get all of them right, and your salon will become renowned for its bleaching, blonding & color correction work. 

Tip No. 1: Calculate how many levels you need to lift the hair by.

The accurate calculation of the number of levels you need to lift by is really key.

It's what helps you create the right bleaching strategy.

And if you don't have a clear bleaching strategy, you simply won't get good results when you bleach.

And when you do your hair color analysis and create your bleaching strategy, just remember:

No wishful thinking. Read off the levels accurately.

For each section, assess its level and subtract from 10. This will give you the number of levels you need to lift by.

In order to assess your client's hair level, use the 2 charts below. 

Use this chart to read off your client's regrowth hair level:

Chart - Natural Hair Color Levels

Use this chart to read off any hair that has been previously lightened:

Hair Lightening Levels

Tip No. 2: Choose a good quality bleach 

The correct choice of bleach is more important than many stylists think.

Not all bleaches have good lifting capability. Many will require you to bump up the developer strength unnecessarily or do multiple applications.

Both of which result in unnecessary hair damage.

We would recommend you use Brilliant Blondexx lightener with Bond Protect. 

It has Bond Protect to prevent hair breakage. It can be applied near the root area and it won't irritate the scalp.

And thanks to its strong lift, it lifts well without needing anything stronger than 20 or 30 Vol developer.

Brilliant Blondexx - 7 Levels lift, And Bond Protection for Root Area

Brilliant Blondexx

Tip No. 3: Choose the right developer strength.

Now that you have chosen your bleach, it's time to choose your developer strength.

The rules for developer choice with Ugly Duckling bleaches are as follows:

Use 20 Vol developer for 1-2 levels lift and for the root area.

Use 30 Vol for any lift that is higher than that. 

Never use 40 Vol. It is not required with Ugly Duckling bleaches.

Tip No. 4: Make your mix sufficiently wet to get a good product saturation.

In order to bleach well, you need good product saturation. What do we mean by good product saturation? 

We mean you need to literally drench the hair with your bleach mixture. 

And in order to do so, you need to make sure the mixture is sufficiently wet.

We recommend you make your mix 1+2. In other words, one part bleach to 2 parts of developer.

Do that and your mixture should look like the one in the picture below:

Your mix with Brilliant Blondexx should end up looking like this:

Creamy White Mixture

Tip No. 5: Don't rinse too soon. Process until almost white level 10

This is the number one mistake we see stylists make - even some experienced stylists.

You need to get the hair as close to level 10 as you can safely take it.

Which means it needs to be almost white - with just a vestige of palest yellow. 

No bright canary yellow. No orange-yellow or yellow-orange. And no orange. 

How long does it take to get there?

30 minutes would be an average for an application, but it could be less or more depending on how much you need to lift by.

So you do need to keep checking the level while the hair is bleaching because there is no exact processing time with bleach.

The way to do that is to check is to peel back some of the mix using your tail-comb.

Also, be aware that hair when wet will tend to look lighter than it is. 

Do not under bleach or you will be setting up your client for a disappointment. So, only rinse when you get to that true level 10 "white with only a trace of pale yellow".

If it has not lifted sufficiently after 30 minutes and you can see that the bleach mixture is now drying out on the hair, you can apply some fresh mix.

For the fresh mix use 20 Vol developer only. No more 30 Vol.

Apply this fresh mix to the parts that have not lifted fully and wait some more.

When not to rinse: In this picture, the hair is still too yellow. It needs another 5-10 minutes of processing.

Peel Back & check

The hair has been correctly lifted to level 10 here:

Hair correctly lifted to level 10

This picture is after the hair has been towel dried - a true level 10 after bleaching.

Try and get your client's hair like this & you will get great results!

True level 10

Tip No. 6: Choose the right toner for your desired hair look

Hopefully, if you did the bleaching well, then your client's hair is at level 9/10.

So now it is time to tone the hair.

Let's make your toner choice easy.

First, what type of toner is right for you? A cream based permanent toner? Or a liquid based demi-permanent one?

Looking for a full-head toning?

If you are looking to do full head toning, and one which involves a real "blonde transformation" and maybe some more hair lifting, then a cream based permanent toner is right for you.

And the final choice will depend on how light you managed to get your client's hair.

If it is at a true level 9 or 10 (you should have achieved this if you followed our bleaching instructions!) then the regular Ugly Duckling pearl blonde and silver blonde toners are right for you.

If, on the other hand, the hair still has some brassiness in it, and it is more of a level 7 or 8, then we would suggest that you use Ugly Duckling's intense cream toners instead.

These toners have a special booster element (no other toners on the market have this). And this booster will help you kick out some of the yellow and bump up your client's hair by one level of two.

Use either the intense pearl blonde toner or the intense silver blonde toner in this case.

And if, for some reason, the hair is darker than level 7, you definitely did not bleach correctly. In which case you need to go back to the drawing board. Bleach first, then tone.

Looking for a blonde refresh?

If you are not looking for full head toning or a complete blonde makeover, but more of a refresh toning/glazing, then we would suggest you use Ugly Duckling's liquid demi-permanent Blondify toners.

These ammonia-free toners work in only 10 minutes with only 7 or 10 Vol developer strength.

Only 10 minutes sitting on your client's head, and the fact that you are using a weak developer strength mean that you can use it in cases where your client has a dark base or lowlights which you don't want to lift, move or touch.

So in such cases, using Blondify liquid toner is a huge advantage.

Use this chart below to choose your toner:

Which toner to use

Tip No. 7: Use Purple Shampoo & Mask for afterwards.

Our last tip would be to use Purple Shampoo and Mask at the back wash straight after bleaching and toning.

The purple pigments in these products are really very helpful in getting rid of the last traces of yellow.

Purple Shampoo and Mask can also be used by the client as a regular maintenance product for her blonde hair.

We would suggest using it at least once a week, alternating with her regular hair care products.

We recommend that you use Ugly Duckling's Purple Shampoo and Mask where possible, because Ugly Duckling's purple formulations are one of the few that neutralize and tone without staining.

They are also acidic formulations. Which means they close the hair cuticle especially well and return bleached hair to its normal position and acidity.

This helps strengthen bleached hair and keeps it in good condition.

Purple shampoo being used at the back-wash:

Purple Shampoo in use

Follow these 7 Tips and you will be bleaching like a Pro and getting amazing results! Good luck!




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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