27 Jun How to Bleach Your Hair
Are you bored of your hair? Pondering, if it’s stylish to switch up the colours of your fashion, then why not your follicles too? Then considering going platinum.
Everyone from Channing Tatum to Riz Ahmed have been at it recently, but bleached hair has been a bold option for barber’s chair for decades. There’s a peroxide bottle behind some of history’s most iconic men’s hairstyles, from David Beckham to Brad Pitt. And now, with trendsetters such as rapper G-Eazy and actor-director Jonah Hill also going blond, it’s clear the whiteout is where it’s it at.
To save you the embarrassment of trying to style out fluoro-ginger, we’ve compiled the do’s and don’ts of embracing your inner Eminem. This is your no-BS guide to bleaching your hair.
Will Bleached Hair Suit Me?
It really isn’t just a number. Bleached-out ‘dos might be more popular than ever, but they’re still a young man’s game. Past your late 30s – 40 at a stretch – bleaching your hair is the equivalent to having a regrettable affair in the backseat of a Maserati you can’t afford. That said, if you just can’t help yourself, go for a steely blond grey that doesn’t so much highlight your age, as complement it.
This is not one for the faint of skin. While darker skin tones pair well with bleached blond hair (as do lighter, even skin tones), very fair, freckled skin doesn’t have the requisite melanin to balance out a bleached style’s strong tones. There are no hard and fast rules of course, but it’s important to know that if you’re fair-skinned, bleached hair, like a pastel polo shirt, has a very good chance of washing you out.
Hair Type & Colour
The darker and thicker your hair, the harder it’ll be to bleach. “Someone with fine, light natural hair should have no problem going platinum with one application,” says Jazzy Bayoumi, stylist and men’s color specialist at London barbers Joe & Co. “Someone with thick, dark or curly hair, however, might have to have a second application.”
Think about your overall grooming routine. Are you basically Patrick Bateman? Or more of a shit, shower and shave bloke? If the latter, the maintenance required to keep bleached hair looking its best may prove a pain in the proverbial. Not only can the bleaching itself take multiple appointments, but once bleached, your hair will also require additional TLC including specialist shampoos and deep-conditioning treatments.
Going peroxide might not be the subversive style statement it once was (shout out to Billy Idol), but that’s not to say it’ll wash in every situation. If you work a corporate job in an office with a business-casual dress code, bleached blond hair probably isn’t a vibe. Similarly, if your off-duty wardrobe consists mostly of smart shirts and sensible chinos, then a less eye-catching hairstyle might be a snugger fit for your aesthetic.
Before You Bleach
Wash Your Hair
“Do this the day before you intend to bleach it, rather than the day of,” says Bayoumi. “Washing your hair the day of can leave your scalp dry and sensitive, which puts you at risk of irritation from the bleach that you could otherwise avoid.” This is especially important if you’re going the whole root-to-tip hog, rather than just adding tips or highlights.
Hold The Product
“Styling products slow the rate at which the bleach takes effect on hair, which can delay the whole process,” says Bayoumi. So, no matter how Sideshow Bob your hair’s disposition, arrive at your appointment sans-pomade.
Ditch Heat-Styling Tools
Straighteners and hair dryers can be hard on hair, leaving it dry and brittle even before any bleaching chemicals have been slathered on. So, to better your chances of a safer and more successful bleach, swerve them for a few days in advance of your appointment.
Cut The Chemical Relaxant
Guys with afro hair, if you’re considering having your natural ‘do chemically relaxed, don’t. “Hair that has been chemically relaxed is already weak, so bleaching it would only result in breakage,” says Bayoumi. This leaves with you two options: have your hair cut, or wait for the relaxant to grow out.
Arriving at your appointment equipped with references illustrating the look you have in mind can help whoever’s welding the bleach to get a better idea of what you’re after.