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If your bestie tells you to lighten up, a good place to start is with your locks. Whether you want to brighten up your hair just a shade or two or you want to rock the full-on Marilyn Monroe platinum blond look, bleaching your hair with powder and developer will get you there -- eventually. Paying your hair colorist to get you lighter is always a good idea, because hair bleaching is complicated and you don't want to go orange -- or worse -- but if you're a brave-minded babe on a budget, your local beauty supply store is chock full of bleaching powder and developer.
Purchase your powder bleach product. You can find it in packets or plastic tubs. If you have really long hair or plan to do this often, the tub is usually a better buy. If you want to add a few highlights to the top of your head, pick up a single packet. While you're at the store, pick up latex gloves, a hair color applicator and liquid developer, which is the other half of the bleaching equation.
Read the instructions on the bleach packet and developer bottle -- even if you think you got this one down, make sure you know what you're doing. Mix the bleach with the developer according to the directions; it's often a ratio of one part bleach to one part developer. Add the developer to the powder bleach a little at a time, mixing and blending the products to a creamy consistency. Make sure there are no lumps. They'll sit on your hair and create uneven results.
Put your latex gloves on. This stuff can really irritate your skin -- and bleach it, too. Dip the brush into the mixture to coat it well. Apply the bleach to the portion of the hair you want to lighten. If you're creating highlights, select small strands of hair and place a foil underneath to keep the rest of your hair your natural color. If you're bleaching your entire head, section your hair into four equal parts. Start at the roots and paint the hair to coat it with the mixture.
Allow the bleach to work on removing the color from your locks. Check your hair frequently. Depending upon how much lightening you want to achieve and the level of your natural hair, the bleaching process could take between five minutes for subtle sunshine to more than an hour for more dramatic results.
Rinse the bleach mixture from your locks. Shampoo with a gentle shampoo, then apply a moisturizing conditioner.
"The Haircoloring Manual: A Practical Guide to Successful Haircoloring"; Martha Fernandez; 1992
"The Hair Color Mix Book: More Than 150 Recipes for Salon-Perfect Color at Home"; Lorri Goddard-Clark, el al; 2007