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When you successfully bleach your hair, you end up with envy-worthy golden locks that feel soft and look shiny. If you use the wrong brand, you have to send your BFF to the store to save yourself the embarrassment of going out with brassy, pinkish-orange hair. Save yourself the grief and buy the right product during your first trip to the beauty supply or drug store. .
When you dye your hair, you first have to strip your tresses of their natural (or current) color with bleach. Some hair dyes come with a bottle of bleach, but it may not be the right kind for you. Bleach is a mixture of peroxides, ammonia and other hair-lightening ingredients -- like something you could have made in your high school chemistry class. If you already have light hair -- e.g., light brown -- look for a bleach kit with peroxide that works in conjunction with your blow dryer. A bleach emulsion is perfect for darker tresses. If you end up with a funky shade of yellow after bleaching your locks, pair the emulsion with a bleach booster. Powdered bleach products are available, but the chemicals are so strong that you should use them only if you want to do chunks or highlights.
When shopping for hair bleach, look at the price sticker last. First, check out the bleach volume, which ranges from 40 to 10. A 40-volume bleach, like powdered bleach, is the strongest, and can make your scalp feel angry -- so save this kind for salon applications. If you have dark hair, opt for a 30-volume bleach. If you're lightening dark brown or light blonde hair, buy a 20-volume bleach kit. For hair that's already light blonde or gray, choose a bleach product that comes in a 10-volume. Peroxide should always be the main ingredient in your bleach kit, regardless of the strength you use. If you're dying your hair after bleaching it, it can’t hurt to check out the bleaching products the same brand offers.
Salon vs. Home
Some privately owned salons let you bring in bleach products that you bought at the store so a pro can apply it for you. This is a good way to go if you are a bleach-bottle virgin because the stylist can explain the steps you need to take when you go solo. If you have experience bleaching your own hair or have a friend who has the self-bleaching process down to a fine art, skip the salon and color your hair in the comfort of your own home.
Before you let your dreams of a new hair color get the best of you, do a strand test if you have never used the brand of bleach you purchased. A strand test can reveal that you were about to make a big mistake and that you need to go with a different brand or bleach type. Also, keep in mind that stripping the color from your locks is abusive. Any time you apply a chemical treatment to your hair, you rob it of its strength, flexibility and shine. To help maintain the health of your tresses, nourish your hair with protein and moisturizing treatments that are safe for color-treated locks.