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Lightening hair is certainly one of the most dubious hair-coloring tasks. There's a lot of complicated work involved -- well, much more than just mixing up dye from a box and slathering it all over your hair. To get your hair from an auburn color to a bright bleach blond, it most likely will take more than a single color process to achieve the look want.
Following the proper prep process for hair lightening is crucial. Start the lightening process on hair that hasn't been washed in at least a day; trying it on freshly washed hair can leave you with less than desirable results. Do a strand test, too, before getting started, so you can get a precise estimate of how your hair will turn out; adjust the bleach mixture accordingly if needed.
When you're lightening your hair by more than one shade -- like from auburn to bleach blond-- it is likely that you will need a double process. Unlike a single process, where you simply apply the new color to your hair, with double processing, you first bleach, or use a color lifter on your hair, to strip out the darker color before applying your new shade. To double process you hair, you'll need a hair lightening kit -- which should include a premixed or ready-to-mix peroxide and developer creme -- to remove the color from your hair. Don't be alarmed if your hair doesn't turn out the exact color you were planning right away; bleaching, or lifting, the hair is just the first step in the hair lightening process.
Toning your hair after bleaching it is an integral step to ensure that your hair turns that light bleach blond shade instead of a deep, brassy hue. It works to deepen your blond shade, turning it from a pale yellow to the bleach blond color you're after. Apply the toner all over your hair -- and let it soak into your strands. Read the instructions on your particular toning product for an accurate time recommendation for how long to let it sit on your hair.
Maintaining your color afterward is just as important as the actual dye process; otherwise, your color can change. What a shame that would be once your hair is looking so fab! Stick to color-safe products to keep your blond hair bright and fresh. Use a purple-tinted shampoo and conditioner any time you start to notice brassy tones.
It is often best to leave double processing up to a professional stylist. This ensures you get the bleach blond shade want with the least amount of damage. However, sometimes, auburn hair can reach a bleach blond stage in a single bleaching session; it all depends on your hair type and how it takes to the bleach.