8 Mar 2011

HOW TO : make your blond hair whiter or greyish

White hair needs constant maintaining, period. It requires commitment, time, constant care and a lot of effort. There's no shortcuts, even fewer than with bright colors like orange or red. Worse. Hair is stripped down because of bleach so practically, blond hair is incapable to grip or hold color permanently (not even semi-permanently unfortunately). If you're a blond with white/grey tones, your hair will probably end up as a normal yellow blond within 3-7 washes. So my mission is to present you the most effective techniques along with shortcuts or quick solutions at home.  I'm in no way an expert for hair colouring but 8 years of solid white (or blond, grey, pastel blond) hair taught me basics and creativity at home to avoid yellow, brassy tones. Of course I have days when I just don't feel like caring about my hair colour so I let my blond hair shine through here and then (just in case you'll be seeing me with ''blond'' hair). Commitment and maintaining are the key to white and grey hair.

White,silvery blond hair
Color your hair at the hairdresser 
Let us start with the basic colouring. They bleach me with 6%  bleach or mud mask and then apply the main color, which makes all the difference. Depending on your hair type, your hairdresser will automatically suggest or use matching bleach percentage - that's why I always warmly suggest blond colouring at professional saloon. Seriously, you don't need to end up like a stray puppy without any hair. I cannot stress enough that hair doesn't need to be fully bleached to achieve white colour. In fact, I'm usually yellow as a chicken at this point. It's the colour or semi-permanent colour after that's important or crucial for white/grey hair. For the main colour, I usually pick the greyest white colour with cool undertones. There are various types of white/grey colours including pink toned silver, blue toned silver, pearl toned white, purple toned silver, ash blond, ash brown....you name it. You can also ask your hairdresser to mix them up for your desired balance or try each one upon next visit. Grey/white colours are usually on for 15-25 minutes or longer for more better effect. It can also happen, that the colour will go too grey,silvery or blueish on certain people but that's the risk you're willing to take. Actually, I'm pretty sure you'll love extensive, bolder shade of hair. Color will most certainly last longer than usual. Another thing you need to know is if you want to be fully bleached. While I was fully bleached for years (upper picture), getting older, I prefer more natural version of grey hair. You can achieve natural version or avoid ''helmet effect'' with really thin highlights all over, as much as possible (lower picture). Grey colour will still make an impact but you won't look fake. Also, grey/white colour will look much more even after constant washing. Freshly bleached roots can sometime look yellow or darker than the rest of the hair. If you prefer solid, straight-up white or grey hair, go for it. If you can afford professional care each month, you're pretty much good to go since white/grey hair colours wash out within a month. In most cases, it's healthier if you bleach roots less than every 2-3 months. I personally bleach my roots every 4th month since roots are not so visible with highlights. So what to do between those 1-2 months of not having a fabulous hair colour? Read on.

highlighted blond strands with pink white colour


Purple Shampoo
Purple shampoos are a perfect fit for your hair routine if you have extra blond hair. They are especially designed for cooling down yellow shades. It maybe sounds absurd, but purple is all in all the opposite color of yellow. They work wonders if you know how to use them correctly. Also, I cannot stress enough about quality. Professional purple shampoos are a 100% better than drugstore alternative due to higher percentage of pigments and intensity of pigments itself. I strongly recommend investing into professional purple shampoo since they're safer, more efficient and you need only a small amount to achieve the desired intensity. I've also noticed that the darker they are, the better they work. Also, ''bluer better'' is definitely the way to go. If there's a lot more blue tones than purple, they will be more effective. You should watch over the foam that your purple shampoo creates after lathering. If the foam is purely white, it's possible that shampoo won't be as effective. Foam should be slightly purple toned, even after rinsing it off. So I suggest you choosing the darkest, the bluest purple shampoo you can find. I personally see the best results with Framesi Color Method Ultra Violet Shampoo since it's thick as a paint and has a strong blue base. After it, L'Oreal Professionnel Silver Shampoo is the best. It's widely available in saloons and also makes visible results. It has a bit more purple-toned pigments but still delivers intensly pigmented particles for white/grey hair with one use. After those two, I also like Revlon, although specifically Revlon 45 Days Shampoo & Conditioner isn't one of my favourites. From European drugstores, there is only Kemon and Swiss O-Par Silver Shampoo that are worth mentioning but they're less effective and leave streaks. For natural in-between washes I really like Lush Daddy-O Shampoo. It's not as effective but refreshes hair colour without any harsh chemicals.

There are two ways you can use purple shampoo. First off, the standard washing technique. You simply add purple shampoo to your wet hair and slightly massage it in. I find them way more effective if you don't lather it all up. The longer you'll leave purple shampoo in your hair, the better. In the mean time you can do your regular shower routine. The second method includes purple shampoo as a pre-treatment mask. Shampoo with a bit of mixed water is applied straight forward on damp or dry hair. I usually leave it on for 40-45 minutes to achieve darker grey tones. It's effective  but requires a bit of patience and time.

Coloured Conditioners & Sprays & Foams
If purple shampoo doesn't do the trick, you can still use coloured conditioners. They are way better for treating stronger brassy tones. However, good coloured conditioners are hard to find. Professional conditioners for blondes have higher prices but they work with magic. On a student budget I can't afford to spend over 30€ just for shampoo and conditioner every month. So I simply use professional purple shampoos and make my own DIY coloured conditioner at home. Again, the longer you leave them on your hair, the better the result. How to make your own purple conditioner? Simple. You can use any kind of purple/grey/black/blue colour you like. I love using Direction Semi-Permanent Conditioning Hair Colour for different hues, while black semi-permanent colour for grey tones. Normal conditioner is then mixed with a pea or spoon size of the colour, depending on your wish. Normally, I use 5:1 ratio. Keep in mind that the more colour you add in, the stronger the effect and the longer it will last. Also, colour can look more patchy if you're using less colour. Black colour in particular can make some side effects, After the grey will wash out, you'll be left with a slight hue of green or blue. Keep in mind, black is a risky business so I definitely recommend you trying purple conditioners with first try. Directions Semi-Permanent Violet will do the job and due to intensity, you will have it for at least 2 months. Also, pink hues tend to stay on your hair longer, so I usually mix purple and pink colour to get warm purple hues rather than cool toned purple. Coloured conditioner is applied as a normal hair dye on dry hair. You can totally add some water if you find consistency too thick. Leave it on for 20-60 minutes and wash it off. As a bonus, your hair will be also nourished due to conditioner itself.

Coloured purple sprays are also a no-brainer. They are effective and the last step before blow drying your hair. They can also act as a great alternative to patchy hair colour. I specifically like Revlon Equave 2 Phase Perfect Blonde Conditioner for conditioning and cooling down yellow undertones. It's great to untangle your hair and it gives extra purple reflect. The second choice is coloured foam, which can be bought in drugstores. Foams tend to look patchy if they're not applied right so the safest choice would be a coloured spray or conditioner.

DIY Coloured Conditioner for White and Grey Hair
grey hair with DIY conditioner with black semi-permanent colour conditioner

Don't wash your hair every day
Okay, maybe it's not a logical step but if you try to use dry shampoo, your hair color won't be washed out so fast. Also, dry shampoo is great for white hair as some of them leave a white trace on the roots. Your roots won't be as visible and your hair will appear whiter. Washing your hair every day will make your hair fragile and not to mention a quick loss of color.
Treatments are important
Bleach can be really damaging so never ever skip the conditioner or hair mask! I use my hair masks religiously as I tend to keep my hair as normal as possible. My hair is a bit dry on the ends but nothing dramatic since I religiously use hair masks, oils and mostly professional products to keep them a bit more healthy looking. I do recommend to invest more money in hair products if you're planning to bleach your hair. My current favourites are definitely from L'Oreal Professionnel line, in particular Pro-Keratin Refill Treatment. Also, I love a lightweight leave-in multipurpose conditioner from Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment. As mentioned before, you can easily find drugstore coloured conditioners as Swiss O-Par Silver Conditioner but they won't nourish your hair as other hardcore professional treatments.

It's difficult to maintain white, grey or silver hair colour but once you achieve the basic knowledge, it will be just another weekly routine. Also, here's a closer look to my hair history and playing with different tones and DIY Coloured Conditioners. My main hair colour is cool blond, which you can always spice up with pastel semi-permanent colours like pink, purple, violet, grey and blue. While warm tones like orange are risky for losing your initial white tones, you can always stick on the safer side with cooler tones. Pink is also a really flattering and non-destructive colour for white tones. Hopefully, I will manage to make another hair post about DIY pastel hair.