Just what the internet needs, right? Another "going-blonde" tutorial? But I thought I'd add my own unique voice to the mix anyway, because I seriously did not know anything about this before I started. So from one idiot to another (I assume only idiots would care what I have to say about hair dyeing), here is my story so far.
So just for context: here is where we started. As you can see, the epitome of "brown." Pretty much all of my hair was "virgin" and very long and thick. Eagle-eyed starers will notice some subtle highlights about my face. These were not actually highlights, but mistaken bleaching via my benzoyl peroxide acne treatment (#glam). Even more #glam was that I sometimes ran over these with eyebrow dye to try to bring them back to the darker side. Never ever mistake me for somebody who takes great care of their appearance.
The first stage of my blondeing process began in a similarly stupid and half-arsed way. I bought some hydrogen peroxide off the internet and sprayed it into my hair after washing but before blow drying. This lightened my hair to a dark and warm blonde, bordering on ginger. It also made my hair prone to enormous tangles and fuzzing up like a cheap wig. After a couple of months of maybe twice weekly bleach-spraying, I realised this wasn't really cutting the mustard. Still unsure of what I actually wanted my hair to look like, but sure that I'd come this far and might as well keep messing about with it, I decided to move on to next level bleaching.
Instead of buying intimidating bleach and developer and powder or whatever, I went for peroxide box dye. Schwarzkopf Live Color XXL Absolute Platinum to be exact (at the time of dyeing, these were on a 2 for £7.50 deal which was pretty much the only thing that swayed me towards them). Two boxes of this on my head later, I was left with this:
Basically bright yellow all over. This is it dry, but when I actually washed it off it looked a lot more multitonal - through the whole dark-brown-orange-yellow-blonde spectrum. The parts where the bleach has taken worst were where there had been some leftover eyebrow dye in my hair. Annoyingly, these were the most noticeable parts, being right next to my face. I missed taking a photo of that stage because I was too busy panicking. I realised that maybe everything anyone had told me about home-bleaching (mostly: "don't do that") might have been correct. But in for a penny, in for a pound, I marched back to Superdrug and got another two boxes of the dye.
Because my hair was in good condition beforehand, I felt confident I could double bleach it without severe, hair-falling-out-in-clumps consequences. Note that this confidence was based on absolutely no facts or evidence. I do understand that a lot of people would prefer to go to a salon for this type of thing - I'm the first to admit that this wasn't a well-thought-through plan. But if the choice was to spend over £100, or to not go blonde, I probably wouldn't have bothered at all, and I did really want to give it a go. I have a pretty strong DIY ethos towards most things, and this was more an experiment than an important life decision. Also, instead of spending hours and hours with a stranger (my worst nightmare) I got to spend some quality time with my boyfriend (round 1) and my sister (round 2). Shout-out to Mark and Caitlin for hanging out with me in a room which smelt like a bin (because of the dye, duh) whilst I repeatedly asked "Have you got all the bits in the back??" Also massive shout-out to my main blonde bitch Lilly, who counselled me through the entire process by text, and was full of wise advice like "Yeah then scorch the fucker."
After bleach number two, I mixed a bunch of the cult favourite Provoke in with the free Schwarzkopf hair mask and put it all on my head for an hour or so, giving me a cute purple-foam-haired look (left). The results after washing out but pre-drying can be seen on the right. Not entirely yellowless, but certainly on the blonde side of yellow (and not the dreaded bright orange side).
Not bad considering how much of an imbecile I was about the whole thing, right? Excuse the open drawer full of sports bras in the background. Since the dyeing of last weekend, I have done one further purple shampoo. This turned the palest bits silvery-purple, but left the yellowest bits largely unaffected. The aim is to get hair that is all the same tone (preferably on the cool side) but different shades within that tone (as in, all the same amount of coolness, but some darker and some lighter so it isn't too flat). This is what I'm left with at the moment.
It's the blasted eyebrow-dyed fringe bits which are the only real fly in the ointment. I have purchased another cult classic, the Wella White Lady toner from Amazon (plus developer). If google image searches are anything to go by (and they always are), this should help with the warm bits and with unifying the tone overall. This hasn't arrived yet though, so in the purpose of full disclosure I feel I must tell you that I'm currently sat here with purple shampoo applied only to the yellow bits in my fringe with an old toothbrush. Things certainly haven't got any more professional around here.