How To Section Your Hair For (Safe) Bleaching
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Are you thinking of taking the plunge and bleaching your *own* hair, turning you into a golden goddess or an icy-blonde queen? Or maybe you’re bleaching as a base for a super-cool colour like red or pink?
And we get it, there isn’t always the time or the funds to head to the professionals at the salon, calling for YOU to be courageous and carry out the task yourself!
We’ve gotta hand it to you, bleaching hair can be quite the job, requiring patience, planning, aftercare and a steady hand. Fixing a botched bleach job will almost *certainly* require help from professionals since bleach is incredibly strong. For that reason, we really recommend getting bleach done by a professional.
If you *are* determined to do it yourself though, know that follow some basics will make your job significantly easier, starting with something as simple as sectioning your hair correctly to make sure you get an even effect.
Here we’ll guide you through the intricacies of parting and sectioning, ensuring each strand receives the attention it deserves – with the help of Master Stylist Susie Geda.
From the crown to the nape, every inch of your hair deserves the spotlight – so let’s go!
How should I section my hair for bleaching?
We turned to expert Susie Geda to get the best advice on sectioning your hair for bleaching – avoiding those dreaded tiger stripe streaks of the 2000s – *shudder*.
Geda explains, “Proper sectioning of your hair is very important for ensuring even coverage and preventing damage.”
So, how do you do it?
1. Divide your hair into four sections: “Divide your hair into a left section, a right section, a top section, and a bottom section,” says Geda.
2. Clip sections: “Clip the left section out of the way.”
3. Apply bleach to the right section first: Geda expliains, “Start applying bleach to the right section, beginning half an inch away from the scalp and moving down to the ends.”
Many people like to use aluminium foil to wrap around each section of bleached hair. Although this isn’t completely necessary, it will help to avoid confusion and also reduces the risk of the bleach drying out.
4. Apply bleach to the top section: “Move on to the top section and apply bleach starting half an inch away from the scalp and moving down to the ends,” she adds.
5. Repeat: “Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the bottom sections. Go back to your first section and start applying bleach to the roots, section by section.
“Repeat this on the other three sections,” says Geda.
Tips for bleaching your hair at home
Geda also told us her secret top tips for successful at-home bleaching. First, “don’t start until you have everything you need” and “always read the manufacturer’s instructions.”
What you’ll need:
- A comb and brush
- Sectioning clips
- Hair bleach
- Volume developer
- Tinting/mixing brush
- Mixing bowl
- Old T-shirt/towel
- Aluminium foil – not necessary but it helps with sectioning off hair
- Purple shampoo
- Deep conditioner or hair mask
Geta also adds, “Avoid using a high developer to prevent damage,” and, “if you’re applying on virgin hair that’s very dark, you might have to do multiple sessions to get to blonde.
“If you’re doing a root touch-up, apply conditioner to the previously bleached hair to avoid breakage in case of overlap.”
First time bleaching your hair at home? Geda advises you “do a strand test” to avoid any adverse reactions to the chemicals, and “have a friend help you.”
Finally, Geda advises you to “deep condition your hair after you shampoo out the bleach.”
How long should bleach sit on hair?
According to Geda, “There isn’t a textbook answer to how long to leave bleach in hair. However, the rule of thumb is the higher the volume (30/40), the shorter the bleach should stay in the hair – about 30 minutes. If you’re using 10 or 20 volumes, it can be processed for up to 45 minutes.”
There is a misconception that bleach will work better the longer you leave it on – this isn’t true!
If you want to lighten really dark hair or stubborn previous box dyes, your best solution is to slowly bleach your hair in stages over time rather than overload it with bleach in one go.
Although loads of us might remember when Kim K famously spent 14 hours dying her hair platinum for her Met Gala Marilyn Monroe look – just 2 days after attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with long black hair, no less – we cannot stress how important it is to leave total transformations like this to the professionals.
As a general rule, it’s not advised to keep bleach on your hair for longer than 45 minutes, any longer than this and you could run the risk of *seriously* frying your hair. I’m getting flashbacks of applying bleach all over my hair… It didn’t end well.
After bleaching, your locks will feel slightly weaker and will likely need some TLC.
With our advice from Susie Geda, exclusive tips and tricks, and all-important information on how to *safely* bleach your hair with minimum damage, you should be bossing the blonde in no time!
Make sure to collect everything you need BEFORE you start, and always read the manufacturer’s advice on the packaging.
If it’s your first time using bleach, be cautious and take a patch test at least 24 hours before you plan on the treatment.
For root touch-ups, apply conditioner to the already bleached hair to avoid damage if there is only overlap, and DO NOT leave the bleach on your hair for longer than 45 minutes.
Make sure to deep condition your hair after bleaching, and using a toner for any brassy or yellow tones is *highly* recommended.
Now, get those gloves, combs, clips and peroxide out and let’s go full-on Pammy Anderson platinum (or not!)
Meet the expert
Susie Geda is a Master Stylist, and the Co-Owner and Creative Director of Bibo Salon, Oakland, Ca.
With over twenty years of experience in the beauty industry, Susie has built a reputation for her specialised skills in hair extensions and styling curly hair. She co-founded Bibo Salon in 2017, transforming it into a hub for creativity, growth, and professional development.