How to prep your hair for bleach, according to hairstylists

Ready to take a walk on the light side? Before you reach for the peroxide, discover the tricks of the trade to prep your hair for bleach first.

For many of us, spring heralds the time to go a little lighter with our hair in preparation for summer.

While it might seem a while away, did you know that getting your locks ready for a sunny transformation should start during the cooler months?

Here is your guide on how to prep your hair for bleaching, to keep it in optimum condition.

Why we tend to love a lighter hue in summer

So, what is the appeal of going for a lighter hair colour?

“I think going lighter for summer is all about brightness,” hairstylist and Capelli Me co-owner Travis Balcke says.

“People love to get that first kiss of a summer glow on their skin and also throughout their hair.

“It’s about lifting the natural tones in the hair and evoking holiday vibes.”

A seasonal change makes going lighter appealing, but can it work on everyone?

“Lightening services can work for all hair types, but you should always work with your hairstylist before going lighter so they can customise the colour for you, and work around your lifestyle to ensure you get the most out of your colour service,” colourist and EdwardsAndCo founder Jaye Edwards says.

Can your hair withstand bleaching?

Jaye says the first step is to consider the integrity of your hair.

“The condition of your hair, and your lifestyle, will be a huge factor in maintaining your hair post a lightening service,” he says.

We all have different hair types, and some may be able to undergo a lightening process easily, while others may not tolerate bleaching very well.

“A bad candidate for bleaching comes down to density of hair thickness, hair strength, quality and also any pre-conditions such as whether hair has chemicals present in it — for example, chemical straightening or other colour work,”  Travis says.

“This can sometimes compromise the lift when bleaching.”

How to prep your hair for bleach

Ditch the dye

Jaye says it’s advisable to avoid dyeing your hair a few months before going lighter to “allow your hair to grow and become as healthy as possible.”

“If you prepare hair during the winter by growing it out, and avoid heat styling and colouring it, this will ensure that the condition of your hair post-lightening will be healthier, fuller and stronger,” he says.

Dial up hair care

Don’t forget a good haircare routine, Jaye says.

Investing in quality hair products, regular hair masks, and getting your hair trimmed often will help keep your hair in top condition.

Prior to going lighter, Travis says it is worth doing a hair treatment program to optimise the condition of your hair.

“This boosts the keratin in the hair and gives you every opportunity of maintaining good quality hair throughout the lightening process,” Travis says.

Do your research

If you’re going to the effort of prepping your hair for bleaching, Travis says he is an advocate of researching colourists and “really taking a look at who’s doing the colouring service.”

“When bleaching hair, I would definitely be paying that little bit extra to make sure I got a high-quality technician and attention to detail,” he says.

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Written by Tania Gomez.