>Brown to Blonde


before and after

agent orange

Going Blonde

The journey of going platinum begins with the image in our minds….the ethereal quality of blondness. If that road has never been taken, the more it makes sense to brave it. I have had every other colored hair but blonde, and you know what… blonde is much tamer than hot pink or green.

That’s my orange stage above. Because this was my first time and I was doing it at home, I read and watched lots of tutorials. There’s lots of different ways of doing it, but this was my approach. It’s a combo.

Certain factors can help with the transformation such as pale skin, although Rob (my hubby) says tan skin looks equally beautiful with bleach blonde hair. Short hair is faster and cheaper to dye. Autumn works out also because you can wear a beanie mid process and when your roots grow out. Love you beanie!

Get into into it and own your hair. I am embracing my caucasian half. My Korean mom and family will shriek when they see me later this month, but it’s not as bad as my manic panic high school days. (Update: Mom shrieked at first, but loved it. Everyone loved it but grandma. She kept whispering to me to change it. Ha ha. Good thing I live 2000 miles away. Love you grandma.)

Collect images of similar looking girls with platinum blonde hair. Use this as your goal and inspiration.

Watch tutorials on youtube on dyeing your hair at home. Read as many How Tos on the topic as well. Write down the basic steps and tips on paper to follow. I had assistance from Rob, and that saved my scalp because he basically avoided it as much as possible.

I purchased all my supplies at Sallys. Make sure you have a thorough list with you or you’ll be making several trips back.

Supply List:

Clairol Professional Pure White 40 Volume Peroxide Maximum Lift. Used on hair and roots, 20 Volume does very little lifting on my hair.

Clairol BW2 Powder Lightener

Applicator Brush – Get more than one, for bleach and toner. I wash mines out after each use also and reuse it.

Tail Comb – For sectioning hair and shielding the applicator brush from touching scalp.

Wella Color Charm # T18 White Lady 1.4oz – Toner that counteracts the yellow hues. Purchase a bunch at a time for retouch applications.

Clairol Professional Shimmering Lights Shampoo and Conditioner – Shampoos away yellow, and refreshes faded highlights.

Jolen Creme Bleach 4 oz – For lightening eyebrows. Works great!

Other items:
packet of artificial sweetener – to lessen burn of bleach
several pairs of latex gloves
plastic containers – use recycled ones
plastic salon hair clips
plastic cape or spare fabric – to cover your shoulders
small towel – to protect neck
damp towel -to wipe spills on skin or tile, etc.
glasses to protect eyes – used by person applying dye
shower cap or plastic bag – just make sure the bag’s print is on outside.
conditioner or vaseline – apply around hair line for protection

Tips: Prepare your hair by not washing it for several days. But do not put any styling products in it either. Your scalp will build up natural oils that will protect it. Also, do this in a well ventilated area. We used the bathroom which is not ventilated and our noses were irritated afterwards:( Bleach your brows lighter any time. Follow box instructions.

1. Part hair in 4 sections, or more using plastic salon clips.
2. Put a cape on and wrap towel around neck. Make sure you are wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
3. Coat edge of hairline, ears, and neck with vaseline or conditioner.
4. Put on gloves & glasses and mix bleach powder lightener and 40 vol. cream developer in a plastic container. Follow box instructions. I used the applicator brush as a mixer. I mixed as we went along so that the dye was strong as other sections were bleached. The bleach weakens with time. Add packet of artificial sweetener in. This reduces any pain on scalp – it really works!
5. Starting at back of head, coat tips of hair to 1″ of roots. You can use the tail comb as a barrier to keep the brush from hitting scalp.
6. When hair turns to a nice orange, apply bleach to roots but keep off scalp. Rob missed a lot of my roots the first round, but that was fine because you don’t want to harm your scalp early on.
7. Put shower cap or plastic bag over hair.
8. By 60 minutes, wash off with mild shampoo. Immediately apply conditioner. I put my head under the tub faucet and washed it with cool water. It’s more soothing on scalp than warm or hot water. 
9.Try not to wash your hair the next day and let it heal. If you do wash, deep condition as much as possible.
10. Let hair and scalp heal for 2 weeks. Your favorite beanie will become your best friend. I was not patient and did my second bleaching 4 days later. My hair is pretty thick so it didn’t dry out. If your hair feels dry, wait until it feels soft again before you bleach again.

1. Repeat bleach process until hair is pale yellow. Rob did not touch my scalp at all but got pretty close. Do not exceed 45 minutes.
2. Wash with mild shampoo and condition immediately.
3. Continue to deep condition. Wait 1 week. Again, I waited 4 days because my hair felt soft and I am impatient.

1. If your roots are not bleached yet, this is a good time to do it because your hair isn’t covered in bleach which can make it hard to work through.
2. Repeat preparation steps.
3. Mix 20 volume creme peroxide developer with powder bleach. This did not work on my roots. A few weeks later I used 40 volume and it worked perfectly.
3. Work in 1/2″ sections from the back of head to front. I went gung ho and coated my roots without avoiding my scalp. The artificial sweetener really helps. 
4. Leave on for about 30 minutes. If you notice your roots turning blonde before 30 minutes, check it thoroughly to make sure it’s even. Stop early if your scalp starts to hurt.
5. Wash off with mild shampoo and condition.
6. Mix Toner with Creme Developer. Follow box instructions. Mix a 1:1 ratio. I’ve tried following the box directions which calls for more developer, and it does not work as well. 
7. Apply toner to hair starting at front of head, work your way to back. Start at roots and pull toner to tips. Lather and work the toner throughout hair. You can apply it to wet hair.
8. Leave on 45 minutes. Hair may look purple or grey. This is normal.
9. Wash off with mild shampoo and deep condition.

1. Use Shimmering lights shampoo and conditioner to keep hair light. Do not wash hair everyday.

1st bleaching = orange hair + beanie

2nd bleaching = very yellow hair that attracts strange men

toner yay! finally some ashy blondeness

I love my blonde hair. It turned I had some residual non permanent brown dye from 7 months ago still in my hair. Because of this, the bottom portion of my hair did not turn platinum, but the strawberry blonde still looks great.

I get a lot of double takes and funny looks from people. Seattle does not have a lot of platinum blondes, so I’m glad I can stir up the pot. 

UPDATE: 5 months later and I still have the blonde and love it! 
Download Song: Englar Og Dárar
Artist: Ólöf Arnalds. Album: Vi› Og Vi›

2 thoughts on “>Brown to Blonde

  1. I am thinking about bleaching my hair blonde, right now it is dark brown (it’s natural color). In my search for info I came across this blog entry of yours! I loved that you put pictures up so I could actually see what your hair looked like as you went through the bleaching process! It looked great by time you finished too. I do have a question for you if you get this…. When you dye your roots how do you go about doing that? A lady at Sally Beauty told me that I wouldn’t have to bleach it again when I am touching up my roots but instead I would be able to use one of the dyes at the store because my roots would take to the color better. I was just curious how you had done this since it sounds like you have kept it blonde! =)

    • Hello. sorry for the delay. i’ve been busy with tons of projects. I did use the bleach powder and developer mix on my roots. I would start from the front and work my way back. Once my scalp started to burn, I’d let it sit just another minute and rinse. Then the next time I did my roots I’d do my hairline but get the back next. The way bleach works is that once it’s dry, it has very little power. And never apply bleach the next day. Wait at least a 4 days-1 week. And never apply the toner after bleaching. It burns terribly and you end up washing it before anything happens. Cheers,


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