Bleaching Hair From Black To White: Take Two

It's been a month since I tried--and failed--to get my friend's naturally black hair silvery-white. But we're not giving up!
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Alyssa
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It's been a month since I tried--and failed--to get my friend's naturally black hair silvery-white. But we're not giving up!

Remember when I tried to bleach black hair to platinum blonde in one at-home sitting? Well, even though we didn’t quite get the results we’d hoped for, Paddy and I are determined to keep trying until we get her hair as purple-y white as can be. So with that, we give you round two.

Paddy’s orangey hair. It looks cute but it’s not quite what she wanted. Also pictured: my cat Dexter

Paddy’s orangey hair. It looks cute, but it’s not quite what she wanted. Also pictured: my cat Dexter.

We gave Paddy’s hair a mont-long break (a little excessive, but I didn’t want to fry her hair off!) before heading to Sally Beauty Supply for some new products to try out.

Paddy’s hair was extremely orange and brassy from our first try, so this time we really went for it, determined to try everything we could.

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We bought:

•40 volume activator

•1 packet of blue bleach (because she has so little hair)

•1 Wella Colour Charm toner in 12A/1210 “Frosty Ash”

•20 volume activator

•Shimmer Lights purple shampoo and conditioner

•Manic Panic “Virgin Snow”

We also used:

•Gloves

•Bowl and brush

•Davines Silver Alchemic Shampoo and Conditioner

With everything we could possibly need (hopefully), we got down to work.

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Paddy’s roots were super-short, so instead of bleaching them first and then going over all of her hair like I usually would when bleaching roots, we focused just on the already bleached portion.

I applied the bleach all over the hair, then folded the ends into foil to speed the processing time. I used a 40-volume bleach activator because we were avoiding the scalp and Paddy wanted maximum lift, combined with Prism Lights blue bleach powder. This bleach is ideal for lifting dark hair and giving it a blue tone, so it was perfect for Paddy

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Right before the rinse!

Right before the rinse!

After leaving the bleach on for 45 minutes (the maximum time) Paddy rinsed her hair and gently washed with Davines Nourishing Shampoo to give it some much-needed nutrients.

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After we’d blow dried we surveyed the results: Paddy’s hair was definitely a lot lighter than last time, and didn’t seem to be falling out in clumps, so I was pretty satisfied. It was, however, still extremely yellow, and still had an intense ombre effect happening, so we moved on to toner.

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This time around, we used a blue-based toner to cancel out the yellow shades in Paddy’s hair. We tried the Wella gel toner instead of liquid (I like working with it better) in “Frosty Ash” blonde to try and get as close to purple-grey-white as possible.

We mixed the toner with a 20 volume activator and let it sit on the most yellow parts for 15 minutes; then we covered all of the bleached hair and left it on for almost an hour. 

Then Paddy rinsed… but before she conditioned, I had her towel off her hair and get out of the shower. Her hair was a nice shade but not quite the silvery purple she desired, so I whipped out my secret weapon: Davines Silver Alchemic conditioner.

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I can’t rave enough about how well this product works (you’ll be hearing more about it later, I assure you). Though the effect is relatively temporary, it is the best product for keeping brassiness away that I’ve ever encountered. It’s like a tub of swirling purple magic blonde potion! I applied it all over Paddy’s tuft, and we waited 25 minutes.

Finally, Paddy rinsed one last time. The Davines had made her hair much softer and less crunchy, and had helped to give the hair a silvery sheen. The results were pretty great if I say so myself:

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That evening, I sent Paddy home with a little maintenance kit I dreamed up: Shimmer Lights purple shampoo and conditioner, and Manic Panic Virgin snow. 

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If you can’t afford the Davines Silver alchemic, this is the stuff for you. Extremely purple and filled with all sorts of unpronounceable chemicals, this duo is so purple it will turn your hair purple if you use it too often. Though it doesn’t smell the best, it’s a great cheap way to keep the brassiness away. 

Here’s Paddy’s hair after using the duo in the shower at home a few days later:

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Virgin Snow by Manic Panic is also a good way to maintain silvery blonde if you want to give your hair a nice overnight treatment. I told Paddy to apply it to her bleached bits once a week and sleep on it (since it’s vegetable dye, it can stay on as long as you want).

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Overall, we were both satisfied with the colour this time. Next step: bleaching the roots to match when they grow in and continuing to lighten!