I know what you're thinking: xoVain isn't short on blonde stories. Our very own Kara, Alyssa, Sam and of course, Sable have all had shades of platinum to die for--so why add another "blonde hair, don't care" article to the mix?
Well, like the beautiful Sable's, my natural hair color is pitch black--and going from black to blonde ain't easy. Instead of going for a chop, I wondered if it was possible to keep the length without looking like I stuck my finger in a socket.
If artificial blonde, long, and healthy-ish hair wasn't just a pipe dream, then and only then, would I share the tricks with y'all.
To prepare for the platinum plunge, I had to do my research. Of course, I did what any sane Asian person would do: I stalked blonde Asians for inspiration and to see what was in the realm of possibility for my own hair.
I am no stranger to bleach. In high school, my hair was DIY'd all colors of the rainbow, but that was when having blue hair far outweighed the fact that my hair felt like straw.
On top of the dryness that bleach can bestow, Asian hair carries an added risk. Red/orange undertones lurk beneath the brunette. There are tons of salons that specialize in Asian hair in my native Toronto, but after an intensive round of Google-fu, all signs pointed to Hannah of H2GOA.
After perusing her Instagram, I quickly made an appointment in hopes of going platinum and keeping it healthy-looking.
Did it work? Yes! Here’s how it went.
I arrived at the salon at 1 p.m. and Hannah assessed my hair. Armed with photos of my hairspiration (Amy Pham, what's up?), she went to work. The proceedings, which involved double bleach processing (bleaching once, rinsing, bleaching again), took eight hours. Word of advice: if you're going from dark to light at a salon, bring snacks. Luckily, my lady love, Zoe, was around to do just that.
By the end of the day, I was orange.
Hannah told me not to worry, as she wasn't finished properly toning and that my hair was super stubborn and needed a third round of bleach in the morning. Of course, the neurotic in me went into panic mode, shaking and crying all the way home, which I totally advise--especially on public transportation.
I returned to the salon the next day, baseball cap in tow, praying for a miracle. Luckily, Hannah is an Asian hair whisperer and bleached my hair one more time (in conjunction with using loads of hair treatment), followed by a toner that reduced all things brassy.
The results? Not quite platinum but getting there! Hannah really worked her magic and was definitely a miracle worker. My hair was extremely stubborn when it came to lifting color, but she still managed to win the two-day battle.
The most surprising part is my hair doesn't feel like it's been through hell and back. Hannah says that hair is like skin: just as the right moisturizers can keep flakes at bay, hair can be coaxed into looking healthy again. And apart from some scraggly end bits that were always a bit dodgy, my hair actually feels pretty similar to when I started.
My Platinum Preservation Secrets
I don't wash it as often (once every three days) and I use John Frieda Sheer Blonde Color Renew Tone-Correcting Shampoo and Conditioner. This keeps the brassiness at bay, but if I'm being completely honest, my hair is so orange underneath the toner that brassiness does creep up and only a toner can fix it.
For treatments, I've been using Inebreya Ice Cream Color Mask and Lush's H'Suan Wen Hua, which are doing a pretty good job at moisturizing and keeping hair feeling like hair.
I also finish with John Frieda Sheer Blonde Brightening Oil Elixir to keep frizziness in check and Lush Shine So Bright Split End Treatment to keep my ends less fried.
Apart from having to use a boatload of hairspray to keep my usual hot roller curls in and adding oils when necessary, there's not much difference in the upkeep. Unless you hate roots, which are unavoidable.
I think I will definitely keep taking the color up a notch, slowly whitening it to a Marilyn-level blonde.
My advice? If you are thinking of taking the platinum plunge, go for it, but do your research. Bleach can be hard on your hair and it can end in disaster. Find someone who has worked with your hair type before and ask questions! To my fellow Asian ladies, there might be a LOT of orange under your hair, so be prepared for multiple bleach sessions.
Have you ever been tempted by bleach? How have your drastic bleaching attempts fared?