Any bleach addict can tell you that peroxide + human hair = spaghetti hair = eventual disintegration of all hairs. If you've ever wanted to watch hair turn into goo, seriously, just put straight bleach on it and wait.
But if you were not born blond and would like to be blond in varying degrees of Khaleesi, you're going to have to go under the bleach, and it will ruin your hair, also in varying degrees. But on the upside, if all goes well, you'll have the flaxen hue of your dreams.
A bit about how bleach works: usually hydrogen peroxide, ammonia or a combination of both are the lightening agents used to zap the pigment from your hair via oxidation. It lifts the hair's cuticle (imagine that the hair shaft is protected by microscopic fish scales made of keratin) and penetrates to lighten the entire hair strand through to the core. Since the cuticle is raised, the hair strand becomes swollen — which is why bleached hair might appear more voluminous — and porous.
Porosity is where the breakage comes in. If your hair is like one line in a game of Red Rover, porosity would be where the weak hand-holders are. Any further trauma from chemicals, physical stress or heat will just cause the hands to part, so to speak, and that's why your hair breaks. Bleaching hair makes it porous and porous hair is brittle and breaks easily.
So, what can be done?
I've found that the best thing that works for me are protein treatments. Nothing can really replace your hair's bonds (hair is a dead substance anyhow), but protein fillers can squat themselves in those porous spaces in your hair to hold it together a bit more strongly.
However, my colorist, Elizabeth at Cutler Salon, did warn me about overdoing it with protein treatments, which can have the counter-effect of further damaging your hair if you go too hard and too often.
Platinum hair shouldn't be shampooed that often. It doesn't exactly need it anyway, since my hair is so porous that it soaks up whatever oil that comes out of my scalp like it was a glistening oasis in the chemical scorch of its wake. But also, shampoo detergents are harsh and drying.
Switching to a cleansing conditioner put my hair leagues in better shape. Pureology is great for chemically treated hair and delivers pretty much what it promises. Their Strength Cure Cleansing Conditioner was made for my kind of hair — it feels like a conditioner and doesn't lather, but it has a nice tingly sensation on my scalp and just cleans surface dirt and oil while leaving whatever moisture my hair has left intact.
Their Miracle Filler Treatment is a liquid spray I use on towel-dried hair, and it makes my hair literally feel like hair again — less like spaghetti or taffy. As the name suggests, it fills in the porous bits in my hair and acts as a light conditioner to strengthen and soften my hair overall. Also, it's really great as heat protection, should I subject my hair to heat styling, every now and then.
I spontaneously purchased this ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment in a sample pack, which also came with its second-step conditioner, but then quickly purchased this bottle after one use. It's a strange kind of treatment since you apply it to towel-dried hair, saturate and comb it in, and then let it dry to the point of hardening (you can speed this up with a hair dryer on low, which I did) before rinsing it out. After that, conditioner.
With one use, my hair felt a hundred times stronger; it was a palpable difference when I ran my hand through my hair and didn't come out with, like, eight strands wound around my fingers.
However, an un-ignorable caveat of this product is the smell. It smells like a butt that just will not quit, being a butt and butting around. Seriously, it is just so uniquely butt-smelling. But it doesn't linger after rinsing, so no harm no foul. But man oh man... butts.
Davines gets enough lip service around these parts, but for real, as you can probably tell from this practically empty container, this stuff rules. The Nourishing Hair Building Pak is like butter for your hair — and it smells divine. It has polyphenols, which help to combat further oxidation, and keratin to strengthen.
It works best as a hair mask. I apply it after shampooing, blot with a towel (crucial step) and then glop this on and hang out for 20 minutes before rinsing. Seriously, it's a hair fluff cycle and makes my hair crazy-soft. Crazy, I say!
Of course, being platinum, there's going to be some purple stuff involved. I find that color-depositing conditioners work way better than toning shampoos, presumably because you leave them on longer so they have more time to sink. That can be a good and a bad thing, depending on whether your hair clings to the color more so in different areas, leaving you with lavender highlights (which frankly, I don't mind; they rinse out in a week).
This, however, is a toning rinse from BLNDN, which as you guessed, specializes in blonde color care, namely by fighting oxidation. I'm into this because it doesn't leave as much color as my other color conditioners would, so I never really had any obvious lavender stains (it is a rinse, after all). As a conditioner it's quite light, but has some nice nourishing ingredients like camellia leaf extract, murumuru butter, and pomegranate seed oil.
Okay, I as well as the rest of the bleached world will expound upon the virtues of coconut oil for your hair. It's seriously the best hair moisturizer around. And what's better is this one which is rose-scented.
I believe the coconut oil used is virgin/unrefined since there's also a strong coconut scent to it and it's got some curdy bits (unlike the refined coconut oil I use for cooking), but the smell is freakin' heaven, you guys. I stumbled upon this in a Whole Foods and bought it even though I have two jars of coconut oil at home. I am rich in coconut oil now.
I'll apply this to the ends of my hair after towel-drying it, and it air-dries with just the right amount of texture. Usually in the mornings, I'll spritz my hair with water just to get rid of the weird bends/squish marks from my pillow and then rub a bit of this in my hands and twist sections of my hair to give it light texture and hydration. Styling and hydrating in one rosy, coconut-y grease.
I know some of you were curious about platinum hair care (seriously, just search platinum blond on this site and BAM — it's an education), but everyone's hair reacts differently to treatments, so you might be white-blonde and your hair is totally fine (witch!), but platinum is not the easiest hair color to maintain by far, so there's always more stuff out there that can help. Like this!
- Have I covered all your blond queries? Wilt thou be satisfied? WILT THOU??
- But seriously, got any other good breakage tips? I've never really done the "natural" route of avocado or mayonnaise (seems gross/smelly/meh) but if anyone can vouch for putting food on my head, I'd be willing to give it a shot.