How to dye hair white blonde
There's nothing more dramatic than white hair - but it's one of the hardest looks to create and mantain. Here's how to do it, from bleaching to purple toner and upkeep afterwards.
Start with hair that's as healthy as possible.
The process of dyeing your hair white blonde is heavy on the peroxide bleach, so give your locks a fighting chance. If your hair is dry or brittle, perk it up with a deep conditioning treatment. You can also use home remedies to condition damaged hair. If you've just come out of a bad hair dye experience, condition it and allow it to rest before going onto the next step.
First - bleach your hair
The first thing you need to do with your hair is to bleach it - to strip the colour out and get it as light as possible. Hair bleach is not the same as dye. It's no good just getting a light blonde hair dye - you really need to bleach your hair first. The initial bleaching process will make your hair various shades from slightly orangey to pale yellow, depending on if you started from a dark hair colour (black, brunette) or a light one (red, fair, blonde). Don't be afraid - this isn't the finished result!
Any shade of pale yellow is fine. If your hair ends up dark orange (which may happen if you have very dark hair) then give your hair a rest, ideally for a week with hair conditioning treatments here and there, then bleach it again.
You can get bleaches with toners in (toners strip out the colour from your hair). That's fine. It doesn't mean you won't need toners later, but it will help get your hair as cleanly white as possible.
To bleach: Follow the instructions on the packet, obviously. Ideally, leave it in until you have either very light blonde hair or white - but don't leave it in longer than an hour because by then the bleach may be inactive. To speed the process, cover all your hair with a plastic bag to keep the heat in.
One hairdresser's suggestion, though we've not tested it: Wipe off the bleach and reapply new bleach every twenty minutes (just do this a couple of times) to combat the brassiness, because bleach stops working after a bit.
If you have the money, consider going to a salon for the first bleaching to make sure it's done as professionally and in as kind a way to your hair as possible. Then you can bleach the roots yourself at home as needed.
If you're still not sure, see the Mookychick messageboard advice on bleaching hair.
Mookychick recommends the following bleaches:
- Stargazer Bleach & Peroxide Kit
- L'Oreal Quick Blue - lightens a lot, doesn't damage too much
- Clairol Born Blonde Ultra Blue - it's almost salon-grade stuff. It contains some toner, so you're more likely to avoid the annoying orange effect.
Next - dye your hair light blonde
You only need to do this step if you're aiming for platinum blonde. If you're going for full silver / white, you can skip it and go straight onto the next step - the purple toner (see below).
In a perfect world, you'll have a weekend free to bleach on saturday, get orangey-yellow hair in various shades, give your hair a bit of a rest (and a hair conditioning treatment) and then dye it light blonde on sunday. In real life, of course, things don't always work that way. So long as you've taken care to condition and love your hair before starting, and promise yourself to keep your hair moisturised and conditioned from now on, you should be fine.
After you've done the base bleach, dye your hair with a light blonde. This will remove further traces of warm colour from your hair, and get the overal dye job lighter and more even in shade.
Next - remove all traces of colour with purple toner
Don't be concerned by the sound of it - purple toner won't dye your hair purple. The important word here is 'toner'. It'll negate any traces of brassy yellow blonde. Even if you dyed your hair light ash blonde, quite a cool greyish shade, you'll still need purple toner to get the look heading towards white. It may take a few tonings to achieve the look you want. You won't be able to dye your hair white blonde without a toner - it's what makes all the difference.
If you're very dedicated, you can test the toner first on a few strands of hair to find out how long it would take to get the shade you want. However, we accept that you might be feeling too enthusiastic and experimental to bother with a strand test.
You can go for a 30 or 40 volume developer. If your hair is brittle and weak, or if you have dyed it very recently, go for a 30 volume developer. Slow and easy wins the race. If you want to tone your hair to silver, stick with the toner. If you're more about the platinum blonde than a silvery white, you can dilute the toner (eg. mix 2 ounces of 20 volume developer with 1 ounce toner).
Special Effects, Manic Panic and Directions are all vegetable-based hairdye companies so their toners are on the natural side (well, as natural as punk hairdye gets!).
Mookychick recommends the following purple toners:
Shampoo off the toner with a shampoo for blondes
To keep the (lack of) colour for as long as possible, you can buy special shampoos and conditioners made specifically for blondes. If they look a little bit blueish or purple (the shampoo/conditioner, not the bottle) they're perfect - they'll tone out the colour and make sure your white blonde hair doesn't go brassy too quickly if you wash with them on a regular basis.
Mookychick recommends the following toner-based shampoos / shampoos for blondes:
DIY Beauty - finally, rinse your hair with white vinegar
Rinse off with a mixture of cold water and distilled white vinegar. The vinegar helps the toner color stay longer.
Maintaining your beautiful new white blonde hair
Your hair will now be as pure as snow, but very thirsty and dry, so give it a little conditioning hair treatment. Also, why not start including DIY beauty for natural hair into your regular hair care habits?
Even if you didn't get round to buying special 'blondes' shampoo in time for the process of dyeing your hair white blonde, do ensure you have some to hand for washing your hair from now on. You've put such love into your ice white hair - you want the effect to last as long as possible. Use your specialised toner shampoo at least weekly for upkeep. You can save money if you wash alternately with standard and toner shampoo to make the more expensive stuff last as long as possible.
Lastly, don't forget this beautiful look is high-maintenance. Expect to have to redye your roots blonde every four to six weeks. The white blonde effect will last around three weeks.
You may also like: How to dye black hair blonde