First of all, some exciting warnings: bleach is not a very pleasant substance. It doesn't dye your hair white, instead it opens up the cuticles and zaps all of the colour already in there. Bleach can be very damaging for your hair and will continue processing and processing until you stop it; always keep an eye on the clock! The bleach powder (what you will get in most kits) should not be inhaled, it is nasty stuff! You want to keep the bleach on your hair and not on your scalp, and make sure you don't get any in your eyes (if you do the solution is a lot of water and possible a trip to hospital!). If you have broken skin/cuts on your scalp we'd recommend you leave off with the bleach until it is healed!
Now on to the bleaching! Mix up your bleach as per the instructions. With the Manic Panic Flash Lightning we sell on Rowdydow, it's best to put in a bit of powder and a bit of developer at a time else it can become a bit of a nightmare to mix. Once it's at the delicious creamy stage you are ready to apply. Gloves on!
Strand tests are often overlooked (it's part of the fun with hair dying..!) but it's very important with bleaching. Put some bleach on a few strands of hair and keep an eye on it, once it's as light as you want you'll know that's how long you should leave the bleach on the rest of your head. All bleach kits come with example times too, make sure you're not going way over any of these times.
Heat is a cataylst for bleach and your head pumps out a lot of heat, for this reason you should do your roots last - they will process a lot quicker! Use a tinting brush to apply the bleach; you can use hair clips to keep your hair out of the way. If you have long hair, make sure it doesn't flop down and spang you in the eye with bleach (that has happened to me). Don't be afraid of dipping your (gloved) hands into the bleach and applying it by hand. Finally paint your roots as close to your scalp as you can.
It's often helpful to have a friend (or two mirrors) to check if you've completely covered all the areas you want to. Once you're fully covered, pop a plastic bag on your head! There's a nice little plastic hat in the Manic Panic boxes, but we find any carrier bag will do. It keeps the heat in.
Sit down and relax for the time your strand test dictated. It's not abnormal for your head to tingle and itch a bit, but if it starts to hurt - wash it off straight away. You can always have another go, or visit a salon if you're scalp is very sensitive and needs a special touch!
Finally- wash it all out! Keep going until you're sure all the bleach is out of your hair - and watch your eyes during this process.
Any questions? Email email@example.com and ask; we're not qualified hair stylists, nor are we expert scientists, but we know a lot about dying hair and are always happy to help! Also - if you are in need of urgent help - most bleach boxes will have contact details on the side.
Tutorial written by Steve Guntrip. ©2010. Do not use these images or text without prior permission.