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Not Born Blonde?

Tips on how to lighten your hair for non-blondes

Author: Rebecca Prescott November 23 2006

a blonde Doris Day smiling

Lightening your hair can be a great way to change our look and reflect a different outlook. Or bring in the summer, or herald a new job or period in your life. If you can't afford to go to a salon, try these tips on how to lighten your hair to avoid brassy and badly damaged hair.

* When doing regrowth, don't apply all the hair color to all of your head. Follow the instructions on the packet, which always say to apply color first to the roots, for a specified period of time. Then, apply the lightener to the rest of your hair. If you don't do this, you will end up effectively dissolving the ends of your hair. And even the parts of the hair shaft that don't quite get to that stage will be severely weakened and quite likely to break off very easily.

You may need a friend to help you lighten your hair, but at least the extra effort will mean you have a better looking color, and better hair condition.

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* Use a brush and section the hair. Its much easier to apply the lightener evenly this way. Use clips to keep the rest of your hair out of the way whilst you work on each section.

* Hair needs to be in reasonably good condition to take peroxide based lighteners, especially if you are going for a look that is a lot lighter than your natural or base hair color. Use protein treatments to strengthen your hair first, if its not in good condition. Or go for a few highlights to complement your cut instead. And remember to use intensive moisturizing treatments afterwards, as well. You can alternate the two every week for a few weeks. Then, if your hair no longer needs strengthening, stop using the protein treatment. You will most likely need to use the moisture treatment still, though.

* If you want a sun kissed look - go for a color that is only 1 or 2 shades lighter than your natural hair color. Get a friend to help you, and 'weave' the highlights through your hair. The trick is not to have the color looking too chunky. You could try going for a weave effect by mimicking the way a loom moves through a rug when it is made.

Using the end of a long comb or hair coloring brush, move it over and under a section of hair, picking out the hair that is left on the top of the handle. Then, with a piece of aluminum foil handy, put the hair on the foil and apply the hair lightener. This is what hairdressers do to get a subtle and blended effect.

* If you want to go quite a lot lighter than your natural or base shade, you may need to do it gradually. Dark hair can be difficult to lighten, at least if you want to keep any sort of condition and length to your style. So you may need to compromise first and go for more of a caramel color, and then go through a process of using protein and moisture treatments weekly for a month to strengthen your hair again.

When applying lightener the first time, follow the instructions on the packet, and test your hair at regular intervals. You'll need to test both for color and condition. Rub the ends of part of your hair to see how light it is getting, and also to see whether it disintegrates at all. If it starts to disintegrate or break off, you'll need to wash out the hair lightener, no matter how many gold or orange tones are left. This is where a semi permanent caramel color will come in. Apply this all over your hair once you've washed out the peroxide based lightener. Then use two treatments every week, a protein and a moisture treatment, for about a month.

Then you can try again. But be careful when doing your regrowth. Follow the instructions for applying color to regrowth otherwise you will severely damage your hair.

Don't sacrifice too much hair condition for lighter hair. Work with your hair so you end up looking a million dollars, instead of ten!

About the Author

Rebecca has qualifications in shiatsu and computer programming, and has a lifelong interest in spiritual development and consciousness integration. See her site: http://www.vitaminstohealth.com

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