Blonde Ambition: Steps to Going Platinum at HomeMorgan Shanahan
What’s fun about being on the team at Babble Beauty is that we are made of up beauty fiends from all corners of fiend-ness. We’ve got professional hairstylists, makeup artists, doctors, style bloggers, and stay at home moms, and when you really stir that mix, you get all kinds of fun contradictory philosophies. So while my colleague (and professional hair stylist) Kate recently gave some sage advice for things you should NEVER undertake on your own, I’m here to show you what it looks like when you undertake ALL of them at once.
Ha, no — not really. But I am going to take you along with my on my adventures in at-home hair color. Namely, platinum, the shade that makes professionals itch when you tell them you’re tackling it at home. And I don’t blame them … it’s no easy task. But it is do-able if you’re ballsy and emotionally stable enough to handle a serious disaster that may require professional fixing. (Meaning: DIY color can be budget-friendly when done correctly, but my rule of thumb is to never take on anything drastic at home that you can’t afford to have professionally corrected JUST IN CASE. Unless you legitimately don’t mind walking around looking like a basket case, that is.)
So what exactly, you may be wondering, would have possessed me to tackle such a tenuous undertaking over my own bathroom sink? Well … I was a punk rock teenager turned New York City college student who’d pick up a buck as a hair model every now and again due to my rather lax attitude about the state of my hair. I went through a lot of disasters and bottles of bleach, and I learned from error how far I could push it before my hair turned to cotton candy and I was bleeding from the scalp (that lesson actually came courtesy of a student at Vidal Sassoon, but that’s another story for another day. Spoiler alert — that ends with walking down 5th avenue in tears before shampooing my hair in mayonnaise. Seriously, sometime we’ll talk about that.) Anyway, when I decided I wanted to shed my dark red shade in favor of something in the lavender range, my hair was short enough (like, really short) that I figured, what they heck did I really have to lose? If I screwed it up, I’d be cutting it off in another month anyway. (See…lax attitude about the state of my hair.)
So are you ready? Here’s how you (or rather, how I) tackle platinum at home.
A Trial by Fire Guide 1 of 15
Honestly, I don't think I would have ever worked so hard for this white of a platinum if I hadn't been set on purple hair. But after the last time I touched up my roots, I found myself so enamored with the winter white look that I knew that this fall's lilac hair would be my last.
All that said, please keep in mind that I am the furthest thing from a professional and this should be treated more as an adventure story than a how-to guide. And if you do follow my lead, do so at your own risk. And have fun.
The Tools 2 of 15
After much experimentation, Yellow's 40V developer and L'Oreal's Quick Blue are my personal weapons of choice. (Yes I've made it through a tub before.) My natural hair is a dark blonde and lifts quickly and easily with my biggest challenge being copper/yellow undertones.
It's been my experience that the thicker the mixture the lighter the lift, but that might just be the non-professional advice that gets you a chemical burn on your scalp. I dunno...
*not pictured but very important: RUBBER GLOVES.
Get A Helper To Kick Things Off 3 of 15
Start at the back/top of your head (roots only) and work your way down. Get a good samaritan who doesn't mind huffing bleach (that's my husband, Scott concentrating very hard) to get your hard-to-reach places.
Start at the Root 4 of 15
Here, I'm focusing most of my efforts on my (substantial) roots because the rest of my hair is already bleached (albeit purple) and I don't want it to fall out. According to the bottle of developer, I shouldn't be using 40 Volume for an on-scalp application like this, but I have a very tough scalp.
It Lives! My Natural Hair Color! 5 of 15
I've always wondered what it looked like.
Hi, I’m That Thing under Your Bed 6 of 15
Here's me letting my roots develop while my ends fly free.
Pull Through Ends 7 of 15
About 10 minutes before your color is done, pull it through the ends if you're doing a root job like I am. This gave it just enough time to remove some of the purple I had in there without disintegrating my hair completely (no seriously, it can do that.)
Kids Are Not Good with Bleach 8 of 15
She is cute, but I kicked her out. She kept saying, "Oh Mommy, now you're going to have yellow hair like me."
Not if I can help it, kiddo.
Something Is Not Right 9 of 15
Pink. Yellow. Not platinum.
That means I wait three days and try again.
Round One Result 10 of 15
Here's what it looked like after it had fully dried, moments before I went for roots round two.
They Call Me Mellow Yellow 11 of 15
Canary is the enemy of platinum.
Roots Round Two 12 of 15
This time, it's just the roots. Careful. Keep the ends clear.
No Pulling Through! 13 of 15
Leave those ends alone. At least, if your ends are like mine. Once you've got your color where you want it, rinse.
Toner 14 of 15
Punky Colour's Platinum Toner is my fave. You can basically just slather it all over. It evened out my color like WOW.
The After 15 of 15
Ahhhhhh....I love a good platinum. I'll probably do another round of toning for good measure, but I'm pretty happy with my winter white.
Since you asked... No! My hair doesn't feel brittle or gross or anything! I use Unite's Argan Oil spritz on it while it's still wet and comb it through. Once it's dry, it's shiny, smooth, and cooperative.
And that's it! My adventure in platinum.