bleaching your hair: salon vs home

So about a month-ish or so ago, I got over whatever fears or trepidations I had, and bleached my hair. I did it in the comfort of my own home, and was really happy with the results. But then all of a sudden my hair grew and my oh-so dark roots were showing.

So, I could attempt to do my roots myself, or find a salon and get it done professionally. For this round, I chose the latter. The results were great. Though, well, I went to a student salon to save money but it took 4 hours to get everything done.

But for those curious about possibly going blonde yourself — or bleaching so you can do something crazy like blue or pink or lavender — here’s my thoughts on going to a salon vs doing it at home.

Salon: someone who’s trained who can actually see the back of your head.

Home: you can sit and watch tv or do dishes or whatever from the comfort of your couch while everything is setting. The bleach/lightener takes anywhere from half hour to an hour to process, sometimes longer. And at least at home you’ll have your backup glasses that you don’t mind wearing with all that gunk on your head so you can actually read something.

Salon: professional grade products. you know they’ll work.

Home: the box kits actually work. it might take more than one, but they do indeed work.

Salon: professional stylist, professional product, professional price. It was $45 at the student salon, and had I not been there before for other services I probably wouldn’t trust them with bleaching for my first service. But everything went well. Other salons in the area, I was told it’d start at $80 and that’s the cheapest quote I got. For hair this short, not really worth that price. And that’s all before tipping.

Home: box kits run between $10-20 each. I spent about $19 on mine and as I mentioned, the results were pretty good. There was some brassiness even after the second kit, but it didn’t look bad.

Salon: toning. Toning. Toning. Toning. Yes, box kits come with toners, but they’re not as awesome as the options you can get in the salon. And they can make sure it’s even throughout, because they can actually see all of your hair without awkward mirror tricks.

Home: you get to rinse in your shower. I mean, you can use your sink if you want to, but I prefer using my shower because there’s no awkward craning of your neck.

Salon: having someone else wash your hair and give you a head massage. This could simply be one of the best reasons to ever go to a salon. (However, I seriously feel like I have a bruise on the back of my skull from the salon sink…)

Home: no one tries to sell you product you don’t need. Seriously, $21 for shampoo? It’s not even a full-sized bottle.

bleaching your hair from brown to blonde, salon vs home

Natural. 1st Kit. 2nd Kit. Salon. (all with bad lighting and no makeup)

There’s pros and cons to both. I absolutely do not regret bleaching my hair at home. But yes, when it came to my roots, it was a lot easier going to a salon. Honestly, there’s always a slight risk you’re going to fry your hair when you bleach it. And it’s going to take a lot of conditioning treatment to get it back to those healthy locks you had before. But it is possible to do that on your own.

Products I used or am currently using:
L’Oreal Paris Super Blonde Crème Lightening Kit, Medium Brown to Darkest Brown bleach kit – This took my super dark brown hair to a brassy blonde. Not perfect for final color, but strips the color away perfectly.
L’Oreal Paris Feria Absolute Platinums – Extreme Platinum – This one had toner, works better on lighter hair, so I wouldn’t start with this one. But I loved the color this gave me, even if parts were still a little brassy.
Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Shampoo – so my student stylist said products like this (basically anything you can get outside of a salon) you’re just paying for the fragrance and it doesn’t really do much to repair your hair, but frankly I’ve seen good results with this before and after bleaching. My hair isn’t as thick as it once was, and this keeps it nice and fluffy. When I’m not using this, I’m using Pantene Pro-V Color Preserve Volume Shampoo.
L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner 12.6 FL OZ – Works wonders I tell you. My hair was brittle and dry after bleaching and this made it feel incredible silky right away and it stayed that way until my next wash. No other product I’ve tried has done that yet.

My Tips for Home:
Invest in a dying brush. They’re only about a $1 at beauty supply stores. Also, make sure you stop by the dollar store to get a cheap plastic bowl for the product. Box kits come with the bottle applicator, which is fine for over all, but with roots it could be tough… And I found the brassy areas to be the ones where the product just wasn’t applied thickly. And yes, apply it on really thick. Don’t paint it on. Using a plastic cap will help use your own body heat to speed up the process some, but don’t use a blow drier. For the days following your bleaching, skip the shampoo (at least for the first day) and only use conditioner. And even though you’ve essentially stripped most of the pigment from your hair, color preserve products will still help keep your hair healthy. And give your hair some time to heal between treatments or dyes. Doing too much at once is a surefire way to fry your hair. If you have a friend who’s willing to help, you could totally do your roots at home too. Make a salon party out of it or something.

*L’Oreal totally did not sponsor this post or contact me about it or anything. It just total coincident that almost all of the products, including that $21 shampoo I’m not sure why I bought, were L’Oreal. But that said, if L’Oreal would like to send me more of their products to try, I’d gladly accept.