In the two months since I bleached my hair platinum at home, I’ve learned a lot about life on the lighter side—and it's a mixed bag, to say the least. Going super-blonde affects many aspects of your life, especially if you’re as shallow and hair-obsessed as I am!
Considering taking the platinum plunge? Here's what you should know:
1. Bleach Is a Lifestyle—and It's Addictive
Once you're platinum, you begin to obsess about your hair way, way too much. A lot of my time is now taken up by thinking about when I should next tone my hair or re-touch it, and planning when to actually buy the bleach—basically fitting my life AROUND my hair's needs. I literally crave my root touch-ups; the tingling on my scalp and even the smell is just so addictive.
The odd thing is that the bleach still scares me, even now. Bleach is so thick and fast-acting, and unless you’re super-speedy with the application you can get a mishmash of white, yellow and gold tones. I still get panicky when I apply it—I absolutely NEED to have someone helping me or I would have a complete breakdown halfway through the application. It would be pitiful if I didn’t love it so much. But I do, so the insanity continues!
2. Your Hairstyle Must Be On Point 24/7
Platinum hair can so easily cross the line from expensively chic to trailer-park trashy. I've learned it must always be styled, otherwise it’ll just look cheap. For girls, I find platinum hair looks best when the style is a bit imperfect, such as sleek and slightly tousled. For guys, a little bit of bedhead is the way to go; look to surfers and go from there.
As a general rule of thumb, if it's too perfect, it’ll look odd unless you’re a model. I have to style my hair in my regular quiff every day, which luckily isn’t too labour-intensive, but consider how much time you have for styling before making the switch.
3. Purple Shampoo Will Be Your New Best Friend
I have an obsession with purple shampoo. I harp on about it quite a bit, but it really is essential. Life in general wants to kick your white hair in the ass, so you need to be ON it! A good rule of thumb is to use purple shampoo every second wash. Leave it in for a bit in the shower to work its magic, then condition as usual.
For an extra bit of brass banishment, mix some purple shampoo with a white conditioner and leave it in for 15 minutes as a toning mask treatment. Which leads me to my next point…
4. Conditioned Platinum Hair = Chic Platinum Hair
Besides purple shampoo, a proper restorative deep conditioner is a must-have for every faux blonde’s arsenal. Now, I’m a home hair colourist for a reason, and that reason is I have very limited funds. Even so, I really can’t justify spending anything over £5 ($9) for a conditioner. As long as it makes my hair look and feel great, I’m not too bothered if it's just hiding the problem.
I love the Bleach London Reincarnation Mask because you get loads with the Total Bleach Kit, or it's £6 to buy it separately. And I genuinely feel like it IS repairing the damage, whether caused by the bleaching or heat-styling.
For an even cheaper option, I also really like Dove’s Intensive Repair range.
5. You’ll Feel Different... But You’ll Probably Like It
Having platinum hair has a strange effect on how you feel. Maybe it's all that brightness around my face, or the fact that I know I stand out, but being platinum makes me feel happier and more confident. People look twice because it's not a natural look—it's completely UNnatural, but in the best way possible. The attention is kinda addictive! Platinum isn’t for wallflowers; it's for the extroverts, so think about whether or not you would be comfortable being looked at.
6. Platinum Is Polarizing
The people in your life will have really strong opinions about your platinum hair because it's such a dramatic look. The first time I returned to work post-bleach, my colleagues took to calling me a Blonde Bombshell; at college, I was Silver Fox! Friends surprised both me and themselves by liking it, but some couldn’t hide their disdain—one in particular demanded I change it back immediately, with a face of disgust to boot.
But don't put too much stock into what others say. At the end of the day, if it makes you feel good, you’ll look good, too!
7. Your Style Will Evolve Out Of Necessity
One thing in particular I’ve found with the platinum hair is that it's not particularly versatile. When choosing what to wear, you’ll probably gravitate a lot more towards chic, sharp, black clothing. Something about the contrast between the white hair and the black clothes looks so effortlessly stylish. When wearing my comfy-casual go-to (ripped jeans and red plaid shirt), my hair looked a little out of place, as if the combo didn’t make sense. Bright pops of colour with black or white works well though, as well as jeans with a black or white top. Play with it and have fun. You’ll figure out what looks good and what doesn’t as you go on.
8. Bleach Creates a Blank Canvas for Other Colours
Another wonderful thing about having bleach-blonde hair is that you effectively have a blank canvas on your head—so USE IT. It can be as subtle as opting for a wash of silvery grey, snowy white or pastel lilac, but you can totally indulge any whim to change up your colour at a moment's notice. Want to be pink for a week? Do it!
If, like me, your job hinders you from pulling a Nicole Richie, it at least makes the choice easier to stay icy platinum!
9. Platinum Could Be Better For Your Skin Tone Than You Think
My number one concern in going platinum was that it would wash me out big time, but I was wrong! If anything, it has enhanced my skin tone, and it works really well with dark brows (mine are naturally almost black). I’ve had compliments that it makes me look more glowy and tanned, perhaps because of the contrast between the icy white and my warmish-neutral skin colour. Plus, the platinum really makes my blue eyes pop compared to my previous highlighted blonde.
10. Roots May Not Be The Enemy After All
The beauty industry’s vendetta against roots has eased off a little in the last few years with the emergence of Ombré, and in some cases they are becoming a style choice—you can pay to have roots painted IN rather than dyed away!
I've personally found that I really like having a bit of dark regrowth. At the same time, I love the weird look of the completely white, Nordic blonde you get straight after bleaching, so it's really up to your preference.
The only thing to consider is that when you bleach your roots, the heat from your scalp speeds up the lightening process, achieving a purer white. If you leave it too long between touch-ups, your roots will be white, the rest of your hair will be white, but in the middle, you’ll get a yellow band where there was no natural heat to speed up the development. I’d say a month to six weeks is the maximum.
11. You’ll Likely Need New Makeup (and More Of It)
Now, I don’t personally wear any makeup, save for a bit of concealer now and then, but a friend of mine who has been platinum for almost a year has some choice words about this.
"Platinum hair is without a doubt the only way to go if you want a change but makeup becomes very tricky," says Heather. "There is already a fine line between 'bronzed' and 'orange', and that line becomes even thinner. Your best bet is to go to a makeup counter and ask them what colour foundation/powder/bronzer you should use. because it's very easy to get it wrong with platinum locks and a professional opinion is always helpful. I'd recommend buying a foundation which is slightly too light for your skin, but not so much that it looks odd. A lot of hassle, I know, but totally worth it.”
By the way, red lips and white hair are a match made in heaven! Heather recommends Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick by Kate Moss in the brightest red you can find!
12. When Being Platinum Blonde, There Is ONLY Platinum Blonde
The thing about being platinum is that once you go there, it really does feel like it's the ONLY colour you could possibly have. It's a strange trance and how long it lasts completely varies. As Erika Bearman told Vogue.com, hers lasted only a few months: “I loved it, and then one day it was over for me. Having dark hair again, it’s almost like it never happened.”
I'll keep you posted on when I reach that stage!
Have Your Say
Are you considering platinum blonde?
Or have you already been there?
Do you think platinum life would suit you?