Going Blonde: Salon Quality Highlights at Home for Under $20

Going blonde is tricky, and if finances are not an issue, it really is a process best left to professionals. That said, if money is tight, and facing another day with the same blah locks is truly too much to bear, it might be time to take matters into your own hands.

The Right Products

When doing hair, high-quality products are essential. The only place to find salon caliber products is at a beauty supply store, such as Sally’s Beauty. While the kits sold at the local drugstore are certainly convenient, there’s a reason why hairdressers cringe at the very sight of these boxes. The pre-packaged products are watered down and inferior versions of their beauty supply store cousins.

Choosing a Color

First, choose either a semi-permanent or permanent color. For anyone wishing to go significantly lighter (three shades or more) a permanent color is best. All of the big name brands (Revlon, Loreal, Wella) make permanent color, and any one of them should deliver quality long lasting color.

Next, decide how light to go. There will likely be several shades that appear almost identical to one another. This is where it helps to know a little something about undertones.

The undertone is listed on the front of the bottle, as either blue/violet or gold/yellow. A blue/violet undertone will result in a cool, ashy blonde. A gold/yellow will give more of a honey sun-kissed blonde.

When in doubt, think of what colors tend to look best with your complexion. If you look better in cooler pastels, choose the blue/violet base. If you look great in warm oranges and reds, choose the yellow/gold base.

Tools of the Trade

After choosing a hair color, it’s time to choose a developer. Developer is just another name for bleach, and it comes in various strengths: 10, 20, 30, 40 volume, with 10 being the mildest and 40 being the strongest. For blondes, a 30 or 40 volume bleach is needed to lift existing color.

In addition, pick up a highlighting cap, a highlighting brush, a bowl to mix and measure ingredients, and a plastic pick (to pull hair through cap).

Back Home

Pull cap snug and tight over head. Take highlighter pick and poke through the cap, snagging a chunk of hair and dragging it through the cap. This will take a little practice. Make sure the whole strand comes through – from root to tip. For subtle highlights, pull a dozen chunks of hair through the cap. For dramatic highlights, use most of the pre-printed holes in the cap.

It may be helpful to ask for help with the back – it’s possible to do alone, but the process will go smoother with an extra set of hands to reach the tricky spots.

Dyeing Hair

When done pulling hair through cap, it is time to mix the color. Follow the directions carefully – approximately 2 oz color to 2-4 oz developer.

Next, paint the strands with the highlighter brush. Apply cover thoroughly and evenly.

When all strands are covered, allow color to remain on hair for approximately 45-minutes. Everyone’s hair is different and developing times vary, so be sure about the color before rinsing.

After rinsing, apply a good quality conditioner, dry, and style.

The End Result

When there is extra room in the budget, a trip to the salon is worth the expense. But for those lean times when the salon is simply out of the question, it is possible to get great results at home for less than $20 dollars.

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