Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hair Color Adventures: Bleaching Over Henna

Hi everyone! So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I recently decided that my hair color had gotten too dark, so I sought to bleach it.

As someone who's taken excruciating care to avoid damaging processes like heat styling, using styling aids, and using conventional, drying dyes, this was a difficult step for me to take. And rightfully so, considering I'm dealing with a lot of BAQ henna- which is, in general, permanent.

There have been threads on various forums and some reported success with different methods to lighten henna, though removing it completely is incredibly difficult to do. Henna tends to stick around and not want to budge- and by the time you do manage to lift it out, you're left with terribly damaged, dry, lifeless hair.

Even knowing all this, I wanted to color my hair because I didn't really like the cool red my hair had turned. I have been careful to avoid my length during my henna applications, but I was using a high lawsone-content henna, meaning it had a stronger dye and left a redder stain. Even accidentally getting it on the length meant my hair would gradually turn redder and redder. I wanted a warmer, orangey color rather than what my hair was. So, enter bleach.

Before I detail my process, I want to specify that I was careful and strand-tested. I was dealing with high volume developer and there was not a lot of room for something to go wrong. This is crucial- if you have any intention of dyeing over henna in any capacity, you should ALWAYS STRAND TEST AND WAIT. Henna is an unpredictable beast to work with, so it is imperative that you at least get an idea of what your results will be. Sometimes henna will re-darken over several days, which I've found to be true of color removers like Color Oops (Though some people have had success with them)

With that all said, this was my starting color on the left, and the most recent length shot tody

You may notice that it's not really that big of a color shift- and you're right. It's definitely noticeable in certain lighting, and in person, you'd be able to tell.  

The crazy thing about this color change? It took volume 40 developer to get there. 
That tiny lift was over 45 minutes of the strongest developer on my hair. That's a lift most people would never recommend, and that's what I had to do to get that minor color change. That's the reality of henna, my friends.

But let's get to the whole reason why I wrote this blog post. Not because I lightened my hair, but because I have virtually no damage from the bleaching process- that isn't my hair texture changing in the second photo from bleach damage, though are just braid waves because I've been wearing my hair up. 

What?! No damage, you might be wondering? But how, if bleach is so bad for the hair, is that even possible? 

I had read on one of my favorite hair blogs, ktani's hair sense, about a promising theory that coconut oil, applied before the dyeing hair, drastically reduced damage done by dyes. So, using this knowledge, I set out to find out if bleaching my hair might be feasible. But first, I did some strand tests. The strand on the left is the bleached strand, and the strand on the right is the original color. 

I was satisfied with the results of my strand tests, so I set out to replicate them on my whole head. 

First, the day before I was planning to bleach my hair, I did a conditioning rinse to detangle my hair, then I followed it up with a strong clarifying shampoo. I did not condition my hair afterwords, as it would inhibit the coconut oil from being able to properly penetrate the hair. 

I then carefully towel-dried my hair and gently removed any knots by finger detangling. 

After my hair was dried, I then applied the coconut oil. I guess applied is too conservative- I drowned my hair in coconut oil, until it was soaked thoroughly and dripping. I then wrapped it up with a plastic cap and kept it on overnight, for a total of about 9-10 hours. 

The next morning, I did not wash my hair, but did squeeze out some of the excess oil and then mixed up the developer and bleach. I carefully applied (Wearing gloves!!) the bleach to my hair in sections, careful to keep it off my skin and wipe up and drips immediately. I then covered my hair with a processing cap and let it sit for 45 minutes. 

I rinsed my hair, using a diluted shampoo to help make sure the bleach was out of my hair- I did not condition yet, then I towel-dried my hair again. On my hair, I applied a protein treatment for about 30 minutes, covered my hair, and then rinsed it out. I followed up with an SMT (Snowymoon's Moisture Treatment- 4 parts conditioner, 1 part aloe, and 1 part honey) and let it sit for as long as I could stand it. 

After rinsing the moisturizing treatment out of my hair, I applied more conditioner and then towel dried again. When my hair was mostly dry, I applied mineral oil to my hair to keep it manageable. I waited to see if the color would redarken, as henna is known to do sometimes, but luckily, I had no issue with the color reverting! 

The products that helped keep my hair form being completely fried.
Mad props to coconut oil for shielding my hair form the evils of bleach.

Since bleaching, I have been doing light protein treatments followed by SMT and then a good oiling. My hair has shown no new splits, and only a little bit of dryness on the first day, when quickly calmed down after I oiled it. 

My protein treatments of choice have been the ION Reconstructor and the ION Effective Care treatment. The Reconstructor is a more hardcore protein treatment, so I used that one after my bleaching. The Effective Care treatment is a lighter protein treatment that I'd already been using, so I've been using it after every wash, followed by a deep conditioning treatment. 

I think the biggest player in this whole game was the coconut oil soak prior to bleaching. It is important that the coconut oil is able to penetrate the hair, so I was sure to do a good clarifying wash to remove any build-up that might prevent it from doing so. 

Additionally, mineral oil has helped enormously in keeping my hair soft and smooth. I've found that it works the best when I apply it to almost-dry hair. 

So where will I go from here? I still have a bit of the old color hanging onto the top part of my hair, but I would like to allow that to grow out for a little while before I try to treat that, because I don't want to accidentally get bleach on my less-saturated roots. I'll give it a few months, and post another update when I do decide to lighten the rest of the hair. 

I hope you guys found my post informative. If you do choose to bleach your hair after a treatment such as henna, do always remember to strand test. 

Until next time!!

Hairtracker Part 16: November 2015

Hello all- hope you're all staying warm out there, with winter coming up fast!

Today I thought I'd post an update showing my growing progress. About two or three weeks ago, I did a fairly big trim, probably snipping off at least an inch or more of growth. So here I am today, measuring 35"

Braidwaves FTW!

My color's looking a lot brighter- that'd be because I actually went and bleached the parts of my hair from my ears down- there's a noticeable difference between the two colors. The upper part of my head is the 'before'. I'm now using a different henna blend on my roots so my hair won't build up as quickly to that dark red I had before.

I'll detail my process of bleaching my hair in my next post!
It was quite an adventure!

Until then, see you all!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hairtracker Part 15: August 2015

Long time, no see. I've actually been wearing my hair up almost constantly for the last few months because it is just so ridiculously hot right now. So imagine my surprise when I see how long it's gotten since my last length shot a few months ago!!

4 months of growth

I measured it to be about 34"- most definitely hip length, finally!!

I haven't trimmed in a very long time, and I think it's starting to show, so I'll be due for a nice hemline neatening trim here soon. 

I've been playing with a new conditioner- Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner. It's a light, coney conditioner that contains my favorite cones, and it's 1 liter for $6, which is an insanely good deal considering how fast I go through conditioner. 

I'm also experimenting with a regular protein treatment and deep conditioning treatments.

Until next time!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ramblings: Revisiting Tea-Washing and Now Trying Catnip Tea!

I used to wash my hair with green tea- in fact, it's still my most popular post on this blog. 

However, I don't know if I ever really got it down to an art, and eventually gave up on it and just returned to CO-washing. It was very cleansing for me- it left my hair squeaky clean, but it was not moisturizing enough on its own for me to use it without conditioner.

Nowadays, though, I've found how much I love mineral oil- the often-vilified cosmetic ingredient that I feel could totally replace conditioner in my routine (yes, seriously! I love it. Lightweight, performs better than silicones, non-comedogenic, and virtually no buildup? YES PLEASE!). So why not try switching up my routine some more and see if I find new ways to make my hair happy?

Green tea has loads of antioxidants and has numerous benefits to the body. But what about using other forms of green tea? I've wondered about whether something like matcha could give more benefits than regular green tea? (Luckily I have some lower grade food quality matcha that I might just be willing to part with to give it a shot.) 

Additionally, since I started growing catnip in my garden, I've read up more on the benefits that catnip can impart onto the hair. I have tons of catnip at my disposal now and, as I write this, I'm brewing up my first catnip tea to try as a rinse to see if I receive any benefit from it. I'll give it a shot tomorrow and report back! Maybe it can be a new staple in my haircare regimen?

Catnip contains natural oils and can be moisturizing for hair, and it imparts a yellow stain that can brighten up the hair. According to ktani, it can help prevent split ends and works as a very mild cleanser. (Check out ktani's blog- seriously, good information there about catnip and some other really cool methods)

I think I might be willing to give my old tea washing methods another go, provided I can figure out a way to tweak it so that I can derive the most benefit from it. 

I'll be sure to write more about my tea adventures!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hairtracker Part 14: April 2015

Hello, everyone!

I just wanted to pop in and say, yes, I'm still growing strong! (Or long, as it would be)
Here's an update on my progress-

I'm at about 32.5"! Just about an inch away from being solidly hip!

My routine's slightly changed since I read up on the wonderful properties of mineral oil (Thanks to the fantastic blog, ktani's hair sense) and how it can provide superior detangling, defrizzing, and smoothing benefits. I lightly apply a couple of drops onto slightly-damp or dry hair, then go about my day! I like it so far- still trying to see if it's going to be a permanent fixture in my routine or not. But so far, so good. Less tangles, less breakage, and my hair's more manageable. I can actually wear it down sometimes! (Not that I want to- it's getting too hot, heh)

See you next time! Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hairtoy Haul: Kiev Giftshop

Hello, hello!

Today I thought I'd shine the spotlight on a lesser-known hairtoy maker- one that only popped up on my radar thanks to the LHC. That seller is kievgiftshop on etsy.

I looked through as was impressed by the beautiful painted wooden forks and combs (and headbands!) for sale in their shop. I've never really had a hairfork- for the most part, I've mostly limited myself to sticks and clips.

However, one day, I found this fork for sale and knew I wanted to give it a shot- they're not particularly expensive, even with shipping from Ukraine, I figured I could pick up a little gift to myself and see how I liked it.

Hair Fork

After receiving my little present in the mail, I was impressed, to say the least. The comb is strikingly beautiful in my hair. I am absolutely enamored. It is just my style- I love flowers and I love blue. I love black hair accessories that stand out in my hair, so I feel like I made the right choice.

Now, one thing I saw mentioned in its respective  thread on the LHC was the concern over the curvature of the fork. Some people were worried that the curvature would make the fork difficult to work with- here's a picture of what I mean.

When I saw it, I was surprised at how curvy it was, but I have had no trouble whatsoever with this fork in my updos. In fact, this fork holds amazingly well- better than my Ficcare hairclips, I'd say. I'd wager that it has something to do with the curvature.

Fork's curvature

The flowers are beautiful- absolutely gorgeous in person! They're hand-painted with oil paint, as is the rest of the stick, and they are amazing. They are very striking and really stand out. The stick is slightly glossy, as seen in this photo.

Hand painted flowers! Pretty!

I'm definitely going to repurchase. I have since actually ordered a few more forks. They're inexpensive, lightweight, beautiful forks that are unique and hold very well. As someone with frustratingly slippery hair, that is a godsend.

The fork in action

I hope you guys enjoyed the pictures! Once I receive my new forks, I'll be sure to post some pictures of those, too. Have a great day!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hairtracker Part 13: December 2014 + Happy New Year + Hairtoy Haul

Hello, everyone! Long time no see.

First, thanks as always for stopping by my blog and taking a look! Secondly, hope you all have a Happy New Year! :)

I'm a bit late, but better late than never with my December 2014 length shot! Here's a side-by side comparison between the beginning of this year and December.

I measured at 24" in January, and just a little bit over 30" when I took the last picture. As expected, I hit waist length this year! YAY! I'm really happy- this is about where I was when I cut my hair back in 2012. I'm very happy with the condition and color of my hair overall. In fact, it's so healthy and happy that I haven't trimmed in months, and it doesn't look like I'll need to trim for a while yet. Wow!

My hope is that for 2015, I will be able to reach 36", which, if I'm not mistaken, is around hip or tailbone length for me. I don't think this is going to be an issue unless there's a catastrophe with my hair.

Also, I want to invest in a nice camera so I can take pictures of my horde of hairtoys. It's small- for now, but growing at a rather alarming pace. Since my last TT post, I've acquired 3 more sticks and 3 Flexi-8's. Here's a nice shot of my little hairtoy family while it's still in its infancy.

Yup, I'm up to 4 TT sticks. The two hairsticks on the left next to each other are from the wonderful HairJems Etsy store. Those are some of my favorite "going-out" sticks.

Speaking of which, here's some shots of my latest acquisition- that beautiful TT holly stick on the far right.

Pictures never do these sticks justice. They're so beautiful in person.

And, of course, the obligatory TT family picture....

Hard to say which one is my favorite. They're all really unique and cool. I think I still favor my first stick, but this new one is quickly becoming my most-worn treasure. It just looks so fabulous.

I'd like to do a write-up on Flexi-8's, too. I hope you all will stick around and look forward to it! Until then, have a wonderful day and a Happy New Year! :)