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The Brunette’s Guide To Going Blonde: Part 2 – Stepping Into The Light

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Welcome to part two of our essential guide for those preparing to make the most popular of hair colour changes, the transition from brunette to blonde.

So, starting from the premise that in part one we managed to convince you not to take the route to blondness that involves a bleach kit, your bestie and a bottle of chardonnay by the kitchen sink, then it's time to work through the process you should expect and receive at any professional salon. In this section of our guide we're going to detail how to correctly set about making the most extreme, high maintenance change possible, the switch up from jet-black to platinum blond (otherwise known as 'the full Kardashian').

At The Chapel the first thing we do before undertaking any colour work is assess the scalp condition of our guests. A healthy scalp is important for these procedures, so if anyone suffers with eczema, sebborheic dermatitis or psoriasis in this area we simply advise against undergoing any form of extreme colour treatment, as the chemicals involved are likely to exacerbate such skin conditions.

Once we've ascertained your scalp is healthy, the second thing we do is a patch test, which is conducted at least 48-hours beforehand. The patch test involves a taking a tiny amount of any colouring product we intend to use and applying it behind the ear to determine whether there's any likelihood of an adverse reaction. Although this happens very rarely, it's a precaution we take with all our guests.

We also ask guests not to wash or condition their hair the day before pre-lightening treatment, as the process can be harsh on the scalp and therefore any of the natural oils the scalp has will offer some protection. OK, nearly ready to go, but this is as extreme as colour alteration gets, and as such this is a process that can take up to seven hours to do properly, (bring a good book!) So prepare for the long haul, while heeding these final, crucial words of advice from our Group Director, Gary Russell.

"It's important to make sure hair is an even shade before treatment otherwise the final results will most likely be patchy," explains Gary, before attempting to put on his sternest face, "and if anyone says they'll take your hair to white or platinum blonde in one bleaching, then run! It simply will not work and there's no stepping back from it."

With this in mind, it's over to our Islington Director Billie Crago, to guide us through the process.

"The first thing to do is apply pre-lightener to the mid length and ends of the hair," Billie explains. "We leave the roots initially, because the natural heat from the scalp accelerates the speed the pre-lightener works, creating an early difference in colour change that's difficult to rectify later. What we want to do is move hair toward the desired level of lightness gradually and evenly"

Pre-lightening is essentially bleaching the natural colour out of the hair, and this is done in gradual stages, moving black hair to brown, then from brown to red, red to reddish-gold, gold to yellow, and finally yellow to the lightest yellow.

"Its important to keep an eye on the pre-lighteners as processing time is dependant on your hair type and the colour you are lifting from" continues Billie. "Your end goal is an even lift throughout roots mid-lengths and ends, this will give your toner a lovely base which will help you achieve the best results"

"When we get to the pale orange/darker yellow stage we apply fresh pre-lightener to the full length of the hair from root to tip, and wait for the hair to reach that final yellow."

"As you can imagine getting hair to this stage places it under stress and it will have lost moisture, so now it's time to lavish some serious TLC. We wash with a colour shampoo, gently towel dry (as the hair has now become more delicate) and then apply a series of treatments to rehydrate the lightened hair and re-invigorate it with plenty of protein."

"The next step is to apply toner, which we do to remove any artificial hints of orange or brassiness that can result from bleaching. The toner neutralises this and delivers the finesse of a natural shade tailored to our guest's specification. Finally we give a butter treatment for more moisture, and by the end of the journey hair should now have the desired natural blondness properly locked in, and be back to its natural PH level."

There's no doubting that this is an epic undertaking, even for the pros, so if you make the transition you also need to consider how you feel about your dark roots peeking through in few weeks. If, after investing this amount of time and money, the answer is 'not happy' then you're going to need a colour top-up every two or three week, not to mention a vastly up-scaled care and conditioning regimen. Brunettes everywhere who dare to go this fair, we salute you!

For a full video of Billie working her 'white magic' on the locks of a volunteer journalist CLICK HERE - and enjoy.

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