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So… You Want to go Blonde. Read This First.

So… you want to go blonde. Read this first.

About a year ago, I finally decided to go for it. I was going to go from pitch black to platinum blonde/greyish regardless how long it would take. Little did I know (or pretended not to know) that my hair would become damaged, and a year and several hundred dollars later, would not reach my desired color. Fast forward to present-day and I’m back to black, finally happy with my hair again.

If you’re thinking about going from dark brunette or box dye black to blonde, here are a few things I’ve learned, to consider beforehand.


1. You will not be blonde after your first session. And you should not do another session for a couple of months.

Any hair stylist you go to will tell you this, but it probably won’t register until about your third session when your hair might still be a light brown. If you have been using black box dye, particularly, it is very difficult for your hair to lift much after one session. Your hair will probably lift to a dark brown your first session. If you want to go from a 10 to a 0, be mentally prepared to invest at least a year of patience, through awkward hair color phases.

2. Everybody’s hair lifts differently.

Do not compare your results to someone else’s. There’s a whole lot of hair composition knowledge behind this statement, but everyone’s hair lifts differently. Whether it means needing more sessions for your hair to achieve what someone else’s hair achieved in a couple, or your hair lifting warmer than someone else’s. This could mean your toner coming off quicker and the fading being noticeable once your warm-toned bleached hair peeks through. This also means that you cannot go into the hair salon expecting the same results as someone else. Ultimately, your own hair is the one that decides the end result for each session (and your hair stylist’s skill, of course).

3. Being blonde comes with a high price.

Expect each lightening session to be between $200-$400, on average. Some hair stylists charge more, depending on the products they use, the amount of rent for their studio, or simply their standing in the industry. It takes not only being prepared mentally, but also financially. And then, each toner session is about another $100. As a college student, it can be very difficult to make this kind of expense fit in your budget, about every two months or so. Think about all the places you could travel to with each hair session expense, and about how much more economical it would be to instead invest in a wig. Then, decide whether going blonde, and maintaining it, is an expense you’d like to commit to.

4. Not every hair stylist cares about the health of your hair.

If a hair stylist tells you your session will only last two hours, run. Even if you have short hair, a session requires foiling, toning, washing, drying, and sometimes treatment. (This is also part of the reason why each session is so costly.) Some hair stylists will put heat in your hair to make the bleach work faster, but this is extremely damaging to your hair. Your hair should not feel like doll hair after being bleached, if it is done correctly, without heat. I totally recommend doing a bit of research about the hairstylists in your area. Find out what their average session times are. The healthiest ones, in my experience, have taken anywhere from 4-6 hours. Keep in mind that the longer the session, the higher the potential price, too.

5. High maintenance doesn’t stop at the salon.

If you’ve been a brunette your whole life or have only ever dyed your hair a dark color, you might be used to your hair being rather shiny and healthy, without much effort. Once you bleach your hair, you must do hair masks weekly. Be mindful about how often you use scrunchies, be careful with how much heat you use on your hair, and always apply heat protectant. My hair became a lot more damaged once I bleached it because I didn’t follow up the maintenance at home. I had been told that I needed to, but because I was so used to my low-maintenance black hair, it took a while before I got into the routine of taking care of my bleached hair at home.


Bleached hair can be gorgeous and healthy, it just takes the right care and making educated decisions. To every brunette wanting to go from a 10 to a 0, best of luck!

Daniela is a senior majoring in English Literature and Criminal Justice at Florida International University.
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