Hair Heads Logo
Hairdressing / Hair Colour

Lightening and Bleaching Hair

Emulsion and Powder Bleach

There are two main forms of bleaches - emulsion and powder - and both types are mixed with hydrogen peroxide.

Emulsion bleaches have the advantage of being particularly suitable of full head bleaches because they have a cooling agent added to them. They also have an excellent consistency that prevents them from dripping and drying out. However, they have a disadvantage of expanding whilst the bleach is working which can cause the product to seep onto other areas of the hair.

Powder bleach is particularly suitable for partial colouring techniques, as it does not expand quite as much as emulsion bleach. If used for full head bleach it could cause scalp irritation.

Bleaching is the process of making the hair colour lighter. Bleaches are alkaline and so have the effect of opening the hair cuticles on the outside of the hair shaft, enabling the bleach to reach the cortex where the natural colour pigment is found. The colour pigment Eumelanin is the first to be acted on. This affects the black and brown colouring. The more difficult to alter is Pheomelanin, which gives red and yellow colouring. As bleaching proceeds, the hair becomes lighter and lighter and the hair changes colour in this order black - brown - red brown - orange - light yellow - very light yellow.

Owing to the alkalinity and strength of bleaching products, oxidation damage to the hair is inevitable. The cuticle will become more porous and the internal structure of the hair will become weaker and lessen the hair's elasticity and strength. Over-bleaching can result in such weakening of the hair that it will actually break off.

gown/cape, towel, apron, rubber gloves, tinting bowl, tinting brush, comb, brush, plastic cap, highlighting cap/hook, tinfoil, easy mesh, climazone, cotton wool, sectioning clips, water spray

Porous Hair
If the hair is porous the processing time may be shortened due to hair damage. i.e. if ends are porous delay bleach application until the last 15-30 minutes.

Powder bleach may dry out during application. Although, oil (emulsion) is easier to apply, you must still make sure all the hair receives sufficient product. When using bleach, watch out for sensitive skin. Inflammation may occur. This can be avoided by applying barrier cream around the hair line before you begin application.

Heat will affect the processing time. Cold temperatures will slow down the processing time and hot temperatures will speed up processing time. If atmospheric conditions appear to be cold then additional heat may be required. If conditions are hot then bleach will take quicker. The method of application maybe effected by hot temperatures. i.e. If temperature appears to be hot then application may need to start from mid-lengths and ends (as in virgin hair) due to the additional heat given off by the clients scalp.

lightening and bleaching hair

Affects of Bleaching Hair

Oxidising agents in the bleach break down to release oxygen. The oxygen penetrates the hair shaft de-colouring the pigments.

When bleaching black hair a series of colour changes take place. The seven, more noticeable colours, are listed below.

As the colour of the hair changes from the natural colour, to white, the condition of the hair is affected.

After the hair has turned white severe breakage occurs, as the oxidising agent continues to change the composition of the melanin, which has an adverse affect on the cuticle.

The affect of bleach on on hair

Next Page: Drying & Styling