Bleaching is a process that removes color pigment from the hair gradually in order to lighten it. During the process, the hair progresses through different color stages including red, red-gold, orange, gold, yellow and pale yellow. Pale yellow is usually the desired color, but the exact shade often needs a little tweaking. This is where toner comes in. Toner is a permanent, low-peroxide color that changes the tone, not the shade, of hair color. While the results of most toner applications turn out beautifully, there is a chance that the color will "grab" (turn dark or absorb the base color). When this happens, the toner must be removed or lightened using a soap cap.
Put on the gloves, and mix equal parts of the developer and lightening powder in the color bowl. Add 2 ounces of shampoo to the mixture. Blend thoroughly using the color brush as a mixing tool.
Apply a liberal amount of the mixture to the stained portions of your hair, using the color brush as an applicator. Work the mixture into your hair using your hands and fingers.
Wait 10 minutes. Check the color by rubbing a section clean with a damp towel. If the color is desirable, proceed to the next step. If not, reapply the mixture and wait an additional 5 minutes. Continue checking every 5 minutes until the color is desirable.
Rinse your hair with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Shampoo to remove any leftover residue. Rinse. Apply a liberal amount of conditioner, wait five minutes and rinse thoroughly. Towel-dry, then style as usual.
Apply the soap-cap mixture only to the areas of the hair where discoloration is present. Avoid placing the mixture on areas where the color is desirable, as it will lighten these areas further, resulting in uneven, patchy color.
The strength of developer is determined primarily by the level or depth of the color stain. If the stain is light, five-volume developer should be used. Use 10-volume developer for heavy stains. If you’re unsure, go with the five-volume. You may have to wait longer for the stain to lift, but there will be less risk of over-bleaching and damage.
Wear gloves to protect your skin from overexposure to bleaching agents.
- "Milady's Standard Textbook of Cosmetology;" Milady, Diane Carol Bailey, Margrit Attenburg; 2008
Kathy Mayse began her writing career as a reporter for "The Jackson-County Times Journal" in 2001. She was promoted to assistant editor shortly after. Since 2005, she has been busy as a successful freelancer specializing in Web content. Mayse is a licensed cosmetologist with more than 17 years of salon experience; most of her writing projects reflect this experience.