The process of bleaching your hair is one that can happily be performed yourself at home, or if you’d prefer, it can be completed in a salon by a professional. It’s an even more popular procedure than it has ever been in the world of cosmetics and it is used, in general, to lighten the hair before colouring with a different shade of hair dye.
However, it’s not just a ‘cover and forget’ hair product. Bleach actually contains some very powerful chemicals to shift your natural colour, including the main active ingredient hydrogen peroxide. This chemical, combined with our ingredients which are typically ammonium or potassium, is great for removing all traces of colour from you hair, but can be extremely harmful and even dangerous to your hair and scalp.
Bleach Safety Requires Proper Use
Whether or not you have a successful and safe bleaching experience will depend on whether you have the ability to use the product properly, and as directed in the instructions for that individual brand of bleach. Testing the product on yourself beforehand is absolutely crucial to ensure that you will not suffer an allergic reaction to the chemicals, and you must take great care to keep the product away from your eyes, as well as avoiding prolonged contact with your skin.
Many people find that they are allergic to one or two of the ingredients in some hair lightening products, and reactions to these allergies show most commonly in the form of very itchy and painful bumps known as hives. The active ingredient ammonium is also known to trigger asthma attacks in some sufferers, so be particularly careful if you suffer from any respiratory illness.
Be Careful And Consider The Alternatives
On top of these allergic reactions, improper handling of the bleaching agent can result in extremely painful chemical burns, and massive blisters on your skin. Bleach is a very hazardous substance which is also enormously poisonous, so take good care to keep it away from children who may be tempted to take a drink from the bottle!
There are a couple of alternatives that you should consider if you’re worried about the dangers of bleaching your hair. Firstly, the natural alternative is to apply lemon juice to your hair and immediately expose it to UV rays (go and sit in the sun!). Unfortunately, while this will highlight your hair, it won’t have the effect of removing your colour altogether, but it is a very gentle and natural way of lightening your hair without bleaching.
Finally, consider getting your hands on some white hair colouring as an alternative way to lighten your hair. While it is not designed to do the same job as bleach, if it is strong enough it will transform your hair to look like it has been lightened with a regular product, with the only disadvantage being it will fade over a number of weeks, since it is a product which will cover your colour, rather than remove it totally.
Laura Watson is a passionate author on the topic of hair dye and health dangers within the cosmetic industry.