It seems like hair color is at the tip of every woman's tongue. Because I get tons of hair color questions from my clients in the salon and visitors to my blog, I decided to post a few of the frequently asked questions concerning hair color along with my answers.
Question: When I am getting highlights and the hairstylist puts me under heat, what does that do?
Answer: Before I answer your question, let me provide some background on the processing involved in highlighting hair.
Bleach is used when highlighting hair. Generally, it may be a powdered bleach mixed with 10-, 20-, 30- or 40-volume peroxide. The bigger the number the peroxide the stronger it is.
Did you know that if a bowl of bleach is mixed it has a life of a couple of hours or more? In other words, when I do highlights on a client and there is leftover bleach, I can use it on a client 2 hours later. It may need a little refreshing, but my point is that it has a long life. If bleach is applied well, it will stay moist up to one hour and will lift for the entire time.
So do we all have to go under the dryer? NO! Is it bad for your hair? YES!! I believe bleach + heat = breakage (most times). All the heat does is speed up the process, that's all.
Because it's difficult to know if the hair has had enough heat (in terms of the strength of the hair), especially if the color is not light enough, it's easy to use too much heat. Then, after your hair is blow dried, all of a sudden you have a sea of "fly aways" at the top of the head. If you are a salon blond you know what I mean.
When I highlight clients, the only times I use heat is if it's healthy, virgin, black hair, which is very hard to lift; or if I did a Baliage and after 30-45 minutes, the bleach is drying out. Then, I would use five minutes or so of gentle heat. But only when I have too.
I have all the time in the world. You, the client, should know that you have the choice between fast processing time or healthy hair.
Extra tip If you have fine, dry hair and you see the heat coming, my advice is to grab your purse and RUN!
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Antonio Gonzales is a stylist at Orl'o Salon in New York City. Get more hairstyling tips at Antonio's Website.