My question is about changing black hair to a variegated color of red, dark brown, and very light brown. I read several postings about lightening hair color. But I am not sure the answers fit my question. Do I need to first bleach the hair and then apply different hair colors? What are the easiest ways to achieve the result?
By ZiZi from Boston, MA
Frosting, tipping, painting, streaking and highlighting the hair are all basically the same process but in slightly different variations. All the techniques involve bleaching the hair, but each approach gives somewhat different results. Frosting gives and overall salt and pepper look. It involves bleaching some individual hair strands while leaving adjacent strands untouched. The overall result is a blending of the dyed and natural hair. Tipping involves applying the bleach to just the ends of some or all of the hair. Streaking gives more pronounced strips or bands of color, this is often used to "frame" the face.
Sometimes it is used in a conscious, striking display looking like tiger stripes. Highlighting is similar but using fewer strands of hair in a band as with streaking. Highlighting results in more subtle variegated hair colors , not entirely blended, but neither is the result striking bands of hair color as with streaking. Finally the technique of hair painting involves applying the bleach with a brush in a pattern. This can be used to create all sorts of effects such as horizontal bands of color or even making words.
With frosting, highlighting and tipping, two basic methods may be used. One approach is to put a plastic cap on the head, selected hairs are pulled through holes in the cap and then bleached while the hair under the cap is protected from the bleach. The advantage of this approach is that people with sensitive skin avoid exposing their skin to the chemicals. In this way, people with eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and other similar conditions can still have some form of bleaching and dying process done while avoiding further exacerbation of their skin condition.
The second method takes longer but is still quite popular. This approach involves selecting a few strands of hair and placing them on a square of aluminum foil. Bleach is applied from about two centimeters away from the scalp down to the tip of the hair fibers (or just at the tips in tipping). The foil is then wrapped and folded around the hair until the bleach process is completed. Streaking is done in much the same way but more strands of hair are selected and bleached together. This second method can also avoid exposing damaged scalp skin to irritating chemicals, but the cap approach makes it easier as there is something physical in the way to protect the skin which is not the case with the foil approach.
The advantages of all these techniques are that not all the hair is involved and the procedures do not have to be repeated so frequently as with all over bleaching and dying. Good luck.
As a retired hairstylist after 35 years (and color was my specialty) I can honestly tell you that this many shades is not something to mess with yourself and it also depends on whether the black is your natural color or an applied color! Also, bleaching of black hair, whether natural or applied, is one of the most difficult to lighten without ending up looking a mess :-( My suggestion is seeking out a local top notch color specialist but keep in mind that it will be expensive and the upkeep will also be expensive.
As you may know, be careful Black hair doesn't bleach well and can turn many colors you won't want.
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