Nikki Porter from Rubi Hair in Windsor, Melbourne, transformed my own hair from dyed-dark brown to blonde (to blue). She walks us through the necessary stages of taking the plunge yourself.
TG: Nikki, can anyone go from black to blonde?
Nikki: “There are variables. It depends on whether they have virgin dark hair or whether there’s pre-existing dark coloured dye in it, and then whether it’s a semi-permanent or permanent dye. And if hair is really coarse, like Asian hair, it can go quite yellow – it’s hard to push it to platinum. That’s not to say it can’t be done – you just have to be very vigilant with a good at-home care range and regular appointments.”
If there’s already dark dye in our hair, what should we do?
“If it’s temporary dye, get rid of it first. You can always get the hairdresser to do a test strand. In fact, you really want to go in for a consultation before you undertake such a dramatic transformation. You can talk about realistic goals.”
Can we prep our hair before lightening?
“Yes! I’d recommend a really good cleansing shampoo to remove build up, and a really hydrating mask treatment to start getting those moisture levels up. Schwarzkopf have Deep Cleanse for this, then use a hydrating mask afterwards.”
You did my hair in two stages. Can it be done in one?
“Actually, it was more than two stages really – we lightened it more every time you came in. My own hair was lightened in one stage, but it was very short and that helps. If yours is long, like Kim’s, you need to be more gentle. The whole process can take six to nine months, and you go a few shades lighter every four to six weeks.”
After the first stage with my hair you used a toner to take out the brassiness.
“Yep, you don’t want to let anyone walk out with ugly hair, even if the job is an ongoing one! You always use a toner to neutralise. If the client doesn't want warmth the hair throws, you can look at your colour wheel and use a cool colour to neutralise. The coarser someone’s hair is the stronger the warm pigment, which is hard to cool down. You can walk out of the salon okay, but six weeks later that toner will have washed out of the hair. In fact, even if you’ve achieved platinum, the underlying pigment will be pale yellow.”
How should we treat our hair after lightening?
“Once the lighting process starts you need something full of protein, such as Kerastase’s Masque Force Architecte and Fibre Force, or Schwarzkopf’s Rescue Repair from their Resistance Range. But if hair gets too much protein it can also snap and break, so alternate your protein and moisture treatments.
Lastly, what do you think of Kim’s hair?
“Kim’s ends wouldn’t have been in good condition so she would probably have chopped them off. It looks salon-great, but I’d love to see her hair wet. The integrity would probably be quite cotton woolly.
“Haircare Australia is bringing Olaplex over from the States – Rubi Hair will be one of the first to get it in It’s an additive you put in with powder lightener and it makes it a lot easier. We reckon that's what Kim’s hairdresser used.”