What you need:
I have a mirror cabinet in my bathroom that has two doors with mirrors on both the outside and inside. When you open the doors, you can angle them against one another so that you can see the back of your head. I suppose you can achieve the same thing by using two mirrors and try to set them up in a similar way.
Put on an old shirt so you don’t end up ruining your clothes. While I use a towel to wrap around my shoulder for dyeing, I find that I don’t need it for bleaching, because bleaching is much less messy. I also don’t use Vaseline for bleaching.
Make sure, however, that your hair is properly greasy before you start, otherwise your scalp will start to itch or burn slightly.
Brush your hair and untangle it. I don’t wash my hair for at least 2 or 3 days before I bleach.
When I first attempted to bleach my roots, I found two different approaches exist:
1) pre-sectioning of the hair
2) make sections as you go
I discovered that I have not enough patience for approach 1) and lack the skill for option 2). So I combined the two and came up with my own strategy.
I find it relatively easy to section the hair on top of my head as I go, so what I do is to pull the parts that I can easily reach up with a big hair clip. I then start to section the hair on the back of my head. I do it up in layers, here I started with a layer that goes all the way from the left side to the right one. You can also part this one in the middle and put it up in one right-hand section and one left-hand section, as I have done here with the following layers. I twist the layer and pin it to the top of my head.
I then alternate between layers on both sides and fix them with a pin one after the other, which usually causes a zigzag line in the middle.
1) 1 part of bleaching powder into a plastic (no metal!) bowl. Notice the blue colour of the powder, which means it gives a less brassy colour after bleaching.
2) 2 parts of cream developer. I use 6%=20vol for my muddy blonde hair, which tends to be a bit on the strong side, but it is actually the lowest percentage recommended for the bleaching powder by the manufacturer. I mix in a bit of 3% developer, because I really don’t need white blonde, because I usually do red or orange.
3) Mix the powder and the developer until they blend nicely. Be sure not to produce raise any dust and don’t inhale it.
My particular bleach always ends up slightly grainy when I follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, so I always put in a bit of extra developer until it has the right consistency.
Only apply the bleach to the roots and try not the apply it to any parts that have previously been bleached. Use gloves.
Apply the bleach with a tint brush, starting UNDERNEATH the lowest layer, then ON TOP of the lowest layer. Then you cover UNDERNEATH the second lowest layer, un-pin it, then put some bleach ON TOP of it and so forth, until you’ve reached the top.
How to apply ON TOP of a layer:
How to apply bleach UNDERNEATH a layer:
Make sure that you don’t miss any spots at the top of the back of your head, I find it to be the most tricky spot.
After you have covered the pre-sectioned part in the back, part the still uncovered section on top of your head in the middle using the end of your tint brush. Then apply bleach to where the hair is parted. Part your hair 1-2 cm to one side of the previous parting and apply bleach here, too. Continue to do so until you reach the side of your head. Then pull the now covered hair to the side again and start going down to the other side from the middle parting. (I did not take any pictures of this part, because I had to be quick!)
It usually takes me 20 minutes to cover all of my roots.
This is how you should look with the bleach applied:
Let the bleach sit until you have reached the desired lightness. For me that’s another 20 minutes.
Then you start to wash out the bleach. At first, just use a little bit of water. Then you massage your hair like you’re using shampoo, before you rise it out properly. I usually shampoo my hair once after bleaching, because I normally proceed straight to dyeing. If you don’t plan to use a semi-permanent colour directly afterwards, I would still shampoo, before using a really good conditioner, but I don’t really have the best expertise in that area.
Now you have nice, bleach-blonde roots. If they are very light, it may look as though you’re hair is thinning. Don’t panic, that’s just an illusion ;)