Is it true that no one uses bleach for highlights anymore?

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I’m a natural mousy darkish brown and I had a full head of bleach highlights a couple of months ago at my old hairdressers of five years. Now it’s time for my roots to be refreshed but due to relocating to the middle of nowhere, a good hairdresser is too far for me to travel to for advice.

I recently spoke to a hairdresser that is near me and the lady said that my old hairdresser had no knowledge of hair as no one uses bleach for highlights and the roots will just have to stay and to not even think about dyeing it again.

I have no idea what to do as I want to stay blonde! Please help!

Sarah, East Ridings

Ok, well firstly it all depends on the hair depth, tone and strength as to whether bleach is an option. For the right client bleach is still used a lot, you will not get the degree of lift you may require any other way. In most cases you will only get five levels of lift (max) with a tint so bleach is needed in these cases.

If bleach is the correct product for you and it is used correctly and by a skilled technician, then it is fine to use and can produce amazing results.

Go to the Good Salon Guide salon finder to find a more knowledgeable hairdresser, maybe look for a higher star rating to start and then book a consultation. If you are happy with your choice and feel comfortable then go ahead and book.

Good luck, you should have the blonde you want in no time!

Simon Daniel, Salon Director of Belle Toujours, Cardiff

I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience with your new hairdresser in your area. It seems to me as if she is the one who has no knowledge of hair. Of course colourists use bleach to highlight hair! If she has never used this product to create pale creamy or platinum blonde highlights then I would love to know what tricks she has up her sleeve.

I would search around for a new stylist by asking around, seeing people's hair that you like the look of and ask them where they have it done. They will be flattered I can assure you.

Go have a few consultations with some colour experts in your area and see what they say.

John Clark, Head of Colour at Brooks+Brooks, London 

Hi Sarah,

First I would like to answer the question about using bleach or not.

You said you have had your hair bleached with a full head of highlights for the past five years. If you where happy with your colour and the condition of your hair was always good, I see no reason why you should not carry on using bleach on the roots of your hair to refresh your highlights. I have no idea why any hairdresser would say that nobody uses bleach?

It is true that today many hairdressers use high-lift colours instead of bleach; however it always depends on the base colour of the client’s hair. If for example your own hair colour is a light hazel brown or dark blonde, high-lift colours will lighten this hair colour easily. If your natural colour is grey (white) or dark brown, bleach is a better way to highlight.

The main point, with either way of colouring, is the strength of the developer used and the length of time the high-lift or bleach is left on the hair. The developing time is crucial. If any of these colours are not left on the roots long enough, ginger tones will appear. Ginger, golden or orange colours are difficult to remove and will keep coming back after washing several times, even after using tonners.

To me it makes sense that your previous hairdresser would rid any ginger in your hair by using bleach, since your hair is a mousy dark brown. I used bleach for many years and never had any problems or damage to hair during these years, in fact many of my clients with finer hair were very happy as the bleach swelled their hair slightly and gave the appearance of thicker hair.

I don’t know how far your previous hairdresser’s salon is from where you live now, but maybe you should rethink about travelling to him/her once every few months and make a day out of it. Alternatively write to your hairdresser and tell them that you now live too far away for you to go to them and could they recommend a good salon close to where you are now. As a last option, look up a good hairdressers close by where you live now on the internet.

I always recommend readers to look at other people’s hair when you go shopping or when you are out and about. When you see someone with similar hair to yours or with hair you like, go and tell them how much you like their hair and ask them which hairdressers they go to.

Under no circumstances should you try colouring your hair at home! The damage to your hair followed by tears and even depression is just not worth it. I have many women writing to me in despair after they tried colouring their hair at home, ending up with broken hair and colours which only time can repair.

Sarah, I hope my advice will help and I hope you find a talented hairstylist soon; they will be more than happy to help you.

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester

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