I Got Drunk And Bleached My Intern's Hair

I needed content so I made my intern let me bleach his hair, which HE WANTED TO DO ANYWAY, OKAY?
Publish date:
July 1, 2013
How-To, DIY, at-home bleaching, developer, hungover, powder bleach, stoned

I went to a "MAJOR" party on Saturday night. I knew that it was major because somebody described it on the phone to my intern as "THE party of the summer" and also it had a f***ing FLYER! Which SAID that it was going to be major. That's the way it's done up here I guess.

I was skeptical due to past "huge" NYC party experiences. There was a kiddie pool of beer, which, OK, score 1 for party hosts, and also lots of drugs. So, you know, score for everybody. The crowd was a bit... youthful, I guess? Unsophisticated works better--I'm sorry, but it's true! Sloppy might even be more appropriate.

Look, I'm not down for excuses, but in the car ride over we drove through a straight-up zombie apocalypse. People were stumbling around, slumped over gurgling, slurring unintelligible things to each other if they were able to slur at all. And gnawing animalistically on deli food. NYC youth-adults were NOT ready for the first real summer heat this weekend. YOU’VE GOT TO STAY HYDRATED, BOZOS!

So I get that most people at the party were kind of slop. But I’m pretty sure I saw a Victoria’s Secret model there. We gave each other that understanding, sympathetic glance that comrades in sexiness know about. No we didn’t--she probably doesn’t realize that people under 5’7’’ even exist. I was, like, grazing the hem of her dress with my shoulder. IT’S WHATEVER.

Sunday morning happens, and young Brayden and I are fading in and out of our hangovers. I’m like, “OK a) what are you even doing here, intern, and b) let’s go sign up for the gym.”

Because, you know, on account of the being-in-the-same-room-as-the-Victoria’s-Secret-model.

On the way to said gym, after an omelet and French toast at the MOST AWKWARD EATING EXPERIENCE EVER, we walked by Color Beauty Supply on Graham. “Oh! We could bleach my hair today!” says Brayden.

I, being the adult here, am like, “Hm. We’re still drunk, because we just piggy-backed onto our hangover at brunch. I’ve never successfully bleached hair before and don’t really know what I’m doing, and your hair is IN-SANE. And chemicals.” In my head. I thought all of that in my head.

What I SAID was, “Ya, totally, you have to let me write about it.”

So we got four packets of Wella powdered lightener because he has SO MUCH hair (I’m assuming this is the bleach), and a 16-ounce bottle of L’Oreal 30 Volume Cream Developer. The bleach packet said to use 20-40 volume developer, so I met them in the middle. Also, I’d just assumed that the powder and the developer were the only two things I needed by using CONTEXT CLUES, which was your fourth grade teacher’s way of saying, “common sense.”

Keep in mind that I have NEVER studied this. I’ve never even Googled about this. I just kind of tried to recreate what was happening last time I got highlights.

Plus the bottles have information on them. For instance, the developer is “fully stabilized” so that’s a plus! Also it has “lifting action up to 3 levels.” Brayden’s hair is red; he wants “like, white” hair. Those three levels, plus the seven levels of lift that the powder promised should get us, if I’ve done the math correctly, pretty f***ing light.

I also purchased a plastic mixing bowl and an applicator brush, some gloves (four pairs--could’ve used more), a separating comb (which was just repetitive with the applicator brush), and two packets of deep conditioner. The kind with “placenta” printed really huge on it. The grosser it sounds, the better it works, yah?

I brushed out a section of his hair toward the back, and after mixing a packet of the bleach with two-ish ounces of the developer, I just kind of painted it on. This is known as the STRAND TEST, PEOPLE, and it is NOT OPTIONAL. Especially if you’re an at-home first-time hungover and/or slightly drunk bleacher, which I don’t ever recommend doing, period, unless it’s on some dude’s hair that you know won’t cause a severe bout of depression if it looks bad.

But yah, the strand test not only will tell you if you have some sort of horrible bleach allergy that melts your skin off, but more importantly will let you know how long to leave the bleach on to get to your desired level of lightness. This is tricky, because the paste dries to a more opaque white when on your hair, so you might think that the hair underneath is super light when that’s not the case after rinsing. Does that make sense?

We ran into a bit of a conundrum when it came to deciding what Brayden should wear. He has a bunch of really nice vintage t-shirts of the hip-hop and Bart Simpson variety, which are very NOW, so I told him that he should just not wear one. To which he replied, “Nah, I don’t want you to be all horny the whole time.” Which was probably a good idea, because you know, bleach on skin.

I left it cooking for 23 minutes before freaking out thanks to self-induced paranoia, and told him we had to wash it out. “Meh, let’s leave it on for 33 next time,” he said, checking the results. OOH! HARDCORE!

I used this Goody Tanglefix brush to get out any major knots, because his hair is really really curly/kinky. It worked well! I can’t imagine what it would have been like using a regular brush to get the tangles out, other than sucking.

Then I painted on the rest of the mixture in small sections, a la hair salons.

Two things: Firstly, I knew that I would need to bleach his hair in sections. Dude had to do the same thing with my hair at Sally Hershberger Downtown because as you work, the sections that you began with will develop as you move to a different section of the head. I don’t know if this is uncommon or only common for those with lots of long hair, but it’s a pain in the ass. So I figured I’d go for as long as this packet of bleach mix lasted, stop and let it develop for the remainder of the 33 minutes, and rinse and shampoo just that section.

This worked pretty well. I was kind of freaking out that we didn’t buy enough powder bleach packets, but finished applying the mixture to the front left section of his head in about 20 minutes. Brayden started freaking out when he realized that he couldn’t leave the house for food for the next couple of hours. “I’m going to make a toasted cheese sandwich.” GRILLED CHEESE.

Secondly, I really wish I would’ve thought out the bleach application a bit more. I SHOULD have started in the bottom sections that never see daylight, and then move up to the top sections toward his perma-middle part (he always wears his hair in pigtail braids). That way the darker areas would develop as I moved toward the sections that get more sun, and thus develop faster.

No big deal, I just covered any sections that were taking longer to develop with Reynolds foil and applied heat with a blow dryer. That just seemed like the right thing to do. He asked earlier if I should run and put Aquaphor on his ears to protect them, but I had to tell him no because, I mean, I was already getting started.

After shampooing out the bleach from each section, I applied the placenta mask and tied them up in little buns.

After letting the last the deep conditioner section set for about half an hour, Brayden rinsed in the shower. The end result was more yellow than he wanted, but that’s because we didn’t tone. I remember Mario at Sally Hershberger telling his assistant that he doesn’t like letting clients see their hair at this stage, “because they’ll freak.”

Well, I warned Brayden that it would be yellow because we weren’t toning. He said he knew, and that last time when his PROFESSIONAL HAIRSTYLIST friend did this, that she had to bleach it TWICE and then tone to get it to the right shade of Swedish. So we’re going to go for round two today. His hair is so coarse that it can take it; the texture feels the exact same as it did before. “Because I’m from the jungle, my hair is really strong. My family is from Sao Paulo. I’m Bra-zil-i-an.” **smiles**

And in case you’re wondering how Brayden’s kinky ginger hair came into being:

Any tips on where to go from here? Anybody wanna tell me where I really screwed up? He likes it! I think it's cute.