White Blonde: Which Of These 3 Products Got My Hair Its Lightest Ever?

And which left me with an accidental--but kind of cool--lavender streak?
Publish date:
September 18, 2013
hair color, blonde hair, toners, ion, wella, platinum blonde, Manic Panic, bleach blonde, white hair

Remember how ages ago I mentioned I was planning to try white hair? Well, I finally did it.

It took me a long time because I thought it would be fun to try out a few different products to see which works the best--you know, for science. I went slowly so as not to damage my hair too much.

If you’re curious about the best way to get your blonde hair white, consider this your helpful guide for which products are truly whitening and which products are a bust.

In the interest of saving time, money, and my hair from falling out, I limited it to three products that claim to whiten hair: Manic Panic Virgin Snow, Ion Color Brilliance Permanent Creme Hair Color, and Wella's T18 Lightest Ash Blonde (formerly known as White Lady). Read on to see which one gave me Khaleesi hair!

Manic Panic Virgin Snow

OK, so the pros first: It’s vegan, very gentle on your hair, and they don’t test on animals. It’s also easy to apply; you don’t need to buy developer--you just plop it on your head.

Now for the cons: This was the most expensive product. It’s a surprisingly tiny jar for the price ($10). I suggest using Sally’s monthly birthday coupon that gets you $10 off a $20 purchase at any Sally’s Beauty Supply, which is what I did for this. Still, I wish there had been more product. I used about half of it to cover my whole head of short but thick hair. (If you have long hair you’d probably have to use the whole jar.)

It was also the least effective product. I mean, I’m not surprised. Everyone warned me that Virgin Snow is kind of a waste of time, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. You know, for--all together now--SCIENCE.

I actually let it sit in my hair for about two hours (which is much longer than the directions advise) and my hair still didn't resemble anything you could call white. It did end up looking a bit lighter, but it was uneven and still had a distinctly yellow tinge.

But nevermind the yellow tinge--I was more distracted by the RANDOM PURPLE STREAK that it left behind in my hair.

I’ll admit that this was probably due to user error, but it’s something to keep in mind. I covered my hair with the product, but I think I went back and added more in the front and didn’t remember to brush it through that section to distribute it evenly. Thus, extra product sat there and my hair really soaked up the purple tint. That’s my theory, at least.

I don’t hate it, luckily; I’ve always secretly wanted lavender hair so that was a freebie. It also doesn’t last very long, which is actually another con for this product--unless it turned your hair purple and you hate purple hair. I wouldn't recommend relying on this for white hair but rather for touch-ups to remove brassiness.

Ion Color Brilliance Permanent Creme Hair Color

I’m not convinced that this product is very effective either. It was half the price of Virgin Snow and longer-lasting, but it didn’t make my hair white. Honestly, the only reason I bought it in the first place is because when I asked the saleswoman at Sally’s for the Wella toner, she steered me over to this stuff and insisted I try this instead. She seemed pretty confident, and I have a hard time saying no to people, so… that’s why I tried this.

Also, I didn’t get their lightest color (which is Lightest Ash Blonde, I think) because it was out of stock. I ended up with the second lightest, High Lift Ash Blonde. I bought 20 volume Salon Care developer to go with it, then mixed two parts developer with one part creme. I applied it all over my hair and waited for about thirty to forty-five minutes before washing it out.

As you can see, it was still practically the same as my original hair color. Well, not my ORIGINAL hair color. You know what I mean. There was lots of yellow left over. Bummer! I'm sure this is a great product for other hair colors, but not for white.

Wella T18 Lightest Ash Blonde Toner

Surprise, surprise: This one was the winner. I knew it would be from the start, because both Alle and Kara recommended it. When have they ever been wrong? Annie also used it when she bleached her "intern's" hair white, so I guess at this point you can consider Wella’s toner to be officially endorsed by xoVain. It is THE go-to product if you want white hair.

It’s about the same price as the Ion--maybe $6--and again, you do have to buy a 20 volume developer to go with it. I mixed one part toner (I chickened out and only used half the bottle, but next time I’ll use all of it) with two parts developer, applied it all over, and watched with childlike glee as the mixture turned purple as it sat on my hair.

I kept a close eye on it to make sure my hair didn’t turn purple this time and washed it out after 10 or 15 minutes to discover white blonde hair.

I still have some hints of yellow because I am not great at getting my whole head, even with help. Oh, and ignore my roots please. I have thick hair, OK? Plus, like I said, I didn’t use the whole bottle.

I think the takeaway here is that I’m a bit of a dunce at this DIY hair coloring stuff.

I’ll continue to use purple shampoo to help keep brassy tones away, but I am officially done with putting bleach and toner in my hair--at least for now. I’ll probably let my roots grow out, but I imagine I’ll get sick of the brown roots and white hair pairing pretty quickly, so after that it’s time for a new, less high-maintenance color. Suggestions are welcome!

Now let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and which is your personal favorite. (Also, I lied about having Khaleesi hair; my hair is so fried I more closely resemble Doc Brown now. Time to finally get that Samantha Wright haircut perhaps?)