Lightener Vs Bleach: Which Is Right For Your Hair? - AMR Hair & Beauty

Lightener Vs Bleach: Which Is Right For Your Hair?

Nov 28, 2019Sharnee Rawson

When you consider a bold transition from dark hair to blonde, you can get stuck on one typical conundrum: bleach vs creme lightener vs powdered lightener

Hair lightening is not a simple process, especially if you want to go more than a few shades lighter. Clients tend to avoid a drastic change because they worry that the applied product won't produce the result they desire. Hair damage is another major worry. A previously poorly executed bleaching procedure as the final outcome can prevent them from venturing into new and trendy looks.

You will need to carefully consider all options and only apply the best. Thankfully, there are ways to make the process work for everyone.



Before Using Creme Lightener, Powder Lightener Or Bleach...

You will need to consider the condition of the hair before applying creme lightener, powder lightener or bleach. One of the most salient issues is mineral buildup in the hair. This can lead to a wide range of problems during salon services: 

  • Calcium: Leads to dryness and the feeling of hair being weighted down. It can even cause perms to be relaxed.
  • Copper: Caused by copper water pipes, this mineral discolours light hair, producing a green tint and causing dark hair to tint darker. Copper can weigh hair down, and cause problems in perms, colouring, lightening and relaxers.
  • Iron: Prevents proper chemical processing. Heavy amounts of iron will tint light-coloured hair orange and cause dark hair to become darker with red highlights.
  • Magnesium: Associated with hard water, which attaches to the hair making it feel dry and weighed down.
  • Silica: A water-borne silica can build up on the hair, causing the same effect as calcium: dryness, dandruff, weight and hair loss.
  • Lead: This mineral can cause dryness and prevent proper chemical services, such as perms and hair colour from processing properly.

If these minerals are on the hair, you may experience some heat. Make sure you remove the foils immediately and rinse the hair thoroughly.  A good chelating shampoo is great at removing mineral buildup.



Benefits Of Hair Bleach

With so much concern about the disadvantages of bleaches, you may be surprised to see the long list of advantages. There are plenty of perks when using this powerful product, such as: 
  • The oxidation during bleaching will plump the hair shaft, which creates a fuller and thicker look.
  • With bleach, you can achieve a great highlighting result with just one application. You won't have to repeat the procedure more than once and additionally damage the hair.
  • Bleach powders typically highlight up to 9 shades lighter. They are your maximum result guarantee.
  • If your client has previously coloured hair, you should reach for the bleach. It is easier to turn a dark brunette into a blonde with bleach. Sometimes, it is the only solution.

Disadvantages Of Bleaching

As much as hair bleach is the most powerful highlighter, there are downsides:
  • If possible, bleach shouldn't be applied to very dry, brittle and inelastic hair. This includes hair that is prone to breakage or split ends
  • If you intend to do additional chemical or non-chemical procedures to the hair, bleach may be too aggressive. Irons and straighteners are not the only enemies of bleached hair. Bleached hair is more porous to adverse weather conditions too. You will have to guard it against extreme sun and wind with greater care.
  • Most hairstylists advise against applying bleaching agents more than once. Therefore, if you want frequent colour changes, you should consider more gentle decolouring variants, including cream lighteners.

Hair that is highlighted with bleach needs regular care. To keep it in the best possible condition, apply pre-wash deep conditioning treatment, heat protectant and serum for daily use. A bond builder will help the hair remain healthier for longer too.



Advantages Of Cream Lighteners

In contrast to bleach powders, creme lighteners tend to be more gentle to the hair thanks to their creamy, nourishing consistencies.
  • Cream lighteners contain additional nutritive components, for example, coconut oil, which means they are more gentle to your scalp. Clients with itchy and sensitive scalps may like this type of product more.
  • Hair conditioning with cream lighteners is better because the conditioning is done simultaneously with the highlighting.
  • The general rule of thumb is that cream lighteners lift up to 6 shades lighter, which makes them more powerful lightening agents than many other colour-lifting products. You can have that perfect sunkissed look without overtreating and overstressing the hair.

You will probably apply a cream lightener on natural or virgin hair because it won't work as well on hair that has been treated with colour before.



Why Cream Lighteners Won't Always Work

One of the key disadvantages of using cream lighteners is that you won't be able to beat warm tones that cause issues with cold colour hues that are so popular at the moment. Overall, most clients like to avoid yellow-ish tones because they look unnatural. They also make the hair look stressed and devoid of life unless you apply a lightener designed to remove yellow undertones



Considerations When Using Hair Powder Lightener

  1. Can all types of bleach be used in foils? The answer is no because not all hair bleach is made the same, and some use very different ingredients than others.

  2. The quality of the foil is particularly important as well. Tests have found using lower grades of foil can become incompatible with bleach.  That’s why it’s important we have the right type of foils to carry out services.

  3. Once the hair bleach is mixed with the developer, oxygen is released. If the foils are folded too tight, there will not be enough room for the gas to escape. This will cause a rise in temperature in your foils, so make sure to keep an eye on how tight you fold.  This will also cause the weeping foil effect.

  4. Also, be very mindful of the quality of hair that you are about to service. Ensure hair is free from mineral buildup, metallic dyes and henna products. If there is mineral buildup, you will experience a reaction that will cause the hair bleach and developer to heat up. This will then become weepy like water dripping from your foils.

  5. Consider if you are using a powder lightener, creme lightener or bleach. They can sometimes give different results.

  6. Did you know silicone is stable up to 600 degrees Celsius? Well, information online about silicone buildup that melts in the foils means this could be why we see dripping foils. For this to happen, we need to have the temperature above 600 degrees Celsius. What would happen to our client’s hair and scalp if we managed to get to this type of temperature?  Would we have a client still sitting on that chair?



Using Hair Powder Lightener To Create Foils

Hairdressers will each have their own technique when creating colours. The factors mentioned above will determine how long a head of foils should take. The way you will conduct a scalp bleach to foiling will be completely different. It’s important to continually educate yourself to see if there are better ways in which you can be doing things. 



Factors That Affect Individual Client Choice

The comparison of bleach vs. creme lightener vs. powder lightener becomes more complex as you meet a variety of textures in clients' hair. The conditions of the hair will also affect your recommendation as well as the highlighting variation between the old and the new shade.

Today's bleaching powders contain anti-breakage ingredients that don't wreak havoc on hair elasticity. You can protect hair from within and provide long-lasting protection. Alternatively, some cream lighteners have stronger decolouring capacity depending on what ingredients they contain. Therefore, they must be used with care because they can cause damage to the hair.

Finally, many clients are eager to invest time to care properly for highlights, so don't limit yourself to the most simple products because only the perfect solution will do!

Have you tried these three products before? Beach vs. creme lightener vs. powder lightener? Which do you like better? Leave the answer in the comments below.

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