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A bleached blonde’s guide to maintaining bleached blonde hair

On a Blonde Ambition tour? Same. As a bleached blonde who’s been bleached blonde for a very long time, here’s my fool-proof guide to maintaining that icy, icy platinum.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert at anything, really. Bloody Marys, maybe. Animal Crossing, almost. But I would go so far as to say I’m a stone’s throw, no, a pebble’s throw from being an expert at being bleached blonde. Yes, being. I’ve been full blonde, blonde-then-blue, blonde-then-lilac, blonde-then-pink and, now, a skunky blonde with a top-half that’s platinum and a bottom half that’s dyed black. You get the idea.

Now, I don’t bleach my own hair; I’ll leave that onerous task to the professionals. But I’ve been washing, shampooing, conditioning and doing all sorts of fun things to my blonde hair all by myself. And now, fellow blondes and blondes-to-be, here’s a checklist of everything I do to my hair in the shower.

Your complete guide to maintaining bleached blonde hair, below:

Step 1: The pre-game

Now that you’re blonde, the shower starts before the shower — before any kind of water is introduced. And if you’re blonde, there’s a zero-percent chance you haven’t heard of Olaplex, whether it be a treatment you’ve had done for you at the hair salon or through some cursory Googling about blonde-hair maintenance. There’s a science-y explanation to exactly how Olaplex works, but I shan’t get into it because I hung up my lab coat many years ago (I’m a humanities major, okay?!).

My entirely unscientific, qualitative opinion: it does work. Pre-sousing my hair in Olaplex’s No. 0 then following that up with No. 3 — with 10-minute waiting sessions in-between each — has made my very dry, very blonde hair feel very healthy. I only do this routine once a week because that’s what they recommend on the bottles, but also, because I am very lazy. It works out!

Step 2: The shampoo

After drenching my hair under the showerhead, I shampoo as I’ve always had, pre-blonde ambitions. Except now, I go for shampoos that are heavy on the hydration. Oribe’s Hair Alchemy Resilience shampoo is currently in my rotaish, but I find anything with “Resilience” or “Recovery” in the title probably a safe bet.

Step 3: The purple shampoo

Now, the purple shampoo, the part you’ve been expecting. Personally, I don’t treat purple shampoo like shampoo; every iteration I’ve tried has felt extremely drying (which is why I pre-game with a shampoo that’s a little more hydrating). Instead, I treat purple shampoo like an entirely different genre of hair product. In fact, think of it as a toner, rather than a shampoo. What you’re really going to want from this step is a big, plushy, foamy lather that will strip all the brassiness away from your blonde. And that’s all I’m going to expect from a purple shampoo — I’ll get the hydration elsewhere.

If my hair is looking especially brassy, I’ll do a dry-run with the purple stuff. I’ll start at the sink with hair that’s just a little damp, and run purple shampoo through the strands like I’m trying to DIY a dye-job. From there, I’ll wait for, say, 15 minutes — or whenever I get bored — and continue with my normal shampoo and conditioning routine, skipping the in-shower purple pitstop.

Step 4: The conditioner

Yay, you’re blonde! But, nay, your blonde hair is, most likely, extremely dry. I never skip conditioning my hair and, in recent years, I’ve taken to using a deep-conditioning hair mask as conditioner. Really try to let this sit and soak through. I know it’s boring — I try to do all my other in-bath things at this time to let the minutes tick by. Do your skincare routine here. Your body wash routine; dry-brushing routine. Hell, brush your teeth, even. Try some in-shower squats. Or just sit and drift.

Step 5: The aftermath

Voila, the shower is over. The hard part is done! Now, I’d tousle, towel-dry and put my hair in those nifty towel-turban things with the elastic tethered to a button at the back of your head. You know? Or just a big towel. After doing moisturising things to the rest of my body, I’ll revisit the hair with a couple spritz of OUAI’s Leave In Conditioner (or your favourite hair oil, serum, the works), comb it through with a Tangle Teezer and, yes, twist my now very soft, very smooth tresses back into its towel-turban contraption. Here is where my routine ends, because I’m much too lazy to attempt to blow-dry, but if you’re a blow-drier, go nuts. Don’t forget the heat-protectant sprays.

(Hero and featured image courtesy of Rosé’s Instagram)

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.

A bleached blonde’s guide to maintaining bleached blonde hair

Retired Tumblr girl Joey has written her way through fashion trends, youth culture and luxury retail in New York and Hong Kong. Beyond internet adventures tracking down the perfect vintage find, you can probably catch her tufting rugs, swigging back Bloody Marys — her third, probably — and making fastidious spreadsheets about her Animal Crossing island.

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