by BR Natalie
I don't know about you but when I picture summer hair, I picture tousled beach waves, naturally (well, maybe not naturally...) highlighted by the sun. Sunkissed if you will. Now my idea of summer hair is all very well and good if you're starting with unprocessed hair, but if, like me, you are a bit splash-happy with hair colour, well, lightening your hair for summer is somewhat problematic.
There's the 'traditional' option of bleach, but seriously, do we want to bleach out layers of colour? Do we want to use the harshest product around on our hair? Do we want to risk being orange? Or green? Then there's DIY options - baking soda, bath salts, lemon juice. But come on, when you're rocking 4 layers of permanent colour, do you really think the answer to stripping it is in your pantry?
I can confidently tell you the answer to lightening your hair neither lies in bleach, nor your pantry. It's found in your local Countdown!
How do you go from this to that?
A wee while ago, I had hair that was close to black, with many layers of permanent hair colours building up. I now have virgin brunette hair and ombred ends that acheived a 10+ lift. That's my before and after above. I did it myself, at home. How? Well the most important step in my hair colour evolution was - I used a colour remover. Not just any colour remover, the world's best-selling hair remover, Colour B4.
Colour B4 retails for $39.99 and you can grab it from your local Countdown, or selected pharmacies. It contains no harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia which means it's not going to damage your hair during the colour stripping process. This was particularly important to me knowing that I was going to use bleach to achieve my final look.
What can you use Colour B4 for?
Colour B4 is THE product to go to if you need to fix a bad colour job, if you want to remove colour build up or you want to strip dark colour from your hair and return to your natural, lighter shade. Think of Colour B4 as a hair dye eraser.
How does it work?
The product works by reversing the colour process. It shrinks the dye molecules in your hair so they can simply be washed away. Pretty cool right?!
The most important thing to know about Colour B4 is that it will takes you back to your lightest shade. You need to understand this to manage your expectations! So let's say you have naturally light brown hair, and you've coloured it darker. Using Colour B4 will take you back to your natural shade of light brown. But if you have naturally brunette hair, that you've bleached or lightened before colouring another shade, maybe a fashion colour like pink or blue, or even black. Colour B4 will take you back to the lightest shade, which means it will take you to the bleached/pre lightened colour not your natural brunette.
Got it, so what's Colour B4 like to use?
When I used Colour B4 I had super-dark brown hair. Underneath that colour was, erm, red. Bright red. This red:
To be honest, I was totally expecting a hot mess of orange hair by the end of it!
Using Colour B4 was like using a regular at-home hair colour, the instructions are simple, they do suggest making a cape out of a bin bag which I ignored, opting to wrap a towel around my neck. The gloves are typical hair colour gloves, really big, too big for my hands, so I used a pair of small disposable gloves I had at home instead.
It's really easy to apply and the mixture was more than enough for my shoulder length, super thick hair - I usually need two packs of hair colour, but I even had some Colour B4 left over. I do need to warn you about one thing - The smell. It's not completely overwhelming, but it's not the nicest smell - be sure to sit in a well ventilated room for the processing hour. And maybe breath through your mouth.
The instructions take rinsing very seriously. You need to rinse for 10 minutes, apply half of the Conditioning Buffer, rinse for 10 minutes, apply a second Conditioning Buffer and rinse again for at least 10 minutes. The Conditioning Buffer prevents re-oxidation so you can re-colour right away. It's really important to remember that the whole rinsing process can take at least 30 minutes, so make sure you have a full tank of hot water!
I rinsed for 10 minutes, agitating my hair with my hands. I was pleasantly surprised - my hair felt great! My comb moved through it without so much as a knot. I applied the first lot of 'Conditioning Buffer' which is like a really foamy shampoo. Now here's the scary bit - within seconds my hair felt like straw and started tangling. I stuck with it, rinsing for 10 minutes before repeating with the second Buffer step. My hair felt incredibly tangled and really rough.
I decided to deep condition before rinsing a final time, followed by towel drying and applying my everyday oil.
What were the results?
Once completely dried, my hair felt like new - it was soft, it was smooth, there was no damage. And the colour! It was like I had my toddler hair again. You know, that beautiful, naturally highlighted hair? Why did I ever colour it?! Even the ends, which I was convinced would go orange were a dark blonde, no orange in sight! In fact, if I hadn't been dared to blonde my hair at home by the Beauty Crew, I'd have happily stuck with this shade.
You can see more before and after shots on the Colour B4 website here.
Before using Colour B4, I was convinced that a colour remover would damage my hair. The next day I expected my hair to at least feel little dry and icky, but it actually felt wonderful. After some close up inspection I couldn't see any damage in the way of splits, or uneven strands - I was actually wowed!
My hair felt so good, I confidentally moved on to bleaching it to create an ombred beach hair look. The bleaching process definitely wasn't as simple as the colour removing but after 12 days and a few lightening sessions (and more than a few days with orange hair) I achieved the light blonde highlights I was hoping for. I used Schwarzkopf Nordic Blonde L101 for the final blonde.
I really enjoyed my experience with Colour B4 - the product did everything it promised to do - and most importantly to me, it did so using no harsh chemicals. It left my hair feeling better than before I used it. The product was simple to use and I think it's a really affordable way to reverse years of colour build up. Can you imagine trying to go as blonde as I did without removing existing colour first?!
In the past I've fallen into the trap of going darker and darker because I couldn't face either:
- Harsh and caustic bleach / lightening
- Salon prices for colour removal
- Growing out the dark colour and rocking hideous regrowth for months.
After discovering Colour B4 I can confidently go dark, funky, colour my hair on a whim, knowing I'll be able to get it back to my current one in under two hours!
So there you go, the secret to going lighter for Summer has been in your local grocery store all along...who knew?!
Chat to us about all things colour removing! Have you tried a colour remover before? How did you find it? Are you stuck with hair too dark for your liking because you don't want to risk damaging it by using bleach? How do you usually lighten your hair?
Natalie's experiences of Colour B4 are her's alone - she bought the product with her own hard earned pennies - her opinions are her own. You can find out more about Colour B4, including stockists, via their Website or Facebook, and of course, you can read reviews right here on Beauty Review.