Your Ultimate Guide to Going Blonde

I’ve always admired people who completely change their hair colour, be it platinum, blonde or steel blue. Over the last couple of years pastel hair colour has graduated from punk to being the ultimate style statement. I’ve always fancied myself in a powder pink or blue hair colour, but I just don’t have the courage (yet) to take the plunge. So I spoke to Dimpy Kapur (of Delhi Style Blog), and hairstylist Rod Anker on what it entails to completely change your hair colour. Dimpy has coloured her hair 12 different shades in the last 10 years, and Rod is the most trusted hairstylist to go blonde, or pink, or blue. 

Rod Anker

Why did you first start colouring hair in unusual shades?
Only in the last three-four years has it gained momentum. I’ve done it many times over the last 25 years but more so recently thanks to social media, it became more popular. 

What’s the procedure like?
It's a process. It takes time and know how. It's typically a little more expensive than a regular colour if done properly. The number of sittings depends on how dark your hair is and what the quality is like. Someone with lighter hair can go blonde in one sitting,  while someone with black hair would need two to three sittings. I have even done it one day depending on the quality of hair. If someone has black hair and they have got it rebonded many times so it’s damaged, I can’t bleach and colour their hair in one day because it would totally destroy it. The darker the hair the more red pigment their hair, so the more gold they would end up having. That’s not to say that black hair can’t go platinum - you just have to bleach it to blonde and then add a toner to make it more platinum. So there’s no one answer to that question.

How harmful is it?
If it's done correctly it's fine. But the base has to be light, therefore pre-lightening needs to be done, so care has to be taken. 

How should one choose a hair stylist for a drastic colour?
Only trust a stylist who’s work you have seen. It's an art and not everyone can do it. 

How do you protect your skin and scalp during application?
We have products for that, again professional products cater to this process. We use Alfa Parf products from Italy.

How do you keep your hair healthy?
Regular trims, good products and never using oil! Bleaching is the strongest thing you can do to your hair. It may seem like the oil is benefitting the hair but it just sucks the moisture out of dry, bleached hair and covers it up in a film of oil.

What about touchups? 
That depends on your hair colour, number of greys, growth rate and how the colour fades. The lighter you go the farther away from your natural hair you would be, especially if your hair is black. If you’re half grey then you wouldn't notice it so quickly. You can even take it a darker or a greyer tone when it grows, so it grows out beautifully. Its a simple process - we just use a toner. 

What are your favourite products for aftercare?
Alfa Parf Milano

Any other advice on crazy colours/ bleaching?
Do it, it's fun and certainly a way to stand out from the crowd

Dimpy Kapur

How did platinum become your trademark hair colour?
I was in Los Angeles, for my interview with my Admission Advisor for FIDM LA's Spring Open House. She had the most fabulous shade of white hair I ever saw outside of movies. The same day I had gone to the Sephora store at Hollywood Boulevard, and they were giving out free samples of hair colour. On a whim, I got platinum blonde to try out. That time I my hair was ash grey. I went to a colourist at a local mall and that first time, she bleached my hair before colouring it. I totally fell in love with the result, but I still did not know it was ‘my colour’ till a year and two other colour trials.

I finally settled on my trademark hair colour in 2010. By this time I was enrolled at Central Saint Martins, London. One of my course mates was an apprentice hair colourist at a salon at Westfield. She used to have the most crazy hair highlights and balayage. That year she got a seat at my university hostel, Connaught Hall, and was just two doors away from my dorm room. She transferred to a salon at King's Cross, which was just next door to CSM. So on the way back from my classes, I would drop in to see her at work. I learnt a lot about colouring at that salon. That is where I decided on platinum blonde as my signature colour.

What was the procedure like? 
For me, the procedure is very simple. I just colour my roots straight from the box. I don't require a bleach since I originally have light brown hair from my partly-Scottish/Irish ancestry. So the colour gets on very easily. Hardly any brassiness that highly-pigmented generic Indian hair usually ends up with.

Who is your colourist? 
I am my own colourist but otherwise my go to stylist is Amalie at Looks Promenade in Delhi. I still get my colour from London as the shade is not available in India. From the past five years I have been consistently using the same brand and colour.

How does one choose a stylist?
I would always recommend to go by reference. For example Rod Anker has the most trusted reputation for any drastic hair colour change. You need someone who understands the hair shaft scientifically and tells you not to go for a certain procedure if your hair cannot stand it, even at the cost to their business.

What about care?
First is to invest in a good brand. I trust Schwarzkopf absolutely. Second, always colour on day three hair, not freshly washed. The natural oil build up on your scalp is a great barrier. I use organic virgin coconut oil on my face, forehead, ears, nape of neck to protect my skin from colour. Also since I colour my hair myself, I pretty much know how to be careful about my scalp during application. A two way mirror is a great help for anyone doing it themselves.

How do you keep your hair healthy?
I eat healthy to keep my hair healthy. Lots of nuts, protein, fish, cod liver oil capsules. I use conditioner as a 20 minute hair mask once every weeks. I do not blow dry unless I am on a shoot. Also, I hardly ever comb my hair with a comb or brush. I like keeping it natural, and if it gets tangled, I just wet, condition and wash.

Favourite products?
My go to products are the L'Occitane Aromachologie Repairing Mask and Heat Protective Control Mist. And I always rinse my hair with Aquaguard water.

Any last words?
Colouring is an adventure. And like any adventure, there are inherent risks that one needs to be careful about. Like know your own hair, its strength and weaknesses. Personally, I wouldn't recommend bleaching the hair at all. But if you must, do it, after all it will grow out and you can chop it off if its frayed. But most of all, colour if it makes you happy and don't give a damn to people's opinion. Its your hair and you only live once :). 

Lead image: Shutterstock