How To Self-Care Bleach Your Hair

Welcome to the latest how-to from Make Your Face, a makeup tutorial series with a simple mission: makeup for your own entertainment, Establishment-style.

This week, Jennifer Culp addresses this week’s dystopian election results by turning to self-care and self-expression — both of which can provide some form of comfort during these trying times, as we collectively grieve and determine next steps. Her how-to on bleaching hair that can later be dyed in rainbow hues is, as always, accompanied by social-justice reflections . . . in this case, regarding a certain chronic liar.

Some of her tips this week:

  • You can bleach your hair at home! Well, not on your own. You need to enlist the assistance of a buddy you really, really trust, and you have to be willing to deal with any unintended consequences without taking it out on the hapless perpetrator. (Remember that episode where Daria tiger-striped Jane’s hair?) That’s kind of the limiting factor for bleaching your hair at home.
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  • Anyway, that given, you purchase bleach powder and appropriate developer for your hair color and texture, then mix it precisely according to the directions. Stir slowly at first so you don’t kick a cloud of bleach dust up your nostrils. When it’s ready, the consistency will be smooth and goopy.
  • Go, beautiful assistant, go! Use the pointy end of a brush to part the hair in a line, and paint bleach carefully on the roots on each side of the part. Use the pointy stick to pick up a thin layer of hair from one side, fold it over to create a fresh part, and do it again, making sure to coat both sides of the roots on each section of hair. (Try your best to not get bleach on pre-bleached hair if you give a damn about your hair being able to grow out without breaking.)
  • Leave the bleach on for a while, ’til it’s done cooking. You can cover and heat it to help it process faster. Leave it on long enough, even if your head is itchy! (I never do. Learn from my mistakes.)
  • Wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo. If you’re planning to dye IMMEDIATELY afterward, skip conditioner, but if you’re gonna wear the bleached hair bare for a while before applying color, condition the hell out of it.
  • Blow drying your hair before going out is a good habit in November, even if it is unseasonably warm.
  • Fuck mascara if you don’t feel like wearing it. Shiny eyeshadow and naked lashes will do just fine.
  • Highlighter doesn’t have to be neutral. Use any sheer shiny shadow you want!
  • Navy lipstick is pretty.
  • Don’t feel compelled to capitulate your self-respect and tolerate a bully in the name of “politeness.” Don’t grow accustomed to unacceptable as the norm. You don’t owe respect to a man who hasn’t earned it; you don’t owe forgiveness to an abuser. Don’t let anyone convince you that you are less, that you ever deserve worse treatment than they do because “that’s just the way things are.” Grow empathy. Be kind. Be alive. Listen. Educate. Dissent. You are worthy of respect and consideration.
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