October 21, 2015

Life's a Bleach .. the Lightening of Melanin

Off the Hair Health Horse... 

back on the Hair Color Horse

lif is a bleach5678

Sorry I couldn't figure out why I was sleepy every time I've been posting lately...besides the usual medical crap going on, I was just unusually tired and just couldn't get inspired...I NEED TO WRITE ABOUT HAIR COLOR, to keep me jazzed and alive. So I am just going 

to have to aaaaside bar6565 alternate the posts, for fear of falling asleep and never waking up. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, Hair Health is as important a subject as there is, I promise you. But, for me I have done all of that writing and reporting... it was completed over the past 6 years  - so its simply a matter of "re-writing" my notes - which I guess is what was pushing the snooze button for me.
I  NEED  SOMETHING  ABOUT  HAIR  COLOR  TO  MAKE ME HAVE TO WRITE  FROM SCRATCH - its what made me become involved - inspired and REJUVENATED once again....something I very much NEED. So back we go. I ordered a couple of new Doll heads . . . Molly & Dolly's cousin's are on their way from back east. If you don't know who Molly and Dolly are . . . SHAME on you -- see here >>  

They are showing ble-atched- super light blond's well into the Fall - and its the subject I simply get the most questions about... getting to LEVEL 12 successfully & beautifully. So today we are going over the process from a different POV, twisted technical.
Hang on.
Below the surface off the skin is the hair root: above it is the hair shaft.


The hair root is housed in a sheath, a pocket in the skin, called a follicle. At the bottom of the follicle ( deep in skin) is the hair bulb. Cells that become a strand of hair are produced in the hair bulb, the LIVING PART OF THE HAIR, from which the hair grows. At the base of the bulb, nourishing it, is the papilla, a tiny mound of tissue laced with capillaries.

  hair bulb2
The hair shaft is comprised primarily of cross linked, fibrous proteins called Keratin. Keratin accounts for 90-95% of the hair weight.
Structures in the hair bulb called melanocytes make melanin, or natural pigment. that gives the strand color.2-3% of total weight comes from melanin.
How is hair formed?
The papilla supplies AMINO ACIDS ( remember this - I feel amino acids are important for new hair growth) to the hair bulb; the hair bulb produces keratinous cells; melanocytes infuse melanin into these protein-based cells; then, finally, the cells dry out and harden to form the hair strand ( called keratinization) which emerges from the follicle.
There are 2 types of melanin
  • Eumelanins - the darker pigments from black to brown
  • Pheomelanins - lighter, ranging from red-brown to red-yellow to yellow
All hair no matter what color it is (except white- unpigmented) contains both in varying degrees. Very black Asian hair is heavily pigmented but may contain only eumelanin.
The color of a strand of hair depends on how much melanin it contains, the proportion of eumelanin TO pheomelanin  + the pattern of distribution of the melanin. There are additional descriptions of how these work but truly this all you need to know to understand 'basically' how the hair's VIRGIN color. . .  GOT there!

From your POV, the most important thing to know about melanin is what happens to it in the presence of hair color.  The color result depends as much on the natural pigmentation of the hair as it does on the artificial pigment used; the same ash brown formula may look ORANGE-Y on one natural base, drab on another, and Neutral on a third....something I try my damndest to explain to everyone.
Recognizing what depth the hair is to start with and how it will change tonally when lightened allows you to anticipate the final result. So many of you are so surprised & shocked at your results, which I guess really can only subside with experience. 
Through the years, all the various color manufacturers have come up with ways of getting this process across to hair colorists {and now ME to you }  . . . . but the point of any theory of lightening is to drive home the idea that the color result depends on MORE THAN WHAT YOU put in the BOWL - -  it also depends on the color contribution of YOUR hair on your head.  So no matter how many rules we come up with and no matter how many different ways we try to teach lightening of the hair, going from Level 6 Brown Hair to that rocking Level 12 that you have always wanted to be. . . .  it also depends on the color contribution of that hair on your head right now.
Natural color contribution depends on:
  1. the original virgin color &
  2. how much you have to lighten it
The natural base level and the lightening capability of your formula, determine the color contribution of your hair.
The color contribution of the hair AND
the artificial pigment used...determine the color result.
Natural color
+ lightening capability of the formula
= the color contribution of the hair
The color contribution of the hair
+  the artificial pigment
= the Color result

Are you getting this...??  Color contributions of the hair is referred to any one of different ways: undertones, underlying pigment, natural  underlying pigmentation, pigment bases, residual pigment contribution, natural contribution of the hair, lightened natural pigment and remaining natural color.
Any of these term can be substituted in that last equation (above).


This concept concerns the color changes that happen when hair is exposed to a product capable of lightening it.
One of the best lessons in hair coloring is how the FINAL Result depends as much on the natural contribution ( remember what YOUR hair has IN it naturally - as it was when you were born) of the hair a s it does on the artificial dyes, and the seven stages of lightening is a way to tell that story.
The 7 stages of lightening are the colors that hair attains as it is lightened with either permanent hair coloring or bleach.
If hair bleaching could be viewed in super SLOW MOTION, these are the tonal stages that would be seen during the progression from dark to light.
The 7 stages of lightening are:
  1. BLACK
  2. BROWN
  3. RED
  5. GOLD
  When hair is exposed to a lightener agent, its black and brown pigments are first to begin to break down or oxidize ( the eumelanin lightens first). Then the red & gold pigments gradually oxidize  - then yellow and pale yellow stages are simply lighter and lighter version of gold. 


Notice 5 of the 7 stages have to do with red and gold, this is due to the tenacity of these colors in the hair. In other words, they are IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the hair! It takes longer to eliminate Red and forever to eliminate GOLD. I am hoping you will all relate this to your experience of being stuck in the "gold" stage as though it seemed like FOREVER 
The most sought after goal when going Gwen Stefani BLOND . .Pale Yellow, I refer to it as frozen butter. Pale yellow is the lightest hair can become without destroying the hair. Pale Yellow can be toned to be almost any color on the planet...including white.
I am hoping with this series in the long run I will see less banana-heads on the street, realizing fully what a grand wish that is, I am still hopeful - they make me shiver.

Killer Chemist
7 comments on "Life's a Bleach .. the Lightening of Melanin"
  1. Wow! By far the most comprehensive and informative intro to hair color I've found. I feel like I'll be able to communicate with and listen to my new colorist much better at my appointment tomorrow.

    Something I'm still confused about is the use of the word "shades". As in "you should only go (however many) shades at a time". Is each level in the 1-10 scale considered a change in "shade".

  2. LOL...I just finished reading all of your posts regarding bleaching your hair. I laughed so hard about your banana head comment because I was a banana head.

    I would love to bleach my hair again (I'm at a dark brown with reddish tint), but when it comes down to the chemicals that you need to properly do it I get confused. You remember in high school when you went to chem class and they hand you a list of the chemicals you need and the amounts that you need of each one and you go on your merry way and make the end result fizzle? My fear is that I'll mix one thing with something that it's not supposed to be mixed with and wind up with no hair.

  3. Anonymous,
    If you order your products from me, I am very clear, and very
    FREE with my use of LABELS. I labels everything and the very clear directions come with the Oil Bleach. Everything is marked ever so clearly and sometimes TOO CLEARLY. Unless you can't read, I don't think that would be a problem . Products from anywhere else >? ? ? I cannot be responsible for. I try to teach so I add stickers saying what everything IS and what you should and shouldn't do with it.
    Doing hair color is not that hard, I honestly compare it super closely to cooking, can you cook? - - can you bake a cake from scratch? That's what its like Steps and just go 1 by 1 ....
    I don't know what else to say, if you're that concerned maybe you should have it done.
    You would need to start out with VANISH, join our group and read about that in the group...its a color remover. In order to get the red-brown tint OUT first!


  4. Hello KC I really hope you read my comment, I wanted to buy the Levitation oil bleach but it is no loger made what would you recommend as a good bleach? and also I have reddish medium brown hair (colored) would a bleach wash work to go to a level 6 cool brown?
    I really want to thank you for this site has really helped me a lot Im very glad to have find you, my hair thanks you as well..

  5. Anonymous,
    Please ask these type of questions in the GROUP, they are too involved and long for this venue, but Thanks for your interest.

    > I don't know what a "bleach wash" is...So before you ask...please clarify your question.

  6. I relate the natural pigmentation thing to colored lights projecting on a wall or the way you can mix colored paint. If the wall is white and you project a blue light it would look blue, but if the wall is orange and you project blue light...well it won´t look blue jaja, it´s not exact but it helped me get a grasp. Also how colors in paint get mixed if you paint something red and then put yellow chances are it won´t turn yellow (yellow pigment doesn´t cover much) you would have to remove paint or paint over with white....
    I don´t know if it makes sense. Anyway thanks for such great posts my hait is currently in paint drips (dark red to light copper) with some ribbons I love it and its all thanks to you.

  7. Yup you explained that perfectly! I have been black and blonde probably 5 times in the past 5 years. Had my hair literally white as snow, ends died but it was in good condition cause i condition like a mofo every time i have time to do it no matter what color i have. So yes I hated being stuck at gold so that's why i went to white eventually then had no more length then back to black to get length then to red then to black for length and then ended up frying it the 3rd time i tried to go from black to blonde in 7 or 8 months. now i have 5 inches of red brown. gonna go to gold and tone violet. cut sum ends and just grow and NEVER die my hair BLACK EVER AGAIN! I'm a natural ash blonde and the black is to harsh for me now that I'm 18 and not 13. Ill just stick with my black wig! GIRLS DO NOT GO BLACK U CAN TRY TO GO BACK but its a job.


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