Chapter 4 – Lightening Virgin Hair and Regrowth

4.1 Hair and Scalp Assessment

As with any service, when performing a virgin lightening service, you must begin with an assessment of the hair and scalp, followed by a detailed colour assessment.

Texture, Porosity, and Elasticity

As detailed in Chapter 3, texture, porosity, and elasticity will affect your choice of colouring product when lightening hair.

To review:

Fine textured hair is generally less resistant to the lightening process due to an increased chance of high porosity. In the case of virgin hair, this porosity may be caused by heat styling or environmental factors. Fine hair also lacks a substantial cortex layer which makes it more prone to damage, as the cortex is what gives hair its flexibility and strength. This puts fine hair at greater risk of poor elasticity and breakage. If your client has fine hair that has poor elasticity, it is a good practice to perform strengthening treatments prior to the lightening service.

Recommendations for Lightening Fine Hair

  • Use the lowest volume of developer possible to achieve your desired lift
  • Choose a low alkaline lightening product to avoid excessive swelling of the delicate hair strand
  • Monitor the lightening process carefully to avoid over-processing and damaging the hair

Coarse textured hair is more likely to have resistant porosity, which can make it tougher to lighten. Coarse hair has a substantial cortex layer which provides the hair strand with the strength and flexibility to withstand the lightening process with less chance of damage; however, this larger cortex also means that there is more melanin to diffuse, usually resulting in a stronger underlying pigment.

Recommendations for Lightening Coarse Hair

  • If working with resistant porosity, bump up your developer to achieve the desired lift
  • Choose a higher alkaline lightening product to swell the hair strand effectively
  • A second application may be required to reach the desired level of lift when using a bleach product
  • Monitor the lightening process to avoid over-processing and damaging the hair

Scalp Considerations

As you perform your consultation, you should be checking the scalp for any irregularities or abrasions. Remember to ask your client about whether they have experienced any scalp sensitivity in the past.

Colour Assessment

Once you have assessed the hair and scalp condition, perform a thorough colour consultation to determine the following:

  1. Existing level and tone
  2. Target level and tone
  3. Levels of lift required

The amount of lift required will help us determine whether we will use an oxidative colour product or a bleach product.

Oxidative colour and high-lift have the ability to lift up to 4 levels. Bleach products have the ability to lift more than 4 levels.

Note: The amount of lift that can be achieved with either option depends on the structure and condition of the hair.

Final step is a strand test and patch test – especially important when your client is new to colour!

Next, let’s look at oxidative colour products and bleaching products individually.



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Hair Colour for Hairstylists: Level 2 Copyright © 2021 by Arden Magtiza is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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