Platinum Primer Part II: Maintenance
We've all heard the remark that platinum blondes can be high-maintenance, but did you know that it also applies to their hair? Keeping platinum blonde hair healthy and radiant is an ongoing task that requires a passion for caring for your hair, following your hairstylist's advice and being faithful to all the little details that will help preserve your pale-pale locks.
In Hollywood, most platinum-haired celebrities have long, thick, flowing manes. They never have any regrowth—unless it's part of the color design—and their hair always radiates for the camera. In reality, most of these celebrities have hairstylists on call who can make their damaged locks appear healthy. Also, 99.9% of them wear hair extensions and hair pieces to camouflage and enhance the appearance of their damaged locks. Honestly, maintaining platinum haircolor on anything darker than naturally light blonde hair, is damaging. Just how damaging depends a lot on the skill of your hairstylist, how you treat your hair on a daily basis, your choice of hairstyles, and the depth of your natural hair color.
Here are some basic tips on how you can have your cake and eat it too...or, in this case...how you can go platinum without paying the ultimate price of beyond-repair hair.
• If your natural hair is medium brown or darker, resist the urge to go platinum. The maintenance of an overall platinum haircolor would be horrendous. Wearing platinum highlights only works if you love to wear dramatic styles and all the makeup, clothing and jewelry that goes with it.
• The best way to ensure healthy platinum locks is to wear a short haircut. Not into short? Okay, at least shorten your hair to a shoulder-length style. Hair grows about 1/2" per month. It also ages fairly quickly due to mechanical (brushing, combing, pulling, etc.), chemicals, water and UV ray damage. The older your hair is, the more fragile it becomes. When you want longer, more luscious locks, do what celebrities do and buy a set of clip-on hair extensions or have wefts put in your hair.
• Be patient. It may require a series of services to lighten your hair to the desired level and tone. If your stylist wants to reach your ultimate goal in three visits, for instance, go along with the program. He or she knows how much stress your hair can take in one sitting. Lightening your hair in stages is done to ensure healthier results.
• If you can achieve your desired shade without requiring a solid platinum design, then do it. Hairstylists who are into platinum tresses have a lot of knowledge and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, including creating highlights (foils or freehand) that are placed on the top layers your natural haircolor to create a dramatic platinum effect. This approach significantly increases the time between color appointments (cheaper and less damaging), only lightens and deposits color on strategic strands and significantly diminishes the chance of overlapping fresh bleach on previously bleached hair—a major source of serious damage.
• You should choose a stylist who's devoted to teaching you how to care for your pale locks at home. Take his or her advice about the products and tools you should use and what you should and shouldn't be doing. Examples: Platinum hair and swimming pools don't mix. You need to protect your hair by first putting a plastic bag on your head and then wearing one of those cool swim caps that you see professional swimmers wear for swim meets. Why the plastic bag? Putting a snug-fitting swim cap directly on your hair will pull and tear it. The same goes for ocean or lake water, saunas and jacuzzis. For motorcycle rides, tie a scarf over your hair before donning your helmet for the same reason.
• Make sure that your stylist checks the health of your hair before every color service. You should also be checking for damage at home. To do this, part your hair, flatten the hair on both sides and look in a mirror with an overhead light—bathrooms are great for this. You'll see short hairs. Some short hairs are normal, because each hair falls out and regrows at different times. But, if you see a lot of short hairs that are the same length, or there are more short hairs as you continue on your platinum path, then it could be time to take a break from super-light locks. (We suggest that you do this before going platinum and then check it on a weekly basis.) Too, if you suddenly find more hair in your shower trap or in your brush, call your stylist without delay.
• Always have your hair colored by a beauty professional. This is especially true of platinum shades, which require extreme skills and knowledge to create the best results with the least amount of damage. Remember: It's cheaper to have your hair done correctly in the first place, than it is to have a beauty pro attempt to fix your mistakes.