How do I bleach my hair and make it look good?

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As part of a new Grooming Shrink column in GQ Magazine, Joe is addressing one big question on the minds (and heads) of men each week. Today's proposal? It's a bold one: bleached hair. Here's how to go about it without risking total regret...

The word "bleach" is a controversial one in the world of men's grooming. It's a risky business, after all, bleaching your hair. Not only does the transformation totally strip your mop of all its natural colour, but the result itself has the potential to make you look like a totally different man.

In short, to bleach your hair is potentially the greatest grooming plot twist you can make. But it's here that we'll emphasise greatest, because although only few venture down this path, those who do so with serious preparation have proven to conquer it well. Case in point? Zac Efron, who premiered a game-changing set of stellar locks last year and has since had us wondering how we can do the same and get away with it.

So what's the answer? As part of our new Grooming Shrink column, we've enlisted the help of Joe Mills (of Joe & Co barbers) to help...

How does a man bleach his hair and make it look good?

First things first: this is not something you should try at home. It’s a technical service, officially known as a “bleach” or pre-lightener, and it should be carried out by a professional who has had colour training. The reason behind this is that you’re stripping the natural pigmentation out of your hair so the chemicals used can be harsh on both your hair and scalp. There’s also a slight chance of an allergic reaction, which needs to be tested for.

Once you have found the look and colour you’re after, you want to book a consultation and go in armed with an image, so they know exactly what you are trying to achieve. It’s then good to ask if they can get the amount of lift in your hair colour achieved in one go or whether it will be a gradual process. Generally speaking, if you have a darker hair colour, and particularly a lot of red tones, it can sometimes make bleaching a more drawn-out process.

The job really lies in your barber's hands. After they’re finished with the pre-lightener, there are a few treatments that can be added or used to really help strengthen the hair after service. I’d recommend L'Oréal's Smartbond Conditioner or Olaplex’s No 3 Hair Perfector.

It’s also a good idea to put a toner through your hair. This helps to even out the colour and shade, as well as to dial it in to where you want it – whether that's mostly on top or all through the hair. Make sure to ask your barber how long it lasts and when to come back for a refresh.

Once you’re home, investing in a decent purple shampoo will keep the colour “clean” looking and stop it getting too yellow. I would recommend the Kevin Murphy Blonde shampoo, as it has just the right balance of colour tone and moisturising benefits needed.

You can read the full article in GQ - https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/grooming/article/how-to-bleach-your-hair