Lighten Up: The 3 Most Common Lightener Misconceptions
By: Kenra Professional
Is it bleach or lightener? Are they different? The longstanding debate continues but we hope to provide some much-needed clarity. Here, we debunk a few myths when it comes to the creative process and application of lighteners.
1. MYTH: All bleach and lighteners are the same.
Not true. Commonly still referred to by some as "bleach," professional decolorizing agents are a world away from doing the same thing as the products you use to mop your floors. You may be wondering, "How did it get the name bleach in the first place? Were they ever the same thing?"
While they do have some similarities, they are vastly different in how they work. The formal definition of ‘bleach’ is the generic name for any chemical product which is used to remove color from a fabric or fiber or to clean or remove stains. It is mainly comprised of sodium hypochlorite, and it has additives like chlorine and hydrogen peroxide.
Lighteners and bleaches both remove color from surfaces they are applied to (think of the hair as a fabric), but I believe we should verbally separate the two when speaking about them. Let’s keep our lighteners at the salon back bar and leave the bleach under the kitchen sink.
2. MYTH: The combination of lightener + developer creates more lift.
Another myth about lightener is that adding a higher developer to it will provide more lift. Now, this may be true when it comes to hair color, but the process with lightener is much different.
Essentially, the volume of developer mixed with lightener will affect the speed, but not the levels of lift. This is critical because when doing a full foil with a super high developer— the hair could potentially process too quickly in the areas where it was initially started and be over processed before the application is finished.
Our best advice is to always go low and slow—and remember that when it comes to the potency of lightener, how it is mixed with varying levels of hydrogen peroxide will determine the speed, not the levels of lift. 10vol will give you the same lift as 40vol—the difference is simply time. You can always go back and mix your second and third bowls of lightener with a higher volume to catch up with what you’ve already done.
3. MYTH: All lighteners are destructive to the hair.
False! It’s important to note that lighteners have come a very long way through technology and innovation. They come in many forms, colors, and sizes-- in cremes, powders, and oils that do provide benefits to your hair.
The standard hair lightener back in the day didn’t have nearly as many conditioning agents as what is included in the lifting powders today. There are several different technologies, pigments and buffers that are all finely ground into tiny particles when making powdered lighteners. However, each ingredient still has a unique size, shape, and weight, and these particles can separate and settle over time. For this reason, just like cans of hairspray need to be shaken before use, our lighteners would benefit from being shaken up once or twice a week.
One example is the Kenra Professional’s Simply Blonde Beyond Bond Lightener. It is a blue powdered lightener with DualBond technology which helps to protect and strengthen both the inner and outer bonds of the hair. There are lifting and protective ingredients among other buffers and conditioners in the cannister.
To prevent settling, a pro tip is to store the can upside down. When it is needed again, it will be flipped right side up and the ingredients will be emulsified once more! It’s an easy solution that takes no extra time, and it could potentially help with lifting, speed, and consistency.
Kenra Professional has an array of lightener options to suit your needs. Do you need to buy and use every single one of them? Of course not! They are simply available to provide solutions as unique as the clients that sit in your chair.