A few of my recent platinum girls.

A few of my recent platinum girls.


The first thing you need to know is that platinum hair has been lifted to a pale yellow. Like the inside of a banana. The variables that I consider when pushing someone's hair that far are the starting color, your chemical service history, the condition of your hair, and your home care. A consultation to determine these variables is imperative because neither my clients nor I want to start a project that we can't finish.


All hair color has a combination of three primary colors: blue, red, and yellow. The blue is closest to the surface of the hair and gives it the cool tone that your hair has naturally. Blue molecules are the biggest and, therefore, the easiest to remove. Under the blue is red. Red color molecules are deeper within the hair shaft, are smaller than the blue, and are a bit harder to remove. Under that, deeper within the hair shaft are the yellow molecules. They're the smallest color molecules and take the longest to remove. Once most of those yellow molecules are removed, you have the color of the inside of a banana.


The depth of your hair, ranging from blonde to black, is determined by the quantity and combination of each color molecule in your hair. The more blue, the darker the color. The tone also depends on your own combination of the three color molecules. The more red, the warmer the color. So, someone with dark brown hair who gets highlights will end up with red/orange highlights that the stylist will have to tone with a cool toner. 


If you have artificial color in your hair, the molecules come out a little different than natural color molecules. They are designed to stick inside your hair shaft even when the cuticle has been opened. That means that artificial color is more resistant than virgin color. If you've lightened your hair too many times, you'll have to strengthen it before you can lighten it again. An Olaplex bond strengthener is what I use in these situations. If you have at-home, or otherwise box color, on your hair, then that is a whole different scenario. Those colors leave a residue on your hair that is hard to get off. It eventually lifts out, but it can take three or four lightening rounds before you get all that out. You're usually pretty red for the first few rounds.


Lightener is mixed with a special peroxide to "oxidize" the hair. In this process, the hair shaft is swollen enough to create space between the cuticles to let the color molecules out. If your hair is too weak to handle this process, the protein (the substance that bonds with itself and creates the strand) will disintegrate. It melts. Bond strengthening additives helps to keep this from happening, but you can still melt the hair if the hair is too weak. A stylist knows what to look for and can recognize hair that can't handle the process. We'll steer you in another direction if we think your hair will melt. 


Using unprofessional products can either damage your hair or leave a paraffin wax coating on it that keeps nutrients locked out. Products with too much alcohol dry out your hair and scalp. Your scalp starts producing more oil to fight it, and your ends start to tangle because there is no slippage to smooth your flared cuticle down. The skin on your face and back starts to break out from the oil, your hair won't hold a decent style and looks flyaway, and your ends are ratty from breaking off. Nice, huh? If the product doesn't have too much alcohol, then the paraffin wax will get you. At first it feels nice, then, after repeated uses, it starts to build up on your hair. The hair becomes dull and feels like rubber when it's wet. It takes longer to dry, doesn't style well, and because nutrients can't get into your hair shaft, it starts to break off.


As stylists, we don't expect you to know all of this, but it helps if you do. Having this knowledge helps you because you're better equipped to make decisions about what you want to do with your hair and you understand how important it is to be honest with your stylist about what you've done to your hair. If you were coming to me to go platinum, I wouldn't do it if I knew it would damage your hair. If you get the "okay" and have been honest during the consultation, then you have nothing to worry about. When you understand all that goes into this process it helps us, too. As stylists, we want you to know why it can't be done it two hours, why it carries the price tag, and why we push you to take care of your hair at home. 

If you're thinking of going platinum, check out my menu of services. It will give you a very clear plan of action. Each item associated with the process starts with the word "Platinum". If you want to see the color stages of one of my brunettes who went platinum, click here.  It clearly shows the color removal stages from her starting dark to red to yellow and, finally, the inside of a banana. 

Leave your comments below if I failed to answer a question. I'm happy to share whatever knowledge I can.