Thursday, 7 April 2016

W7 Colour Ways review: at-home affordable bleaching kit

Since 2011 I have been using bleach at home to lighten my medium brown hair. In the beginning I made a lot of mistakes but now I'm quite experienced in it. I was going to write a blog on how I bleach hair extensions at home but then I considered that at a beginner level, using cream peroxide and powder bleach is difficult. I know that, as in the beginning I relied on bleaching kits that included brushes gloves.

I picked up the W7 Colour Ways Bleaching Kit from Poundworld but I don't know if their stock is country wide, it's pretty cheap on Amazon though. I am going to use hair extensions for this, but they are 100% virgin, unprocessed and natural so they can be bleached, so the results would be the same on natural dark brown hair to how my results are. I'm going to start off explaining what I did according the instructions, show you my results and then discuss what I liked and didn't like about the product.

The kit includes 36g of bleach, 100ml of 30 vol (9%) developer, a tint brush, a mixing bowl, disposable gloves, the instruction and a plastic cap for the head, which for some reason isn't listed on the box.

Start off by putting on the gloves and emptying the contents of the bleach sachet and peroxide bottle into the mixing tray. You then need to mix to a consistency that is free of lumps, at this point I can see the 1:1 ratio is pretty drying so I know I'm going to have to work fast. This is one problem I used to have using kits like this, when you can't make the mixture yourself, the bleach can dry up pretty quickly. Now put on some clothing that you don't really care about, because of course bleach is going to ruin whatever fabric it gets on. For me, using hair extensions I need to protect the surface I'm using, so I've just lay down some foil and unravelled the bundle.

Bleach doesn't spread as much as dye does, so if the placement is patchy, the results will be patchy. The area closest to your scalp will process faster than the ends due to the heat your scalp gives off, so apply to mid lengths first for an even result if you're applying to your head.

You really have to saturate the hair, in a way similar to how I have here...

This is optional, but you can use a wide tooth comb to make sure every strand is covered. The instructions say for dark brown hair to leave it 60-90 minutes, but I can already see the colour lifting. If you have virgin hair, meaning it's undyed, your hair will process faster and more safely than what dyed hair would, this box has approximate times for how long you should leave the mixture on, but when you put on the clear plastic cap, you can see the colour changing. Don't be alarmed if your hair feels hot, just make sure you're not feeling irritation, but a little itching is normal.

I wrapped up the hair extensions in the plastic cap and left it. I did intend to leave between 60-90 minutes, but having used 30 vol bleach many times, I know this is unrealistic for natural hair. Bleach can be deceiving though, because it's light in colour it may look lighter than what it is. You can't actually judge the colour until it is completely dry however. Once the residue has disappeared and the hair looks sort of foam-like, the hair has processed as much as it is going to that time. In total it took me around 5-10 minutes to apply the bleach, then I left it for 30 minutes. I rinsed it with a clarifying shampoo then a damage repair conditioner.

These are my results...

The hair began as a colour 1B which is a natural black, and now it's a brassy light blonde. Of course, if your hair isn't the desired lightness, you can repeat the process just be cautious that bleach is damaging and you need to use a lot of oil based treatments between processes.

Pro  The set was affordable for me, getting it for £1 Con but it's not always going to be that price and with W7 not having a reliable website it's hard for me to tell you all what the RRP is. Similar products are the Crazy Color bleaching kit for £8.00 but I know when I first started using bleach, I always used the Jerome Russell brand and they have an extensive range of products starting at £1.69 including the Maximum Lightening Kit for £6.49 and available almost anywhere that sells hair dye.

Pro  The quantities are set out for you, so you don't need to worry about ratios and perhaps the product not working for you because you didn't get the right the measurements Con The amount of bleach is minimal, it would be enough to cover the average head of roots and a full head of fine hair, but if you have thick hair like me, a medium length would need 2-3 of these. This is why I started buying powder bleach and developer from beauty supply stockists but if you don't research this it will be difficult for you. I use Sally and Capital, but Capital are trade only which you need a qualification to buy from, and Sally is accessible to the public but I know there aren't many in the UK and you do need a trade card for most peroxide based items. If you want to order online, or use a local beauty supply shop you will pay a decent price for a large quantity but you're unlikely to get professional advice Pro At least with this kit you get in-depth instructions and approximate timings so if this is your first time using bleach, it is helpful.

Pro The tinting brush is a decent size and similar to the ones I have bought from Sally Con The mixing bowl is small and to mix this quantity of bleach, it can get quite messy. The gloves were absolutely appalling though I was frustrated the entire time and considered using my own but my aim of this post was to only use this kit as though I was bleaching for the first time.

Overall I liked this product and wish it had been accessible to me at this price when I first began bleaching my hair because I got through so much bleach at £1 a box this would have been amazing. It has everything you need for a beginner, and once you've used this and feel confident you could move on to bleach which you mix yourself. The product was pretty dry and I like my bleach to be slightly runnier than what is set out for you with this product. All bleach works the same and the results depend entirely on the hair it's applied to, the setting you're in e.g if heat is used to speed up the process and what percentage of bleach you use. I used to use 40 vol when I used Jerome Russell but now I've only used 30 vol to limit the damage, which I would recommend to first time bleachers now.  The bleach suggests not to use any other product when mixing it, e.g only using their powder with their peroxide but after comparing ingredients it's just standard powder and developer so if you did want to use it with something else, theoretically you could. It also doesn't say anything about using heat which you can do but I wouldn't do this if you haven't bleach before as you could literally burn off your hair if you're irresponsible with it. Using the cap would contain the heat enough and being able to see the process is useful to someone who doesn't know how long between the approximate times you should wait before rinsing.

Good luck if you're going to do this and I hope this helped!

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