Hi Babes. Last week at Vain I took on the challenge of fully bleaching and dying a man’s facial hair in a quest for a steel-y platinum ala King Triton from The Little Mermaid.
When he first called asking if we would dye his facial hair, the message got sent straight to yours truly. I seemed to have earned myself a bit of a reputation for being shameless when it comes to body hair coloring. And, I just can’t turn down a challenging hair experiment. FYI, I especially love inspired experiments. Give me a flower, a disney character, a graphic novel. Let’s make this shit happen.
I immediately liked Dwayne when I met him. He was excited, open-minded, and fearless about this major hair change. He was wanting to try something new, and wanted to do something a bit unusual.
I also liked him because he told me he was from Butte Montana which if you don’t know, is the strangest town in Montana and has a poisoned water supply due to a gigantic copper mine in the middle of the town, with a 20 year old dread-locked dog living in it. He said that he and his friends call Butte ‘butt’ because it is a town with a dirty hole in the middle of it. I unapologetically love this sort of humor. Also, the fact that this dog survived in a poisoned hole living off of dog-knows-what makes me think ‘what a strangely awesome world we live in.’ and I appreciate things that make me think that.
Anyhow, I told him that I would do my very best to get his hair and beard where he wants them to be, color-wise but that I couldn’t guarantee anything because this was new territory for me. Then I paced for 10 minutes, chewing on my nails and praying to the gods of hair to make me not poison his face and make him die. Here were my biggest fears: That I would burn his face off. And that his beard hair wouldn’t lighten past a muddy orange color. And that he would pass out from the fumes. Facial bleaching is not for the faint.
Here’s what I had to work with. Super dark coarse beard and mustache hair, with head hair the same color but much finer. I did some major consulting with my hair comrades in the back room at Vain. It is times like these that I really appreciate working in a non-judgemental saon environment with talented people who are very happy to share their experiences and advice.
I mixed up Blondor Bleach with Brocado 20v creme developer. I added 5 drops of Loma Organics Fortifying Repairative Tonic because it is amazing for protecting skin and hair while bleaching, and just as a repairative hair product in general. Then, I added 2 packs of sweet n low from the tea bar into the mixture, because it helps ease the discomfort of chemical sensitivity on the skin. Why? I don’t know but it works.
He plugged up his nose with cotton. Breathing out of his mouth seemed like the best option. I brushed the bleach first through the short hair on his head. Then, I dove into his beard with bleach and brush, appyling thick and swift to every single hair on his face, discounting brows and lashes. For the next 20 minutes, I used slight feather strokes on that beard and ‘stache, in every direction to make sure it processed consistently and evenly. I got quite intimate with his facial hair for a while there.
I asked him constantly if he was doing okay, and he flashed me enthusiastic thumbs up. Then, I pulled a trick I learned from my 7 year old daughter out of my back pocket. I like to call it the tear-n-tape method. Marley, my 7 year old, can repair anything with scotch tape, and create anything by tearing it out of paper. The world truly is her oyster.
I grabbed some foils and a roll of scotch tape, and I created a robot mask for his entire hair and beard and mustache, in an effort to cover it and trap in heat to help that bleach do it’s magic. I let this sit for 20 minutes, checking the color every 5. His beard hair appeared to be processing at the same rate as his head hair! It all looked yellow.This was great news. He flashed me more thumbs up.
After 20 minutes, I took off his mask, and re-applied the bleach mixture (This time with 30 v developer) just to his beard. I re-masked him and he sat for another 20. I removed the mask to an astonishingly pale yellow almost-white beard and head. I shampoo-ed him out, first his head, then quite awkwardly his beard. He knelt at the shampoo bowl, with his head forward in the bowl, like a guillotine. Ya do what ya gotta do.
I blow-dried his hair and beard, and re-consulted one of our in-house color wizards. We agreed that instead of using a chemical toner to tone the yellow out, I would use a gentle veggie dye to color him without aggravating his skin. I went straight for Pravana Silver, diluted just a bit with conditioner. I brushed it on thick and thorough.
Let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinsed it, dried it, trimmed and pomade-ed it.
We were both quite giddy with the results. Beard color=Totally Do-able!