Dyeing Your Hair Platinum Blonde Isn't Always an Easy Process—Here's What To Expect


@faith_xue / Design by Zackary Angeline

Blonde-dyed hair was never a look I went for—until now. I'm guilty of treating my hair more or less like a mood ring, including pink streaks during a period of my life when I was feeling stuck, or slate blue after I ended a seemingly perfect relationship. While I’ve done a lot of things to my hair in the past 10 years, I finally decided going platinum blonde was next up on the list. Platinum blonde hair dyes have a rep for taking an eternity to work, but I was ready to take it on.

Dyeing hair platinum blonde
Faith Xue

How to Prepare for Going Platinum Blonde

I’ve thought idly about going platinum for a while now but was always too afraid. What if it made all my hair fall off? What if it didn’t flatter my skin tone? What if I regretted it? All of these fears prevented me from actually making the move, even though I've wanted to try it ever since model Soo Joo Park first debuted her career-catapulting platinum 'do back in 2012.

Once you're prepared to take the leap, there are a couple of things to remember to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. First and foremost, don't wash your hair the night before (or the day of) the appointment. Doing this can strip the hair of naturally protective oils and may cause increased scalp irritation during bleaching. Also, a deep conditioning mask for previously treated hair done a week before your appointment is essential, too.

Another important tip is to go to someone you can trust. Check out their social media for inspo photos and read reviews to determine if other customers have been satisfied with their hair outcome. I personally looked for someone who would have the skillful, magic touch of bringing my naturally deep-brunette hair to a silvery, icy platinum without turning it into straw in the process.

What to Expect During the Process

How long does it take to dye your hair platinum?
Faith Xue

That person would be Christine Thompson, the color director and co-owner of hip SoHo salon Spoke & Weal. I had heard from others in the industry that Christine was an absolute wizard with hair color and knew she had trained many of the colorists at Spoke & Weal who gave some fellow beauty editors their glossy color.

Meet the Expert

Christine Thompson is a professional colorist and the co-owner of Spoke & Weal.

My appointment was Saturday at 11 a.m., and we hopped on the phone Friday night to discuss my impending transformation. She asked about the last time I had colored my hair (one and a half years ago) and my natural color (deep brunette). Her demeanor was instantly soothing, and I felt a quiet confidence from her even through the phone. I knew I was in good hands. She told me she thought she could bring my hair up to the silvery platinum of my dreams, and we hung up.

Dye hair from brown to platinum
Faith Xue

The next day, I arrived at Spoke & Weal excited and ready for my platinum transformation. Christine, who wears glasses and possesses a head of envious, buttery-blonde hair herself that shimmers in the light, immediately put me at ease. I asked her all of my questions, and she took the time to explain exactly what she would be doing, how long it would take, and every detail of the process. “Bleach or enlightener is decolorizing the hair by breaking up the natural melanin in the hair,” she explained to me when I asked what exactly happens to my hair during a double process. “It actually doesn’t affect the follicle at all, but it does lift the cuticle, and if not done correctly, it can damage the cuticle.”

Platinum hair process
Faith Xue

“Anyone with hair that is in good condition can be platinum,” she explained. “Previously colored hair is a little trickier. Overly processed hair where the protein in the hair has been broken down or the hair has been weakened would not be a good candidate.” She said that because my ends used to be lighter and have darkened over the year and a half since I got them colored, they might react well to the bleach, or may not. The scalp always lifts really nicely because the heat of your body helps to process it,” she told me as she started brushing the bleach through my hair. “That’s actually much easier to lift than the actual ends of the hair. The hair at the ends will be the most challenging.” 

Platinum-blonde transformation
Faith Xue

The process would go as such: Christine would apply the bleach to my scalp and through my hair to lift the color. Then, we would either move on to a strengthening treatment and toner, or we would have to redo the entire process depending on how my ends lightened. “You might look like a calico cat for a bit,” she warned. 

Platinum hair dye painful
Faith Xue

At around 2:30 p.m., with a head full of bleach, my scalp started tingling and then grew into a more intense feeling that felt similar to a sunburn. Christine had warned me this would happen, so I didn’t feel surprised. Honestly, it wasn’t seriously painful (if it is for you, call over your stylist ASAP!). It was really more just uncomfortable and slightly itchy. Christine said that for some people, the pain becomes so unbearable that she’ll have to stop the process altogether and tone the hair back down to natural.

Side Effects

Platinum hair before and after
Faith Xue

After the first round of bleach, my hair had turned into the delicate shade of a dehydrated person’s pee. Sure enough, the undyed hair near my scalp had lifted to a much brighter shade. It was my ends that needed another round, just like Christine had predicted. So we went through the process once again.

At around 4:50 p.m., we had almost finished the second round of color processing. This time, Christine focused on the ends, and thus, no scalp pain.

How to take care of platinum hair
Faith Xue

One of my biggest fears about going platinum was that my hair would be extremely damaged afterward, but Christine assured me that her technique prevents that damage from happening. “Oftentimes, people are lifted too high and get too light when they go platinum,” she explained. “This means there is no protein left holding the hair together. You want to lift your hair color until you see a soft, buttery yellow, and then use a toner to create the platinum look.” In other words, instead of using bleach to get my hair to the cool, shiny platinum shade I wanted, she would use bleach to get almost there—then use a purple-hued toner to give the illusion of platinum.

Platinum hair color
Faith Xue

After the second round of bleach, she led me to the shampoo bowl for the grand finale. Her team applied a protein treatment, then a moisture treatment, then two different toners, then a pH balancer to stabilize all of the chemicals. I think I actually fell asleep here for an extended period of time, which was more than okay with me.

Dye hair platinum process
Faith Xue
Double-process platinum hair color
Faith Xue

When I finally sat down in the chair for my last blow-dry, I could already tell my hair was going to be the platinum shade of my dreams. The part I was not expecting was how long my hair had turned. It was nearly down to my butt, and I was in shock when I saw the photo from behind. To me, this speaks to the testament of Christine’s skill—not only was she able to lift my dark-brown, partially highlighted hair up to a cool, crisp platinum in just one day, but she had managed to keep the length as well. In the end, I decided that I wanted something a little fresher (read: less Asian Malibu Barbie), so hairstylist Dhiran Mistry gave me a choppy, lightning-fast cut that landed just a little below my shoulders.


Christine recommended I use gentle hair products and avoid anything that promised to add volume in order to keep my hair strong and healthy. “They’ll make the texture of your hair feel rough and unmanageable,” she warned. “You want to use products designed to strengthen and moisturize. Treatments are always a good idea. You don’t have to continue to layer on protein-infused products, but you'll want to have a nice balance of moisture and protein.” She recommended Aveda’s Nutriplenish Moisturizing Shampoo ($36), along with Christophe Robin’s Baby Blonde Hair Mask ($53) to keep my color bright. I rarely use heat tools, but she recommended that when I do, to always use a heat protectant before. Otherwise, the heat could turn my hair yellow.

I left knowing that I’d be back in four weeks for a root touch-up. Mostly, my hair just requires exponentially more moisture in the form of hydrating and oil-based products. I've been applying Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil ($43) before bed every night and in the morning to keep it looking soft and silky.

How to tone platinum hair
Faith Xue

The Final Takeaway

After my hair platinum transformation, my hair feels as strong and healthy as ever. I was thrilled with the result and so glad I finally decided to take the plunge and switch to Team Platinum.

My hair texture is definitely rougher, and I got quite the shock the first time after I shampooed and my hair air-dried to a shape best described as an extreme poof (I underestimated the amount of oil my hair needed). Overall, the whole process and aftercare wasn't as high-maintenance as I'd feared.

A co-worker recently said my new platinum shade oozed "K-pop appeal with a New York influence," and honestly, what greater compliment could you ask for?

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overviewInt J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

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