Read This Before Highlighting Your Hair

Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
Anyone who has ever hoped to achieve Daenerys Targaryen-style bleached-blonde hair is intimately familiar with just how long, arduous, and damaging the process can be. But have you ever wondered what’s actually happening to your locks when you opt for a lighter shade, whether full-on platinum or simple highlights? Or why those post-bleach tresses suddenly seem fuller and more voluminous, only to turn brittle and break off later?

Turns out, bleaching in any capacity is both an art and a science — a technique involving dozens of variables and producing varying results. Luckily, the more you understand about it, the easier it is to figure out how to care for your hair. As trichologist Dr. David Kingsley says, “All hair is healthy enough for bleaching, it’s just a matter of treating it correctly and making sure the right products are used.”

To help us with this lightweight chemistry crash course, we enlisted Kingsley and several experts in the field. Read on to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about getting your hair bleached.