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1. Divide hair into 4 quadrants, and always lighten the top/back quadrant first. The quadrants give a roadmap on where to start and finish. Beginning in the back is important: The hair there is more resistant to lightening than any other area, so it needs more time. And if you start with the back and then go to the front, it’s easier to rinse out that back section if it finishes processing before the front.
2. Retouching with lightener is NOT the same as retouching with color. When you do a root re-touch with color, you’re just lifting and depositing color. With lightener, you have to be sensitive to the developer, the scalp, note that it lifts faster than the rest of the hair, and then tone it, and blend that into the rest of the hair – these cause banding and demarcation lines.
3. Place cotton strips between each lightened section “I use cotton to insure that when the lightener expands – and it will — it does not expand onto the previously lightened hair. The cotton keeps every section slightly lifted to allow room for that expansion.”
4. Apply conditioner on the hair leading up to the demarcation line “This allows me to apply the lightener right up to the edges of the grow-out without having to worry about breakage of previously-lightened strands. I use Defy Damage Conditioner or Protective Masque – and the added bonus is that I’m treating and repairing the hair while it’s processing.”
5. Don’t overload your brush with product “Part of the art of keeping a controlled application of lightener lies in how carefully you apply it to the roots. Always make sure product is flat on the brush…if it’s mounded, you know you are working with too much.