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Best on Scalp Bleach

Updated on March 9, 2015

Why I Love Joico Creme Lightener

I've tried several on scalp bleaches. Many of them considered the "cadillac" of bleaches. Ohh La La. I always felt such excitement and had high hope before trying a new one. If you are a dark base like me and bleach your hair, you know the importance of a gentle bleach. Color does not lift color, so you must 'double process' as it's called. A double process is bleaching your hair with a lightener (bleach) mixed with the proper developer, and then toning to get the desired shade.

Chasing the Perfect Blonde and Finding an Amazing Creme Bleach

My Blonding Journey.

In college (university) I studied in Paris for a semester. My classmates and I packed as many black outfits as we could and daydreamed of what life would be like living in such a bustling, artistic, and glamorous city. (Since we were on a tight budget we figured we could try at least to look chic if we had black basics. Can't go wrong with one pair of great black boots.) One of the first things I did after landing was visit a salon and go blonde. Six hours later I was blonde, but it was too light and looked like a powdered wig. (Thinking back, I don't think the colorist used a toner and if he did, it wasn't the correct shade.) But it didn't matter at the time. I was blonde! Light hair was fun and it matched my light skin tone better.

One of my favorite blondes is Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Not only was she known for her impeccable style, but also her long, glossy buttery locks. Looking at pictures online she seemed to never show a dark root. Although from some images and their angles, her shade of blonde appears too yellowish at times. I prefer more of a steely blonde. Not grey, but a good depth of ash with a slight steely shimmer. Not sure if that makes sense. (Your perfect shade of blonde is a personal choice. There are so many different shades of blonde.) Another modern day stunning blonde is Marie-Chantal of Greece. Her hair never looks yellow. It's a beautiful shade of clear blonde ash.

Last summer I decided to try going light again after several years. As stated previously my natural base is a 5 and with a lot of ash. Darker colors at the salon either came out too severe and almost black or too warm. It was time to lighten up. I went blonde slowly. First I did a basic soap cap to remove a lot of the built up color. Then over the next few months I added highlights via the balayage method. I can do them well on the sides of my hair, but a friend, who is also a colorist, did the back for me. If you want to be an all over blonde, I suggest slowly building up via the highlight method. Your salon can either do balayage highlights or foil. I like balayage because it looks more natural as it's basically free hand painting.

Keep in mind, my main goal was to be totally blonde, but I did it over a period of several months. From July to October, I gradually built up highlights until I was an all over blonde. As a full blonde, I had to consider root maintenance. That's the hard part! It's very time consuming doing your roots every 4-6 weeks depending how fast your hair grows. There are basically 3 methods for a bleached blonde to maintain dark roots: 1.) A high lift color. (I don't recommend this unless you are a base 6 or above.) 2.) Foil method where your colorist will foil every few pieces of hair. This is great for a look that still has some root depth. 3.) Full on scalp lightener. This is my preferred method. You are basically covering all roots with bleach. It's often called a double process. You are lifting the roots and then adding toner at the end.

I purchased several on scalp bleaches because of their top reviews. Goldwell Silk Lift, Wella Blondor Cream Bleach, L'Oreal Platinum Plus (Not from a drugstore. Their professional line and very, very hard to find. And it's very expensive. Many top salons either don't know about it or don't want to use it because of the expense.) and finally, Joico Creme Lightener.

The first on scalp bleach I used was Goldwell Silk Lift. Even though it's not a cream the powder is very finely ground. It was decent and I stuck with it for about 4 months. I was lucky that one salon even let me bring it in as I'm not a fan of the bleach they use. The problem with Silk Lift is it has a tendency to dry out on the scalp thus preventing the roots to lift even more. Even though my lift was nice and not brassy, I felt the roots should be lifting even 1 more level. UPDATE: I've fallen back in love with Silk Lift again. The next bleach I tried was L'Oreal Platinum Plus. I couldn't believe how clean and clear it lifted my roots! I was in love right away. It was such an amazing lift, my roots were platinum. However, the love affair was short. It's touted as one of the BEST bleaches and I can see why. And supposedly the paste is loaded with nourishing properties for the hair. However, after a few monthly root touch ups, I noticed some breakage. Yikes. That was the first time throughout my blonding journey that had happened. (I will however continue to keep the L'Oreal Platinum Plus for off scalp lightening such as balayage.) I was now down to trying Wella Blondor Cream and Joico creme lightener. A week before my next root touch up, I did a small patch test test with Blondor and Joico. Maybe I didn't mix the Blonder cream liquid-y (thin) enough, but it felt very gritty on my scalp and it did not lift as clean as Joico. Even with just a small area of root covered, Joico creme lightener was a great surprise.

The next weekend all roots were covered with Joico Creme Lightener mixed with volume 20. However, for the developer, I used Wella. (I find Joico's developers too runny.) The bleach stayed on my roots for nearly an hour. 35 minutes into the process, I did put a plastic cap over my scalp. This was the only heat source. And with all of the on scalp bleaches I've tried, I let the mixture sit on my scalp for 45-60 minutes. Because of all of the oils in this bleach it did not dry out on my scalp meaning it kept developing for nearly the whole hour. Some commenters online find the Joico bleach hard to rinse out. I didn't find this to be the case. The lift was incredible!!! A very crystal clean, clear lift with absolutely NO orange or yellow. And best of all there was no breakage and my hair was left in perfect condition.

I'm a hair snob. I don't normally purchase hair products from shopping mall hair salons or products that everyone uses. So I wasn't sure what to think when I purchased the Joico lightener. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of their hair care line. It's available everywhere and truthfully a bit overexposed. But I cannot praise their creme bleach highly enough. From my experience, this is the absolute gold standard of on scalp bleaches. 1.) It's the creamiest of any cream bleach I've used. This is very important because it doesn't dry out on your scalp. Once a bleach dries out, it stops working. When it stops working, it stops lifting. Thus when a bleach stops lifting before it has time to fully develop you are left with orange, brassy, and yellow hair/roots. 3.) It's not overly harsh yet it lifts up to 8 levels. 3.) Maintains the integrity of your hair. Meaning, less breakage.

I believe in the 'low and slow' method concerning bleach and developer. There is no need to use over volume 20 on your roots. (Yes for balayage volume 30 is totally fine, but that's for another article as I'm not explaining hair painting here.) But for on scalp root bleaching, anything over volume 20 is not something I agree with. You can research the low and slow method yourself. Think of it this way: A recipe for a cake says to bake it on 300 for 40 minutes. If you decide to speed things up and bake it on 400 for 20 minutes, it gets done on the outside, but the inside still needs time to finish baking. Does that make sense concerning developers?

Let bleach and volume 20 developer stay on your scalp for an hour and you will have a clean lift. Use volume 30 or above for 20-30 minutes and that's why it nearly always ends up orangey/brassy or too yellow. Low and slow lifts cleaner and clearer. That's why a lot of youtube videos where they use volume 30 and 40 on their roots the results are not a clean lift at all. The low and slow method is more common in Europe than here in the States.

I'm a huge fan of Guy Tang and I believe he also uses the low and slow method. Many of his clients are there for 6-8 hours. In a video below, I also spy Joico Creme Lightener as he's mixing the solution for his clients root touch up.

In summary, I could not pull off this high maintenance blonde without Joico Creme Lightener and Silk Lift. I alternate between the two now. Sometimes I'll do my roots with Silk Lift and then 8 weeks later, I'll use Joico. There are not enough words to express how much I LOVE these two for on scalp lighteners.

Goldwell Silk Lift

Goldwell Silk Lift High Performance Lightener - Up to 7 Levels of Lift for Strong Lifting 500g/17.6oz
Goldwell Silk Lift High Performance Lightener - Up to 7 Levels of Lift for Strong Lifting 500g/17.6oz

Vert Gentle Lightener. Don't forget the serum and volume 20 developer that go with this.

 

Trust me, it takes a lot of money and a lot of effort to have hair that appears so effortlessly beautiful.

— Kathleen Flynn-Hui
Joico Vero K-Pak Creme Lightener, 10.5 Ounce
Joico Vero K-Pak Creme Lightener, 10.5 Ounce

I don't care what colorists say, this is the BEST on scalp bleach for monthly root touch ups. If used correctly, there is no breakage.

 

Wella Developer 10 Vol

Wella Koleston Perfect 3 Percent Creme Developer, 33.8 Ounce
Wella Koleston Perfect 3 Percent Creme Developer, 33.8 Ounce

I like Wella developers with Joico creme lightener. If my new root re growth isn't too long, I can get away with using only volume 10 mixed with the lightener. You may also mix equal parts volume 10 and volume 20 to equal volume 15. Do NOT use these developers with Silk Lift lightener. Silk Lift has its own developers you must use with it.

 
Wella Koleston Perfect 6 Percent Creme Developer, 33.8 Ounce
Wella Koleston Perfect 6 Percent Creme Developer, 33.8 Ounce

For on scalp 4-6 week root touch ups, I believe in the low and slow method. I'm a base 5. There is no need to use volume 30 or 40. Low and Slow. The Joico creme lightener stays moist enough that it keeps working.

 

Glossy, Light Locks - A few Iconic Blondes

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Low and Slow - Guy Tang Working his Magic!!!

You will notice the Joico Creme Lightener tube near his mixing bowl.

Joico Creme Bleach - On Scalp Video

This is a great video to show you the results on this bleach on scalp. It's bright! I prefer a less platinum look thus I adjust with the final toner over bleached roots.

A great way to see how well this bleach lifts with only a volume 20. Because it's a cream bleach, it does not dry out on the scalp and keeps working. There is no need to use volume 30 on roots. That's why with higher volumes of developer hair tends to look brassy. It lifts too fast instead of going low and slow.

© 2014 Kate Alexandre

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    • profile image

      Sunflower 2 years ago

      Any one tried going from dark brown (almost black) to blonde with joico creme bleach and 10 volume? I saw a video on YouTube, and it turned out great. Any developer that holds bleach will lift to the same color, but it's just a question of time. Low volume can reach the same color as a high volume but much gentler and slower. You can have the bleach in your hair for even up to 5 hours! Slow roasting is the best method.

    • profile image

      Dorota 2 years ago

      Joico cream is avalible in Europe. I am from Poland and i work with their products. Better result is with Joico developer and even faster.

    • profile image

      Killer 2 years ago

      I had highlights years ago. My hairstilist used Lakme bleach but i haven`t had it on the scalp.

    • profile image

      NL 2 years ago

      I would really love to try the famous JOICO cream lightener but I don`t think it`s available in Europe at all

    • SundayMacarons profile image
      Author

      Kate Alexandre 2 years ago

      Yes, I'm licensed. It's the cream lightener for on scalp, not the powder.

    • profile image

      NL 2 years ago

      I don`t know... Are you a hairdresser?

    • SundayMacarons profile image
      Author

      Kate Alexandre 2 years ago

      You sure that isn't for blonder powder? The powder does lift some yellow sometimes.

    • profile image

      NL 2 years ago

      Some of the bad reviews were that it lifts very yellowy, that it dries out...

    • SundayMacarons profile image
      Author

      Kate Alexandre 2 years ago

      I loved Platinum Plus at first, but it clung to the scalp and also caused some light breakage :( I've heard of Deco, but can't find it here in the States. Through all of my testing, I've realized some cream lighteners are actually more harsh and can cause more breakage than powder ones. But powder dries out so fast on scalp. I really like Blondor a lot. I mix developers 10 and 20 to make a 15 and use it with Blondor. Joyce is really nice as well. Joyce and Blondor are the best in my opinion.

      What were some of the not so good reviews?

    • profile image

      NL 2 years ago

      Mostly Loreal Platinium Plus but sometimes Deco Bes Cream. I really want to try Blondor cream. I`ve read very good reviws about it but also some not so good.

    • SundayMacarons profile image
      Author

      Kate Alexandre 2 years ago

      Do you lighten your roots? If so what do you use?

    • profile image

      NL 2 years ago

      I`m so excited!!! I want to know more! :D

    • SundayMacarons profile image
      Author

      Kate Alexandre 2 years ago

      Yes. I've used it several times since writing this article and I LOVE it. I should probably update the article soon because I'm finding that I use blondor more than Joico. And Wella developers are hands-down the best I've come across. Blondor lifts super clean on scalp.

    • profile image

      NL 2 years ago

      Any updates about Blondor Cream?

    • SolveMyMaze profile image

      SolveMyMaze 2 years ago

      Intereg hub. There's a lot of rubbish forms of hair bleach circulating the market just now, so it's good to see that there are decent alternatives available. A few friends of mine have had some bad experiences with other bleaches, so I'll be passing this hub onto them so they can get one that'll do the job properly. Thanks for including the Amazon links too :)