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This one’s for my homies. Home-blonders that is. You know who you are; you either have no time, no energy, no cash or any combination of those things. Maybe you love doing things on the spur of the moment, maybe you get bored easily, maybe you’re just really into DIY. You’re definitely into blonde hair. When it’s your own. I feel you. I am you. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve done some really… interesting and often destructive things to your hair.

Of all the DIY salon treatments you can give yourself, among the most risky is the at-home bleach job. Unlike a bathroom mirror haircut (just me?), this one can do lasting damage and can end up costing you big bucks in the long run. Kind of defeats the purpose, no?

Recently I was lucky enough to have a frank conversation with Amber Fairlie from The Manor Salon about the right and very wrong ways to achieve the blonde you’ve always wanted. One hair treatment, and a buttload of good information later I’m never looking back. And if you need proof that Amber knows what she’s talking about, just check out her handiwork below.

The Manor Salon

Believe me, I’ve done this before — a dozen times — and could never get it this good. Need more reasons to ditch the at home bleach kit? Read on:

1. That’s not the colour you’re looking for

Let’s start with the obvious. That beautiful shade on the front of the box? That’s not what you’re going to end up with. Look at the panels on the side, realize that that only applies to virgin hair — which you don’t have — and accept that you’re leaving this one to the fates.

2. Stripes

This just gets worse and worse over time. Unless you’re an expert at colouring, your inch of roots is going to be a different colour than the rest of your hair. Each time you process you’re going to get another inch of not-quite-right blonde. Eventually you’ll have a series of variegated stripes. Not the style you were going for.

3. Breakage, breakage and more breakage

Also known as a chemical haircut, the uneven lengths you’ll be sporting when your severely damaged hair begins to break off might lead you to embrace the pixie. Not a bad look, but if it wasn’t part of your plan there may be tears.

4. Over-processing areas you can’t see

Can’t see the back of your head? Your stylist can. That matters if you don’t want over or under-processed patches.

5. Uneven dye job

See above.

6. Poor shade matching

You’re looking at the colour on the box. Your stylist is looking at you. A consultation with a qualified professional will help you land on a blonde that works for your skin tone, not a model’s.

7. Dry, brittle/burned hair

If you’ve bleached at home already, I have one question for you: Remember when your hair used to feel good? Neither do I. Come back to me after my next salon visit.

8. Spending more money at the drugstore

What do you do when your first treatment doesn’t work? Buy another box dye? Head to nearest beauty outlet for some toner? Then back to the drugstore for another box? And that’s just trying to get it to a shade you can live with. The oils, treatments and conditioners you’re going to be shelling out on for the next year? Ka-ching.

9. Spending even more money at a salon

And then this happens: you cave and go to the salon. Someone needs to deal with this situation.

10. Stress from not achieving the look you want

Life is stressful enough, even when you know you look good. The time between buying that first box of bleach and finally walking out of the salon with your rescued hair can be long indeed. If you don’t eventually achieve success, even longer. Who needs that?

11. Salons have Olaplex and you don’t

Some say this intense restructuring product is a miracle, others say it’s… well, a miracle.

Seems pretty clear cut. On the other hand, if you’re looking to go lighter than God or man ever intended and can’t find a reputable colourist who’s willing to destroy your hair, there’s a box dye out there for you! I’ve been there, done that and don’t recommend it, but, if you’re anything like me—and we’ve established that you are—you’re not going to listen to me anyway.

Giphy