When you think back to the 1990s and early 2000s, dozens of images probably flood your mind. Butterfly clips, scrunchies, overalls, crop tops, and chunky highlights for women. Men rocked cargo pants, bandanas, windbreakers, baggy jeans, and yep, you guessed it, frosted tips. In this post, we’ll look at how to bleach tips of guys’ hair to achieve the perfect frosted tips.
Some of these trends are finding themselves back in style now in 2021, and frosted tips are no exception.
Now, are these trends coming back full force and exactly how they were in the past?
Not quite. While you can definitely see the inspiration behind these trends, it is obvious that they have gotten revamped.
It’s a much-needed update to keep up with the new decade, and frosted tips are included.
While you won’t really see the drastically spiked and pronounced tips, men are seen with gradual lightening throughout their hair with the tips being the lightest point.
So, while the heart of the fad is there, the look today is definitely more subtle, natural, and fitting for the times.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Are Frosted Tips?
In short, frosted tips are essentially highlights that are focused on the very ends of shorter hairstyles commonly worn by men.
To achieve this look, you must use some type of lightener or bleaching agent to dissolve the color pigment out of the hair strand.
Once bleached to the desired lightness, a hair dye can be applied to give the desired shade and tone to the lightened hair.
How light or subtle the highlights depend on the starting color, and whether it is natural or processed/dyed.
The strength of the developer used also matters, as well as how long the lightener is left on to process.
There are also different blending techniques that can be implemented, but these can be difficult and it is best to seek the service of a professional.
How Does Hair Bleach Work?
Before looking at how to bleach tips of guys’ hair, let’s first understand how the bleaching process works.
Applying hair bleach to your hair lifts the color out of your hair to make it lighter.
It does this by creating a chemical reaction called oxidation within your hair cuticles, which dissolves the color molecules out of your hair shaft.
This happens in two parts.
First, an alkaline agent opens up the cuticles on each hair shaft.
This is important because it allows the chemicals to fully infiltrate the strand which makes the bleaching more effective.
For the second part, the bleaching agent oxidizes and dissolves the pigment in the hair shaft, making it lighter.
If you have dark brown or black hair, you may see your hair start to turn orange through this process, or yellow if your hair is naturally lighter.
This is due to the underlying tones in our hair, and how the bleach lifts the color in steps.
Why Is Bleaching So Damaging?
Not only does bleach change the color of your hair, but it can also change the thickness, texture, and curl pattern of your hair as well.
When you bleach your hair and open your hair cuticles, this makes it easier for your hair to lose moisture.
The bleach can dry out your hair, leaving you with hair that feels brittle and straw-like.
Also, while open cuticles can make your hair seem a little bit thicker at first, it can make your hair much more prone to further damage, split ends, and breakage.
This is why you shouldn’t bleach over bleached hair again, and why it is almost impossible to go from black hair to platinum blond in one day.
Finding The Best Color And Shade For Your Highlighted Ends
This is much, much more easily done if you are working with hair that has never been dyed.
This allows you to have consistent and predictable results, and reduces the risk of a surprise, or needing a color correction in the future.
If your hair has been previously dyed, you can still bleach it, however, it can be more damaging.
You should not expect the results from a box kit to be accurate, and it will be better to use professional products.
For natural hair, it is okay to try a box kit.
However, I have not had great experiences with them, and they can be much less consistent with their results than professional products which are more cost-effective in the long run.
In either case, it is safe to get an idea of your results by matching your hair with the closest shade on the swatch samples and comparing it to the end result picture.
Identify your skin tone
As for the right tone for the dye you pick, it helps to identify your skin tone.
You can do this by standing in natural light and looking at the veins on the inside of your wrist.
If your veins are bluish-purple, this indicates a cool skin tone, and you want to stick to cooler tones, as warm ones will make you look more washed out.
Look for tones labeled with “ash”, “champagne”, or “platinum”.
Veins that appear to be more green-blue, then that indicates a warm skin tone and you should stick to warmer colors to avoid looking flushed.
Usually, dyes labeled with “honey,” “bronze”, or “golden” are warm tones.
When it is hard to distinguish what color your veins are, or you see both purple and green, this means you have a neutral skin tone, and both warm and cool colors will compliment you well.
You can prepare for the bleaching process by doing the following:
Condition your hair before you bleach it
Bleaching strips the hair of moisture; hence, it will help to treat it to more moisture a few days before you bleach it.
For example, you can use a deep conditioning mask on your hair and coat the hair tips.
Let it sit in for a specified period and rinse with water.
Repeat the process every few days before you bleach your hair.
You must rinse with cool water to close the hair shaft.
Test the bleaching powder
One of the reasons people come out with badly-bleached hair tips is that they didn’t test the product before use.
Hence, you should mix a small quantity of the bleach before you use it on your hair.
Mix the bleach with the developer or peroxide two days before the day of use.
Apply a tiny amount to a strand of hair and let it sit in for the recommended period.
Rise the bleach and monitor the result.
If the shade of the strand is as you desired, it is an indication that the result will be pleasant.
If you want, you can adjust the time to produce a darker or lighter shade.
Let a professional handle the task
Professional stylists and colorists are trained to handle bleaching jobs.
Therefore, if you are not sure about the whole bleaching process, it will be best if you leave the task to them.
Besides, they have more experience with bleaching formulas.
If you want to do it yourself, you should make an appointment with your stylist for recommendations.
Not just this, it will be best if you have your stylist on speed dial in case anything ever goes wrong.
However, you should let a professional handle the task for the most effective result.
Minimize damage with low volume developer
If you decide to handle the task yourself, you should look for a low-volume developer.
This is because a low-volume developer reduces the potency, and therefore, results in minimal hair damage.
You can use a 20 or 10 volume developer.
Most bleaching kits come with their developer; however, you can make a separate purchase.
Mixing The Bleach
When mixing the bleach and developer, adhere to the following guidelines:
Protect your clothes and shoulder
Cover your shoulders and other areas you don’t want to get bleach on with a towel.
Like all liquid, bleach will splash when you attempt to apply it to your hair tip.
Hence, it will help if you cover your skin and clothing before bleaching.
Choose a towel you don’t mind throwing away after the process since the bleach will likely cause discoloration.
Apart from this, you can use a hairdresser cape if you have one.
Protect your hands
Bleach contains harmful chemicals that can irritate and burn your hands.
Hence, disposable plastic or latex gloves are ideal companions during the mixing process.
Always protect your hands with gloves before proceeding with bleaching.
Mix the bleach
For convenient application, buy a bleaching kit that contains both the developer and bleaching powder.
Add 1 part of the bleach in a plastic mixing bowl according to the instructions on the product.
Measure it accordingly and put the powder into the prepared mixing bowl.
Use a bleach powder that will reduce the risk of hair brassiness after the process.
Be careful not to use a metallic mixing bowl.
The reason is that bleach can react with metal and cause harm.
Instead, use a plastic mixing bowl.
You can buy it at a beauty store or anywhere around you.
Next, measure and add the developer or peroxide into the bowl that contains the bleach powder.
It is okay if the mixture produces a few bubbles.
Use a 10-volume developer to bleach blonde hair and a 20-volume developer for light brown hair.
You can scale up and use a 40 or 30 volume developer for a black or dark brown hair.
However, the 20-volume developer range is best to minimize hair damage.
How To Bleach Tips Of Guys’ Hair
Depending on how much of a contrast you want your highlights to have, or if you want a gradient effect for a more natural look, is how you should decide on what technique to use.
A little warning: Bleaching can be difficult to get right or correct, so if you have any doubts about your capabilities, you should see a professional colorist to do this process for you.
Just remember to be completely honest about past hair processes and what you want the end results to be so that they can meet your expectations.
For those of you willing to take on a challenge at home, here are a few application techniques that can be helpful:
Combing the bleach through
This is the method you want to use, if you want a gradual lightening throughout your hair, instead of strong, contrasting streaks and tips.
Apply the bleach to your comb or brush by either dipping it in, using a dye brush to paint the bleach on your application brush, or just use a gloved hand to spread the bleach on it.
Judge where you want the highlights to start.
Remember this is a gradual highlight and it is recommended to start lower towards the root.
Pull the comb through your hair to the ends.
Apply more pressure to the comb when you get to the tips as you want them to be the lightest.
Work back to front, until the desired area is covered.
Pull-through hair cap
Hair caps usually come with box kits.
You should keep in mind, that using a hair cap will result in more “stripey” highlights for longer hair, and a stark contrast (think straight line) for short hair.
Have your hair sit naturally and place the cap over your hair, and tie it below your chin so it is taught.
The holes you are supposed to pull hair through are usually marked by black circles for overall highlights.
If you want heavier highlights you can use more of the holes.
Using the hair tool, push the end through a hole and twist it to hook the hair under the cap.
Then, gently pull the hair through the hole.
Once finished, you can apply and process the bleach.
If your hair is long enough, then foils are a good option.
You will need a mixing bowl, a dye brush, and your products as well as hair foils.
Start at the bottom back of your hair and grab a small section of hair.
Place it tight against a piece of foil, and starting with the tip, paint the bleach onto the hair.
For a natural look, apply some bleach only to the tip, and pull the product down towards your roots.
Use the handle of the brush to cinch the foil and fold or roll it towards the root to secure it.
Work your way up and forward towards the front of your head.
Reduce the processing time if you have dyed your hair
If your hair is dyed, bleaching it might damage your hair.
Not just this, the bleach won’t produce a lightened effect as it would on natural hair.
Hence, you shouldn’t leave the bleach in your hair for a long time if you have dyed it before.
If you make a mistake at this point, you may end up with patchy, unevenly-bleached hair.
Alternatively, you can speak with your professional stylist to help you out.
How To Safely Bleach Your Hair
The way hair bleach is processed and the state of your hair at application are very important considerations.
First of all, a strand test is absolutely essential.
It will alert you to any unwanted results or reactions to the bleach before you apply it to your whole head.
If you have dry or damage-prone hair, you will want to use some deep conditioning treatments (as mentioned above) or moisturizing hair masks a week or two before bleaching your hair.
Try to withhold washing your hair for a few days before bleaching it.
You should have “dirty” but dry hair, because the natural oils your hair follicles produce act as protection for your hair.
It is important to note that heat helps to process the hair bleach faster, so the bleach closer to your scalp will end up lighter because of the heat from your scalp.
Also, bleach processes better in humidity, so once you apply it, it is best to take a plastic bag or a shower cap and thoroughly spritz the inside of it, and put it over your hair to process.
You will also want to check on a few strands every ten minutes or so to make sure your hair is lightening as it should.
When you finish processing, rinse your hair with lukewarm water and use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
If you feel that your hair is not light enough, you will want to wait and let your hair rest before attempting to bleach it again.
You may notice an orange or yellow brassiness throughout your newly-bleached hair.
A toner will help eliminate these unwanted colors.
For orange tones you want to use a blue toner to cancel them out, yellow tones will need a purple toner.
When you look at the color wheel, you can see how this color theory works, because colors opposite of each other will cancel each other out.
So, you will want to locate the tones in your hair on the color wheel and move directly across to find out what toner to use.
Aftercare And Maintenance
After bleaching your hair, you want to careful with the products you use and how you take care of your hair.
Certain chemicals can turn blonde hair green, so you want to be sure to regularly use a purple shampoo, and use sulfate-free shampoos.
You will also want to occasionally use a deep conditioner or hydrating hair mask to keep your hair healthy.
A bonding agent like Olaplex is worth using, as it will close your hair cuticles that were opened by the bleach.
If you’ve been wondering how to bleach tips of guys’ hair, this post will help you know what the process entails.
Before you begin bleaching, you should have all the materials and equipment at hand.
You should also carry out the process in a well-ventilated area.
Above all, keep the communication line with your stylist open in case you’re not sure about something.
The retro trend of frosted tips has clearly gone through a modernizing transformation and is back in style.
With the countless techniques and tools we have at our disposal, you can customize this look from popping highlights to subtle blending to best suit your personality and look.