Top tips for colouring your hair at home from Alex Brownsell of Bleach London

Plus, the one product co-founder and creative director Alex (below) is never without, why Georgia Jagger is her muse, and how she started the brand in her bathroom sink

Hi, Alex! Tell us how you got started as a hairdresser?

My mum had a salon in Daventry, Northamptonshire, so, from the age of about 12, I helped out there. At 16, I moved to London to do an apprenticeship and work on fashion shows, and it just went from there.

How did the Bleach London brand come about?

It started with me doing my mates’ hair in my bathroom sink. Then it was my bathroom and kitchen sink, if two friends turned up together. We [me and my friend, Samantha Campbell] graduated to a sink and chair in the corner of Wah Nails in Dalston, London. Bleach London turned from a bit of fun into a reality when we eventually took over the entire space. Now we have two more salons (in London’s Soho and Brixton), plus the range. But that original DIY ethos remains the same. We want people to be whatever they want to be. And if tomorrow it’s something completely different, even better.

Who is Bleach London for?

Everyone! I work with teenagers, but I also regularly go back to my mum’s salon and see people experimenting with the same colours. You’re never too old or young to rip it up and start again.

Describe Bleach London in three words.

Creative. Spontaneous. Experimental.

 What’s your best-selling product and what do you credit its popularity to?

Our Bleach London Reincarnation Mask sells out a lot, which is testament to it being a must-have treatment for bleached or dyed hair. It literally gives a new lease of life to processed hair every time. Our Bleach London White Toner Kit, too – especially during lockdown, as it freshens up blonde tones.

The one hair colour everyone should try?

Any colour – as long as it’s blonde! It’s easily the most versatile and the ideal base layer for anything a bit more daring. Go blonde at least once in your life, I’d say!

Which colour trend is everyone going for this spring?

Obviously, pastels are always really popular, whatever the season, and I think that will continue. But we’re also going to see lots of punchy reds and oranges. They may feel like autumnal colours, but they work brilliantly in spring and summer, as the sun can show off that shine. We have the Bleach London Burnt Peach Super Cool Colour, which is a great colour to try if you want to give it a go.

Biggest no-nos when it comes to at-home hair colouring?

Never ignore the instructions. However many times you’ve dyed your hair before, always check the product you’re using and how it works on your hair in its current state.

And your top three tips for nailing at-home colouring?

  1. Do a strand test first to see how your hair lifts and takes the colour.
  2. Have everything ready in advance and a timer to hand.
  3. If you don’t have someone to help you with the back of your head, set up two mirrors so you can check all angles.

What is the one Bleach London product you couldn’t live without?

Bleach London Plex Bleach Dye Kit. It’s for anyone who wants to go blonde but is concerned about their hair health. The formula contains anti-breakage protection, so finer and more fragile hair types can still get the lightest, brightest blonde, but with minimal damage.

Which famous face – and their hair – would you love to colour and why?

Marie Antoinette. Though, I imagine that she probably wouldn’t be as fun as Kirsten Dunst made her seem in the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette – and I’d probably end up headless!

And which celebrity hair that you’ve worked on do you love the most and why?

Georgia Jagger. She’s a long-standing client, friend and now an investor and creative partner. She’s really experimental with her hair and there aren’t many colours she hasn’t tried. She’s also a lot of fun to work with, which is always the most important thing.

What’s been your proudest moment with Bleach London?

Probably going into Boots to get a bottle of water and seeing all our products in there for the first time. We’re also building a fourth salon somewhere top secret (Los Angeles, shhh!) at the moment, which I’m very proud of, too.