How to Perform a Strand Test

Ready to take the plunge and try some vivid dye? Or ready to change up your hue? The first step to any successful hair transformation is performing a test strand.

Ready to take the plunge and try some vivid dye? Or ready to change up your hue? The first step to any successful hair transformation is performing a test strand. From seasoned pros, to dye newbies, test strands are the best way to ensure your hair stays healthy and you see results you’ll LOVE! We’ll take you through the steps for performing a test strand and how to decipher your results and get ready to dye.

What is a Test Strand?

A test strand is a small section of hair, usually close to your neck or somewhere you can easily hide, that you lighten to give yourself a little test run of the lightening process. Test strands allow you to see how your hair is going to react to lightener or dye before you apply products to a larger section of your hair. If this is your first time lightening your hair, or if you’re trying to go from one shade to another, we always recommend performing a test strand.

How do I Perform a Test Strand? 

We got you! Check out these step by step instructions and video on how to do a test strand!

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Step 1: Find a small section of your hair that you want to use as the test strand, and clip the rest up or back. We recommend at least a quarter inch section. You can use any non metallic clips like our Grip Clips to hold the rest of your hair back. 

Step 2: Open your GDY Hair Lightening Kit or Streaks & Strands Lightening Kit,Put on your gloves and pour the powder lightener into a non-metallic bowl. Open the bottle of developer, add that into the powder lightener and mix thoroughly. Our Biodegradable Tool Kit contains a large bowl and brush that make mixing a breeze!

But wait, how much lightener do I need? 

Our Streaks & Strands Lightening Kit is the perfect amount for a test strand. Once the powder lightener and developer are mixed together, any leftover product must be used as soon as possible and cannot be saved. If you have our full size Lightening Kit, you can still measure out 1 part powder lightener to 2 parts developer, and save the remaining unmixed product for later. 

Step 3: Apply the mixture to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, leaving your roots for last. Your roots lighten the fastest thanks to the heat from your scalp. Be sure to use enough product to fully saturate the mid lengths and ends of your hair.

Step 4: When the mid-lengths and ends of your hair are fully saturated, start on the roots. Do your best to keep the lightener off of your scalp. 

Step 5: Once your section is completely covered in lightener, cover with a piece of foil or plastic wrap. This will trap any heat, allowing the lightener to process faster and keep you from getting and lightener onto the rest of your hair.

Step 6: Sit back, and let your hair process for at least 30 minutes. Once you hit the 30 minute mark, pull back your foil or plastic wrap and assess your level of lift. For best results, we suggest lightening your hair to a level 10 platinum blonde. You can check out this post for more info on the different levels of hair! If your hair is still looking dark or brassy, replace your foil or plastic, and allow your hair to process for 5 more minutes. Repeat this process until you have reached your desired level of lift. You can leave the lightener on your hair for up to 50 minutes, and we suggest checking every 5 minutes after you hit the 30 minute mark.

Step 7: Once you've reached your desired level, rinse out your test strand and wash with shampoo to ensure any remaining lightener is washed out. 

Now What?

Congrats! You’ve successfully performed a strand test! Now, let’s check out your results. 

If you lifted to a bright level 10 or platinum blonde, you’ve created the perfect canvas for your semi-permanent shade of choice. Feel free to lighten the rest of your hair with confidence! If you lifted closer to a level 8, or there is still some yellow or brassiness to your hair, you may need to tone your hair before applying your shade of choice. Shades like our Lighter Daze collection require your hair to be a pale white for best results. For more pigmented shades like our OG Collection and Darker Daze collection, there is no need to tone mild brassiness out of your hair. 

It’s important to remember that your hair may feel slightly dryer after lightening it, but if you notice severe breakage or your hair feels gummy, your hair may not be healthy enough to withstand the lightening process. Don’t worry though, we’ve got a ton of shades that can add a tint to your hair, depending on your starting level. You can read more about using GDY on unbleached hair here! 

If you’re switching up your hue, certain shades (cough cough Blue Ruin) may not lift out of your hair. Depending on your end goal, you may be able to apply your new shade over any remaining pigment that is left in your hair. Read up on color theory to determine which shades work over other shades! 

Still have questions? We’ve got answers! You can check out our FAQs for more info, or feel free to contact us!