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Over-bleaching, over-tweezing, over-Botoxing.... The craze in upkeep has women so hooked, doctors and industry pros are now turning them away.

How Much Is Too Much?


Marie Claire Photo of Woman with Bleached Hair

The hotter the star, the brighter the blonde: Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Jennifer Aniston has lightened her locks while transitioning from ingenue to A-lister. But upgrading to platinum is risky. "You may think blonder equals younger and sexier, but once it gets beyond a certain point, no matter what you've spent, it looks cheap," warns Jason Backe, head colorist at Manhattan's Ted Gibson Salon. And the blonder you go, the more damage you do. Overuse of bleach and peroxide eventually alters hair's texture, turning it as dry as hay and as limp as spaghetti.

"You know you've gone too light when you suddenly think you're pale and need a tan or a ton of makeup," notes Backe. A better way to boost your blonde, he says, is with lowlights. Surprise: Adding darker hues actually makes blonde pieces seem blonder.

Originally published December 18, 2007

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