So I got a pretty nice "bronde" result just from using Scott Cornwall's Decolour Hair Colour Remover on my leftover ginge (in fact, my modelling agent assumed I'd been to the salon!) but after 3 months of bleach bottle cold turkey, I was dy(e)ing to go blonder still... When I had longer locks, I prided myself on achieving the most natural-looking shade possible (so successfully that someone I'd spent at least 2 days a week with for 18 months once asked me if I'd "ever tried dyeing my hair" - result!) but I love brighter tones on shorter styles, so decided to take it to the max and leave "natural" at the door for the time being!
The (non-bleach-based) Decolour Hair Colour Remover did a grand job of nixing my red tones (read the full review here), but left my chocolate-dyed roots and underlayers fairly dark so, prior to recolouring, I decided to use the (bleach-based) Decolour Hair Colour Stripper (bonus: this one doesn't smell!), concentrating on the darker areas. One application did pretty much exactly what it said on the box, stripping the lighter areas to a very light yellowy blonde, and the darker areas to an orangey medium blonde.
I think a second application would have taken me down to a uniform pale yellow, but I opted to recolour immediately with a Nice 'n Easy "box" colour (their lightest option - SB2: Ultra Light Cool Summer Blonde). This did tone down the yellow/orange factor and smooth out some of the residual "patchiness", but the result was still too warm for my liking...
So it was back to Boots to grab some Colour Restore Toner in Iced Platinum. Scott recommends toning immediately after stripping (preferably following two applications of Stripper for a "pure" platinum tone), whilst the cuticles are still open, and not after applying a "box" colour, since silicones and waterproofing agents tend to seal the cuticles off once colouring is complete, so I knew I couldn't expect miracles, but, armed with a bottle of clarifying shampoo with which to prise open my cuticles as best I could, I decided to give it a shot anyway.
Although I didn't end up Stefani blonde, it definitely turned up the "cool" factor another notch or two, and, although my hair still retains all the variation in tone put in for the Essential Looks shows (underneath all that red), casual observers seem to assume I've paid a fortune for my "multi-tonal" blonde, so I guess I shouldn't complain!
Overall, although the journey from red to platinum(ish) has taken a little while, I'm really glad I decided to take it in stages - I've seen hair go from dark brown to white in less than 40 minutes at hair shows... and then proceed to snap in less than 2 minutes (eek!) so I'm pretty impressed (and relieved) to have discovered an option that's caused virtually no damage. Thumbs up to Mr Cornwall!