How To Look After Bleached Hair
6 minutes read
Dramatically changing your hair is undoubtedly a transformative experience. But learning how to look after bleached hair at home is vitally important, so you don’t wreck your precious locks. When applied in haste, bleach can leave so much damage in its wake, that only a swift snip of the hairdresser’s scissors will get your tresses back to their former glory. But if you’re reluctant to part with your peroxide, read on to find out how to care for bleached hair.
What does bleach do to your hair?
There’s a reason that in life we steer clear of contact with bleach; it’s a very aggressive substance and needs to be handled with caution. But if you want to effectively lighten your hair, there’s a very high chance bleach will need to be involved.
Bleaching your hair is a chemical process and the most common bleaching agents are likely ones you’ve heard of: hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. They work by ‘breaking’ your hair shaft and stripping away your pigment particles, leaving you with lighter hair.
The reason many of us are concerned with keeping our hair healthy after bleaching is because of this breakage, meaning its harder for your strands to retain moisture. Studies have shown that bleaching your hair leaves it significantly weaker.
Bleaching also damages the protein bonds in your hair, aka your keratin, which are effectively the building blocks of your hair. But none of this means that bleach must be banished from the salon menu altogether, and there are steps that you can take keep hair healthy after bleaching.
How to care for bleached hair
Bleached hair requires something a little more complicated than a wash-and-go routine. Firstly, wash your hair less frequently so as not to dull your fresh colour nor wash out any of your hair’s natural oils as they’re providing much-needed moisture at this delicate time. Turn the temperature dial down in your shower and opt for lukewarm water so as not to dry your hair out further.
Replenishing moisture is the goal here and plumping up hair with hard hitting hydration products will make it less likely to snap. If you usually skip conditioner, you’ll need to go back to basics and ensure post-shampoo you give your hair a good drench of moisture. We recommend going one step further and adding a pre-shampoo conditioner to your routine three days both before and after bleaching.
Start using a hair mask too, and perhaps a reconstructing product that can help repair those broken bonds in your strands. Post-wash, use a protective serum that will help shield your delicate hair from aggressive external factors such as pollution, heating or air conditioning that could weaken it further.
If you want to use heat to style your hair, a heat protection spray is non-negotiable, and be sure to brush it gently so as not to cause further breakage. Lastly, no matter how fantastic you feel about your newly dyed ‘do, you need to wait 6 to 8 weeks before considering hitting the bleach again.
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Products for bleached hair you need to know about
Pre-shampoo treatment for bleached hair
Pre-shampoo treatments add an extra hit of moisture, helping to lock in that all-important hydration. Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer, £31.45 is world renowned, and there’s also an extreme version, £19.50 to cater to very damaged hair. Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, £28 is also very popular among bleach addicts.
Shampoo for bleached hair
You want to plump for a shampoo that will restore strength and softness to damaged hair, like Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Shampoo. £17. After two weeks, use a purple shampoo, like Plantur 39, £9.54 to help keep your blonde tones looking radiant. But be careful not to use too soon or too often or you risk staining your hair.
Conditioner for bleached hair
Flood hair with hydration with Kerastase Blond Absolu Cicaflash Conditioner £31.15 or Amika The Kure Bond Repair Conditioner £16, both clinically shown to repair and strengthen weak and damaged strands.
Masks for bleached hair
Reconstruction products for bleached hair
Your hair needs both moisture and protein, so slot in Keratin rich products such as Schwarzkopf BlondMe Keratin Restore Bonding Mask £23.65 or OGX Bonding Plex Leave In Conditioner for Damaged Hair, £10.95.
Oils and serums for bleached hair
Post-wash, keep up the care with a protective and nourishing serum or oil such as Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum £28 or Kerastase Blond Absolu Huile Cicaextreme Oil £40.
Read more: 15 Expert-Approved Healthy Hair Tips
How to protect your hair when bleaching
Before you bleach your hair, take a good look at its texture. If it’s already dry, brittle and frizzy this is only going to be heightened by the bleaching process ahead, so you want to be sure you are armed and ready. Be realistic about how much upkeep you’re prepared to take on.
Bleaching is not recommended for hair that is relaxed, straightened or chemically treated, and if you have naturally curly hair you want to ensure bleach is applied gently (without harsh tugging or pulling) so as not to disrupt your curl pattern.
Get your hair into the best possible condition before heading to the hairdressers and embrace hair masks and pre-shampoo conditioning treatments. When at the salon, avoid placing a lot of bleach onto the ends of your hair, as these tend to be weaker as they are older than your fresher roots.
We’d recommend opting for a trim alongside your bleach to get rid of any particularly damaged areas. Ask your hairdresser to apply an after-colour treatment such as Olaplex to help prevent hair breakage.
And finally, be prepared that it may take several sessions to achieve the colour you’re after. Movies where characters magically turn platinum blonde after a single colouring session, are unfortunately playing fast and loose with the science of haircare. Going from dark to very light in just one trip will cause a lot of irreversible damage.
How do you keep bleached hair healthy?
Amp up your hair care routine and alternate between using a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment to hydrate, and a reconstructing treatment to repair broken bonds. Don’t wash your hair so frequently and turn down the temperature dial in your shower, as heat can further affect your colour and further damage your strands.
How do I rehydrate my hair after bleaching it?
Embrace hydrating products such as pre-shampoo conditioners, hair masks, protective serums and nourishing oils, and cut down on heat styling.
How often should bleached hair be washed?
Washing your hair, especially in hot water, can exacerbate the dryness caused by bleaching, so after bleaching, aim to wash it every three to four days.
How long until bleached hair is healthy again?
Different hair types will react differently to the bleaching process, but if bleached carefully – and with the right after-care – hair should start recovering after a month to six weeks. If damage persists, it’s time to seek the help of a haircare professional.
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