There’s a lot of truth in what they say – blondes do have more fun. But getting there can be more pain than it is a pleasure. There is a reason we recommend against bleaching hair at home – it opens up hair to a world of damage—and that’s only if everything goes right! But don’t despair. There are plenty of things you can do to have healthy bleached hair.
What is Hair Bleaching?
Hair bleaching is essentially a chemical process that takes away the pigments from hair strands, thus making your hair shade lighter. The process is known as oxidation, where an alkaline agent is used to open up the hair cuticle – the outermost part of the hair shaft. After that, oxidative agents (hydrogen peroxide and ammonia) are allowed to penetrate the hair shaft. The oxidative agents dissolve melanin – a pigment responsible for hair, skin, and eye color (1).
The final color largely depends on the following factors –
- The original color of hair
- Texture of hair
- Application time
Myth – Leaving your bleach on hair for an extended period will not result in a lighter shade. It is not recommended to keep it beyond 30 minutes as it can cause serious damages to your strands.
Does Bleaching Damage Your Hair?
To make it simple, we need to understand that bleaching involves a chemical process. Bleaching opens up the hair cuticles that allow bleaching agents to go deep inside. Frequent application of bleaching agents can permanently raise the cuticles and may strip off the hair’s natural moisture.
Some of the most common side effects of bleaching are –
1. Dry Hair – The oxidation process involved in bleaching can lead to dry and brittle hair
2. Itchy Scalp – The chemicals present in bleaching products can cause an itchy scalp. Moreover, you may even experience a burning or tingling sensation after going through a bleaching session.
3. Discolored Hair – Discolored hair can make you feel awkward, and most of the time, we deal with this problem when we do the bleaching at home or bleaching agents are not applied proportionally.
4. Hair Breakage – You may experience mild to severe hair breakage after a bleaching session. Moreover, split ends, dry and damaged hair can also give you some surprises.
5. After Care – Since bleaching takes a toll on the health of your hair, aftercare involves high maintenance costs. You need to shell out a fortune to maintain your hair to keep them healthy after a bleaching session.
How To Take Care Of Bleached Hair?
Bleached hair needs extra care and high maintenance. So here we list down 11 easy yet effective tips to take care of bleached hair.
1. Get the Right Vitamins
You can ensure a lifetime of healthy hair by first understanding how to grow it well. That way, knowing the right fuel to feed it, you can know that it is coming out of your scalp looking and feeling beautiful. You will often hear the word “biotin” thrown around when it comes to vitamins aimed at improving hair health. Biotin is a type of vitamin B and essentially works by supporting the enzymes that spur hair growth.
With increased growth comes increased turnover of the cells on your scalp. And the root of healthy hair is found in the scalp (pun intended!). Plus, if any of your skin cells were damaged in the bleaching process, increased cell turnover will help heal your wounds faster.
2. Focus on Prevention, Not Repair
Preventing damage is so much easier than repairing the damage later. This is true in nearly every area of life. After all, you don’t want until your child is sick to bring them to a doctor. Instead, they get regular checkups to stop problems before problems arise.
The same philosophy goes for hair care. After bleaching, make sure you undertake an intensive deep conditioning regime to get off on the right foot. Do this before you apply color—especially if that color is semi-permanent or permanent. Another great prevention strategy is the diligent use of heat protectants. You could be saving your hair from dozens of hours of direct heat exposure with the use of a specialized heat protectant serum or spray. You can find the solution to this hair woe and more at HairtoBeauty.com
3. Go Sulfate-Free
It is a universal fact at this point – sulfates are bad for the long-term health of your hair if your hair is colored, bleached, or has a tight curl pattern. But let’s back up. First, what are sulfates?
Sulfates are surfactants responsible for that satisfying sudsy effect that your body wash or shampoo works up when you lather. Sulfates are popular because they are very good at what they do, cleansing the surface of your scalp.
However, they might be too good at what they do. In addition, they can have an incredibly abrasive effect on damaged or vulnerable hair, so consider skipping it once you have bleached your locks.
4. Put DOWN the Purple Shampoo
(Or at least read the label.)
While this might be heresy to some hair enthusiasts, purple shampoo is not always the holy grail bleach blonde beauties are looking for. However, if you need to keep your lightened locks from looking brassy, you absolutely should invest in a purple shampoo or conditioner (more on that later).
But not all purple shampoos are created equal. Some even have sulfates in them, which defeats the whole purpose of purple shampoo. Purple shampoo is meant to deposit color. Sulfates remove them. So you are effectively wasting product. An easy solution is to switch to a purple conditioner.
5. Use Temporary Dye
For the same reason, you should switch from purple shampoo to purple conditioner; you should switch from permanent to temporary dyes.
Temporary dyes deposit color on a more superficial level than semi-permanent and permanent dyes can. This is because semi-permanent and permanent dyes use developers to open up the hair strand for easier deposit. However, the developer does tend to irritate the hair shaft. Abrasion on the hair shaft opens up the hair to split ends.
Temporary dyes are easier to apply. They wash out quicker than permanent dyes, but you can extend their life considerably by using purple shampoos or conditioners.
6. …or Stop Using Dye Entirely
Instead of keeping up your blonde color with expensive temporary, permanent, or semi-permanent dyes, you can stock up on (or even make your own!) purple conditioner and apply it in place of a blonde color. It will serve the same purpose- all blonde color dyes essentially use blue and lavender tones to balance out the natural orange and yellow hues that pull in bleached hair.
Alternatively, you can quickly make an all-natural bleaching agent using kitchen ingredients (2).
- Extract 100 ml of lemon juice
- Add the lemon juice to 200 ml of warm water
- Transfer the concoction to a spray bottle
- Wet your hair, spray the concoction over the hair strands you want to lighten
- Now, take a sunbath for 1-2 hours (don’t forget to apply sunscreen)
- Wash it off with lukewarm water
7. Wear a Silk Cap or Pillowcase
To preserve the sanctity and smoothness of your hair shaft, get a silk pillowcase. Silk is a strong, smooth fabric that will not fray and disrupt the hair shaft. In addition, abrased hair shafts appear dull and lifeless over time with accumulated damage, so a silk cap can prevent a lot of damage to repair over time.
8. Steer Clear of Heat Damage
Using heat-styling tools like curling irons, flat irons, tongs, or blow dryers on bleached hair will further damage your hair. Try to restrict usage of such heat-based tools and look for styling products that are specially designed for blonde hair.
9. Avoid Daily Hair Washing
The more you wash your hair, the more you need to style it. Although washing your hair less frequently may give you a different impression, it helps restore the hair’s natural moisture as frequent usage of shampoos may cause a drying effect. Wash your hair twice a week and opt for a dry shampoo to get rid of oil, dirt, and greasiness.
10. Embrace Hair Conditioning Treatments
Bleached hair needs regular and extensive maintenance. Bleaching takes a toll on the health of hair by stripping off the moisture from the hair strands. Thus, if you have bleached hair and experiencing dry and damaged hair, it’s time to invest your time and money in selecting a good hair conditioning treatment. The right product can restore the natural moisture level of the hair thus maintaining the overall health and shine of the hair.
11. Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate
Yes, you heard it right. Hydrate – internally and externally. Dry, damaged hair and split ends are quite common when you bleach hair. To maintain the hair’s natural moisture level, experts suggest hydrating your hair extensively to avoid frizziness. You can apply hydrating oils likes olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and almond oil to keep your hair hydrated. You may also consider a Leave-in-Conditioner or a DIY Hair Masks with hydrating agents like avocado, honey, etc. Also, make sure to drink enough fluids to keep your body hydrated.
Bleaching is a chemical process that involves oxidation thus making hair strands lighter. Although it can give you the much-needed bold look, it comes with few side effects. Bleaching can make your hair dry, brittle, and frizzy. However, with a few preventive measures, you can substantially reduce the damage associated with this process. Some of the measures include embracing vitamins like biotin, avoiding heat-based tools and daily hair wash, wearing a silk cap, and hydrating hair regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does bleaching your hair damage it forever?
Frequent bleaching may result in permanent damage to hair strands. However, with a reduced bleaching regime, you can minimize the damage caused. Avoid excessive bleaching, reduce the usage of harsh chemical-based products and hydrate adequately to minimize the chances of damage.
Can bleaching your hair cause hair loss?
While extensive bleaching can cause serious damage to your hair, there is no direct evidence to establish that it can cause hair loss.
Can you bleach your hair without damaging it?
Yes, with few preventive measures, you can minimize the damage, although there is no denying the fact that bleaching comes with side effects.
How many minutes Should I bleach my hair?
Typically not more than 30 minutes. Please note that leaving your bleach on hair for an extended period will not result in a lighter shade.