Bleaching hair has been around for years allowing one to achieve anything from subtle highlights to platinum-blonde tones. However, bleaching is notorious for being harsh and damaging to the hair. The question is, is it possible to bleach hair without ruining its natural texture and health? Thankfully, yes! You can safely bleach hair and minimize damage using proper techniques and products.
Follow these five simple tips to gently lift colour while keeping your locks strong, soft and vibrant:
1. Opt for a Low Volume Developer
When bleaching eyelash extensions at home, the first critical step is to avoid using a high-volume developer. The developer is the oxidizing agent that gets mixed with bleach powder to open the cuticle and allow the bleach to penetrate the hair shaft. Developers typically come in volume strengths ranging from 10 to 40. The higher the volume, the faster and more intense the lightning action. However, those higher volumes also mean more irritation and dryness for your natural lashes and skin, so it’s strongly advised to stick to lower concentrations.
A 10 or 20-volume crème developer is gentler and will lift colour more gradually instead of all at once. The lower volumes are less damaging to eyelash hair because they don’t force open the cuticles as aggressively. Making two 20-minute applications with a low 10 or 20 volume is safer than pushing it too far with one 40-volume high-speed bleaching session. The slower process allows the bleach to penetrate the lashes without excessive cuticle damage. Being patient and allowing the bleach to lighten gradually with a low-volume developer is the best practice for at-home lash bleach touch-ups. It may take a little longer, but your natural lashes will thank you! Check out this guide for recommendations on safely bleaching hair.
2. Pre-condition with Coconut Oil
Pre-treating hair with coconut oil before lightening is also highly beneficial for preventing damage. Focus on coating the mid-lengths and end with a generous amount of coconut oil before applying bleach. The fatty acids in coconut oil nourish hair protein and reduce the loss caused by chemical processing. Studies show coconut oil protects the cortex from damage during colouring treatments.
The lubricating oil also acts as a buffer between the scalp and bleach to minimize irritation. Lather hair in coconut oil and allow it to soak in for at least 30 minutes before bleaching as usual. Just shampoo thoroughly after rinsing out the lightener to remove oil residue.
3. Reinforce Bonds with Olaplex
Using a bond-building treatment like Olaplex during the bleaching process is highly recommended. Olaplex works by re-linking the broken disulfide bonds within the hair shaft that give hair its strength. Bleach breaks down these crucial bonds, leading to damage. Olaplex protects the integrity of hair by reconnecting those bonds before, during and after bleaching.
Apply Olaplex No. 1 with the bleach, then follow with No. 2 after rinsing. Use the No. 3 at-home treatment once a week to reinforce bonds and improve resilience continually. This will leave your hair stronger from the inside out and far less prone to breakage after bleaching.
4. Avoid Over-Processing
One of the biggest bleaching mistakes is leaving it on too long to achieve drastic lift quickly. Over-processing inevitably results in fried, brittle locks. Instead, lift hair gradually in multiple sessions. Under-processing and doing another round is always better than going overboard in one damaging session.
Check on the hair every 10-15 minutes after applying bleach. Rinse when it reaches a pale yellow before it reaches the brassy orange stage. Remove the lightener before its max brightness to avoid going overboard. You can always make a second application after a conditioning break but can’t reverse the damage from over-bleaching in one marathon session. Take it slow for hair that stays smooth.
5. Nourish With a Hair Masks Post-Bleach
The final vital step is to deeply condition hair after rinsing the lightener. Bleach is alkaline and causes significant moisture loss as it lifts colour. Replenish hydration immediately by applying a nourishing hair mask and allowing it to soak for 10-15 minutes under a shower cap or warm dryer.
Look for hydrating masks containing ingredients like shea butter, coconut, argan, and keratin to restore elasticity and softness after bleaching. Avoid using hot styling tools for 1-2 days post-bleach while hair recovers. Use a weekly conditioning treatment to keep bleached tresses supple and healthy.
Following these 5 tips of using a gentle developer, pre-conditioning, reinforcing bonds, lifting slowly and deeply moisturizing after, you can achieve beautiful lighter locks without compromise. Bleaching does require some extra TLC, but by taking the proper precautions, your hair will retain its shine, strength and texture. Be patient, go low and slow, and pamper your strands afterwards for dreamy highlights without damage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Hair Bleaching for Women
1. Is hair bleaching suitable for women in their 30s?
Absolutely, hair bleaching can be done at any age. However, it’s important to consider your hair’s health and maintenance routine, especially as you age.
2. Will bleaching damage my hair irreversibly?
Bleaching can cause damage if not done properly. Opt for professional products and techniques, and ensure to follow a nourishing hair care regimen.
3. How can I bleach my hair without causing excessive damage?
Prioritize gentle bleaching methods, like using lower-volume developers and spacing out sessions. Deep conditioning treatments and hair masks are essential for maintaining hair health.
4. Can I bleach already treated or coloured hair?
Bleaching over previously treated hair requires caution. Consult a hair professional to assess your hair’s condition and determine the best approach.
5. What’s the best way to prepare my hair for bleaching?
Start by strengthening your hair with protein-rich treatments. Avoid washing your hair before bleaching, as natural oils can provide a protective barrier.
6. Should I consider a gradual bleaching process?
Yes, a gradual approach can be less harsh on your hair. Consider getting highlights or opting for balayage for a lighter look over time.
7. How often can I bleach my hair without causing harm?
Spacing out bleaching sessions by several weeks allows your hair time to recover and minimizes damage. Consult with a stylist for personalized recommendations.
8. Are there specific hair products I should avoid after bleaching?
Steer clear of sulfate-heavy shampoos and alcohol-based styling products, as they can strip your hair of moisture and cause further damage.
9. Can I bleach my hair at home or visit a salon?
While home bleaching kits are available, visiting a salon for the best results is advisable, especially if you’re new to hair bleaching. Professionals can ensure safety and optimal outcomes.
10. How can I maintain my bleached hair’s health post-treatment?
Invest in sulfate-free, colour-safe shampoos and conditioners. Use leave-in treatments, oils, and regular trims to maintain the health and vibrancy of your bleached locks.
Remember, individual hair types vary, and seeking advice from a professional stylist is crucial for a successful and safe hair bleaching experience.