How To Hydrate Hair After Bleaching: The Ultimate Guide

by Anjali Sayee
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Has your hair become limp, dry, and fragile after bleaching? This is because bleaching causes severe hair damage. Bleaching agents penetrate the hair cuticle causing internal hair damage, and your tresses end up losing their shine and strength. Hence, bleached hair needs intense moisturization to restore its strength and health. In this article, we have discussed how to repair, hydrate, and protect bleached hair from any further damage. Read on for more information.

What Does Bleach Do To The Hair?

Bleaching agents can damage the hair in the following ways:

  • They make the hair dry and lifeless and cause protein and cysteine loss in hair fibers (1), (2).
  • They reduce the hair’s brightness, softness, and manageability (3).
  • The chemicals like ammonium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide in bleaching product open up the hair fibers, causing inter-fiber friction (4).
  • Bleaching also damages the hair cell membrane complex and endocuticle (inner layer of the cuticle) (4).
  • Bleaching weakens the bonds in the hair, affecting its structural integrity (5). This makes your hair prone to further damage during combing and similar grooming processes. It also increases hair porosity.

If you have recently bleached your hair, there is no need to panic. There are ways you can repair the damage. Scroll down to know more.

Tips To Hydrate And Repair Hair After Bleaching

  1. Hydrate Hair: Right after bleaching, the hair feels dry and flat. Hydrating the hair with natural oils replenishes and repairs it and prevents internal swelling and breakage. Here are a few oils that you can apply post-bleaching:
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil penetrates the hair fibers and fortifies the hair from within. It also protects the hair from UV damage (6). A study showed that coconut oil could reduce protein loss in bleached hair. Using coconut oil as a pre-wash regimen before bleaching can reduce inter-fiber swelling (7). Moreover, coconut oil acts as a protein shield, reduces hair loss, and promotes hair growth (8).
  • Argan Oil: Argan oil can reduce protein loss by minimizing cuticle swelling and chipping (3). It also prevents hair loss and reduces dryness as it is rich in tocopherols, squalene, and oleic acid and has antioxidant properties (9), (10). Argan oil can also help treat skin and scalp issues like scabies, eczema, and psoriasis.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, tocopherols, carotenoids, and squalene and has antioxidant properties that can hydrate the hair and prevent damage (11). It also decreases hair breakage and improves shine. A study also found that consuming olive oil might prevent hair loss by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that produces DHT, an androgen causing hair loss (12) (13).
  • Almond Oil: Almond oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acid and is an excellent hair tonic and lotion (14). Traditionally, almond extracts have shown to promote hair growth and have anti-inflammatory properties that may soothe an irritated scalp (15).
  1. Avoid Chemicals: Avoid using chemicals on your bleached hair. Steer clear of hair products, especially shampoos, that may contain parabens, added fragrances, and formaldehyde. These chemicals may further damage fragile hair. Using hair care products of lower pH levels, ideally below 6, keeps the hair fibers closed (16). Mild pH products also improve hair shine and health.
  1. Sun Protection: UV rays can cause structural damage to the hair fibers and damage the hair protein (keratin) and cause hair pigment degradation (17). Hence, make sure to cover your hair and protect it from UV exposure while stepping out.
  1. Use DIY Protein Masks: You can use a DIY egg hair mask to replenish your hair’s protein content. Research shows that egg yolk can stimulate hair growth (18). Mix the yolk of an egg with half a cup of aloe vera extract and apply it to your hair. You may also add a tablespoon of any nourishing hair oil like olive or coconut oil to the mask.
  1. Use Hydrating DIY Hair Masks: Condition and nourish your hair with natural hair masks. Use ingredients like banana and mayonnaise to replenish and repair the hair. Banana and mayonnaise are said to help repair damaged hair. A study shows that vegetable protein from hair masks improves hair smoothness and strength and repairs damaged hair (19).
  1. Try Rice Water Rinse: Rice water has been a hair care and skin care staple in Japan for decades. It reduces hair surface friction and improves hair elasticity (20). Rice water contains inositol that penetrates the hair shafts and improves the overall health of your hair (21).
  1. Use Natural Conditioners: Most conditioners contain concentrated levels of chemicals. Instead, use leave-in or natural ingredients like:
  • Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil is a natural wax ester that is similar to sebum. It is often used to nourish dry scalps. Jojoba oil helps unclog pores, remove excess sebum from the scalp, and restore hair health. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe scalp inflammation in cases of eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff.
  • Avocado: Avocado is one of the best natural conditioners for dry and damaged hair. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids that coat the hair fibers to seal in moisture and improve texture. Avocado is rich in biotin that can stimulate hair growth.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is another moisturizing and protecting natural hair care ingredient. It contains probiotic bacteria that improve hair density and extend the anagen phase. Yogurt also improves scalp health, reduces hair damage, regulates sebum production, and maintains the scalp pH.
  1. Avoid Heat Styling: Stop using styling tools like curlers and straighteners on bleached hair. Heat can further damage and darken bleached hair.
  1. Choose The Right Brush: Do not use regular hair brushes on bleached hair. Avoid frequent combing if you have straight or wavy hair. Research shows that combing wet hair can stretch it, causing breakage (4). Use a wide-toothed comb on damp hair and detangle knots in sections. Be gentle when brushing hair.
  1. Use Keratin-Rich Products: Our hair is mostly made up of a protective protein called keratin. Use hair care products with hydrolyzed keratin proteins to prevent protein loss and help repair and restore bleached hair.
  1. Avoid Swimming: The water in swimming pools contains chlorine that may cause hair color changes and leave the hair dry and irritated (22).
  1. Massage The Scalp: Massaging the scalp can increase hair thickness and length (23). It improves blood circulation to the scalp, which stimulates hair growth (24). Massage your hair with oil for a week after bleaching hair. You can then massage your hair with warm oil regularly to improve hair health.
  1. Scalp Cleansing: Instead of using shampoos to cleanse bleached hair, opt for natural remedies to cleanse and protect the scalp.
  • Rosemary Oil: A study showed that rosemary oil could reduce dandruff (25). This oil can also help stimulate hair growth and unclog pores (26), (27). It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe inflamed and irritated scalp and improve alopecia.
  • Onion Juice: Onion juice helps improve hair growth in people with alopecia (28). It enhances hair appearance and also prevents hair loss and scabies (14).
  • Peppermint Oil: A study showed that peppermint oil could stimulate hair growth without any adverse reactions (29). It has antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties that protect, cleanse, and soothe the scalp.
  • Witch Hazel: Witch hazel can be used to treat a sensitive, inflamed, or burned scalp (30). It contains tocopherols that have high antioxidant properties (31). It also has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and prevents hair color oxidation.
  1. Use Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is one of the best natural hair care remedies. It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the scalp and prevent irritation, redness, burning, and bruising. It moisturizes the hair, repairs damaged scalp cells, and stimulates hair growth by improving blood circulation. Aloe vera also has antifungal properties that prevent scalp infections.
  1. Do Not Use Hair Ties: Avoid using hair accessories like elastic ties and tight clips that can pull on the hair and cause breakage and damage. Also, do not style your hair in tight or intricate hairstyles to avoid tangling or pulling.
  1. Air Dry The Hair: Allow your hair to air dry instead of using a blow dryer. After a shower, pat your hair dry with a soft towel without rubbing. You can also scrunch your hair with the towel and allow it to air dry.
  1. Regular Maintenance Before Bleaching: Before bleaching your hair, follow these tips to prevent severe damage like breakage, heavy hair fall, scalp irritation, and inflammation:
  • Use Custom Blends: Opt for shampoos and conditioners that you can customize to suit your hair care needs. Brands like SkinKraft develop customized hair care products catering to your needs. Hair bleaching can cause dryness and hair fall. Choosing products that answer all your hair needs without stripping the hair or worsening the damage is crucial for recovery.
  • Pre-Bleaching Care: Pre-wash your hair with coconut oil before bleaching. This prevents inter-fiber friction and protein loss. You can also check with a professional stylist for the right hair care products for pre-bleach hair care. These products contain ingredients that coat the hair and prevent severe damage.
  • Choose The Right Products: If you frequently bleach and color your hair, use hair care products specially developed for color-treated hair. You can find umpteen products that treat bleached hair and prevent it from losing its texture and softness.
  • Trim Hair Regularly: While this step might not seem important, it is a very beneficial hair care tip. Bleaching your hair will leave the ends dry and lifeless. Trimming your hair gets rid of split ends.

Summing It Up

Your hair takes a severe hit whenever you use bleach – it leaves the strands compromised, fragile, and weak. That is why bleached hair needs extra TLC. The steps mentioned in the article will help rehydrate bleached hair and prevent further hair damage. However, if you experience severe scalp inflammation, constant burning, chronic hair loss, and breakage, consult a doctor immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I put coconut oil on my bleached hair?

Yes. You can apply coconut oil on bleached hair to keep it moisturized and prevent excess protein loss.

Is it normal to lose hair after bleaching?

Yes, but to a certain extent. If you are experiencing severe hair loss, consult a doctor immediately.

How to fix stretchy hair after bleaching?

Trim the weakened hair endings and apply coconut and olive oils to rehydrate your hair and improve its elasticity.

Why does bleached hair take longer to dry?

Bleached and damaged hair is extremely porous and can hold more water than healthy, non-porous hair. Hence, it takes longer to dry.

31 sources

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Anjali Sayee

Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.
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