Let’s be honest. Bleached hair looks amazing until your hair starts getting frizzy and dry. The uncontrollable hair fall that results from bleaching can be nightmare-inducing. In fact, few people can enjoy their bleached blonde hair for long because they end up having more bad hair days than good ones.
Salvaging your bleached hair and nursing it back to life is possible. But first, let’s understand what happens when you bleach your hair and why it requires special attention.
In This Article
What Happens When You Bleach Your Hair?
According to research conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, bleaching your hair can deprive your locks of their protective coating, making your hair weak and prone to damage (1).
Additionally, bleaching (as opposed to other hair treatments) causes the most hair damage (2):
- Raises the hair cuticles, leading to excessive loss of moisture.
- Damages the hair’s natural protein structure to remove the hair color.
- Results in dry, brittle, and frayed hair with split ends once the bleach washes out.
- Bleaching agent, which is chemically strong, causes significant damage as it is typically applied for a longer time to lighten the hair’s natural color.
- Post bleaching, the use of heat-styling products can contribute to more damage.
Clearly, bleached hair is more susceptible to becoming brittle, dry, and damaged. But, why exactly does bleaching damage your hair? And, does it last forever?
For bleach to be effective and strip your hair of its natural color, it needs to penetrate deep into your hair shaft. Since these chemicals are aggressive, your hair shaft is bound to become thinner and more damaged.
However, here’s the good news: The damage to your bleached hair will not last forever. With special care and time, you can get your healthy, shiny hair back.
Moreover, you can always go for a haircut if your ends are too damaged to be repaired. With a new crop of healthy hair growing from the roots, you can invest in an expert-approved hair care routine and start afresh, giving your tresses a fighting chance.
If your core concern is how to keep your hair healthy after bleaching it, check out the useful do’s and don’ts in the next section.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Bleached Hair: How To Take Care Of Bleached Hair
7 Do’s For Keeping Bleached Hair Healthy
- Invest In A Silk Pillowcase And A Microfiber Towel
Yes, silk pillowcases and microfiber towels are worth the hype! They prevent any unnecessary pulling, breaking, or stretching of the hair, especially around the hairline. Their ultra-soft and absorbent materials maintain the natural texture of the hair without causing any further frizz or damage.
- Get A Shower Filter
Using a shower filter seems like an unusual suggestion, but it works. Water often contains unwanted chemicals, grime, and minerals that cause brassiness, dehydration, and hair breakage. A shower filter can get rid of these substances from the water in a pinch.
- Be Patient If the Bleach Job Goes Awry
If you are not happy with the color of your bleached hair, wait for a couple of weeks before jumping right back to bleaching. This helps your hair catch a break and recover. You can either alternate between full and partial highlights with a gap of 6-8 weeks in between or go for ammonia-free options to change the tone altogether.
- Apply Deep-Penetrating Hair Oils And A Quality Hair Care Mask
Your hair needs moisture and hydration after every bleaching session. So, massage it with deep-penetrating oils such as argan oil, coconut oil, or almond oil that can repair from within.
You can also go for a hair mask ritual to get healthy bleached blonde hair.
- Start by applying the mask to shampooed, damp hair.
- Use a wide-toothed comb to disperse it evenly.
- Put on a shower cap and wait for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
Make sure to run the damp ends of your hair with 2-3 drops of oil before and after you wash your hair.
- Nourish Your Hair
When washing your bleached hair, switch to sulfate-free, protein-rich, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. Use protein-rich conditioners to nourish and maintain the integrity of your bleached hair.
You can also follow this with a leave-in treatment serum to add that extra boost of nourishment and hydration.
- Buy Multipurpose Hair Formulas
Numerous hair products add shine to your hair, detangle it, and act as a heat protectant. Speak to your hairstylist and get your hands on the ideal one.
- Use A Purple Shampoo
Use a purple shampoo to eliminate brassy tones and brighten your blonde hair. However, it is recommended that you wait 2 weeks after bleaching your hair before you start using one. Then, you can use it once between every few washes.
Additionally, apply the shampoo only to the roots if your ends look bright. If you have highlights, simply mix it with your regular shampoo. Do not use a purple shampoo if your hair seems severely dry and damaged.
6 Don’ts For Bleached Hair After-Care
- Don’t Go Overboard With Bleaching
Bleaching your hair repeatedly within a short period of time can cause intense damage. Take special care of your hairline to see how long you should leave the color on each section of the hair.
- Don’t Skip Haircuts And Avoid Dead Ends
Getting a trim to get rid of dry and damaged ends is one of the best ways to repair your hair. Since the hair at the ends is farthest from the roots, it is bound to get excessively dry and coarse, especially after a bleaching session. As a general rule, aim to get a hair trim within a week of the bleaching treatment. After this, you can visit the salon once every 8 weeks.
- Don’t Tie Your Hair Too Tight
This one’s a no-brainer. Tying up your hair too tight can lead to unnecessary hair breakage.
- Don’t Shower With Hot Water
We know that hot water showers feel heavenly. However, they are bad for your bleached hair. The high heat can strip your hair of its natural oils. If you can’t shower with cold water, consider showering with lukewarm water.
- Don’t Expose Your Hair To The Sun
It is common knowledge that the sun’s rays are harmful to your hair and can leave it weak, brittle, and dry. So, avoid excessive sun exposure as much as possible. Wear a hat or a scarf around your head when stepping out.
- Don’t Brush Your Hair When It Is Wet
The best way to keep your hair healthy after bleaching is to avoid combing it while it is still wet. Your hair is more fragile and prone to breakage when wet. This cardinal rule applies to all types of hair.
If you are wondering how to make your hair healthy again after bleaching, you can try a few home remedies to overturn the damage. Here are some hand-picked top tips categorized by hair concerns to get you going.
Top Tips To Repair Severely Bleach-Damaged Hair
A. For Tackling Hair Fall
To kickstart the natural hair regrowth process, try these methods and tips:
- Scalp Massage
Boosting blood circulation helps stimulate hair growth. You can increase circulation in the scalp by massaging it when you wash your hair (3). You can use your fingers or a shampoo brush to massage your scalp.
- Rosemary Oil
A study conducted on mice found that rosemary oil can promote hair growth (4). Here’s a handy DIY remedy that you can try:
- Use rosemary oil with any carrier oil (coconut, almond, sesame, etc.) in a 1:1 ratio.
- Massage it onto your scalp.
- Leave it on for a few hours or overnight before washing it off.
- Onion Juice Extract
There is some scientifically-backed evidence that onion juice aids hair regrowth in people affected by alopecia areata (5). Here’s how you can try this remedy to battle hair fall after applying bleach:
- Extract the onion juice by blending some 2 onions and straining out the pulp.
- Apply the onion juice to your scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Wash off the juice with shampoo.
Note: Avoid this method if you have seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, as onion juice may irritate the scalp.
B. For Taking Care Of Scalp Problems
Often times, you may hear people with bleached hair complaining about scalp issues such as irritation, redness, dryness, and flaking. If that is the case, your scalp needs some heavy-duty conditioning. Here are some natural ingredients that you can use to condition your hair:
- Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is power-packed with astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that can offer some relief to a damaged scalp (6). You can buy an alcohol-free witch hazel formula or make your own with the following steps:
- Dilute witch hazel with equal parts water or a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil.
- Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle.
- Be sure to apply the witch hazel spray to your scalp and not your hair.
- Peppermint Oil
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint oil can stimulate circulation, relieve itching, and treat a flaky scalp. An animal study suggests that a 3% concentration of this essential oil may even promote hair growth (7).
- Aloe Vera
If you are wondering how to hydrate your hair after bleaching, consider using aloe vera. As it is one of the best natural moisturizing and anti-inflammatory substances, aloe vera can treat an inflamed scalp (8). This soothing ingredient is known to heal hair and scalp damage when applied topically.
Note: Conduct a patch test for allergies before using any of these ingredients on your scalp.
C. For Addressing Brittle Hair
Contrary to popular opinion, hair breakage and home remedies are a match made in heaven. A little extra care after bleaching your hair can benefit you in the long run:
- Allow Your Hair To Air-Dry
As a thumb rule, don’t use a blowdryer or a terrycloth towel to dry your hair. Both these methods of drying your tresses can damage your hair cuticles. Even hair straighteners and curlers are a no-go. Simply let your hair air-dry naturally.
- Say Goodbye To Tight Hair Bands
Your hair does not need additional stress after bleaching. So, keep your hair down and loose to prevent putting extra stress on your hair roots.
Now that we’ve looked at some tips and treatments for getting healthy bleached hair, let’s answer some other pressing questions to help you keep your dye job beautiful.
How Often Should You Wash Bleached Hair?
We all know that shampooing your hair too often can strip away its natural oils. Considering that bleaching dries out your hair in the first place, avoid washing your hair more than three times a week (at the maximum).
You may even consider opting for the Olaplex treatment at home (ideally pick up a bottle of No. 3). There is anecdotal evidence of Olaplex preventing breakage and restoring the hair bonds that have been broken during bleaching.
However, the results may vary based on the extent of hair damage, so make sure to consult a hairstylist to be on the safe side.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Bleached Hair?
Organic, cold-pressed coconut oil is among the best products to keep bleached hair healthy. Every health and beauty brand stresses using this all-purpose, versatile oil on your tresses, and rightfully so.
According to a study conducted in India, coconut oil acts as a soothing agent both before and after you wash your hair. It prevents both damaged and undamaged hair from losing protein (9).
How Long Should You Wait To Wash Your Hair After Bleaching?
Wait for at least 48 to 72 hours before you wash your hair after bleaching it. Doing so gives your hair time to seal in the new color.
After that, alternate between moisture- and protein-rich shampoos and conditioners. Don’t go overboard with the use of either, and definitely don’t wait too long between washes as it can lead to dry, brittle ends.
You can trim your hair within seven days of coloring your hair to help seal the ends.
Going overboard with bleaching or not taking enough care enough care of your bleached hair can leave it feeling (and looking) like a broomstick – dry, brittle, and screaming for nourishment. However, it is possible to have healthy bleached hair.
We understand that keeping hair healthy after bleaching seems like a lot of effort. However, the results are worth it.
What you need is a heady cocktail of specific hair care tips, a consistent upkeep ritual, and well-informed hair care maintenance hacks to breathe some life, luster, and shine back into your hair.
- Hair Dye Safety: What You Need to Know About Salon and Box Color.
- Significant damage of the skin and hair following hair bleaching.
- Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue.
- Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract.
- Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata.
- Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells.
- Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs.
- A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of an Aloe Vera (A. Barbadensis) Emulsion in the Treatment of Seborrheic Dermatitis.
- Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.
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