As someone who loves vibrant hair colors and changes her hair’s hue more often than the seasons change, I know the havoc that bleaching can wreak on a person’s tresses.
After many bleaching mishaps, one involving such destruction that I had to shave my hair off at one point, I’ve come to understand the value of hydration. To avoid breakage, dryness, and even worse results from hair bleaching, you should replace the moisture that’s been lost to this harsh chemical process.
How to Keep Your Hair Hydrated After Bleaching?
To help you avoid the woes I’ve faced as a result of lacking hydration, I’ve compiled this guide to help you keep your hair healthy and shiny – even after bleaching! You don’t have to sacrifice healthy hair for the dynamic color that you’re after. All it takes is a bit of know-how, the right products, and a hydration plan for before and after bleaching.
Continue reading to learn more about how To hydrate hair after bleaching and save your hair from the damage of bleaching agents. I’ll discuss what bleaching your hair means, why it damages hair so badly, and what you can do to treat or even prevent the damage.
What Does it Mean to Bleach Your Hair?
Bleaching strips pigment from hair using a process known as oxidation. This is achieved through the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. These two agents are typically purchased separately and then mixed immediately prior to application.
Any hair can be bleached, but that doesn’t mean that it should be – or that you’ll go platinum in one session if you do. If you’ve got dark or previously color-treated hair, there’s a distinct possibility that you will need numerous sessions in the salon chair.
Bleaching can be incredibly damaging if your hair is already in poor health, if the product is left on for too long, or if bleaching sessions aren’t spaced far enough apart.
Truthfully, hair bleaching is as much a science as it is an art.
Why is Hydration So Important for Bleached Hair?
Whether you’re a risk-taker who bleaches at home or you prefer the expertise of a salon professional, your hair is going to need adequate hydration to look and feel great. This is true of before bleaching and after, but especially after. Hydration is what prevents breaking, brittle, dry or otherwise damaged hair from making its presence known. In this section, I’ll explain exactly why hydration is so essential.
First, it helps to know why bleach can be so damaging. During a bleaching session, the outer layer of the hair’s cuticle is raised to allow optimal penetration of the bleaching agent. Healthy and hydrated hair that’s been bleached once will likely return to its normal condition after the product has been used.
Hair that has been excessively damaged prior to bleaching, however, doesn’t stand such a great chance.
If you bleach your hair too often or have undergone other methods that can cause damage, the cuticles of your hair may become (or have already become) permanently raised. This causes rapid moisture loss that presents itself in the form of:
- Split ends
- Inflexible hair
The more often you bleach your hair, the more extensive this damage will become. This is tough news to take for those of us who like to keep our heads at a lightened hue, especially if you’ve got dark roots that can muck up your desired look. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to maintain the health of your hair between sessions.
9 Tips to Help You Hydrate Your Hair After Bleaching
There is no one-size-fits-all approach that will restore the shine and silky texture of your locks after bleaching. However, there are some time-honored methods that I and others have found to be our go-to solutions when hair starts to show the effects of bleaching.
Even if your hair looks and feels perfectly fine, it doesn’t hurt to ensure it stays that way by trying one (or more) of these nine hydration solutions.
Bathe Your Hair in Coconut Oil
Is there anything that coconut oil can’t do? This 100% fat and nutrient-dense product is widely available and offers a multitude of hair health benefits. The key benefit to hair? Maximum hydration!
If your hair is feeling obnoxiously dry following a bleaching session, it will simply drink up the remarkable qualities of coconut oil. You might see results within a matter of days, but I recommend applying coconut oil to wet or dry hair as often as you can be bothered!
Make Your Own Hair Mask
There are four things that you might have lying around the house, all of which have hydration-boosting properties that your hair will love:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
If you combine all four ingredients into a thick hair mask, you will have a super-powerful and great-smelling solution to bleach-damaged locks.
Make Use of Argan Oil
Argan oil is produced in the nuts of Argan trees and is very potent in vitamin E. Many modern hair care products targeted toward dry hair contain this oil, and that’s because it works! However, it is worth keeping in mind that argan oil is quite heavy and can make hair feel tremendously oily. Apply it only when you need a hydration boost the most, and when you don’t have other things to do.
Washing your hair too often can strip it of its natural oils, thus diminishing its moisture. While conditioning is never a bad thing to do in the shower, sometimes it pays to skip the shampooing step. If you’re a fan of daily hair washing, try changing your routine to every other day or every three days instead.
Stop Other Damaging Methods
It only makes sense to avoid actively causing additional damage to hair that’s already been damaged by bleach. So, you should steer clear of heat-styling tools and chemical straightening or curling processes.
Only Brush or Comb When Dry
Hair is at its weakest and is most vulnerable to damage when it’s wet. Brushing or combing wet hair can lead to breakage and split ends. Having been previously bleached only heightens this damage. Wait until your tresses are completely dry before you break out the brush.
Rinse with Cold Water – Every Time
Hair shouldn’t be doused in hot-hot water, but rather washed in warm. Very hot water can cause its own type of damage, even to healthy hair and scalps. When done washing your hair in warm water, hit it with a blast of cold water – as cold as you can handle. This closes hair follicles and prevents frizz.
Get a Leave-In Conditioner
Leave-in conditioners help protect and nourish hair, which your damaged locks are in desperate need of after a beaching session. It keeps hair moisturized and healthy-looking all day long, without the boredom and burden that comes with using hair masks and other at-home treatments. Simply apply and then go on with your day!
Protect Your Hair from Chlorine
Do you love to swim in the pool? Chlorine can wreak havoc on blond hair, even if it isn’t bleached, so be careful! To avoid the characteristic green shade that can accompany chlorine exposure to hair and minimize the risk of damage coming to your bleached tresses, put your hair up into a cap securely before hitting the pool.
How Can You Avoid the Damage Caused by Hair Bleaching?
The best advice that I can give is to avoid home bleaching processes like the plague. The most intensely damaging sessions I’ve had with hair bleach involved my best intentions and a long receipt from the beauty supply store. The professionals have the tools and the skillset to ensure optimal results.
However, I know how tempting it can be to skip the salon and just tackle it on your own. So, I present to you a list of tips to help minimize hair damage caused by bleach. These tips can be applied to home treatments and bleaching sessions in the salon chair.
- Deep condition your hair before it’s bleached.
- Avoid using drug store lightening kits. At the very least, pay a trip to a reputable beauty supplier.
- Use the lowest volume of a developer as possible. Skip 40-volume entirely unless you’re okay with dealing with some damage.
- Understand that it isn’t a race. Your hair may need several sessions to lift to the desired shade of blond. You will not be going platinum in a single session unless your hair is already quite light.
- Don’t wash your hair in the day or two leading up to bleaching. The natural oils of your hair will help protect it from damage.
- Thoroughly rinse after bleaching. Leftover product, no matter how little in amount, can lead to chemical burns and added damage.
There’s no way around it: bleaching hair is a damaging process. But when you take into consideration all of the information and tips I’ve given above, you can minimize the effects it will have on your precious tresses.
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