What happens when you bleach your hair?
First, let’s understand what happens to hair when its bleached. Bleaching is a chemical process in which pigment is removed from the hair. It uses an alkaline agent to open the cuticle and an oxidative agent that penetrates the hair cortex and dissolves the hair’s natural melanin (this gives your hair its color). The longer you leave this formula in the hair, the lighter the hair becomes. Typically, hair will lighten to a yellow or reddish tone depending on the underlying pigments and then will eventually lighten to pale blonde. This process breaks down the natural fatty acids on the hair shaft, weakening the strand and depleting the hair of moisture.
Our Director of Education and Sales Jordan explains it like this, “Hair becomes dry, brittle, and just overall loses its luster and shine when it is lightened. It’s always important to focus on the integrity of the hair before you reach the end result. If hair cannot handle the lightening process, it does not matter what color you make it, the damage will be easily visible.”
After bleaching, your hair may seem rough, dry, and may even be breaking off so you will need to give your strands a little TLC. Here are our expert tips:
Choose the right shampoo
With lightened hair, it is important to maintain a balance between moisture (to hydrate) and protein (to strengthen). When shopping for the right shampoo, look for formulas free of sulfates which can be drying, silicones that may build up on the hair, and parabens which act as preservatives and could affect hormone levels. Try not to shampoo too often, it can strip hair of the natural oils that are meant to protect and nourish. Use a dry shampoo to absorb any grease at the root and to give your stands some volume on days you feel a bit flat.
It can be hard to keep bleached hair from becoming brassy. A purple shampoo can help to cancel out any orange or yellow tones and brighten your overall look.
Jordan says, “Purple shampoos contain violet pigment which helps tone out yellow in the hair. These are great for maintaining beautiful platinum hair at home as toners often fade very quickly due to how overly porous the hair is when lifted up to a level 10.” Make sure not to overdo it, because bleached hair can be very porous and absorb too much of the ashy tone.
Don’t over bleach
Applying bleach to your hair too frequently is a huge culprit for damaged hair. You should usually wait at least a month between lightening services, making sure that only the new growth is being colored. Be careful not to overlap older bleached areas because it can cause breakage.
Practice caution when wet
To reduce breakage, you should only comb/brush hair when it’s dry. Hair is in its weakest state when wet, and it’s far more susceptible to damage. Use cool water to rinse and use a towel made specifically for the hair to maintain the natural texture of hair without further damage. After stepping out of the shower, be sure to gently press or squeeze hair with the towel rather than vigorously rubbing the towel through your hair to reduce friction and further breakage.
Get frequent trims
To keep your hair at its healthiest, you should get your hair cut about every six to eight weeks. When the ends of your hair are damaged and split, hair will start to break off. Try to have your hair cut within a week of a color service to seal the ends and keep hair looking healthy.
Try a leave in conditioner or hair oil
There are many different leave-in conditioners and hair oils on the market that can be useful for bleached hair. You want to return as much moisture as possible to the hair. These products can help add fatty acids back into the hair strands to nourish, smooth and protect.
Make sure to use a heat protectant
Using hot tools without a heat protectant is a recipe for disaster. Using hot tools on previously lightened hair without a heat protectant will fry the hair and lead to breakage. Heat protectants add a barrier between your hair and your styling tool, sealing in moisture and preventing frizz. They will also help to smooth the cuticle, making your hair look shiny and feel soft.
Use the K18 leave-in molecular repair hair mask
After bleaching the hair, you might need a renewal. To restore strength and elasticity post-service, our K18Peptide™ has you covered. The molecular repair hair mask travels deeper inside the hair strand to reconnect broken keratin chains and regenerate disulfide bonds that have been destroyed when bleaching the hair. In just 4 minutes, K18 will strengthen, improve elasticity, add shine and bounce.
Director of Color and Co-founder of Spoke and Weal Salons Christine Thompson says,'' Using the K18 Mist and Mask during a lightening service restores movement and life to the hair, adds shine and keeps the hair intact.” Her client claims after just one use that, “My hair was really dry and broken, it definitely needed some love. Now it feels super silky and really nice!”
Caring for bleached hair can be a lot of work, but with the right regimen your strands will be back in shape in no time.