Freshly bleached hair is often bright and shiny, making women look beautiful and rejuvenated. Unfortunately, the frizz, dryness and damage that may be the result of the imperfect bleaching process will have the opposite effect. Keep reading to find out what hair treatment can repair bleached damaged hair for you to fully enjoy your blonde tresses.
Bleached Hair Damage Explained
So, why is bleaching your hair often associated with damaging your tresses? Let’s dig a bit deeper into what bleach does to hair. In order to get your hair to that blonde color you want, bleach opens up the hair cuticle, penetrates the hair shaft, and dissolves your hair’s natural color. Alas, this also breaks the natural oils and fatty acids in your hair strands.
What is the result? You get hair follicles that are more porous and, thus, prone to more breakage from hot tools, UV rays, rain, and wind. Also, once your hair becomes porous, the moisture starts to escape the hair shaft faster; this is why bleached damaged hair often feels dry and coarse.
If you bleach healthy hair and follow the right hair routine to repair damaged hair, you can easily bring your locks back to the norm. However, if you risk bleaching tresses that are already compromised, you might soon face these signs of severely bleach-damaged hair:
- Loss of natural shine. Reacting with the oils that make hair shine, bleach overpowers them and deprives your tresses of the natural glow.
- Tangled hair. Again, the lack of oils that lubricate the hair leads to excessive tangles.
- Split ends. Since bleaching your hair leaves the protective hair cuticle disrupted, moisture can easily escape, which means unwanted dryness and split ends.
- Frizzy hair. The cuticle allows your hair to be smooth and bouncy, but it fails to perform this function after bleaching, which inevitably results in frizz.
- Hair falling out. In the most unfortunate scenario, the breakage will lead to damaged hair falling out.
Luckily, repairing bleach-damaged hair doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you have the right products and take a multi-step approach to tackle dryness, damage, and loss of shine, while keeping the unwanted brass at bay, too.
12 Ways to Repair Bleached Damaged Hair
Now that you know that it’s critical to replace your regular hair products, let’s have a look at the ones that can help you properly nurture your strands, keep them hydrated and prevent further hair damage. The products and treatments below will help you repair damaged hair while protecting your new color.
Possibly one of the most celebrated products for repairing bleached damaged hair, Olaplex No. 3 is the at-home version of the brand’s famous in-salon repairing system. Using bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate to actively repair broken hair bonds, Olaplex No. 3 is designed to undo the damage that bleach and heat styling do to hair.
Use once a week for strands that feel noticeably stronger and healthier. Note that this is very much a repairing treatment, not a conditioning one. To add moisture back into your hair, look for products with emollient ingredients, such as oils.
A leave-in conditioner such as IGK’s Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm will help you lock in all the moisture and add a healthy shine to your hair strands. This yummy-smelling balm contains shea butter, coconut and argan oils to bring extra moisture and promote healthy hair growth. Comb it through lengths and ends to hydrate and soften hair and ensure its UV protection, which is all-important for preventing color fade.
If you want an oil that can be left in your hair overnight before washing it out, look for specially-designed hair oil, such as Ouai’s Rose Hair & Body Oil, which not only smells amazing but also contains a blend of shea, apricot kernel and sunflower seed oils to moisturize damaged hair. Use either as a leave-in treatment before you shampoo or run it through lengths and ends of styled hair to tame frizz.
French pharmacies find that Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse contains more than 98% naturally-derived ingredients, such as hazel seed, olive fruit, sweet almond and sunflower seed oils, which makes it a perfect oil for those who like their haircare on the natural side. Spritz the oil onto your hairbrush before combing through hair for instant shine, or use it as a treatment before shampooing.
Sulfates are an effective detergent, but they can actually strip protective oils from the hair, which further allows moisture and color to leave the hair follicle. So, after getting your hair’s moisture levels up with an overnight treatment, make sure that you choose a sulfate-free shampoo to gently cleanse your strands without stripping natural oils.
R + Co’s Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo uses gentle sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate for cleansing. The addition of vitamin B5, glycerin and prickly pear root extract also helps to soften and condition your bleached damaged hair.
Instagram / @luxebeautycompany
This candy-scented, orange-hued oil contains sesame, poppy seed, jojoba, olive, and carrot oils to add moisture and shine to your parched strands without weighing them down. Hair Revive Elixir can be used before washing hair or mixed with a hair mask to leave hair soft and nourished.
This silicone and oil-based serum contains bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate – the active ingredient used in the brand’s repairing treatments to fix broken hair bonds. It also has corn, moringa and pomegranate oils to moisturize damaged bleached hair. You’ll get an immediate shine and softening effect, as well as some seriously tamed flyaways. Oils like this are a must-have for bleach-damaged hair.
Briogeo’s Conditioning Hair Mask is less custom but equally effective. It contains B vitamins, algae, rosehip, and argan oils, as well as biotin to moisturize and repair hair strands.
Instagram / @briogeo
9. Microfiber Hair Towel
After washing out conditioners or hair masks, take extra care to carefully dry your strands because wet hair follicles are most prone to damage. Instead of reaching out for the hair dryer, remove water from hair with one of the specially designed microfiber towels and, occasionally, let your hair air dry. Microfiber towel wraps do not only speed up the drying process but are also much gentler on damaged hair compared to regular towels.
Instagram / @aquishair
While many blondes turn to purple-hued shampoos to tone down any orange shades in hair, you don’t have to choose between using sulfate-free and drugstore purple shampoos. Products such as Kiss My Brass! or IGK’s Mixed Feelings are concentrated purple drops designed to be mixed into any shampoo, conditioner or any other product, meaning you don’t have to refuse from your favorite hair care to keep that blonde bright.
Instagram / @kissmybrasshaircare
11. Keratin Treatment
If you feel that your bleached hair is damaged too badly to be saved with the help of hair masks, healing oils, or leave-in conditioners, you might want to resort to a salon hair treatment. Most salons recommend getting keratin treatment to repair bleach-damaged hair, as it is designed to add keratin – the key structural material making up hair – back to your locks. First, the keratin-rich serum is applied to your damaged bleached hair, and then it is infused into your tresses with a flat iron. Keratin treatment helps to bring down frizz, boost shine, and strengthen your hair.
Instagram / @marianadogari
12. DIY Hair Mask
Last but not least, you can use this DIY hair mask recipe to seal your hair and help restore its gloss. For medium-length hair, get two tablespoons of your favorite natural oil (argan oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil work best to repair bleach damage) or mix any two of them. Then, add one egg yolk and a tablespoon of aloe vera juice. Blend everything together and use a hot water bath to heat the product; remember that it shouldn’t be too hot.
Now, apply the mixture to dry hair, making sure to saturate the ends. Cover with a shower cap and let it sit for an hour. Finally, rinse thoroughly with shampoo and lukewarm water (cooler water helps to seal the hair cuticle).
Related Post: 10 Simple DIY Hair Masks to Try Out in 2023
Learn to Prevent the Damage Before You Re-Bleach Your Locks
Be ready that bleaching will damage your hair to an extent since hydrogen peroxide or hair bleach produces an irreversible chemical reaction in your hair cuticle. Bleaching will always leave your locks somewhat dry and damaged, especially if you start with dark hair. So, if you want to go blonde without damaging your tresses, it’s best to be patient and not make drastic changes in one go.
For this, consult your colorist and develop a plan that will help you go blonde the right way. Schedule several blonding sessions and hair care treatments in between to help reduce the damage. Ideally, wait three weeks between each session: your hair cuticle needs this time to heal, close, and lay flat again. This is the best way to keep your hair healthy while transitioning to blonde.
Also, hair colorists recommend applying deep conditioning masks every night for the week before bleaching your hair to strengthen the bonds in your hair fibers. Finally, don’t forget to use a heat protectant since blow drying, flat ironing and curling your locks, as heat tools amplify the damage caused by bleaching.
Although bleach can dry out and damage hair, with the right products, a lot can be done from home to have soft, shining, and strong hair once again. Just remember to be gentle with damaged strands, protect your hair color, and step up your regular hair care products.