If I had a dollar for each time I’ve seen an unsuspecting woman crying in her salon chair after bleach completely destroyed her healthy hair, I’d have enough money for a shopping spree. In the unfortunate event that this happens to you, do you know how to fix bleached hair breakage?
The fact is, many women feel traumatized by hair breakage after their first bleaching session – whether it’s at the salon or in their bathroom at home. While bleaching does the job of lightening your hair strands, it leaves a ridiculous amount of hair damage in its wake.
Bleached hair often looks dry, and in severe cases, you can almost see your strands breaking apart and falling to the floor. But it’s a way of life when you want to spice up your hair color.
It’s never a bad thing – just something you have to work on afterward to repair and restore the strength of your once healthy hair.
What Happens To The Hair When You Bleach It?
Bleach is the gold standard for lightening your hair color.
It’s the fastest and most effective way to strip away your natural hair color and practically turn it white for your dream color.
But bleach is a double-edged sword.
It’s incredibly harsh and breaks down pretty much your entire hair structure – from the protein that keeps it strong to the fatty acids that keep it hydrated and shiny.
Once those are destroyed, you’re left with weak, brittle, and parched strands.
Side effects of hair bleaching
There are tons of side effects after bleaching your hair.
This includes severe dryness, uncontrollable frizz, and a straw-like texture when you touch your hair.
Because bleach disrupts the hair cuticle, it won’t have the power to hold on to moisture anymore, so you’ll be left with hair that looks dull and fried.
You’ll also notice how tangly your hair gets now because of all the split ends and snags from when your cuticle was blown wide open.
But one of the most dreaded effects of bleaching is hair breakage and snapping.
Breakage can make your hair look unkempt and uneven, like it has different lengths.
What a waste of a pretty haircut!
Eventually, you could even see more and more hair falling out when you brush your tresses.
You have breakage to thank for that too.
How To Fix Bleached Hair Breakage
It’s tough to heal or reverse severe hair damage from bleaching.
What you can do instead is control any further damage by pampering, conditioning, and help your hair grow back in a healthy manner.
The following are some of the things you can do:
Don’t overwash your hair
Bleaching completely strips off moisture from your hair, and shampooing your hair every day thereafter will dry out your tresses even more.
Instead, wash your hair only two to three times a week, or as needed if you can go longer.
Allowing your hair’s natural oils and moisture to travel down your locks is the best thing for your hair right now, so stick it out even if it’s starting to feel greasier than usual.
It’s a good idea to skip shampooing for the first two days after your bleaching session.
Allow your hair follicles to heal and produce their own oils before cutting off your only source of natural moisture.
Switch to gentle shampoos and conditioners
Go for shower products without sulfates and silicones.
These two ingredients can be more damaging to your hair.
Sulfates are harsh cleaning agents that dry out the hair.
And while silicones offer some protection to a certain degree, they could just end up causing product build-up that’s hard to wash out.
Opt for a conditioner that has a lot of slip so you can detangle your hair with your fingers without ripping your locks out.
As for purple or blue shampoos, use them instead on an as-needed basis, whenever you have noticeable brassiness.
Luckily, many color-depositing shampoos don’t have sulfates.
Deep condition once a week
Every couple of washes, replace your regular conditioner with an intensely moisturizing hair mask.
Let it sit in your hair for five to ten minutes so your damaged locks can absorb all the nourishing goodness before washing it out.
You can also do a DIY deep conditioning mask at home with your favorite superfoods.
Avocados and eggs are amazing for deep moisture, as well as adding back some glossy shine to your strands.
Bananas, on the other hand, are rich in vitamins and proteins to keep your hair strong, healthy, and smelling like a tropical paradise!
Load up on protein
Bleaching breaks down our hair’s natural proteins, adding gaps and holes to the hair cuticle.
A protein mask helps fill in these gaps to fortify and thicken up the hair, making it look fuller and bouncier.
A good protein treatment at home is the rice water rinse.
Rice contains inositol, which is fantastic at repairing damaged hair to make them more resilient.
Saturate your hair in rice water for half an hour before your next shampoo day, and you’ll see an astounding difference.
Just remember that too much protein is bad too.
Protein overload can cause even more damage and breakage, so always balance it out with hydration and moisture in your routine.
Use leave-in conditioner daily
Replenish the moisture in your hair every morning by refreshing it with a hydrating leave-in conditioner.
Just a couple of sprays and you can smooth down your hair and control the frizz that usually comes with damaged hair.
Many leave-ins also provide heat protection, which is perfect if you plan on going out under the sun.
Seal in moisture with light oils
When you’re done with your styling routine, use light oils to lock in all that moisture.
Use oils like argan oil and sweet almond oil, which are very nourishing but aren’t heavy enough to weigh your hair down or make it look greasy.
Antioxidant-rich argan oil has tiny molecules that can penetrate the hair and moisturize it from the inside out.
Sweet almond oil, on the other hand, is rich in protein and vitamin E, both known to strengthen and improve overall elasticity even in damaged hair.
Minimize your use of hot tools
Using your flat irons or blowdryers will aggravate hair damage and make it more susceptible to breakage and snapping due to their high heat levels.
Avoid using hot tools the first couple of weeks after bleaching your hair, and cut down on them as much as you can in the long-term too.
Instead, let your hair air-dry – it’s a great way to combat frizz!
Embrace your hair’s natural texture and get creative with how you can style it without heat.
Overnight oil treatments
Use heavy oils with deep moisturizing properties that can penetrate your hair overnight and provide intense hydration.
Great oil for this is coconut oil, which helps seal in moisture in your hair while ensuring you don’t lose protein.
Deeply nourished hair is less prone to breakage and split ends, so it’s always good to invest in oils that will work for you throughout the night.
Combat hair fall with a scalp massage
Use your favorite essential oil to massage your scalp now and then.
It helps promote blood circulation, which stimulates healthy hair growth.
Rosemary oil is a terrific oil for thicker hair growth.
Peppermint oil is also another relaxing oil that provides aromatherapy and relieves an itchy or inflamed scalp.
You’ll be hitting two birds with one stone!
Use a heat protectant
Bleached, damaged hair is more vulnerable to breaking and burning when using hot tools or staying out in the sun for long periods.
So it’s important to spray on some heat protectant or SPF to add a layer of protection to your hair.
Remember, your damaged hair is more sensitive than it was before to UV rays and sunburn on the scalp.
Always use a heat protectant from now on, even if you’ve quit using hot tools altogether.
You can also wear a hat or beanie to keep your scalp protected too.
Get regular haircuts
Trimming your hair frequently is key to growing healthier hair after bleaching.
As damaged hair grows, your ends will constantly snap off.
One way to take back control of this is to be ahead of the curve – trim off a quarter of an inch before your dry, unhealthy, brittle ends snap off two inches worth of hair.
It’s a smarter way to play the healthy hair growth game.
Cut off those split ends before they get blown out all the way to your scalp and cause issues with hard-to-manage frizz.
I know it’s hard to cut off any length of hair if you’re trying to grow it out, but if you do this consistently, you’ll be rewarded with thicker, healthier hair.
Don’t put your hair in a tight ponytail
Using an elastic or rubber band to put your hair in a tight, high ponytail may be tempting, especially if you just want to forget about your hair for a while.
But this adds stress to your locks, encouraging even more breakage.
Wear your hair down as much as possible.
If you must tie your hair, do a low ponytail.
Ditch those elastic bands and trade them in for silk scrunchies or crease-free telephone cord ties.
Any hairstyle that requires you to tug and pull on your hair is a big no-no for your recovery process.
Don’t be tempted to do super tight braids or buns – embrace your flowing hair for now.
Load up on vitamins
Lastly, make sure your body has all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to grow your hair back healthier.
Look for fish oil capsules that have omega fatty acids to moisturize your hair from the inside out.
You can also opt for flaxseed oil for strengthening and hair growth, as well as vitamins B and E for elasticity, bounce, and shine.
Next Time You Bleach Your Hair…
When you’re ready to bleach your hair again or have some touch-ups done, it’s better to come in with a game plan.
First, you should keep in mind that excessive and frequent bleaching sessions can deal even more damage to your already struggling hair.
When you book your next bleaching appointment, make sure it’s at least two to three months after your first one.
Try to book a consultation with your stylist a couple of days before your actual bleaching session so they can recommend the best plan of attack for the hair color you want.
You might set yourself up for failure if you decide on your own to get root-to-tip bleaching, only for your trusted stylist to check out your hair health and recommend a much safer and more flattering balayage instead.
Before your stylist starts bleaching your hair, don’t be afraid to ask them to apply a protective solution to minimize hair damage.
It’s quite common to use a protective product before potentially harsh chemical processes, so your stylist will know what you mean.
Once you’re all done lightening your hair, tap your stylist on the shoulder and ask them to trim off some of the hair that’s breaking off.
This lessens the emotional turmoil of seeing your hair snap and fall off on your drive home.
It’s a small step that makes a world of difference in your recovery too.
There’s no magic formula or miracle antidote that can undo the damage from your bleaching session.
More often than not, that damage and breakage are permanent.
But if you do all these little steps to care for your hair, you can nurse it back to health in just a couple of months.
So if you’ve been wondering how to fix bleached hair breakage, start by trying out a few of the thirteen tips discussed in this post.
Just remember to accept the situation that you’re in now.
Yes, your hair isn’t as healthy as it once was, but the sooner you get to work, the sooner you can bring it back to life.
Just picture yourself a couple of months from now, rocking strong, moisturized, shiny, and bouncy locks in that glorious light color that inspired you to bleach your hair in the first place.
Patience is a virtue when it comes to caring for bleached hair, and if you stick it out, you’ll realize that it’s totally worth it.