Dreaming of going bleach blonde? While we love the look of bleach blonde hair, there’s no doubt about it: Hair bleach is not good for your hair. If you still want to take the plunge, read this article first. We’ll tell you how hair bleach works, common mistakes you should avoid, and how to take care of bleach blonde hair. Plus, we’ll tell you the best shampoo for blonde hair to keep your hair healthy, shiny, and cool-toned.
What is Hair Bleaching?
Hair bleaching is a chemical process that lightens your hair by stripping the pigment from your strands. Here’s how the process works:
- An alkaline agent opens up the cuticle, the protective layer of the hair shaft.
- An oxidative agent penetrates the hair shaft and dissolves melanin, the pigment that gives your hair its natural color.
The longer you leave hair bleach on your hair, the more pigment it dissolves and the lighter your hair becomes.
However, one application of hair bleach does not necessarily mean you’ll have white, bleach blonde hair. Depending on your hair’s natural color, your hair can end up yellow, orange, or red. Another hair bleaching process may be required to reach true bleach blonde hair.
How Hair Bleaching Affects Your Hair
So how does hair bleaching damage your hair? Well, there is a risk (especially with repeated hair bleaching treatments) that the cuticle of the hair shaft stays permanently raised. Hair with raised cuticles loses moisture rapidly, which leaves it brittle and prone to breakage. You know those horror stories of destroyed hair after a hair bleaching session gone wrong? That’s what’s happening!
Hair bleaching always damages hair to a certain extent, but it doesn’t need to get ugly as long as you follow proper after-care techniques (more on that later).
How Often Can You Use Hair Bleach?
If you’re going to begin hair bleaching, plan to wait six to eight weeks in between hair bleach appointments. This will allow your hair ample time to recover. Keep in mind that if your hair is darker than light brown, it will take more than one hair bleaching session to achieve bleach blonde hair. Do not bleach your hair in two back-to-back sessions. Instead, wait at least one week before further bleaching your hair. An experienced colorist can recommend when you should book your next bleaching appointment.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Hair Bleach
1. Using Hair Bleach at Home
Trust us, this is a dye job you do NOT want to DIY. Hair bleaching is a tricky process and it’s difficult to get correct, even for experienced hairstylists. If you don’t do it correctly, you’re looking at major hair damage. Like, cut-off-all-your-hair breakage.
Do your research and find a colorist who specialises in bleach blondes before taking the plunge. Then make a consultation appointment to discuss your goals and hair history before the bleach goes anywhere near your hair.
2. Not Being Honest with Your Colorist
Hair bleach works best on hair that is virgin (meaning it’s never been chemically processed) and hair that is light brown or lighter in color. If you’ve ever coloured your hair before, you need to tell your colourist before they apply the hair bleach. Why? Because when the hair bleach strips away your natural hair color, it may not affect areas of hair dye from previous dye jobs. And that can leave bands of unwanted pigment on your locks. Not what you want!
Give your hairstylist a clear account of all your previous hair colours for the best hair bleaching results.
If you have hair that is darker than light brown, you can still achieve bleach blonde hair. However, the process might take a few tries before you reach that icy, platinum shade.
3. Not Prepping Your Hair Beforehand
Hair bleach is damaging, so it’s a good idea to make sure your hair is in tip-top condition before going to your hair bleaching appointment. This will give your hair the best chance of staying healthy. Use a repairing conditioning mask like Hair Growth & Protection Hair Mask in the two weeks leading up to your appointment.
Another tip: skip shampoo in the two days before your appointment since a freshly cleansed scalp is more likely to experience irritation from hair bleach.
4. Bleaching the Ends
If your ends are already light, they don’t need to be bleached again. Period. Applying more hair bleach to your ends puts you at greater risk for raising the hair’s cuticles permanently. And when that happens, you’re looking at breakage galore.
Alternatives to Hair Bleach: Different Ways to Lighten Hair
The most common bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Some brands market themselves as “peroxide-free,” but don’t be fooled. These brands just use another hair bleaching agent that is just as damaging as peroxide.
So are there any natural alternatives to bleach? Well, not really. If you’re looking for that white bleach blonde hair look, you’ll have to use some kind of bleach.
If you just want to slightly lighten your natural hair colour, you can try one of these options:
Lemon Juice & Sun
Squeeze 2-3 fresh lemons and mix it with 2 tbsp. of oil and 200 ml of water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to hair. Let dry for a few hours in the sun. Then wash and condition. The conditioner will keep your hair from drying out.
Chamomile Tea & Sun
Some natural beauty bloggers claim that chamomile tea can give you blonde hair. For this method, you’ll need 2 cups of strong chamomile tea (use 5 bags of chamomile tea for 2 cups of boiled water) and the juice from 2-3 lemons. Mix the ingredients together and apply to hair using a spray bottle. Dry hair in the sun, then rinse and condition.
Raw honey is another popular alternative to hair bleach. To try it at home, mix together 4-5 tbsp. raw honey with 100 ml distilled water, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Let the mixture sit for one hour, then apply to damp hair. Leave the mixture in your hair for at least a few hours, then shampoo and condition hair.
Keep in mind, however, that although these methods for hair bleaching may be natural, they can still dry out and damage your hair.
10 Hair Bleaching Aftercare Tips
Hair bleach is damaging, there’s no doubt about that. But you can still work to repair and strengthen your hair (plus avoid those annoying brassy tones) by following these tips:
1. Use the Best Shampoo for Blonde Hair
This is the most important tip for the best aftercare of bleached hair. When it comes to bleach blonde hair, not all shampoos and conditioners are created equally. Natural blondes already know that they need violet-toned cleansers to prevent their hair from turning too yellow. If you’re a new bleach blonde, consider this your wake-up call!