There’s no doubt about it: bleach is the most effective way to lighten your hair. Whether you want to live the platinum blonde life or lighten your hair before dyeing it another vibrant color, bleach is pretty much a necessity. Unfortunately, bleach damaged hair pretty much comes with the territory.
June, 18, 2020
Sofie is co-founder of HairLust. She is a hair-nerd with capital H, and loves to share her hair care experience with others.
She has a keen interest in learning and testing the latest trends in hair care, styling tips and natural ingredients. Read more.
Keep reading to learn what causes bleach damaged hair, whether you can repair damaged hair, and the best hair treatment for damaged hair.
So, let’s talk about how hair bleaching works. Our hair gets its color from a pigment called melanin, which lives inside the hair shaft. The hair shaft is covered in a protective layer of protein scales called the cuticle. When you bleach your hair, the bleach opens up this cuticle in order to alter the melanin inside of the hair. In the process, however, the hair bleach strips hair of its natural protective fibers and oils.
While in theory the cuticle should close again and return to normal, hair bleach has a knack for disrupting those scales so they can no longer lay flat (which is why bleach damaged hair often has more volume than virgin hair – each strand literally takes up more space). Thus, moisture escapes from the inner parts of the hair shaft. Hair becomes dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. That’s bleach damaged hair in a nutshell!
How to Identify Bleach Damaged Hair
So how do you know if bleaching your hair has in fact given you bleached damaged hair? Here’s a few warning signs to look for:
1. Loss of Natural Shine
Typically, the cuticle of the hair lies flat, allowing light to reflect off of it and giving hair a healthy, shiny appearance. As we mentioned, bleach damaged hair has a disrupted hair cuticle, which makes it look duller.
2. Hair Tangles
Bleach damaged hair has rough cuticles that “stick” together, creating hair tangles.
3. Brittle and Dry
Since the protective cuticle is disrupted, bleach damaged hair allows its inner moisture to escape. This leaves hair brittle and dry.
Brittle and dry bleach damaged hair is more prone to breakage, which often shows up as flyaways and frizz.
5. Split Ends
Similarly, breakage can show up as ragged split ends.
That all sounds pretty bad, right? So if you’re wondering how to repair damaged hair, read on.
What’s the Difference Between Bleach Damaged Hair & Heat Damaged Hair?
If you’ve never bleached your hair, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Heat damaged hair has a lot in common with bleach damaged hair. Like bleach, hot tools can dry out hair and permanently injure its protective cuticle layer. If you have heat damaged hair, many of our tips to repair bleach damaged hair will also apply to you!
Now that you know the ins and out of damaged hair, keep reading to learn whether you can repair damaged hair.
6 Common Hair Mistakes for Bleach Damaged Hair
Chances are you’ve picked up one of these bad hair habits along the way. The best hair treatment for damaged hair is actually prevention, so if you’re making any of these mistakes, be sure to course correct to avoid bleach damaged hair (and heat damaged hair, for that matter!) so you don’t have to repair damaged hair in the future.
1. Wrong Choice of Shampoo
The first thing to do is make sure that you’re using a shampoo formulated for blonde hair. Blonde hair, particularly bleached blonde hair, has special needs when it comes to cleansing.
That’s where Hair Growth & Repair Shampoo for Blondes comes in. This nourishing, gentle silver shampoo is specially formulated with creatine, Vitamin B5 and organic plant extracts from aloe vera, mango and blueberry to moisturise bleach damaged hair and protect it from further injury.
Plus, it has active violet pigments which neutralise unwanted brassiness. Hair Growth & Repair Shampoo for Blondes also has a pH that’s almost identical to human skin, which means that it won’t irritate your scalp.
2. Not Using a Conditioner
We hope this goes without saying, but skipping conditioner is a major no-no for all hair types, and especially for those with bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair.
While any conditioner is better than no conditioner at all, it’s best to use one specifically formulated for flaxen hair like Hair Growth & Repair Conditioner for Blondes. This silver conditioner is formulated with organic ingredients like aloe vera, licorice root extract, apricot kernel oil and sweet almond oil that moisturise and protect your strands while treating the scalp to encourage healthy hair growth. Be proactive by conditioning your hair every time you wash it to avoid having to repair damaged hair later.
Remember those protective cuticle scales we told you about? Those are made from protein. So if you have bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair, it’s pretty much imperative that you use a deep conditioning treatment with protein as a primary ingredient to strengthen the protective coating on your hair.
Protein Reconstructor Hair Mask utilizes hydrolyzed vegetable and yeast proteins to rebuild key hair proteins, leaving bleach damaged hair stronger, shinier and less prone to breakage. For best results, use 1 to 3 times per month depending on your level of damage.
4. Using the Wrong Tools on Wet Hair
Did you know that hair is more delicate when it’s wet and thus more prone to breakage? This is especially true for bleach damaged hair, so it’s important to use the right kind of tool when detangling wet hair. A regular hair brush isn’t going to cut it!
Instead, we recommend using a Detangle Wet Brush, which has soft silicone bristles that gently tease apart snarls sans breakage. Plus, its ergonomic design makes detangling your hair a breeze.
In the hopes to maintain your lengths as long as possible, you might have skipped a few hair trims. Big mistake! Bleach damaged hair and heat damaged hair are prone to split ends. When you don’t get your ends trimmed, those split ends can travel up the hair shaft, leading to breakage much closer to your scalp. Translation? Frizz and flyaways.
Make sure to schedule a trim at least once every three months and even more often if you’re noticing split ends. If you’re on a quest to repair damaged hair, this step is absolutely essential.
6. Skipping Heat Protection
As we mentioned before, heat tools can cause significant damage, even to virgin hair. So if you have bleach damaged hair, you can imagine how much worse the damage will be! Trust us, adding heat damaged to the mix is not something you want to do.
Unfortunately, no. There isn’t anything you can do to truly repair damaged hair. Once the damage has been done, that’s pretty much it. Luckily, the great thing about hair is that it’s always growing! If you have bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair, you’ll just have to give your hair some extra TLC while you wait for fresh, undamaged hair to grow.
Another thing you can do is control the damage before it gets any worse. This will help mitigate some of the unpleasant effects of bleach damaged hair and heat damaged hair like breakage and split ends.
10 Easy Steps: Best Treatment for Damaged Hair
Now is the time you’ve been waiting for! What is the best hair treatment for damaged hair?
When it comes to bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair, there is no magic bullet that will “fix” it. However, following healthy hair habits will ensure that you mitigate any existing damage as well as ensure that your hair doesn’t experience further damage in the future. Remember, your scalp is growing new hair all the time! If you’re kind to your hair, it will eventually reward you by being healthy and shiny. So really, the best hair treatment for damaged hair is a healthy hair care routine. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Bleach Less Frequently (Or Not at All)
It probably goes without saying that the less often you bleach your hair, the less hair damage you’ll have! Try to extend the length of time before having your roots touched up and avoid bleaching parts of your hair that have already been bleached. Or better yet, avoid bleaching your hair in the first place!
2. Prepare Hair Before Bleaching
Hair that’s healthy and strong to begin with has less of a chance of incurring damage when bleached. Before visiting your colorist, use a protein-rich hair treatment like Protein Reconstructor Hair Mask to make sure your hair is in tip-top condition.
3. Beware of Overprocessing
Overprocessing happens when you force your hair to undergo too many chemical processes without enough time in between to allow hair to rest and recover. Double bleaching hair or bleaching and perming strands are two good examples of overprocessing. This is a huge no-no (maybe the biggest no-no in haircare!) and can leave hair gummy and falling out in clumps.
Ask your hairstylist for advice on this one, but we say wait at least a week in between processes and be sure to use plenty of strengthening hair masks in between.
4. Be Careful with Chlorine
Natural blondes already know this, but you need to be extra careful about exposing your hair to chlorine, a chemical typically found in pools. Why? First of all, chlorine can turn your hair green (not what you want!). But it can also further dry out bleach damaged hair and lead to more breakage.
While your best bet is to avoid dipping your hair into the water when you go swimming, you can also prevent your hair from sopping up chlorine-laden water by rinsing it with fresh water before diving in.
5. Defend Against Sun Damage
You know how UV rays can damage your skin? Well, they can also damage your hair, particularly if you already have bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair.
Remember how we said you’d have to wait for your hair follicles to grow new, healthy hair in order to get rid of bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair completely? Well, the best way to support your hair follicles in growing new hair is to eat a healthy diet full of lean proteins, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
To make sure all your nutritional bases are covered, you might also want to think about adding a hair growth supplement like Hair Growth Formula Gummies or Hair Growth Formula Tablets to your diet. These supplements are formulated with all the nutrients your hair follicles need to optimise hair growth, ensuring that they grow healthy, strong hair.
If you’re looking for the best hair treatment for damaged hair, this is a step you definitely won’t want to skip.
If you have bleach damaged hair or heat damaged hair, you might think that throwing your hair in a bun and calling it a day is your best bet. After all, then you won’t be tempted to heat style your hair! But if you use traditional hair ties, you might be doing more harm than good. Why? Because traditional elastic hair ties tug on hair, which can break fragile, bleach damaged strands. Instead, use Hair Rings which gently grip hair without breakage.
9. Replace Your Cotton Bath Towel
Another easy swap you can make is to replace your regular cotton bath towel with a Bamboo Hair Towel. Bamboo is softer and smoother than cotton, which means it won’t pull at your hair and lead to breakage and frizz.
10. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Bleach damaged hair and heat damaged hair crave moisture and hair-friendly oils are the best way to give your strands the moisture they deserve!
We’re not exactly recommending applying olive oil from your pantry directly to your hair (although you can if you want to!). Instead, use our Anti-Frizz & Hydration Pre-shampoo Hair Balm formulated with shea butter, organic olive oil extract, jojoba seed oil and sunflower seed oil to nourish hair from the outside in.
If you’re looking for the best hair treatment for damaged hair, definitely don’t skip this one!
Sofie is co-founder of HairLust. She is a hair-nerd with capital H, and loves to share her hair care experience with others. She has a keen interest in learning and testing the latest trends in hair care, styling tips and natural ingredients.