If you are looking to change your hair’s color, bleach is the best and most efficient way to do it. No matter if you’re natural blonde or faux blonde, bleaching your hair can be costly, regardless of how light it is. Shvonne Perkins is Madison Reed’s lead educator. “Bleach is high in the pH scale and doesn’t offer any repair so it can cause hair to become compromised, weak, prone breakage, and dry.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that bleaching is harmful. You just need to know how to maintain healthy hair and use bleach responsibly.
According to George Papanikolas (Matrix brand ambassador), bleaching hair is the use of a lightener in order to remove pigment. You can use it in many ways, such as putting it in a foil or hand painting to create a highlight effect. It can also be used all over the hair as bleach and tone. Bleach can also open the hair cuticle and cause hair loss, brassiness, dryness, breakage, and thinning.
Don’t worry, healthy bleached hair can be achieved with some professional advice. We interviewed four celebrity hairstylists to get their tips and tricks on how to maintain blonde hair and prevent damage. These are eight tips for blondes and anyone with lighter hair.
What makes bleached hair susceptible to damage?
Cyd Charisse is a Hairstory stylist and expert in blonding. Your hair will go through a process when you apply bleach. This involves an alkaline agent which opens the hair cuticle. “The alkaline agent is followed by an oxidative that penetrates the hair cortex, and dissolves the natural melanin. This makes your hair blonder.”
Side effects occur when bleach begins to swell your cuticle, allowing it to penetrate deeper into your hair shaft to remove old hair color. It also breaks down melanin. This alters the texture and makes hair more susceptible to breakage. Charisse says that bleaching your hair can alter the porosity or elasticity of your hair. Charisse continues, “When hair becomes porous, it’s thirsty and the cuticle of your hair is open. This can lead to frazzled ends if you don’t properly care for it.”
Bleached hair tip #1: See a Specialist
To maintain a consistent tone and bleach, you should visit the root touch-ups every four to eight week. Charisse said that the longer the roots grow, the more difficult it is to keep the color consistent. You can’t evenly bleach hair with long roots because you don’t have as much heat to lift it to the desired blonde. This will result in brassiness.
Papanikolas suggests that highlights be refreshed every 12 weeks and every six month for balayage (hand-painted highlights) with toners and glossers every four to six week to maintain color freshness. Perkins suggests concealing powder or spray to cover any dark roots if you’re unable to follow this schedule.
Bleached Hair Tip #2: Focus On Moisture
You can visit an expert colorist to achieve the perfect bleach blonde, but it is what you do at your home that will make the difference in keeping the color vibrant. You can prevent bleached hair becoming dry or damaged by following a well-planned routine that delivers tons of moisture, oils and repairing ingredients to your hair.
Chase Kusero (colorist, co-founder of IGK Hair Care) says that the hair’s ability to heal completely depends on how fragile the hair is to begin with. Also, the strength of the bleach used and the time it took to process the hair. Over-processing can cause the cuticle to not close completely, which can lead to hair looking damaged, dull, or frizzy. Apply a hair mask once a week to keep your hair moisturized.
Bleached Hair Tip #3: Get a Purple Shampoo
To uphold fresh-out-of-the-salon blonde hair, Kusero recommends picking up a purple shampoo to prevent bleached hair from looking brassy. Because purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel it will neutralize yellow tones and keep your blonde as vibrant as ever.
Bleached Hair Tip #4: Wash Hair Less
To maintain your color, you should shampoo your hair less often than usual to preserve as many natural oils and prevent it from fading. If you are used to shampooing your hair every day, consider stretching it to once a week or more to avoid hair drying. You can use a dry shampoo between washes if you are concerned about your hair becoming too oily. Or, try a summer style that will make it look fresh and shiny.
Bleached Hair Tip #5: Check Your Shower Water
You should also make sure that you’re washing your hair less frequently. A temperature of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for shampooing. Also, check your water. Hard water can cause hair to turn a different color due to the presence of minerals like copper and chlorine. You can combat this by purchasing a water softener, or a shower filter such as Jolie Filtered Showerhead. This helps to remove chlorine and other harmful minerals while also restoring shine and moisture to hair.
Bleached Hair Tip #6: Don’t Brush Hair Wet
Experts warn against brushing hair wet because it can cause hair to fall out. Perkins advises that you detangle your hair in the shower starting at the roots and working your way up. Kusero agrees that hair is most elastic and vulnerable when it’s wet. Exercising too much control over wet hair, or bleached hair, can lead to breakage. To maintain moisture, apply a nourishing oil to your hair after it is tangled.
Bleached Hair Tip 7: Use Less Heat
You must hydrate your hair to keep it healthy. To avoid cuticle splitting and damage, experts recommend using a low heat setting when styling your hair with a curling iron, straightener or curler.
Bleached Hair Tip #8: Sleep on Silk Pillowcase
For all hair types and colors, a silk pillowcase is a good idea to protect your hair. Papanikolas says that silk pillowcases will reduce friction, which is a root cause for manual damage that can lead to split ends or breakage.