If you’re not a natural blonde, then you’ve probably wondered at least once what it would like to have light-colored hair.
After all, you want to know the truth: do blondes really have more fun?
Okay so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but you can’t deny that bleached-blonde hair is definitely an eye-catcher. The issue when using toners, lighteners, or hair bleach, is can you do it without turning it into brittle straw that breaks off at the slightest touch?
The answer, fortunately, is yes. And in this article, we’re going to explain exactly how you can bleach your hair without damaging it along with several tips on how to care for it afteward.
Why does the bleaching process damage hair?
Bleaching is a chemical process, so it’s not surprising that it can cause damage to your hair.
The main reason why bleaching damages hair is because the chemicals used in the process strip away natural essential oils and proteins in your hair. When you apply hydrogen peroxide to your hair, what happens is that it breaks down into water and oxygen.
The oxygen then bonds with the melanin in your hair shaft, which is what gives your hair its color. In other words, when you bleach your hair, you’re essentially bleaching the pigment out of it.
When this happens, your hair loses its strength and elasticity, causing breakage and increased susceptibility to damage. It’s what makes hair brittle, dry, and break off. Not to mention that if you leave peroxide on your hair for too long, you can suffer from scalp burns.
This is why freshly bleached hair can often look dry and lifeless. But don’t worry, there are ways to prevent this from happening.
Is it possible to bleach your hair without hydrogen peroxide?
While it is possible to lighten your own hair color naturally without bleaching it, these natural alternatives won’t give you that iconic bleached-blonde look you’re probably after.
Alternatives like lemon juice and baking soda do break down pigment and open the hair cuticle up to absorb hair dye better, but won’t get it nearly as light in as short a time. And since they are natural ingredients, and much more gentle.
You could try using an ammonia-free toner to lighten your natural hair color, but they often run into the same problem as the natural alternatives – they’re just not strong enough. Though if you do plan on toning your hair, the ammonia-free ones are the safest.
Caring for newly bleached hair
Now that we know why the bleach process can damage hair, let’s take a look at some tips on how to prevent this from happening:
Use a purple shampoo to tone the hair
If you’re just looking to remove some of the brassiness from your hair after bleaching it, you can use a purple shampoo.
These work by adding purple pigments to your hair to neutralize yellow tones that may occur after bleaching. It’s not going to bleach your hair per se, but it will help to reduce the yellow in your hair and turn it into a nicer shade of platinum.
Use a color-depositing conditioner to heal your hair
If you want your hair to be a lighter shade, but don’t want to do anything that will dry it out, you can use a color-depositing conditioner. While these won’t get your hair significantly lighter, they will help to heal and strengthen your bleached locks.
The way these work is similar to a tinted moisturizer – they hydrate your hair while adding a little bit of color. Except, in this case, the color lasts after you rinse it out.
These are meant to be very subtle, so don’t expect magical changes overnight. But they do have the benefit of conditioning while they color – so it’s a good option for people who’ve bleached their hair and want to keep it light while conditioning it.
Apply hyaluronic acid to your hair to increase moisture retention
If you want to prevent your color-treated hair from drying out, you can apply hyaluronic acid to it. This is a substance that’s found naturally in our bodies, and it helps to keep our skin hydrated by binding water to itself.
Since hyaluronic acid is so good at retaining moisture, it can help to keep your hair hydrated too. This is especially helpful if you live in a dry climate, or if you have dry skin.
In our experience, it also produces shinier hair that brings out any natural looking highlights you may already have. Don’t expect a drastic change in color, but when applied to your entire head, you will notice an improvement in hair texture.
The best way to do this is to buy liquid hyaluronic acid from Amazon. You can get a massive container for like $20 and use it every time you get out of the shower when your hair’s still wet. It’s very efficient!
Avoid applying hair dye for a few weeks
Tell us if this has happened to you before: you bleach your hair, aren’t satisfied with how it looks, so you decide to dye it a different color. Then you change your mind again, bleach your hair again, but this time it comes out a little uneven.
So you do it again. And again and again and again.
A few days later, you notice that your hair is brittle and falling apart. Why? Because you committed the cardinal sin of hair coloring – you dyed your hair too many times after bleaching it.
Do a deep conditioning treatment on your hair
If you’ve fried your hair from bleaching it, you need to bring out the big guns. And these big guns are deep conditioners.
Deep conditioners are intensive treatments that help to hydrate and repair your hair. They usually come in the form of a mask that you leave on for 20-30 minutes, then rinse out.
You can buy these at any drugstore or beauty supply store. Or, if you want to save some money, you can make your own homemade deep conditioner at home.
Homemade deep conditioners are usually made with natural ingredients, and are much more gentle.
Do a natural hair mask on your hair
If you want to give your hair some extra love, you can do a natural hair mask. These are usually made with ingredients like coconut oil, avocado, eggs, and honey.
Hair masks are great for giving your hair a deep conditioning treatment. And since they’re made with natural ingredients, they won’t strip your hair of its natural oils.
Clean your hair follicles with a clarifying shampoo
A dirty hair follicle is an unhealthy hair follicle.
And if you’ve been using a lot of products on your hair, it’s possible that they’ve built up in your hair follicles. This can lead to clogged pores, which can then lead to scalp problems.
To prevent this, you should use a clarifying shampoo once a week. Clarifying shampoos are designed to remove any extra dirt, build-up, and product from your hair follicles.
A great option is to use a natural clarifying shampoo that’s free of any harsh chemicals or fragrances. Apple cider vinegar is a solid choice for a clarifying rinse. And it’s very cheap, too.
Take at least 6 weeks between bleaching sessions
If you want to keep your hair healthy and prevent it from falling apart, you should take a break between bleaching sessions.
I know that this can be hard – especially if you’re trying to go from dark brown to light, or from brown hair to platinum blonde. But trust me on this one. Your hair needs at least six weeks to recover from the bleaching process and to regain its strength.
So how do you know when it’s time to lighten your hair again? The best method is to simply look at your hair. If it feels brittle or dry, that means it has started to break down and isn’t as healthy as it used to be.
Do a weekly bond repairing treatment
If your hair is extremely damaged from bleaching, you could consider doing a weekly bond repairing treatment.
A bond repairing treatment will help to strengthen your keratin bonds and repair any damage that’s been done. It can be applied at the salon or at home with a professional-grade product.
What is a bond-repairing treatment? Simply put, it’s a treatment that helps to repair the bonds in your hair that have been broken down by bleach.
Use coconut oil on your hair
There’s a reason why cultures around the world have been using coconut oil on their hair for centuries. It’s because coconut oil is one of the best oils you can use on your hair. It’s full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to strengthen your hair and protect it from damage.
You can apply coconut oil directly to your strands after washing your hair. If you want to get fancy, you can try mixing it with an egg and honey to make a deep conditioning mask.
Go see a professional stylist
If you’re bleaching your hair at home and it’s not going well, the best thing you can do is to go see a professional stylist.
They will be able to assess the damage and give you some tips on how to fix it. They might even be able to color your hair for you so that it looks its best.
To sum it up, yes -applying bleach to your hair without damaging it is possible, sort of. Or rather, you can quickly repair or mitigate the damage to your hair with just a few simple tricks. But it does take a bit of effort, and you need to be careful about the products you use.
If you follow the tips in this article, you should be able to bleach your hair without any problems. Just remember to take your time and be gentle with your hair, and it will be fine.
Do you have any tips on how to bleach your hair without damaging it? Share them in the comments below!