Have you bleached your hair and noticed hair seems to take way longer to dry than usual? This frustrating experience is quite common among those who bleach their hair.
You might be wondering, why does this happen? More importantly, how can you efficiently dry and style your hair post-bleaching?
In this article, we will answer all the questions you might have regarding this issue. We will also provide helpful tips and solutions for drying your wet hair.
Does Bleached Hair Take Longer to Dry Than Normal?
Bleached hair takes longer (hours or even days) to dry. For most people, the bleached hair will still feel wet, sticky, or gummy hours after getting out of the shower.
Generally, it takes 1-2 hours to air-dry your unbleached long hair. You can speed up the drying process by blow drying and have it completely dry in 15-20 minutes.
If you’ve bleached your hair, you’ll realize that air-drying or blow-drying still leaves it wet or gummy. It won’t matter whether you use a microfiber towel or not. Your bleached hair will feel damp.
What Causes Bleached Hair Not to Dry?
The leading cause of bleached hair not drying is porosity. Hair porosity is the ability of hair cuticles to absorb and retain moisture. When you bleach your hair, you make it more porous.
The alkaline agent in your bleaching product is a lightener that swells and opens hair cuticles. When this happens, your hair absorbs more water, increasing drying time.
Other factors that can increase drying time for your bleached hair include hair products and environmental factors.
Hair products containing humectants increase moisture absorption into your bleached hair. Others such as non-foaming shampoo and heavy oils trap more moisture into the hair.
Your bleached hair may take longer to dry if you live in a highly humid place. Air-drying bleached hair in a humid place leaves it damper. Your hair will absorb moisture in the air and feel wet and sticky for longer.
The time it takes to dry bleached hair varies from person to person. Factors that affect the drying time of bleached hair include the following:
- Texture: Thick bleached hair holds onto more water and can take longer to dry.
- Porosity: Highly porous hair absorbs more water and takes longer to dry.
- Hair length: Long bleached hair takes longer to dry than short bleached hair.
- How often you bleach your hair: Hair that’s bleached too often takes longer to dry.
Quick Tips for Drying Wet Hair After Bleaching
To effectively dry bleached hair that’s taking a long time to dry due to high porosity, you can follow these steps:
- After washing, gently squeeze out excess water from your hair. Avoid rubbing your hair with a towel as this can cause damage and frizz.
- Wrap your hair in a microfiber towel which is gentler and more absorbent than regular towels. This will help to remove more water without causing damage.
- Use a leave-in conditioner or a heat protectant, apply it while your hair is damp. This can help protect your hair from heat damage and make the drying process more effective.
- Divide your hair into manageable sections. This allows you to focus on drying one section at a time and ensures more even drying.
- Set your dryer with a diffuser attachment to a low or medium heat setting to prevent further damage to your hair. The diffuser helps to distribute the heat more evenly and reduce frizz.
- Start by drying the roots and then move down to the ends. Keep the dryer moving to avoid concentrating heat on one spot for too long. Be careful not to over-dry your hair. Stop when your hair is just dry to the touch to retain some natural moisture.
- Use the cool shot button on your dryer at the end. This can help close the hair cuticle and lock in moisture, giving your hair a shinier appearance.
- If your hair is mostly dry but still slightly damp, you can choose to let it air-dry the rest of the way. This can be gentler on your hair.
Bleached hair is more fragile and prone to damage, so it’s important to use heat tools sparingly and always use a heat protectant.
How to Fix Bleached Hair That Won’t Dry?
Try the following fixes if your bleached hair won’t dry.
- Avoid bleaching too often
- Wash bleached hair less often
- Use natural hair products
- Condition your hair
- Avoid heating tools
- Use hair products after washing bleached hair
- Use protein treatment
Avoid Bleaching Too Often
Repeated bleaching raises your cuticles and increases your hair’s porosity. The high porosity hair absorbs more water after washing, including moisture in the air.
Consequently, your bleached hair takes longer to get rid of the excessive water in the cuticles, causing it not to dry.
Wash Bleached Hair Less Frequently
While washing your bleached hair helps to get rid of dirt and product buildup, it can cause problems with drying.
Washing more often with shampoo strips off products such as hair oil. Hair products on bleached hair create a buffer that prevents excess water absorption and hydration.
You’ll realize your bleached hair won’t dry the first three weeks after bleaching. To keep your hair clean and healthy, wash it two times weekly. During non-wash days, wear a shower cap to prevent water from landing on the hair.
You can use dry shampoo to wash your hair more often. Stick to cold water as warm water will lead to more hair damage.
Use Organic Hair Products
Hair products influence how long it’ll take your hair to dry. If your hair product has chemicals, it can cause bleached hair not to dry.
Products with a balanced pH level can help close the hair cuticle, leading to less porosity and faster drying times.
Hair colors with a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide is harmful to your natural hair.
Check if your shampoo contains synthetic additives, chlorine, parabens, and sulfates. Using these products frequently before or after bleaching will cause your hair not to dry properly.
It’s advisable to use organic hair products to help improve your hair’s condition. For example, you can try natural oils, organic shampoos, and natural dyes.
Avoid Heating Tools on Bleached Hair
If your hair doesn’t dry after bleaching, you probably use heating tools such as blow driers, hot brushes, flat irons, and curling irons. These tools dehydrate your hair and encourage the highly porous hair to absorb more water after washing.
Your hair is more susceptible to further damage if you use them in the first two weeks after bleaching. Avoid heating tools for up to 15 days to prevent damaging your hair.
When using the heating tools, remember to apply a heat protectant. A heat protectant coats your bleached strands by creating a protective barrier.
Condition Your Hair
Conditioning rehydrates your bleached hair, ensuring it has enough moisture. This prevents your hair from absorbing more water, which can increase drying time.
For better results, use a hydrating conditioner after shampooing. Conditioning the hair creates a seal over the cuticles that repels water. As a result, your hair dries faster after washing.
Use Protein Treatment
Protein treatment can help fix bleached hair that won’t dry. Visit your hairstylist for a professional protein treatment.
When done correctly, protein treatment can strengthen your bleached hair strands and repair the damaged ones. Your stylist should opt for protein treatment containing keratin or collagen. Keratin seals your cuticles and prevents the absorption of excess water. Your bleached hair will dry quicker if it fails to absorb moisture.
Alternatively, you can use an egg to make a DIY protein treatment. Use an egg white because it’s high in proteins. Do the following when using an egg white:
- Whisk the egg white and apply it to your hair.
- Use a shower cap to cover your treated hair.
- Allow the protein treatment to 30-40 minutes.
- Use cool water and shampoo to rinse the treatment.
Following these tips will hydrate your bleached hair and once it gets healthy, you won’t have to struggle to make it dry after showering.
Below are some frequently asked questions people have about bleaching their hair.
Bleached hair can take hours or even an entire day to dry completely after washing. Sadly, your hair may feel wet and gummy days after bleaching.
Yes, you can air dry your bleached hair, though it can take longer to dry completely. Unlike heating tools, air drying helps maintain the color of your treated hair while avoiding further damage.
Yes, you can shower after bleaching but use a shower cap to cover the hair. You’ll want to wait 48-72 hours (2-3 days) to wash your bleached hair to allow the new color to settle.