Did you just bleach your hair for the first time and are wondering where your soft and silky hair went? Or maybe you’ve been in the bleached hair game for a while but recently you’ve noticed your hair feels a bit rough and has lost its usual luster.
Bleaching can turn even the softest of hair into a dry, brittle hay-like situation. And though bleach may not always be our hair’s best friend, there are plenty of ways to get your hair back to its silky, shiny glory.
We’re going to give you our favorite ways to restore your hair back to health (and with minimal effort!). This guide to making your bleached hair soft and silky again is for all our girlies out there who may have overdone it with the bleach (it happens to the best of us).
Why Does Bleach Make Our Hair Dry and Brittle Anyways?
You’re probably wondering why bleach causes our hair to be dry and brittle in the first place. This is also important information to know because it will help you understand how to counteract the effects that bleach has on our hair.
Bleach works by removing our hair’s melanin (aka what makes your hair brown, black, etc.), this is how bleach makes your hair lighter. But while the bleach is working away, removing the melanin, it’s also removing natural oils and protein from the hair. Removing the oils and protein from the hair is what leads to it becoming dryer and damage-prone.
Another thing that bleach does while it works to lighten your hair is it opens up the hair’s cuticle. This is so the bleach can remove the melanin.
When hair is repeatedly bleached it can cause the hair’s cuticle to be permanently opened, this makes hair unable to retain moisture and can lead to hair feeling rough and frizzy.
How to Make Bleached Hair Soft And Silky Again
So what can we do to help our hair after bleaching? We got you covered with our tips and tricks to return your bleached hair to its soft and silky state.
Shampooing removes natural oils from the hair and because we’re already dealing with hair that’s been stripped of some of its natural oils, washing your hair too often can make it feel drier.
You’ll want to cut down on washing your hair, we think washing your hair 2-3 times a week is ideal for bleached hair. If you’re used to shampooing every day, make dry shampoo your best friend. Your dry shampoo will get you through the days when you don’t wash and leave you feeling fresh.
When you do shampoo, use a shampoo that is high in moisture, and try adding a hair mask once a week to really pack a moisture punch. Changing up your hair-washing routine will be key in successfully getting that hair back to being soft and silky.
Give Your Hair Some Protein
We mentioned earlier that bleach removes protein as it lightens your hair. Protein is what makes your hair strong and protects your strands from becoming damaged.
Although we think it’s a bit rude that bleach steals our hair’s protein, we’ll forgive it because there are plenty of products out there that allow us to add protein back into the hair after bleaching.
Products with protein range from hair masks to leave-in treatments and there are so many great options on the market. You’ll want to look for products that contain things like wheat protein, keratin, collagen, and amino acids.
These ingredients will add that protein back into the hair. When you add protein back into your hair, it helps to repair the damage from bleaching and return your hair to its soft and silky ways.
Try Air Drying
Unfortunately for us heat-loving girlies out there, heat can further damage our hair’s cuticle after bleaching. Now don’t panic, we’re not suggesting you have to air dry for the rest of your life.
But the first couple of weeks after bleaching, when your hair is particularly fragile because the cuticle has just been opened, would be a great time to air dry!
Keeping heat off your hair will allow the cuticle to settle back down after bleaching. And prevent any further damage.
You can experiment with air drying your hair in braids for a wavy look or scrunching in a curl cream to get a tousled, beachy style. Have fun with air drying, your bleached hair will thank you, it’s a win-win! Your hair will be feeling soft and silky in no time after drying for a couple of weeks.
If you must blow dry, do it gently! Use your blow dryer on its lowest heat setting and opt for using your fingers to comb through your hair as you dry instead of a brush.
Be Gentle with Your Hair
We believe in babying your hair after bleaching it! This means being careful when you brush out your hair, don’t just rip right through those tangles.
It also means not tying your hair back in super tight ponytails, not using the flat iron every day and adding detangling products and oils into your hair to help you style and brush it.
Being gentle on the hair will prevent any further damage or breakage and allow your hair to get back to its soft and silky self. It’s also the perfect time to add more self-care into your life by taking time to really care for your hair. We love that!
Get a Gloss
Here’s where the big-time shine comes in. We recommend getting a gloss with your hairstylist every few weeks to add back in shine.
A gloss is a demi-permanent hair color service done on damp hair at the shampoo bowl. A gloss will almost instantly add back in shine and can also help to seal back down your cuticle with the very low developer it uses to process.
Your gloss can be clear which will just add shine or you can get a gloss with purple or blue pigments which will cancel out any brassiness your lightened hair might have. We feel like getting a gloss between bleaching services is truly a game changer for silky, shiny hair.
Use Moisturizing Products
Before bleaching your hair, you could probably get away with using any old hair products. But now that your hair is bleached, you need moisture and don’t you ever forget it! Treat your hair just like you would dry skin and really go all in on moisturizing it.
Make sure everything you’re using is for moisture. Seek out products that are formulated specifically for dry or bleached hair, they should contain ingredients aloe, hyaluronic acid, amino acids and vitamin E. Adding tons of moisture to the hair will help it to heal and of course add silk and shine!
Switch It Up At The Salon
If you have been bleaching for a while and tried all of our tips and tricks before but you feel like your hair is still struggling, it might be time to try a new hair color. This doesn’t mean no bleach at all but using less bleach or a gentler hair-lightening technique could be the way back to silky, shiny hair.
If you’ve been doing an all-over bleach and tone, you could transition to highlights which will bleach less of your hair and let the mids and ends of your hair really recover. If you’ve been doing a full foil, it might be time to try a balayage which is gentler on the hair than a traditional foil.
You may feel like you need to cut bleach out entirely and remember you have options like becoming a brunette or a redhead. We absolutely love a big change, especially if it gives you silky, shiny hair!
Things to Remember:
- Bleaching hair removes important natural oils and protein from your hair as it lightens
- Bleaching the hair can also leave the hair’s cuticle open which causes moisture to escape
- Washing hair less, using moisturizing products, getting a gloss and adding protein to your hair can help to add back in the protein and moisture, allowing hair to be silky and shiny again
- Things like being gentle with your hair, air drying and trying a new color can help prevent further damage and help restore hair to its best silky, shiny self