When you talk about bleach damage, this can refer to varying degrees. Bleach damage can vary from lightening to go wrong. Hair being a little dry from a few bleach foils, to absolutely jellified from a home hair lightening gone wrong! Either way, let’s talk about how you can repair bleach-damaged hair to its natural healthy state!
Damage to your hair can occur in many ways, from having a few highlights in a salon to deciding to do an at-home lightening. Either way, you still need to know the best way to aid your hair and its recovery.
How to Repair Bleach Damaged Hair
Firstly and foremost, it’s likely the best idea to get the advice of a professional to help you with the best prescription of products for your hair and the degree of damage that you have. The prescription can be anything from a good hydrating shampoo and conditioner that is right for your hair type, to hair mask, protein spray, and leave-in conditioner.
Bleaching hair is the best way of lightening hair quickly and effectively. Bleaching hair is used in all different applications of hairdressing from foils to on scalp bleaching and everything in between. The downside is that when we use bleach on hair it does cause a degree of damage, depending on the type of bleach and the volume of peroxide that the bleach is coupled with and the application in which it is being used.
- When we use bleach, coupled with either semi activator(1.5%) or 10 vol (3%) we can achieve lovely sun-kissed highlights with very minimal damage. Damage that we can easily manage with salon shampoo and conditioner and retain the integrity of the hair.
- When we use bleach, coupled with 20 vol peroxide (6%) in foils throughout the hair, often we need a salon shampoo and hydrating mask to return the integrity of the hair to a healthy state.
- When we use 30 vol developer (9%) in hair whether in foils or on the scalp, the damage is usually extensive and requires a good salon shampoo, a mask, protein spray, and leave-in conditioner to return the hair to a natural healthy state. This will also take time-at least 2-4 weeks.
When you understand the way bleach works on the hair, it gives you a good fundamental understanding of how and why it damages your hair. Bleach coupled with peroxide opens the cuticles and disappears the pigments within the cuticle.
Consuming more and more of the pigments the longer it is on for, hence the hair becoming lighter and lighter. The higher levels of peroxide work more aggressively toward opening the hair cuticle and consuming the pigment hence the quicker time frames for lightening and being able to lighten to a brighter level.
If you are trying to repair your hair from bleach damage, it’s really important to be very kind to your hair. That means washing it and treating it with the prescribed products in not excessively hot water. Excessively hot water opens up the cuticle and continues to dry the hair out, whereas if you use a nice product, you can close the cuticle and allow it to hold the nutrients from the product.
It is also important to avoid heat styling, so ideally if you can dry your hair naturally, maybe think about some different styles you can wear it in to avoid heat styling—both blow-drying and straightening. Blow drying and straightening are both very damaging and will not aid the recovery of your hair at all. In fact, they will totally inhibit the recovery of your hair.
When hair has been lightened using bleach, there is a number of ways in which you can opt to help its recovery. Salon applied toner is a good option.
Toner works by coating the hair and locking in the silk proteins and nutrients that are applied within the toner, not to mention it actually lasts quite a while – depending on the brand. This option is long-lasting and very helpful in aiding the hair to recovery.
Mostly your bleach-damaged hair can be repaired. However, sometimes the damage is beyond repair. If your hair has jellified, I mean turned into elastic like jelly – there’s no return from there. The best thing you can do is sacrifice some hair with a very good trim, in the aid of recovery, and grow out the damage.
Hairdressers and Bleaching
Hairdressers are specifically trained to assess the damage that bleach may cause, and how best to achieve the desired results with the integrity of the hair maintained. Sometimes hairdressers will take up to 3 services to get to the desired results to ensure the integrity of the hair while completing the service in which the client wishes.
When this is the case, it is to maintain the integrity of the hair whilst achieving the client’s hair goal. There is no point in achieving the desired color but the hair is gummy after bleaching!
It is a very fine balance between achieving the desired color, managing the integrity of the hair, and ensuring the damage is manageable and able to be rectified to lovely healthy locks again.
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