Thinking Of Bleaching Your Hair? Read This First.

Naaila Khan

Mentally check if any the following hold true for you: Scrolling for #hairspiration on Instagram is practically a hobby, you have your hair dresser on speed dial, you guys share a Pinterest board for new colour or highlight trends you want to try, you’re always planning your next hair makeover, you have special respect for people who constantly experiment with hair. If you just went ‘yes!’, ’of course!’ and ‘yup’, chances are you’ve dyed your hair more than a few times, and more power to you!

If you’re reading this and are far from being a serial hair experimenter, we get you - your hesitation is probably thanks to one too many hair bleaching horror stories you've heard. But take it from us, it’s really not that bad – all you need to know are the basics of maintaining bleached, highlighted or colour treated hair. Here are the ground rules:

1/6 Cut Down On Shampooing

Bleaching is a process that involves peroxide stripping your hair raw, sucking out the natural pigment, oils and moisture, so it can then be treated with colour. The first thing to remember after you walk out of that 5-hour appointment is to not wash your hair for at least the next 3-4 days. Get a shower cap and some dry shampoo if you have to. Once you do start to shampoo, remember the magic words – sulfate-free. Sulfate-free shampoos typically don’t lather much, but that doesn't mean they're not working. Here are some of our favourites.

2/6 Conditioner Is Your Best Friend

Because your hair is now dry, brittle and as vulnerable as a 16-year old talking to a crush, you’ve got to dish out some TLC – so moisturize post every shampoo session. How much depends on the quality of your hair – only the tips if you have normal to oily hair, and upwards if it’s coarse – just make sure your conditioner doesn't get to your scalp (it’s a little-known cause for breakouts, as we discovered here!). Once a week (or twice a month at the least), slather on a hair mask while you’re getting your Scream Queens fix for some deep conditioning. You could even try a hot oil massage (coconut oil and olive oil are great) and let it soak in all night to wake up to super soft, shiny, hydrated hair.


3/6 Invest In Hair Maintenance Products

Dry shampoos, leave-in conditioners, and nourishing serums – add all these to your hair arsenal to keep your thirsty strands happy. Dry shampoo will bail you out when you absolutely have to revive your hair but don’t want to shampoo, gently brushing in a leave-in conditioner locks in the moisture after a hair wash, and a good serum (argan oil is a great natural option) at the ends will smooth out frizz.


4/6 Know Your Enemies

The top two on your hit list? Styling tools and the sun. Cut down on blow drying and use the flat or curling iron sparingly – make like a chic French woman and let your hair air dry instead. Some tips: towel-dry very gently (squeeze, don’t rub!), use a wide-tooth comb to detangle and then let the environment do its job. Once it’s dry, work a bit of serum through the ends to take care of dryness. If you have to style your hair with external heat, don’t forget a heat-protectant spray! It’ll also add some shine.

And don't forget the hair sunscreen. Hey, they don't call it high maintenance hair for nothing!


5/6 Trim, Trim, Trim – and Tone

More often than not, bleached hair comes with a free subscription to split ends. While a few are unavoidable, you’ll need regular trims. Chop off at least an inch if you don’t want to lose length, but you have to let go of some, so you may as well make your peace with it.

Deep repair hair masks will also go a long way to keep those tips intact. One thing never to do? Tearing your split ends.

Remember, when it comes to coloured hair, upkeep is half the battle. Check with your colourist about how often your hair might need toning to cut out the yellow, brassy tones – experts say once every 8-10 weeks is good. (Read this before you get those highlights).

You also have the option of using a tinted shampoo to beat the brass as your colour dwindles over time, but consult your colourist before you pick one.

6/6 Meet Olaplex

Here’s another advantage to living in the 21st Century – we have Olaplex! Conferred with terms like ‘miracle hair treatment’ and ‘hair fix-it-all’, celebrity hair colourist Tracey Cunningham calls it “the best thing that’s happened to hair in a long time”. It's essentially a three-step process that fixes the hair bonds that are broken when your hair goes through a chemical process like colouring (find out more about it here). It’s quickly becoming a star in-salon treatment all over the world, so check with your colourist to see if they’ve stocked it yet. Au revoir damaged hair!



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