Bleach...one sniff and you’re practically seeing stars. Now, we can all agree that it is less than ideal for your hair; brittleness, discoloration, and extreme dryness are all scary possibilities and a big bummer for those wanting to lighten up. But before planning for pretty pastels, first keep in mind that this endeavor is a sacrifice and causes a permanent change in your hair. With that being said, here are some of the most important things to know about bleaching hair and what to do to make it as smooth a journey as possible.
Damage: First and foremost, no matter what, your hair will be damaged. A big mistake many make is underestimating the power of bleach and its effects on stripping hair of its natural pigment. Bleach goes inside the hair shaft and breaks down pigment molecules into smaller molecules that simply wash your hair color right down the drain. You will also lose important fatty acids that help keep hair strong. The damage is permanent after just one try and every time after only weakens hair more. This process can be very intense, so if your hair has already been colored or processed, bleaching should be an absolute no go. This news may suck, but the consequences can be absolutely devastating.
Time: A huge misconception is how long it actually takes to achieve the bleach blonde or platinum look; it takes hours, sometimes even days. Stylists will do it in sessions to keep from over traumatizing hair. For people with darker hair, the blonde will often come out as an orangey color in the beginning before transitioning to a blonde. Don’t expect to be in and out in an hour, it takes multiple shots at getting the right shade. Patience truly is a virtue!
Reality: Don’t expect to look like your fave celeb! Shades and tones work differently on different people. Although magazine clippings and Pinterest pins you bring to your stylist are excellent inspiration, the reality is that you probably won’t get the exact shade and hue you’re looking at. Don’t attach yourself to ideas and make sure to really listen to what your stylist says will be best. They know hair better than you do and their word is absolutely sacred!
TLC: Make sure to treat your hair like it is made of gold once the process is complete. A lot of people will go back to washing, brushing and pinning their hair like before, but this only worsens the already inevitable damage. Bleaching hair is an investment and should be treated like your most prized pair of shoes. Moisturizing products such as Aveda’s Damage Ready Intensive Restructuring Treatment and color strengthening products like Color Lustre’s line of praise given shampoo and conditioner are going to make a world of difference following a bleaching. These products may be a little pricey but bleached locks are an investment and should be handled with great care.
By: Gioia McGuire