How to take care of bleached hair: What to do, what not to do, and what to use to keep your dye job beautiful
In an age where hair is fettered only by one's imagination, bleaching is no longer the life-altering event of days past. In fact, if Gaga's one-night-only periwinkle blue locks and Ruby Rose's here today, gone tomorrow purple spikes are any indication, it seems that the bleach-and-dye is shaping up to be a rather provisional affair.
The damage that it leaves on locks, however, is far from temporary. Bleaching leaves hair cuticle layers open and thus weakened, which is the root of its dry, straw-like aftermath — a condition in which hair remain even if you decided to fork out extra cash for whatever hair treatments scrupulous stylists insist upon.
Not all hope is lost, for bleached locks can be salvaged with proper upkeep. Below, steps to undertake to save your mane: from products to use, to lifestyle habits to avoid.
1. Keep hair washing to a minimum
Undoubtedly the fastest way to fade out that hard-earned colour, washing also strips hair of the essential moisture it so requires after all that damage. This can be attributed to sulfates most commonly found in shampoos, which tend to dry out hair further. Hairstylist to Michelle Williams, Sheridan Ward, recommends shampooing every three to four days, tops. In the meantime, invest in a good ol' dry shampoo to keep tresses fresh. And on that note...
2. Use colour-preserving shampoos when washing hair
Unfortunately, normal shampoos just don't cut it. A colour-preserving variant, on the other hand, comes formulated with ingredients that help extend the life of your new hair hue. And while that doesn't entirely eradicate the sting of a costly bleach job, proper shampoo does ease it significantly. It also ensures that hair doesn't turn brassy or fade into an entirely different shade (blues tend to wash out to green, for instance).
3. Say no to heat styling unless absolutely necessary
Hair is already dry and vulnerable post-bleach, so heat stylers such straighteners, curlers and even dryers (we know, we know) only serve to aggravate compromised strands. Avoid if possible, or, failing that, make sure to at least spritz heat protectant prior.
4. Do not brush hair when wet
A rule that applies to those with untouched virgin locks as well, brushing out wet hair is practically a cardinal sin when it comes to bleached tresses. If you think chemically-treated hair is weakened as it is, consider water its kryptonite. Combing sopping wet locks with a brush (no matter how wide-tooth it is) will all but ensure breakage. Wait patiently for it to air dry, then Rapuzel away.
5. Swap out your cotton towel for a microfiber one
Microfiber towels are ultra-soft and absorbent, allowing for strands to maintain their natural texture without any further frizzing or damage. Make sure to use squeezing and scrunching motions rather than, uh, any violent rubbing.