Over-processed hair isn't just a bad bleaching job, your hair can also be over-processed when you excessively dye, heat style, or relax your hair. These processes restructure your hair structure negatively to work. For instance, bleach causes your hair cuticles to swell and open up, leaving your hair more porous after.
If you would like to know more about the effects of bleach on your hair you can check out this article! But for this blog post, we curated a list of effective fixes for your over-processed hair.
How to fix over-processed hair
Your hair shaft is the hair that exists outside your scalp and is made up of dead cells. When you over-process your hair, you can't reverse the damage done, since the hair is not living. You cant restore your hair to its original state but you can improve its appearance and maintain its current state, so it doesn't worsen and break. The first step in this path is to handle your hair with care - like an egg.
How to care for over processed hair
1. Trim your split ends
The first step to enhancing your hair's appearance is to trim your split ends. Cutting off your split ends will save your hair from splitting up to the roots. It will also add some bounce to your hair since split ends weigh on your curls to look stringy.
2. Air-dry your hair rather than blow dry.
Your hair is at its weakest when wet. That is why we advise detangling during pre-poo. Blow drying your hair may seem harmless but it causes more damage than you think because it manipulates your hair vigorously with heat. Airdrying your hair dries your hair gently and it won't take a long time, since over-processed hair has low water holding capabilities.
3. Moisturize your hair regularly!
Hydrating your hair is the most important way to care for your hair. Imagine breaking a dried old twig vs a wet one. The dried twig has no elasticity or liquid to withstand the force and breaks easily. That is a perfect example of your ends being dry and breaking off. Later on, in this blog post, we will give you tips on how to moisturize your over-processed hair.
4. Avoid excess moisture.
Too much of everything can make you sick. Yes, moisture is important, but excess of it can be detrimental to your hair. Excess retained moisture can cause hygral fatigue - a situation that makes your hair mushy and break off easily. An example of maintaining excess moisture in your hair is wrapping your hair in a cotton towel. Excess moisture leaves your hair slowly under the weight and thickness of the towel. That is why microfibre towels are recommended.
5. Avoid frequently manipulating your hair.
This can cause wear and tear on your hair strands. The law of nature holds that when two things run against each other frequently, one of the two begins to wear out. That is exactly what happens when your hair runs against each other (blow drying, strong winds, sleeping without protecting your hair) or against things (consistent styling).
6. Avoid gels and use leave-in-conditioners instead.
When do you need a professional stylist:
- Get a trim.
A professional will know what amount to cut off and how to cut it to favor your hair type.
- Protein treatments.
Some salons have protein treatments for over-processed hair that are only licensed for salon use.
Note that processing your hair further is NOT a way to fix overprocessed hair. You might try to conceal the damage with a new color or by straightening it. Instead, take a deep breath and contact the nearest professional you know near you. If you need a confidence boost, you can coat your hair with temporary hair makeup from Curlfit to conceal the damage. Don't worry, you don't need bleach and the hair makeup nourishes your hair whilst adding color to it.
How to care for and moisturize over processed hair
Your hair routine can follow the basic hair routine - pre-poo, shampoo, and conditioner. The only difference is the rate at which you use them and how.
How to shampoo over processed hair
The best shampoo for overprocessed hair is one that doesn't contain sulfates or parabens. Sulfates are the ingredient that produces sud or foam but it strips your hair of its natural moisture. It is also best to get shampoos that are processed hair specific.
The olaplex No. Bond shampoo from the at-home series is a perfect example of this. You should shampoo your hair with cold water (not hot) at most once every two weeks to get rid of product buildup. Just like heat styling, hot water expands your hair cuticles to accept the product better. This is good for low porosity hair, but your over-processed hair, might not be able to bear the heat. Before you shampoo your hair, try to practice pre-pooing. Pre-pooing your hair is simply deep conditioning with an oil 20 minutes before you shampoo. The oil will act as a barrier to protect your natural oils from being washed off.
Try to focus the shampoo on your roots and not on your strands. Washing your strands will cause hair breakage since your hair is weakest when wet.
How to moisturize over-processed hair
Your hair is very brittle and needs to be handled gently, especially when it is wet. After you shampoo your hair or in between the week, squeeze out the water in your hair in an upward scrunching manner.
Instead of going in with a conditioner, why not try a deep conditioning masque? Apart from deeply introducing moisture into your hair strands, it repairs and restores your protein layer AKA hair's cuticle. As mentioned earlier, when you chemically or heat treat your hair, it affects your hair's cuticle to make it less resistant to harsh conditions and external agents of manipulation like strong winds.
Every week you can go in with a protein treatment to strengthen your hair's protective outer layer. The best protein treatments for over-processed hair are mostly provided at a salon. Two very prominent services are the Milbon Linkage Meu and the Keratin complex smoothing system. For an at-home protein treatment, the ApHogee 3-step treatment has recorded amazing testimonies of restoring elasticity and strength to damaged chemically treated hair.
Another way to introduce moisture into your hair is leave-in-conditioner. Most leave-in conditioners contain keratin which will help hydrate and repair your hair.
How can we forget the most important moisturizing agent - hair oils. If you're getting any hydrater it should be an essential oil. Oils help prevent breakage and reduce the friction between your strands. Friction between your strands causes your hair to become weaker leading to split ends and then breakage. Argan and olive oil are great options to deeply moisturize the inner layers of the hair. Coconut oil is a good option to seal this moisture in and it can actively protect your hair from UV rays.
In all these, don't forget to be as gentle as possible
How to style over processed hair
There are going to be styling concerns with overprocessed hair. Apart from cowlicks and flyaways that may seem to never go away, your hair might experience more split ends, look dull and frizzy.
Despite how annoying this can be, resist the temptation to use a stronghold styling gel or your normal styling products. Most styling gels contain denatured alcohol (the agent behind the stronghold) that dry your hair and scalp. The biggest concern of over-processed hair is its low ability to retain moisture. This is why it gets dry easily. So allowing a product to steal the little moisture it can hold will only pose bigger problems.
You should also avoid tight hairstyles that cause strain on your strands since they are very weak and can easily break.
Remember, avoid concealing damage with straightening, blowing out or dyeing your hair. If you need a confidence boost, you can use temporary hair makeup from Curlfit to give your hair a burst of blue, purple, pink or any color you fancy in Curlfit's array of non-damaging temporary hair colors. You don't need bleach to use it and it is filled with nourishing ingredients like argan oil and silk protein that maintain the health of your hair.
How to prevent overprocessed hair
One of the most common causes of overprocessed hair is unprofessional chemical processing sessions.
Relaxing and dyeing hair, have always been a job for the salon. But when brands started making home-friendly hair dyes and users began publishing video tutorials and transformations, the whole bleaching process shifted to being DIY -when it isn't. Professional hairdressers have gone through a series of training to know how to bleach your hair to favor your hair type. Not all hair types can handle bleach for 20 minutes and not every hair porosity can handle relaxers.
So if ever you want to chemically process your hair, especially if it is your first time, book an appointment with a professional salon or hop onto temporary hair colors.
Other ways to prevent over-processed hair:
1. Consider replacing your top-ups and color change with temporary hair colorMost times bleaching services are costly and still risky. Even though these hairdressers claim to be professional, a lot don't know how to handle curly and kinky hair. If you ever want to color your hair yourself, consider using Curlfit hair makeup. They are guaranteed to give all hair types a burst of color without the need for bleach. It is made up of rich ingredients like argan oil and silk protein, that improve the health of your hair. Curlfit hair products are strictly non-damaging, vegan, and cruelty-free!
2. Beware of products with alcohol.
As we mentioned earlier, over-processed hair has little to no moisture retaining capabilities, so stripping your hair of the little moisture it has will lead to hair breakage.
3. Use a heat protectant.
We feel the Olaplex No.7 bonding oil is a great (if not the best) heat protectant for bleached and processed hair. This is an amazing product to guard your brittle hair against heat. We mentioned earlier that heat and chemical styling are both processes that restructure your hair strands but unlike relaxing and bleaching, heat styling is reversible below a certain temperature (according to what your hair elasticity can handle). Over-processed hair loses most, if not all, of its hair elasticity. This is why most times it may look stringy or appear in different curl patterns. Because of this, overprocessed hair might not be able to bounce back from the effects of heat, no matter how low the settings are.
4. Don't process your hair twice without giving enough time in-between
For instance, perming your hair two days after bleaching. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your hair should be given a 2-week break before you process it again. Using semi-permanent hair dye to color your hair involves several processes that are done at different times. Between these steps, your hair should be given time to register the shock and rest before the next process.
We know this is a lot of information, so take all the time you need to go through it! Trust us, in no time you will see new growth and everything will be okay. We hope this guide helped you a ton and answered your troubling questions on over processed hair.