Having a mane of gold luscious curls that bounce off your shoulders is a princess's dream come true! But heavy is the head that wears the crown. With its beauty comes the responsibility to care for it the right way. When we fail to do so our bleached curly hair can experience split ends, breakage, dullness, and loss of curls - all caused by damage. Keep reading to know the answers to burning questions on bleached curly hair and how to repair it when damaged.
Is it okay to bleach curly hair?
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Bleaching your hair is not bad, per se, but the consequences attached to achieving that light look are overwhelming and difficult to manage. These consequences affect people with straight hair greatly, talkless curly hair, that is scientifically proven to be weaker and more prone to damage. That is why we advise curly naturalists, especially those who have busy schedules and a lot of responsibilities, to consider using hair makeup to color your hair or settle for a hair color two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair shade.
Does hair dye destroy curls?
Yes and no. Bleaching your hair will not make your hair curlier or less curly. It won't destroy your curls either. What actually determines the health of your hair is how well you care for your curls after bleaching. Your hair is curly because of the shape of your hair follicle. This is what determines your curl pattern. Bleaching your hair doesn't affect your hair follicle, it restructures your hair cuticles (the outer protective layers of your hair) to allow the bleach to reach the inner cortex of your hair and oxidize your natural melanin. This makes your hair strands less resistant to harmful external factors and more prone to hair breakage and damage. If you don't take care of your bleached hair, your curls may experience color damage and lose their pattern. No need to fear! The majority of the time the damage is not permanent and we have perfect tips to guide you back to your healthy bleached hair.
If you want to learn more about the science of curly hair, watch this video below
Can damaged bleached curly hair be repaired?
Of course, it can! We cannot give a specific time frame to fix bleach-damaged hair because the gravity of the damage differs from person to person.
If you notice;
• Your hair splitting at the ends
• Your curls not forming even when wet
• Lack of luster and shine (dullness)
• Hair breakage (Split ends may appear more often and result in hair breakage)
Then it may take a month or two to grow out your damaged hair.
In cases of overprocessed hair, probably by excessive toning, bleaching or heat styling, you may notice:
• Your bleached hair breaking off at the crown
• Falling out to form bald spots
• smudging/breaking off when wet
• Different textures and lengths of hair
• excess cowlicks and frays
The damage involved is severe and will take quite a while (6 or fewer months) to grow out off. Most hairdressers would advise you to chop it off and begin new growth but if you're re determined to keep your length, we know you can get your hair back to health and now that you have us, it ll be a breeze.
With bleached hair, there will be some changes that you should expect. Your hair may shed a lot more hair (hair loss) and will feel brittle, weak, and thinner. Your hair will also lose moisture very quickly due to its increased hair porosity and split easily at the ends.
Food for thought: According to a study, the chemicals in bleach dissolve the bonds that keep your hair's protein layers layered upon each other. Bleaching your curly hair is almost like fixing your nails without nail glue. it stays in place but any sudden movement will make it fall off. This is why your strands are weaker, thinner, and brittle. So before building your new hair routine with these tips, it is advisable to identify the level of your damage – this brings us to the first tip.
Related: Does dyeing my hair damage it?
How to revive and repair damaged bleached curly hair
#1 Analyze the damage to your hair and cut the source
The first step to repairing your hair is to identify the root cause of the damage. Is it the chlorine from swimming frequently, excess toning, heat styling, tight protective styles, the sun, etc? When you identify this, you want to stop doing it for 2-3 months or until your hair is back to health.
#2 Trim your split ends every month
Because of how fragile your hair is, split ends are very expected. You may experience split ends more often than before bleaching your hair. So instead of trimming your hair once every year. Try observing your ends every 2 months and trimming off any split ends and fairy knots, before it travels up your hair strand.
#3 Use quality products
For bleached curly hair, you have to opt for quality bleach-specific hair products as much as possible. At this repairing point, steer clear from trying out new products and stick to those that have been tried and recommended by other curly naturalists.
BTW, we love Olaplex and Shea Moisture products especially.
#4 Prepoo before washing your hair and minimize detangling
Prepooing your hair before shampooing it actively protects your natural hair oils from being washed out. Before you wash your hair, simply rub a generous amount of your favorite hair oil on damp hair and detangle it gently from your ends up. Shampoo your hair after.
#5 Replace shampoo with cowash
Shampoos, especially those with sulfate, strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture. Instead of using a shampoo every week, replace it with a cowash (Conditioner-Only-Wash). Limit your shampoo use to 1-2 times a month and avoid using purple shampoo. Hard to believe but purple shampoo contains citric acid and ammonia that chemically damage your hair. If you want to purchase the best cowash for bleached hair, we recommend the
to give your hair it's needed vitamins whilst cleansing it.
#6 Shampoo your hair with cold water
If you have low porosity hair, you might value heat in your hair routine. Applying heat to your hair opens up your hair cuticles to ensure products sink in better. This is good but for hair that already has high porosity like bleached hair, it isn't the best. You don't want to widen your hair cuticles any further with heat.
Best Shampoo for bleached curly hair
This shampoo provides your hair with keratin and other nutrients that repair, strengthen and hydrate your bleached curly hair. It also doesn't contain sulfates, so your natural oils are maintained. After shampooing, you can complement it with the Olaplex No.3 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
This shampoo specifically made for bleached hair is silicone-free and perfect for sensitive, damaged curly bleached hair.
#7 Always condition your hair after shampooing
Don't forget to condition after shampooing!
#8 Stop blow-drying, air-dry instead, and use a microfibre towel
Remember that protection equals no friction between your strands. Blowdrying your hair move your strands around and make them rub against each other. This gives room for tangles, fairy knots,
and hair damage. So air drying your hair is the best option of drying.
#9 Use a protein treatment every week
Bleaching your hair condemns the outer layer of your strands AKA hair cuticle. Your hair cuticle is made up of protein, so reinforcing your hair with protein is perfect to add strength to your bleached hair and accentuate your curls. The best treatment for bleached hair (people's choice) is the
. It will strengthen your hair and get your curls back to health.
#10 Ensure your hair is always moisturized
Your bleach buddies should be your spray bottle and moisturizers. On a normal day, curly hair thrives on moisture, talkless of bleached curly hair. Use restorative creams thrice a week and hair oils most especially. The best hair oil for bleached curly hair are oils that work at a cellular level, e.g Argan oil and almond oil. They hydrate and strengthen your strands from the inside out. We love Morroccanoil's argan treatment for your bleached hair. Argan oil has tiny molecules that easily penetrate your strands and deliver it's benefits inside and outside your hair strands. This is perfect for restoring moisture and strength.
NOTE; Moisture is good but beware of excess of it. Too much moisture can cause hygral fatigue - a condition where your hair becomes mushy and breaks easily.
#12 Seal in moisture with a sealing oil
Because of your increased hair porosity (meaning moisture escapes easily), there is a need to seal moisture.
#13 Avoid doing braids and any hairstyle that tug on your hair
Protective hairstyles are great but now that your hair is more prone to damage and is fragile, doing a protective hairstyle that causes strain or tugs on your roots like braids may be too much for your hair to handle and eventually cause hair loss.
# 14 Sleep safely
We always emphasize the benefits of silk to your hair and your skin. These benefits are perfect for protecting the fragile nature of bleached curly hair.
How to maintain and take care of curly bleached hair
How to protect bleached curly hair
Bleached curly hair is two times more sensitive to harsh conditions than any type of hair. So it is your task to provide the needed protection for your hair.
Replace your toning and top-up sessions with temporary hair makeup
This may be hard to believe but a lot of normal activities chemically damage our hair. The chlorine in swimming pools, for instance, aids dryness. Retopping your blonde hair, is just condemning your cuticle all over again. Purple shampoo contains ammonia and citric acid that tones your hair but hurts your hair cuticle. Instead of topping up or switching your color, you can use temporary hair makeup from Curlfit's array of colors. You don't need to bleach your hair to turn your jet black locs gold. Plus it contains zero harmful ingredients.
Protect your bleached curly hair from the sun
Believe it or not, UV rays oxidize the pigment in your hair to make it lighter. In short, you can have sun-bleached hair if you expose your crown to excess sun. This condition is worse for bleached hair. To prevent sun-bleached hair you can:
• Spritz your hair with water till damp and seal the moisture in with coconut hair oil. Coconut oil has natural sun protection properties - almost like free sunscreen. Make sure to apply more coconut oil on the top of your hair where the sun will hit the most.
• Some people make a sunscreen and water mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it onto their hair before heading out. It doesn't cause any damage to your curly hair and blocks UV rays well.
• Hats! The best way to protect your hair from the sun is to create a physical barrier between the sun and your hair. This is where hats come in.
Avoid using heat in your hair routine
A raw piece of meat is sturdy and flexible until you fry it, then it becomes easy to tear apart. This analogy is the same for your hair. When you introduce heat onto your strands, they literally fry, suck up moisture and temporarily transform your hair's cuticle. This makes your hair weaker and easy to break. So imagine heat-styling bleached curly hair (the horror).
If you want to heat style your hair we advise using a good heat protectant that can manage heat up to 450°C.
Limit manipulation by wearing a natural protective hairstyle
Manipulation is almost impossible to avoid. Unless you're Pepa from Encanto then you can stop the wind from blowing your strands against each other. Your sure bet to protect your strands from friction (especially your ends) is to keep your hair in a protective hairstyle - especially, one that doesn't tug on your hair. Your strands stand a greater chance against harsh conditions when grouped than when standing alone.
Best protective hairstyles for bleached hair
For more protective hairstyles without weave check out this blog post and if you are considering replacing your bleaching appointment with hair makeup, you can visit Curlfit to get the best nourishing and moisturizing hair makeup for your hair.
We hope this blog helped you a ton in figuring out your next step to repairing your damaged bleached curly hair.