Bleach - Hair - Hair Color

How to Repair Bleach Damaged Hair: The 13 Best Treatments

Bleaching your hair can give you a stunning new look. But it can also cause serious damage to your hair.

Written by Amber Belanger
bleach damaged hair

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Hair is made up of 90% protein. When bleach damages your hair, it breaks down the protein bonds that give your hair strength and elasticity.

When used wrong, bleach strips your hair of its natural oils and proteins. This leaves it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.

But, if you’re dealing with bleach-damaged hair, don’t worry – there are ways to restore your hair to its former glory.

In this article, we’ll show you how to repair bleach-damaged hair and get your hair looking and feeling healthy again.

What is Bleach Damaged Hair?

Bleach-damaged hair is hair that has taken damage after bleaching. As bleach is a powerful chemical, it can strip away the natural oils and proteins from your hair strands making them weak and prone to breakage.

Bleach works through the process of oxidation. It strips the hair of its pigment to lighten it. This also reduces the natural protein in the hair.

This is why bleach makes hair prone to damage.

Main Signs of Bleach-Damaged Hair

The main signs of bleach-damaged hair are hair breakage and split ends. Hair damaged by bleach is also often dull, dry, and frizzy.

All signs of bleach-damaged hair include:

  • Hair breakage
  • Split ends
  • Frizziness
  • Fragility
  • Dryness
  • Loss of shine
  • Hair thinning
  • Changes in hair texture (e.g., straight hair becoming wavy)
  • Increased porosity

It’s essential to recognize these signs early if you want to repair your hair. Address the issues with a professional for a better chance of restoring your hair’s health and appearance.

Can You Repair Bleach-Damaged Hair?

Bleach-damaged hair can be somewhat repaired. But damaged hair can never fully recover. This includes hair damaged by bleach.

If you want to try and minimize the damage, your best bet is to use the right products and methods for reparation.

Ultimately, you need to give your hair time to grow out.

Luckily hair is always growing. Sooner or later, the damaged bits will be cut off, and your hair will be as good as new (because it is new).

Why Does Bleach Damage Your Hair?

Among the most common causes of bleach damage are over-bleaching and improper use of hair products. Improper combination of chemicals can lead to more hair damage caused by bleach.

Bleach damage to hair occurs because the bleaching process involves strong chemicals. These chemicals strip away the natural color of the hair shaft, altering its structure. 

They also open up the hair cuticle to allow the bleach to penetrate, leaving the hair more porous and prone to damage.

Here’s what you need to avoid when bleaching:

  • Over-processing or over-bleaching
  • Improper use of hair coloring products
  • Chemical interactions between products

Over-Processing or Over-Bleaching

Repeated use of bleach over a short period can weaken the hair’s structure. This leads to breakage, dryness, and frizz.

Using too much bleach or leaving it on too long can cause these issues.

Improper Use of Hair Coloring Products

The hair cuticle (a protective layer on the hair shaft) is particularly prone to damage from bleach. When the cuticle is compromised, it can lift away from the hair shaft. This makes it more prone to breakage and losing moisture.

This can contribute to dry, brittle hair that is more difficult to manage and style.

As a result, it’s best to follow the exact steps the manufacturer provides. This helps you avoid any further damage.

Chemical Interaction

The chemicals used in bleach can interact with other hair treatments or products. These include color treatments, perms, or relaxers, and a higher risk of damage.

Avoid using multiple treatments in one session as it can make your hair weaker and prone to bleach damage.

13 Ways To Repair Bleach-Damaged Hair

To repair your hair from bleach damage, you need to add moisture and nourishment. Give your hair a break and use hair care products such as hair masks, oils, and deep conditioners.

Here are 13 ways to treat your bleach-damaged hair:

  1. Start with a deep conditioner
  2. Give your hair a break
  3. Keep your hair hydrated
  4. Hydrate with a leave-in conditioner
  5. Nourish with a hair mask
  6. Choose a gentle hydrating shampoo
  7. Protect with a serum
  8. Incorporate a leave-in treatment
  9. Use a protein treatment
  10. Avoid heat-styling tools
  11. Get a regular trim
  12. Be patient
  13. Go to a professional

1. Start With a Deep Conditioner

Apply it to damp hair, letting it sit for at least 10 minutes or as per the product’s instructions. Avoid over-conditioning to prevent limpness.

2. Give Your Hair a Break

After bleaching, avoid shampooing for at least 24-48 hours to prevent stripping your hair of its natural oils. And when you do shampoo, use a gentle product.

Instead, rinse and condition your hair gently during this time. This helps in retaining moisture and avoiding further damage.

3. Keep Your Hair Hydrated

Bleach leaves hair extremely dry. Hence, stay hydrated. Hair hydration products combat frizz and nourish and moisturize the hair, keeping it in good condition.

4. Hydrate With a Leave-in Conditioner

Use a leave-in conditioner to provide continuous moisture and reduce frizz. This promotes smoothness and manageability throughout the day.

5. Nourish with a hair mask

Apply a thick hair mask on a weekly basis to deeply nourish your hair, allowing the nutrients to penetrate the hair shaft for an extended period.

6. Choose a Gentle Hydrating Shampoo

Opt for a hydrating shampoo designed for damaged or bleached hair, avoiding sulfates that can strip natural oils.

7. Protect With a Serum

Use a lightweight serum to enhance shine, manageability, and protect your hair from environmental damage.

Look for serums that seal the hair cuticle, reducing frizz and aiding in detangling.

8. Incorporate a Leave-in Treatment

Strengthen and protect your hair with a leave-in treatment focusing on improving elasticity.

Seek products with proteins, vitamins, and healthy oils to revitalize and nourish your hair.

9. Use a Protein Treatment

These treatments help repair and strengthen your hair by providing the necessary proteins. Speak to an expert hairstylist for a personalized recommendation. The type and frequency of the treatment will vary depending on the individual’s hair.

10. Avoid Heat-styling Tools

They can further damage your hair, so it’s best to minimize their use or avoid them altogether. When you do need to use heat styling tools, make sure to apply a heat protectant to shield your hair from further damage.

11. Get a Regular trim

As bleach can cause split ends and breakage, trimming your hair every 6-8 weeks will keep it looking healthier and promote growth. Be sure to visit a professional salon for this, as they’ll know the best techniques for your hair type and level of damage.

12. Be patient

Repairing bleach-damaged hair takes time. With proper care and consistent effort, your hair will regain its strength and healthy appearance.

13. Go to A Professional

Never hesitate to consult a professional for personalized advice tailored to your specific hair needs.

Natural & DIY Solutions for Damaged Bleached Hair

Bleached hair often suffers from damage and dryness. This requires extra care and attention.

One way to improve its health is by using natural oils and DIY hair masks.

These natural remedies can provide the necessary hydration and nourishment to restore your locks’ life, shine, and health:

  • Olive oil
  • Almond oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Argan oil
  • DIY hair masks

Olive Oil

Olive oil is known for its moisturizing properties. It can help nourish and soften damaged bleached hair:

  1. Warm up a few tablespoons of olive oil and gently apply it from the roots to the ends of your hair.
  2. Focus on the most damaged parts.
  3. Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse with a mild shampoo.

Add a few drops of olive oil to your conditioner for extra hydration.

Almond Oil

Almond oil is another excellent option for those with bleached hair, as it is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that can help repair hair damage:

  1. Apply a few drops of almond oil to your fingertips.
  2. Massage it into your hair from roots to ends.
  3. You can leave it overnight for a deep conditioning treatment or rinse it out after around 20 minutes.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a popular choice for hair care, particularly for those with damaged hair. It’s excellent at locking in moisture and even helps prevent protein loss:

  1. Melt a small amount of coconut oil in your hands.
  2. Distribute it evenly throughout your hair using a wide-toothed comb.
  3. Adjust the amount based on your hair texture – use a teaspoon for fine hair and a tablespoon for thick hair.
  4. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Rinse and wash your hair with shampoo.

Argan Oil

Argan oil, often called “liquid gold,” is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. This makes it very effective at nourishing and taming bleached hair:

Simply apply a few drops of argan oil to your ends to help fight frizz, split ends, and dryness.

You can use it in two ways:

  1. Use it as a leave-in product
  2. Apply it to damp hair before styling.

DIY Hair Masks

Here are two DIY hair mask recipes for bleach-damaged hair.

These oils and masks contain natural ingredients that provide nourishment and hydration. This helps restore your hair’s health and vitality.

Avocado and Honey Hair Mask

Avocados are rich in healthy oils and nutrients, making them perfect for treating damaged hair:

  1. Combine mashed ripe avocado with two tablespoons of honey.
  2. Apply the mixture to damp hair
  3. Leave it on for about 20 minutes
  4. Rinse

This mask will help restore moisture, softness, and shine to your hair.

Banana, Yogurt, and Almond Oil Hair Mask

  1. Mix a ripe banana with 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and one tablespoon of almond oil.
  2. Apply the mask to your hair.
  3. Leave it in for 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water.

This mask can help repair damage, tame frizz, and improve hair strength.

How To Prevent Bleach Damage

Here are 7 ways to prevent damage to your bleached hair:

  1. Do not bleach your hair too frequently
  2. Use the right shampoo
  3. Use a deep conditioning mask the week before bleaching
  4. Apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil before and after bleaching
  5. Avoid using hot tools on your hair after bleaching
  6. Protect against the sun
  7. Avoid pools and chlorine

1. Do Not Bleach Your Hair Too Frequently

One of the primary ways to prevent bleach damage is to limit the frequency of bleaching.

Bleaching your hair too often can strip it of its natural oils. It can also weaken the hair strands, making them more susceptible to breakage.

Try to wait at least six to eight weeks between bleaching sessions. Also, consult a professional colorist to ensure you use the appropriate bleach strength for your hair type.

2. Use the Right Shampoo

The right shampoo can do wonders for your hair. You should typically opt for a gentle shampoo when you’ve bleached your hair.

If you’re using the wrong shampoo, or if it’s too harsh, you may remove too many oils from your scalp and hair.

3. Use a Deep Conditioning Mask a Week Before

Treat your hair with a deep conditioning mask the week before your bleaching session.

Deep conditioners and hair masks help replenish lost moisture. They also protect your hair from the harsh chemicals in bleach.

By giving your hair a boost of hydration, you better prepare it to withstand bleaching.

Learn more: How to Prepare Your Hair for Bleaching

4. Use Leave-in Conditioner or Hair Oil

Leave-in conditioners and hair oils can provide essential hydration and protection for your hair before and after bleaching.

Apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to your hair before bleaching. This creates a protective barrier against the damaging effects of bleach.

After you’ve bleached your hair, use these products to restore your hair’s moisture levels. This also prevents further damage.

5. Avoid Heat Styling Tools After Bleaching

After bleaching your hair, avoid using hot tools. This includes hair dyers, straighteners, and curling wands.

These tools can increase the risk of hair breakage and further damage your weakened hair cuticles.

Instead, opt for air drying or using a low heat setting, and use heat protectant sprays when heat styling is necessary.

6. Protect Against the Sun & UV Rays

Sun exposure and UV rays can lead to dryness and damage already vulnerable bleached hair.

To protect your hair from sun exposure, wear hats, caps, or scarves when spending time outside.

Also, look for hair products with UV protection to offer an added layer of defense. Apply these products regularly. Especially when planning to be outdoors.

7. Avoid Pools & Chlorine

Swimming pools often have high chlorine levels. This is harsh for bleached hair and can cause further damage and discoloration.

Before diving into a pool, it’s a good idea to wet your hair with clean water to minimize the absorption of chlorinated water. You can also go with a smart swimming cap.

Once finished swimming, rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water to wash away any lingering chlorine. Follow up with a gentle, hydrating shampoo and conditioner to restore moisture and rebalance your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you dye hair after bleach damage?

You can dye your hair after bleach damage, but waiting for an appropriate period is essential. The recommended waiting time is at least two to four weeks after bleaching to allow your hair to recover and regain some of its natural oils. Remember to choose a nourishing and gentle hair dye, as your hair is already vulnerable after bleaching.

Is keratin treatment good for bleached hair?

Keratin treatments can be an excellent option for bleached hair, as they help to restore protein and fill in gaps within the hair shaft. These treatments smooth the hair cuticle and make it more resistant to breakage.

Do products with silicone repair damaged bleached hair?

Silicone-based products can help to improve the appearance of damaged bleached hair. They form a protective barrier around the hair shaft, reducing frizz and split ends and giving the hair a smoother, shinier look.

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Amber Belanger

Amber is not just a beauty enthusiast. She has spent countless hours doing the nails of her friends, researching the newest studies on personal care, as well as tried and tested numerous hair products. She prides herself on her factuality and luscious hair.