I have a long-term love-hate relationship with bleach. Unfortunately my natural dark hair colour clashes with my ghostly-pale skin tone – making me look positively ill, whereas blonde gives me a bit more of a healthy glow! I adore the look of summery, golden hair but hate the inevitable damage that comes with bleaching it.
I have been lightening my hair for a good fifteen years and luckily only had two awful hair-ravaging experiences. These two experiences prompted me to get my research on and I delved (rather scientifically) into the world of hair and colour. Armed with my research and my overdraft, I set out to try those ‘miracle’ products to see if they would fix my scraggly hair and prevent further damage. It was not one or two holy grail products, but a combined usage of different ones that finally worked for me. Read on for tried and tested products that are absolute must-haves when bleaching hair.
Do not bleach when on your period
Sounds odd, but the scalp is super sensitive this time of the month and its more likely to become irritated and itchy after bleaching.
Avoid washing your hair for 4 days before the deed…
Stop washing your hair 4 days before your hairdressers appointment (or as long as you can bare). Yes it’ll get oily, but ensuring that your scalp and hair is coated in your natural oils is a safe way to add natural protection.
…and then wash just twice a week
This is to ensure that you use your natural oils help to strengthen and protect your scalp and hair strands, and stops your colour from yellowing too quickly. You may find your hair gets overly oily at first, but your it will quickly will settle down and get used to your new routine.
Buy a tangle teaser
This Dragons Den win is superb for knotty bleached hair. Purchase one in advance and start using it from day 1 of your newly bleached delicate do – it’ll ensure breakage from brushing is kept to a minimum.
You can pick this up for around £11 from Boots.
Raw coconut oil
Dry hair and a dry scalp is inevitable after bleaching your hair. Afterwards, I used to spend a couple of anxious days watching broken strands fall out and wondering whether the insane scalp itch was the bleach or if i’d picked up nits on the school run (fortunately it wasn’t nits, thank God).
Anyway, this is where coconut oil comes in. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to relieve your dry itchy scalp, as well as being super moisturising for your dry hair – replenishing some of the natural oils your hair has lost. I’d recommend to start by using coconut oil as a hair mask, twice a week – leaving it on overnight each time, then cut down to once a week. You need to ensure the coconut oil is raw, organic and extra-virgin, and melt it by warming a blob between your palms. Be generous with application and make sure to spend time massaging it into your hair and scalp.
You can also smooth a tiny bit of coconut oil into the ends of dry hair. Pick up a large tub of it from your local supermarket for around £6 – bargain. Read more about beauty benefits of raw coconut oil here.
It’s a 10 Leave-in Spray Plus Keratin
This miracle product is a reparative leave-in conditioner. It’s said to deliver ten benefits: repairs, adds shine, tames frizz, protects color, detangles, prevents split ends, curbs breakage, softens, boosts body, and protects hair from heat. I’m not sure about all of that, but it’s amazing at repairing hair. This wonder product contains panthenol and keratin to strengthen damaged hair and doesn’t feel heavy or oily.
Spritz generously into wet hair after every wash. You can also apply it sparingly to dry hair if it’s looking particularly frazzled. At around £26 from Amazon, this product isn’t amazingly cheap but is worth every penny.
On to shampoo and conditioner. The Kérastase Resistance range is designed for particularly damaged hair (or erosion level 3-4, as they call it). When i first used this range I couldn’t believe how much healthier my hair looked and felt immediately after, and i’ve used it ever since. It uses a ‘FIBRA-KAP™ formula’ (a blend of amino acids) to moisturise and then coat your hair, sealing the strands with a protective layer. It really minimises breakage and frizz and although it’s pricey – it’s totally worth it. This is what I use:
Kérastase Resistance Therapiste Soin (pre shampoo conditioner) – £16.35
Bleach wears down the hair cuticle, which is there to protect your hair strand and prevent moisture loss. So at this stage you want to keep in as much oil as possible. The Theraoiste Soin (pre shampoo and conditioner) is used before shampoo and coats your strands to ensure that shampooing doesn’t wash out any natural oils or moisture – genius!
Kérastase Resistance Therapiste Bain (shampoo) and Conditioner – £28.50
Kérastase Resistance Therapiste Masque – £22.65
This trio is beautifully smoothing and is in my opinion essential for damaged hair. Again, it coats strands to ensure moisture is kept in and the hair is protected. For the first month or so i’d recommend using the masque as conditioner for every wash – this will kickstart your hair repair. I now use the masque once a week instead of the conditioner, leaving it on for a good 20 minutes each time.
Do you have any holy grail hair-repair products you’d like to tell us about? Let us know on our Facebook page!