With summer around the corner, it’s time to talk to you babes who highlight / bleach your hair. PSA: Your hair needs protection; not just from hot tools, but also from the sun (and you)!
During the pandemic, I stopped coloring my hair pink. I just wasn’t in the mood to keep up with my vibrant pink color, and I also lost my effing mind for a few and decided I was never coloring my hair again (I swore to wear wigs forever, and while I liked this idea, I realized I also like the idea of looking great without a wig on). So yes, I went extremely au natural for about 4 months, and then I radically decided to do a full bleach on my hair. It was something I’ve always wanted to do.
I didn’t do this myself, but I did talk my friend Chelsea into doing it for me, and after much hesitation on her part, I twisted her arm. It took us all day to achieve a light, pale shade of blonde, but it was fabulous when we achieved it. She did an absolutely epic job.
I have always wanted to do a full bleach, and since I was locked indoors and also on a social media hiatus I figured that it was the perfect time to try something totally different.
Being a hair professional, I knew a lot about taking care of highlighted hair, but living life as a fully bleached babe taught me a lot more about hair protection. Having ultra healthy bleached hair IS possible, but it requires much attention and care.
Let’s dive into it.
I will go ahead with a spoiler alert… I kept my hair 100% healthy until the very end (and I’ll tell you exactly what I fucked up).
I left out 1 of these tips and eventually it led to the sides of my hair’s demise. Like I said, even though I knew a lot about taking care of highlighted hair, there was still one thing that I didn’t think was a big deal, but it obviously was.
One of the worst things you can do when bleaching your hair is jumping from one stylist to another. Find ONE stylist to go to, and trust the process. Your stylist gets to know your hair and they know their process for taking care of you. IF you are bi-coastal or you must have multiple stylists taking care of your hair, it is important to put your stylists in communication with each other so they are aware of what your hair needs and what treatments are expected for next visit.
Fully bleached hair is not the same as foil highlighted hair or balayage. Since it is on the scalp lightening it responds to your body heat. You cannot have too much outgrowth otherwise your “touch-up” will not lift properly – meaning if you go too long with dark roots and put bleach on your scalp, there scalp will get lighter much faster than your hair farther away from the scalp and you’ll end up with a tragic orange-y stripe. Bleach touch-ups must be booked every 5-6 weeks maximum to keep your blonde on point.
The less heat you can use on your hair the better, so braids are awesome for a heat-less style, plus it look SO cute when you remove the braids. Braids (like French or Dutch braids) are awesome for protective styles and are fab because they are typically gentle on the scalp and don’t cause too much tension & traction.
Heat & UV Protectant
Bleached hair ALWAYS needs a UV protectant. This helps the cuticle stay healthy, keeps the hair from drying out, and also protects the tone of your blonde. I like Joico’s Defy Damage 2 in 1 product because it protects from UV & heat. You can be safe with this to cover all your bases.
Lustrous Hair Oil
A vitamin-rich, nourishing hair oil helps hydrate and protect dry hair cuticles from the bleaching process. I LOVE a good hair oil. This one from Young Living Mirah smells divine, and it’s very powerful; you just need a few drops in the mid lengths – ends to smooth out the hair.
1 more PSA: BEWARE OF COCONUT OIL IN THE HAIR. There are many hair types that coconut oil as a “hair mask” does not support. If you have medium or thick coarse hair, coconut oil can actually make it worse. It’s always best to use an oil that is created for the hair.
Molecular Repair Mask
Schedule in-salon treatments when you have bleached hair; trust me. Bleached hair needs extra loving attention. Salon treatments like K-18 & Olaplex really really work. I did a weekly Olaplex 3 treatment and having that weekly hair ritual really helped keep me on track with my hair’s health goals.
Also, another random at-home hair treatment that works really well is Roux 233 Anti-Aging Treatment. You can purchase Roux at Sally Beauty Supply or Amazon. You apply it to freshly shampooed, towel dried hair (don’t apply conditioner, this needs to be applied on cleansed hair that is ready to soak up the treatment).
Rosemary Scalp Spray
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Rosemary has been used for thousands of years to promote hair growth. I like to sprinkle some rosemary oil on my finger tips and massage it into my scalp. You can also make a rosemary scalp spritzer. Adding oils like peppermint & lavender also make a great healthy scalp spritzer combo. Rosemary or a combo like this helps stimulate the hair follicle which is ultra important as this is where our hair supply begins.
Shades EQ Gloss
There is nothing better than a fresh, Shades EQ gloss. I remember the first time my hairstylist & friend, Nell, put a clear Shades gloss on my hair when I was 14, and I thought my hair had gone to heaven. A Shades EQ gloss provides so much shine because it’s acidity level massively closes the hair cuticle creating a smooth surface for light to reflect off of, plus the way your hair feels is absolutely divine. Lastly, after a Shades gloss my hair has a lot more volume and it’s easier to style. You can use a colored gloss, or clear! Any and all are fabulous. I do clear maintenance ones at home, and of course, after we retouched my blonde we chose a gloss with a little color in it depending on what tone we needed to add or cancel out at the time.
Every 6 weeks you WILL NEED a trim. You cannot get around this. Yes, you can still grow your hair out while being bleached (as long as you are following all of these steps to keep it extremely healthy), but it is somewhat of a slow grow. You must get regular trims so the hair doesn’t snap all the way up the hair shaft.
Hair Drying Scrunchie
I really enjoyed a hair towel scrunchie for right after I shampooed my hair. 98% of the time I did not blow dry my hair. I either pulled my hair into a middle part low pony with a hair drying scrunchie, and/or I braided it. I LOVE Kitsch hair dry scrunchies. SO easy and convenient (especially for easy breezy summer hair).
Here it is. THIS is the one thing I did not do, and I totally paid the price. I honestly just was not into the silk pillowcase thing, but now I AM a huge believer. I sleep on my sides and I could tell after 6 months off sleeping on a non-silk pillow case, the hair in front of my ears around my hairline started to break off. I knew 100% this was from my pillowcase. Please trust me when I tell you to drop what you’re doing and order a silk pillowcase.
Silk/satin pillowcases are anti-friction! You want alllll things anti-friction when it comes to bleached hair. Your hair (and your skin!) glides freely and smoothly upon a silk pillowcase – less snagging, less damage, less morning bed head. All good things.
Speaking of silky stuff, grab some silk scrunchies too. Don’t wrap them too tightly and avoid high pony tails – remember we want friction-free styles and hair accessories.