If you follow me on Instagram and watch my Insta-stories, then you may already know that a few weeks ago I lightened my hair. I went in thinking we would need to do 2-3 sessions to get my hair to the level I want for our wedding day, but instead, we lightened it all in one go. It was a surprise to me (though, I absolutely LOVED the colour), and after washing it the first time I was pretty certain I would have to cut it all off.
Determined to not cut off 4+ inches of hair, I set out to test my old hair care methods to see if they could help save my hair. If you don’t know already, about 5 years ago (Maybe even longer? Who knows, after a certain age – it all blurs together) I went in to get highlights. My hair was a dark brown then, and I just wanted to lighten it a touch for summer. Unlucky for me, my hairdresser put on the bleach and then forgot about me – she went for lunch, went shopping, and left for the day. It wasn’t until I began to complain to another hair stylist that they realized they had completely forgotten about me, and my now bleach-burned scalp. When they rinsed out the bleach the damage was done. My hair had turned to gum.
After that, I cut a ton of my hair off, and even after cutting off all the ends, my hair was still unbelievably damaged. At this point, I set off to find some ways to help my hair get healthy. Today, I’ll be sharing some of these methods again, as well as some new care techniques that I’ve just discovered recently. Thankfully, my hair is nowhere near as damaged as that one time, and so I’ve found getting it back to a healthy state has been pretty easy. All it takes is a little discipline, consistently, and a few great products.
What to do when you’ve bleached the sh*t out of your hair
I know, it sucks – but you have to cut it…even just a little bit. Whenever I lighten my hair, I typically cut off 1 – 1.5 inches of hair. The ends of your hair will be totally fried and icky anyways – so, it’s best to get rid of them. Also, leaving your hair weak and damaged actually encourages more damage – for example, split ends will just get bigger and more unmanageable.
Use Serum…. A LOT.
I use serum 2+ times a day on my hair. No, I’m not joking. I use it when I first get up in the morning, and also right before bed when I braid my hair. I have found that using serum more often has made the ends of my hair so much softer and healthier. Plus, using serum regularly helps keep your ends strong and reduces the amount of breakage and split ends your hair gets overtime. Here are a few serums I LOVE:
First off, if you’re bleaching your hair and you have the option to get the Olaplex treatment during the lightening process then do it. It helps reduce the amount of damage during the actual lightening process. After your treatment, you’ll also want to use Olaplex 3. This is a reparative hair care product that helps seal your ends and keep your hair as healthy as possible after lightening it. I use the Olaplex 3 treatment every few weeks to keep my hair looking and feeling it’s best. For me, this product has been a real game changer and has allowed my hair to grow out long even though I bleach it a few times a year.
Do Hot Oil Treatments
Hot oil treatments are the bomb. Seriously, if you have damaged hair than heat treatments are your new best friend. I have always loved hot oil treatments because of how soft and healthy they make my hair look, but my appreciation for a good hot oil treatment doubled after the horrible bleach experience I mentioned above. I typically make my own DIY Hot Oil Treatment, but I have also used products such as Hello Hair oil treatment and have enjoyed them as well!
Condition It Regularly
On top of using Olaplex and hot oil treatments, you’ll also want to commit to conditioning your hair regularly. This means deep conditioning treatments as well as daily conditioning. Your hair is damaged and it needs moisture added into it, so be very generous with your conditioner! I condition my hair every time I was it, and I also do deep conditioning treatments approx. every 1-2 weeks. The amount I deep condition my hair really depends on how often I damage it with heat tools or dry it out by sitting out in the sun all day. Basically, if it’s feeling a bit dry then I’ll take the 5-10 extra minutes and allow my conditioner to sit in my hair. Here are a few conditioners I’ve been using lately:
The last thing I do to ensure my hair has some “rest” time after I put it through the ringer with bleach is I put the heat tools away. Rather than use tools to style my hair, I instead turn to my favourite heatless hairstyling methods. They may take more time and energy, but they are better for your tresses and won’t damage your hair. If you’re looking for some heatless hairstyling methods then you’ll love these posts:
- 10 Overnight Tricks to Wake Up with Gorgeous Hair
- Easy Heatless Beach Waves Tutorial
- Romantic Crown Braid Tutorial
- How to Get Perfect Beach Waves Without Heat Tools