When I think of the quickly approaching summer – late nights outside, pools, lake and lighter hair. Many people go lighter with their hair color during the summer months. This may be from the sun natural lightening process or from bleaching. Both of these methods can cause major damage to your locks – but today we are going to look at the bleaching process in detail and what products I recommend to prevent damage to your precious strands. Because while bleaching or highlighting your hair, can result in damage – there are steps you can take to prevent this damage.
How does it WORK?
Bleaching and highlighting your hair removes color from your hair by the process of oxidation. Oxidation decolorizes the pigment in your hair shaft, which is why bleach will turn your hair almost white if it's left on for too long. Very bleached hair can also develop a “yellow/brassy” tint, because keratin (the protein your hair is made of) is naturally a pale yellow.
Hydrogen peroxide and ammonia are the most commonly used agents for bleaching your hair and they are often mixed together. Don't be fooled by manufacturers who use “peroxide-free” labels as a way to promote their products as “hair friendly”. Although these mixtures may not contain peroxide, they contain another oxidizing agent which ddoes the same thing and is just as damaging to your hair.
You CAN NOT lighten your hair without an OXIDIZING AGENT
Bleaching raises your hairs' outer cuticle, allowing the bleaching agent to fully penetrate the shaft and disperse the color molecules that are already there. The more color molecules that are dispersed, the lighter the hair becomes. With repeated bleaching sessions – you can permanently raise the cuticle scales and allow rapid and continuous loss of moisture. Bleaching your hair is a VERY harsh process and can have devastating effects if not performed correctly. Normal hair color formulas will go inert after 30 minutes, so it's nearly impossible to “over-process” them. However, hair bleach will remain active as long as it has moisture and the longer it processes, the more damaged the hair will become.
Damage from bleach include dry, brittle, inelastic hair, and hair that is more prone to breakage and split ends. Bleached hair is also more porous and swollen and therefore more vulnerable to other chemical and non-chemical processes.
Think of your bleached hair, like a sponge – very porous. While it will soak up water quickly and easily – it loses it just as quickly. You need to use products that encourage the cuticle to close, so that the hairs' moisture content and integrity is maintained.
How to PROTECT your BLOND locks
There are so many options available to you. From department store to professional lines. Not all hair products are created equal. Some contain very harsh ingredients that can cause skin irritation, strip out your natural oils, causing dryness, leave heavy ingredients or chemicals that cover and suffocate the hair strands and scalp – leading to further damage and possible hair LOSS.
Avoid Sulfate shampoos, also known as SLS, SLES and Sulfites. These agents are cleansers that are effective but also very HARSH. They have been linked to skin irritation and drying out hair fibers, fading color and damaging your hair strands. You should avoid these types of shampoo – but if you have bleached hair – you really need to AVOID these.
On to Conditioners – they are designed to enhance the look and feel of your hair. They can also add fullness, increase control, help to detangle your locks. We all produce our own natural conditioner (SEBUM). We produce Sebum to protect and seal our hair. Depending on how often you shampoo and the strength of your detergent you are using, more or less sebum is removed and needs to be replaced. Chemical treatments (hair color/bleaching) and how we care for our hair (heat styling, blow drying, etc) also create a need for more conditioner.
Conditioners provide a sebum replacement. The conditioner components are attracted to the hair by having an opposite electrical charge (chemistry in action). The chemical reactions in the conditioner causes the hair cuticle to fall flat, tightly around each other and you get the result of smooth hair, even after you rinse out your conditioner.
Conditioners are made up of several substances but one to highly be aware of are emollients which can be natural or synthetic oils that produce films and create shine. Natural oils are highly recommended over synthetics (because synthetics are typically a silicone). Natural oils are easier to remove when washing your hair, over silicones. Long term build-up on the hair (from silicone use) can cause so many issues with your hair. And while natural oils are preferred, not all oils are created equal.
Some oils have very large molecules that lay on the surface acting just like a silicone, others like Abbysinnian oil are able to absorb into the strand – adding moisture to your hair and sealing that cuticle. I recommend a conditioner that contains NO SILICONES and contain smaller molecule oils that penetrate the hair, that will give your hair longer lasting condition and shine WITHOUT the buildup.
Alcohol in your styling products? Well, lets look at which alcohol you should look for and which to AVOID. Not all alcohols work the same. Alcohols act as solvents to deliver the ingredients to the hair. As with all solvents they are designed to evaporate quickly and dry the product. Some dissipate and remove moisture from the hair, others evaporate and actually leave emollients to condition and moisturize your hair.
The styling products I have been using actually contain the later type of alcohol but also contain Abyssinian Oil. So they work to deliver the styling product to my hair – while also conditioning my hair with the oil – without any drying out effect to my hair strands. Abyssinian oil is an ultra-light, non greasy natural oil with a very unique molecular structure not found in any other naturally occurring oil.
In conclusion – look for sulfate free shampoos and silicone free conditioners. I'm currently using a botanically based hair care line. Yes – I sell the product – but I wouldn't sell it if I didn't truly believe this to be the BEST HAIR PRODUCT on the market TODAY!!
This picture shows how well your hair can tolerate bleach when using the proper hair care products before/after the bleaching process. This lady was able to achieve these blond results in 1 sitting with virtually NO DAMAGE!
This example shows how adding a natural oil to your hair color during the coloring process can help your hair texture and health. Prior to coloring her hair was very dry. She added a NATURAL oil product to her hair color and ended up with gorgeous results.
Ready to learn more about the hair care products I'm using? You can contact me via my FB Fan Page, Love Your Hair, Again or you can send me a quick email by clicking HERE. You can also feel free to send me a quick text at 405-620-4505.
If you are ready to proceed with the products – you can check them out HERE but I highly suggest we have a quick chat about your hair type and desired outcome you are wanting and to also discuss ways for you to save money on the products.