Woman with short bleached hair

6 Things you need to know about bleaching hair

All the basics covered. 

All the recent super bright ombre and dip-dye trends have made us want to take the plunge and totally transform our mane. But unless you’re blessed with naturally light-coloured locks, the only way to achieve the vibrancy of these hues is by bleaching your hair. Not sure what you need to know before bleaching your tresses? Never fear. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand the process and its consequences better.

6 Things you should know about hair bleaching

Woman with icy blonde shag cut hair bleaching
Credit: indigitalimages.com

1. It’s permanent

We urge you to think long and hard before you decide to bleach your virgin locks. Bleaching is a de-colouring process that involves using hydrogen peroxide and ammonia to strip your hair of its melanin (the primary determinant of the colour of your skin, hair and eyes), so it’s irreversible. Yes, you heard us correctly! So, don’t rush into your decision!

2. Hair colouring will require maintenance

Don’t be surprised if your new hair colour is rinsed out after a few washes! Because you’ve bleached your tresses, there’s no way of completely adding colour back, as bleaching raises the outer cuticle of your hair to allow chemicals to fully penetrate each strand, leaving them very porous. So while your locks will be able to absorb hair dye easily, they can also just as easily lose it! Which means that your pink hair colour, for example, will need frequent top-ups!

3. Your hair care needs will change

Remember what we said about bleached hair being porous? Well, this will not only affects how it absorbs colours, but also how your mane handles moisture, which can leave your tresses feeling dry, brittle and prone to damage. To help deal with this change, you’ll need to use shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for damaged and coloured hair, like the Dove Colour Care Shampoo (250ml, £2.69*) and Conditioner (200ml, £2.69*). And if you’re intending to keep your bleached tresses blonde and not brassy, you might want to consider using a silver shampoo.

bleach blonde shaggy hair with fringe
Bleached hair needs extra TLC. Credit: indigitalimages.com

4. Handle your hair with care

You might have been able to get away with being a little rough with your locks before, but now that you have bleached hair, be aware that it will be more susceptible to all sorts of damage caused by everyday styling and handling, chemical treatments and heated styling. So try and be more gentle!

5. You’ll need to give your hair extra TLC

If you’re straightening or curling your hair with heat, make sure that you’re guarding it against damage by applying a heat protectant, like the VO5 Smoothly Does It Heat Protect Spray (£3.99*). And because bleached hair loses moisture fast, don’t forget to care for your fragile tresses by using pre-shampoo treatments, hair masks, moisturising leave-in conditioners and oils regularly.

6. Your scalp’s health is important

It’s clear that bleaching isn’t the gentlest of all chemical processes, so it’s no surprise that it can aggravate pre-existing conditions. So, make sure your scalp health is in tip-top shape before heading to your local salon. Not sure if you have a dry scalp or psoriasis? Consult a professional, first, and make sure you get a patch test before bleaching your whole head.

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.

Sign up to our newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks from the experts at All Things Hair.