How to Repair Bleach Damaged Hair

If your platinum locks need a little TLC, we’ve got the remedies. ATH decodes how to repair bleached hair.

Let’s be real: While blondes may have more fun, if a blonde’s color is the product of bleach—as it likely may be—blondes are more likely to deal with serious hair distress. But there are ways to repair bleach damaged hair that’ll cover you regardless of whether you’re sporting a bright new baby blonde hue or have just a few honey-colored highlights.

Don’t even know where to get started? We’ve got you covered. Consider this your complete guide to repairing damaged bleached hair. Below, find more intel, tips, and product recommendations that’ll help mend your strands ASAP and in the long-run. Kiss your dry strands goodbye and bid adieu to your brittle bleached-out ends with our fool-proof solutions, and expert- and editor-backed tips, plus a full product routine refresh that’ll help repair your bleach damaged hair from the first wash to the final sweep of your flat iron.

repair bleached hair what does bleach do
What does bleach actually do? Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

What exactly happens when you bleach your hair?

Bleaching the hair involves using chemicals to strip the hair of its melanin so it appears lighter in color—imagine highlights of sheer sun-kissed perfection. And if you’re just dealing with bleach damage for the first time, it’s likely you’re noticing that your strands may have changed textures.

But to what exact texture depends Generally, thinner strands get drier, rougher, and therefore, thicker. “Bleaching can remove the hair fiber’s natural conditioning layer which can make it feel rough and dry,” says Unilever’s Peter Bailey, Global Technical Manager for Hair Care.

However, bleach could theoretically cause your hair to do a litany of strange things like become straighter, get curlier or frizzier, or just become incredibly brittle. The wide-swath of potential texture outcomes shouldn’t really come as a surprise, though.

Bleaching your hair at home is an intensive chemical process and as such, can damage the surface of your strands the way any other chemical process would. ”The chemical process inside your hair fiber breaks a number of the structural protein bonds leaving your hair brittle and more prone to damage,” adds Bailey.

repair bleached hair shaggy
How to repair bleached hair: ATH’s expert guide. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Can you repair bleach damaged hair with your product picks?

We’ve already established that the chemical process inherent to bleaching can (and likely will) damage the structure of the hair fiber, which will leave strands looking and feeling more dry and damaged. The lightened-up hair, as a result, is more prone to breakage, split ends, and other woes. And like in any good game, the best defense is a good offense. In the game of bleach damage, the best defense is finding the proper offensive: the best products including shampoos, conditioners, masks, heat protectants and finishing oils. 

In other words? A revamped, revitalized, and revived routine. Ahead, find each key step to make your bleach damaged hair feel and look healthier again, along with product recommendations throughout that’ll work for every hair type.

Start with a shampoo and conditioner duo to fix things from the get go. 

1. TRESemmé Biotin + Repair 7 Shampoo and Conditioner

TRESemmé Biotin + Repair 7 Shampoo and Conditioner both contain strengthening vitamins as part of a patented pro-bond complex that helps restore strand-by-strand breakage from bleaching. It works to mend the hair fiber from the inside out, not only helping your hair visibly look better upon washing, but also fortifying it, which is a key benefit if you’re continuously dyeing your locks.

2. Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo and Conditioner

Anyone who knows their hair color well knows that blondes greatly benefit from the toning effects of a purple shampoo-and-conditioner combo, defending the hue from becoming brassy and almost orange in tone thanks to the violet deposits. Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo and Conditioner is formulated with keratin—the same protein that hair is made from naturally—which helps to fortify every single one of your bleached strands, too.

3. Bedhead by TIGI Dumb Blonde Shampoo and Reconstructor Conditioner

Aside from its cheeky name, Bedhead by TIGI Dumb Blonde Shampoo and Reconstructor Conditioner are actually super smart. That’s because they’re made with a blend of keratin and milk proteins that reduce frizz and increase manageability of bleach damaged hair.

Add a hair mask into the mix for some extra TLC.

1. Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Mask

Take your hair care routine up a notch by adding the reparative Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Mask to your shower ritual. After working evenly through strands—equal distribution is the key to fixing fried pieces—this formula strengthens bleached hair from the inside out to make hair look and feel healthier with just one use.

2. TRESemmé Repair & Protect 7 Instant Recovery Mask

Unlike most other hair masks, this used-weekly wonder fixes a whole host of hair issues. That’s because of the hero active in TRESemmé Repair & Protect 7 Instant Recovery Mask, biotin, which fortifies every single strand while protecting them from future damage, too.

3. Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask

The beauty of Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask is that you can customize it to suit your hair’s texture (or really, relative amount of damage) by adjusting the amount of time you let it soak into your strands. If your bleach damaged hair errs on the finer side, three to five minutes should do the trick. Those with curlier, coarser strands should let the hair mask penetrate for at least ten minutes, if not more. Bonus editor tip: Put a shower cap over your masked hair and spend time washing, exfoliating, shaving, and what not. The extra heat generated by your scalp in the shower cap will help the hair mask melt further into strands.

Prep bleach damaged strands with a heat protectant pre-styling.

1. TIGI Copyright Custom Create Heat Protection Spray

TIGI Copyright Custom Create Heat Protection Spray offers a strong line of defense, protecting your hair from any further damage. In order to help shield your strands from heat damage, make sure a heat protectant is your first port of call, no matter what your styling routine is.

2. TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray

Want the salon look of a fresh keratin treatment without getting out of your bathrobe? Start by prepping damp strands with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray. Just a few spritzes help defend against frizz, detangle knots, boost shine, add softness and tame pesky flyaways.

3. Dove Style+Care Smooth and Shine Heat Protection Spray

Dove Style+Care Smooth and Shine Heat Protection Spray features an extremely gentle formula that’s great for bleach damaged hair that errs on the side of fine, thin, or flat. That’s because of its featherweight conditioning formula, that hydrates every single strand without weighing ‘em down.

Finish things off with a damage-disguising oil.

1. Love Beauty and Planet Sandalwood & Grapeseed Natural Oils Infusion

Grapeseed oil offers all the hydrating benefits of its other thicker, more viscous counterparts, but has the luxury of being incredibly lightweight as well. Love Beauty and Planet Sandalwood & Grapeseed Natural Oils Infusion is a great frizz fighter and finishing product for those prone to getting an oily scalp more quickly.

2. TIGI Copyright Custom Create Colour Lustre Oil

Blended with superstar coconut oil and sheen-boosting silicones, just a few drops of the concentrated TIGI Copyright Custom Create Colour Lustre Oil instantly tames frizz, nourishes hair and adds shine. Be careful to use sparingly, particularly on freshly-dried hair.

3. Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox 5-in-1 Invisible Hair Oil

Already delicate bleach damaged hair gets even more of a break with this multitasking formula that’s 100 percent free of potentially irritating dyes and parabens. Dispense a dime-sized amount of Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox 5-in-1 Invisible Hair Oil in your palms and rake through your strands. Avoid roots to keep things from looking too greasy. And just like that, you’ve provided your hair with extra nourishment, frizz-fighting power, increased smoothness, mirror-like shine and color-fade protection.

The Bottom Line on How to Repair Bleach Damaged Hair

Once you’ve gone forward and made the brave decision to bleach your hair, there’s inevitably a bit of a price to pay. And that price is bleach damaged hair. But with the proper shampoo and conditioner sets, hair masks, heat protectants, and hair oils, your mane will look and feel better. Try to keep your heat styling to a minimum, and tools on the lowest temperature setting. After all, you wouldn’t want to fry that freshly highlighted perfection?

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