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What Happens When you Bleach Your Hair?

Getting down to the basics on bleached hair.

Blondes may have more fun but those that aren’t naturally sun-kissed may have to spend more time in the salon to obtain those coveted bleached strands. The decision to bleach your hair may be simple for those of us who have always wanted beachy blond hair, but do you know what’s actually happening to your hair? Today, we’re taking you through a lesson with your hair so that you better understand what to expect when you go through this process. Read on to learn what happens when you bleach your hair.

What Really Happens When You Bleach Your Hair

Take these steps when you bleach your hair.
Go for a bold hair color this fall with platinum, bleached hair.

1. Prepare your hair.

Before you bleach, it is a good idea to do a deeply moisturizing hair mask, like the Nexxus New York Salon Care Youth Renewal Treatment Masque, to replenish your hair as well as provide it with volume and body. Also, make sure you head to your salon appointment with day or two old dirty hair because the oils will help to protect your scalp through the treatment.

2. Mix the bleach.

When you go to the salon, your hair colorist will ask if your hair is dyed. Virgin (un-dyed) hair is the easiest to lighten because the bleach doesn’t need to work against other dye. The colorist then takes into consideration other factors like your natural hair color (lighter hair is easier to lighten) and texture and then creates the right bleach mixture for you. Hydrogen peroxide is the most common bleaching agent, and is added in different volumes known as vol for bleaching. Generally dark, thick and virgin hair can handle a stronger bleach mixture (30vol) where as lighter and thinner hair will use a more gentle mixture (10vol to 20vol).

3. Apply the bleach mixture.

Once your bleach is prepped and ready to go, the colorist sections your hair evenly and applies the mixture. As soon as the mixture hits your hair the individual strands will swell as the cuticle opens. With the cuticle opens, the bleaching agents get inside the hair, making it more porous. The more porous your hair is, the less it will hold moisture, causing it to become dry and dehydrated. Because the cuticle is open it can make your hair feel like a different texture and can also effect curl patterns. The cuticle being open leads to damage that can not be repaired which is the risk that comes with bleaching hair.

get the perfect bleach hair with these tips
For a few hours in the chair you can have the bleached hair you love. Photo credit: Dvora

4. Wait for it to work.

The darker the hair the longer the process will take to lighten. This is also the reason some bleach jobs can look red, orange or yellow when going from very dark hair. There are layers of pigment in each strand of hair the bleach needs to work through to fully lighten hair. Depending on how much color change is needed, your colorist may have you sit under a heat lamp. Applying heat can speed up the process. If your hair is very dark and stubborn, you’ll need two bleach processes to get your hair even lighter.

5. Rinse and tone.

Your colorist will then rinse out the bleach. To go from a light yellow to the blond of your dreams, your colorist tones your hair. Hair toner is used to give hair a chic ashy look, or a fresh warm blond.

Need to know what to do after the bleaching is done? Read about how to take care of bleached hair.

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