How To Fix Bleach Damaged Hair | Hair.com

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Bleach Damaged Hair: How To Reset Your Routine After A Bad Dye Job

27 July 2018
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

Bad hair color happens to everyone at least once in their life. Whether you attempted pastel pink ombre at home or just ended up with a shade entirely different than the one you envisioned, we have serious empathy for the hot mess that is now your hair.

Luckily, the journey doesn’t have to end with bleach damaged hair. We called on the expertise of Hannah Nishimoto, Shu Uemura artist and brand ambassador, who explained the best ways to avoid damage in the first place and what to do if your hair is feeling more like steel wool than satin.

Above all else, treat bleach damage as the priority if you experience it. Until your hair is in workable condition, Nishimoto recommends setting your other hair goals aside.

“I believe you should target the biggest issue first! Once you acknowledge the targeted issue and mend it, you can move forward with other products that target any other lingering issues you may have with your hair.”

Ready to find out more about what causes bleach damage and how to fix it? Read on.

What is bleach damaged hair?

Think of hair like a very delicate fabric. Once you damage it, it’s largely that way until you cut it off or new hair grows in. Coloring your hair and chemically altering it are fun and exciting things to do, but those chemicals can leave your hair feeling weak, dry, or straw-like when used improperly. This is why it’s so crucial to let a professional handle any major hair transformations: Their years of training enable them to achieve your dream color while causing the least damage possible.

If you’re interested in a light blonde, fantasy hair color trend, or pastel shade, understand that your stylist will have to pre-lighten your hair first if you have naturally dark strands. Over the course of several salon appointments, he or she lifts your natural color to create a blank canvas for your dazzling new shade.

How can you tell if you have bleach damaged hair?

Nishimoto is very clear on this one: If you have bleach damaged hair, you’ll know pretty much immediately.

“You can tell when your hair is damaged from bleach when it becomes extremely porous. When air dried, the texture becomes incredibly crisp. We don't want that! The hair starts to feel coarse and looks dull and lifeless. If hair is over-bleached, the cuticle will not lay flat again.”

Cute, right? Luckily, Nishimoto says that damaged feeling is absolutely reversible. With the help of a professional, you can get your hair back on track and looking beautiful.

How can you fix bleach damaged hair?

Nishimoto is very clear on this one: If you have bleach damaged hair, you’ll know pretty much immediately.

“You can tell when your hair is damaged from bleach when it becomes extremely porous. When air dried, the texture becomes incredibly crisp. We don't want that! The hair starts to feel coarse and looks dull and lifeless. If hair is over-bleached, the cuticle will not lay flat again.”

Cute, right? Luckily, Nishimoto says that damaged feeling is absolutely reversible. With the help of a professional, you can get your hair back on track and looking beautiful.

How can avoid bleach damage in the future?

It may seem counterintuitive, but Nishimoto says regular haircuts are a key part of maintaining healthy hair. A trim before a hair color service can rid your mane of any split ends, weakened strands, and previously over processed sections.

“I always tell my guests to first make sure they are cutting their hair frequently. When you cut your hair frequently you are more likely to prevent overlapping of damage from previously processed ends,” the artist explains.

If you’ve already experienced damage, it’s important to establish a care routine with the help of your stylist. Waiting for your hair to grow out can be a trial, so make the best of what you already have in the meantime.

Nishimoto recommends using salon quality products that specifically target dry and damaged strands. Shu Uemura’s Ultimate Reset system is uniquely formulated for ultra-damaged hair. Working in tandem, the shampoo, conditioner, and mask work to provide extreme repair.

“What you do at home plays a huge part in hair care and hair restoration. Shu Uemura's Ultimate Reset is a game changer,” Nishimoto says. “With its Japanese-sourced rice extract, it performs deep repair from roots to tips, repairing damaged hair to bring it back to its healthiest state.”

When it’s eventually time for you to head back to the salon for a color touch-up, Nishimoto recommends vetting your stylist via social media and review sites. A trained artist knows that overlapping sections of chemical lightener can result in the very damage you’re trying to avoid in the first place.

“The biggest, most unfortunate mistake I see with my guests when they sit in my chair, is a previous colorist overlapping damaged lightened hair. It's crucial to be mindful of how much re-growth they have and how to stay away from applying bleach to hair that has undergone a bleach application already.”

Keep Nishimoto’s tips in mind the next time you’re debating a color service. Believe us: Your hair will thank you.

Interested in customized in-salon treatments for damaged hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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