It’s normal to wonder what to wash hair with after bleaching, but don’t worry, we got you covered. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the products to use after bleaching.
To help protect your bleached hair from further damage, we recommend the following tips when washing your hair:
- Wash Hair With Cool Water
- Use A Sulfate-Free Shampoo
- Dry Hair With A Microfiber Towel
- Apply A Leave-In Conditioner
What Does Bleaching Do To Your Hair?
Bleaching raises the cuticle of the hair so that the bleaching agent can penetrate the hair.
These agents penetrate the cortex of your hair and dissolve the natural color (melanin).
To do this it breaks down the natural fatty acids of your hair and weakens its bonds, leaving it dry and brittle.
Repeated bleaching can result in a permanently raised cuticle, leading to rapid moisture loss and extremely dry, fragile hair.
Bleached hair is also more porous, which makes it more vulnerable to chemical processes and elements.
All in all, bleaching weakens the structure of your hair, making it more prone to dryness, breakage, and split ends.
How Long Should I Wait To Wash My Hair After Bleaching?
You should wait 48-72 hours before washing your hair after bleaching it, depending on your hair type and how quickly it builds up natural oils.
Bleaching opens your hair’s cuticles wide, so you need to give your hair time to settle. If you don’t, you’ll just end up with hair that is even drier, more dehydrated, and frizzier.
Letting your hair build up natural oils will help it recover, as these nourish the hair from root to tip.
What To Wash Hair With After Bleaching
1. Wash Hair With Cool Water
You should avoid washing bleached hair with hot water.
This is because hot water opens the cuticles of the hair, which will make your hair lose more moisture. This is the last thing you want with bleached hair!
So, for that reason, it’s best to wash bleached hair with cool water, to avoid opening the cuticle too much and to keep your hair looking shinier and healthier.
2. Use A Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Regular shampoos are harsh on the hair and can strip it of moisture. This is especially true if your hair is bleached.
Using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners will help to preserve your hair’s moisture and protect your hair from brassiness.
Most ‘color-safe’ shampoos are free of sulfates and have a balanced pH to keep the hair’s cuticles closed.
Another good alternative is to co-wash your hair with a conditioner.
3. Dry Hair With A Microfiber Towel
Regular towels can be harsh on bleached hair, making it more static, dry, and frizzy. Microfiber towels are gentle and super-absorbent.
After your shower, gently squeeze out your hair and pat with the towel. Avoid rubbing your hair as this can cause split ends, frizz, and breakage.
4. Apply A Leave-In Conditioner
Using a leave-in conditioner on bleached hair is a great idea, as it will help to provide your hair with much-needed moisture. It can also help protect against heat styling.
After shampooing and conditioning your hair, apply a leave-in to your damp hair and gently comb through with a wide-toothed comb to evenly disperse it.
You can use a leave-in every time you wash your hair if you like, or every other time if this feels like too much.
How Often Should I Wash Hair After Bleaching?
Because bleaching is so harsh on the hair, it’s best not to over-wash your hair, as this leads to further dryness and damage.
It’s best to space out washes every three to four days or so. If you have natural hair, you can even wash it every two weeks or so.
Learn how to style your hair in braids and ponytails to keep it looking stylish.
Make Dry Shampoo Your Best Friend
You can use dry shampoo between washes to keep your hair looking fresh. Simply spray onto your roots, leave for a few minutes, and then brush through to disperse it.
This will absorb any excess oil that has built up at the roots.
A great tip is to apply dry shampoo at night before bed. This will absorb excess oil as you sleep, so you wake up with fresh hair.
Other Tips To Look After Bleached Hair
Use A Deep Conditioner
It’s a good idea to regularly use a deep conditioner on bleached hair, to help restore the moisture bleaching has taken out.
You can use a hair mask once or twice a week, or even every time you wash your hair if you need it.
You can buy hair masks from a store, or you can make your own, using ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, honey, and yogurt.
It’s also a good idea to alternate between a protein and a moisture mask, to help restore your hair’s strength after bleaching.
After a few months, you can then continue on with just the moisture mask.
Avoid Excessive Heat Styling
It’s best to avoid heat styling the hair for at least a week after you first bleach it.
Even after then, it’s best to keep heat styling to a minimum, as it can dry the hair out and also dull the color and shine of your hair.
If you do use hot styling tools, try to only use them every few days and use a heat protectant spray.
It’s best to air dry bleached hair. You can apply an anti-frizz cream to keep it looking smooth as it dries.
Get Regular Trims
Bleaching can lead to dry hair which means more split ends. So get your hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks, or even more often if your ends are very brittle.
Even if you want to grow your hair out, you should still get ½ inch trimmed off your ends every six at a minimum to keep them looking healthy.
Use A Bond Builder
Ask your stylist to use a bond builder like Olaplex during the color process.
No.1 and No.2 are used in-salon and can help protect your hair against damage and breakage during the coloring process.
You can take a bottle of No.3 home with you to use every week or two. Using a bond builder repairs your hair from the inside and dramatically improves strength and elasticity.
Use A Shower Filter
If you live in an area with hard water, it will take its toll on your bleached hair over time, and can contribute to drying your hair out and causing brassiness and frizz.
A shower filter can remove heavy metals and chlorine, and keep your blonde hair looking brighter for longer.
Only Touch Up Your Roots
When your dark roots start to show, just touch up the roots rather than bleaching your entire head again.
This will reduce damage to your entire head of hair. You can touch up your hair every 4-6 weeks, at home or get it done professionally at a salon.
Protect Your Hair From The Elements
Wear a hat or sunscreen to protect your bleached hair from the sun, as sun exposure can make it brassy.
Cover your hair when you go swimming as the chlorine in pools can dry out your hair and make it look brassy.
Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase
Cotton pillowcases can be drying for the hair and cause frizz. After bleaching your hair, invest in a silk pillowcase to reduce friction and frizz on your hair.
Also avoid going to bed with wet hair, as this is when hair is at its weakest. This will reduce the chance of further damage and breakage.
Don’t Wear Tight Ponytails
Pulling a ponytail too tight can cause breakage around the hairline, and weaken the section of hair secured with the tie. So wear loose ponytails and avoid wearing them to bed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
You should wait 48-72 hours to wash your hair after bleaching it, and this applies to purple shampoo too Purple shampoo is designed to help maintain your blonde hair color and neutralize brassiness. If you want to fix yellow tones in freshly bleached hair, toner is your best bet. Purple shampoo can then be used once a week for maintenance.
You should only tone your hair once right after bleaching it. Once should be enough, and also remember that your hair has already been damaged by bleach. Adding more unnecessary chemicals will only add to the damage. You can then refresh your color with a toner after every further 6-8 weeks.
It’s possible to dye your hair after bleaching it the same day, but we strongly recommend you don’t. It’s best to give your hair a break after bleaching to help your hair recover. If you’re not happy with your color after bleaching, a toner may be all you need to correct it.
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.
Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she’s always happy to recommend you her favorites.