Bleaching your hair is probably the fastest, most effective way to lighten your hair. It’s the key to getting a gorgeous balayage or getting a bold, platinum blonde hue like stars on the red carpet.
The only downside to sporting lighter locks post-bleaching is the damage that comes with the territory.
Sure, you’ll have that color you’ve always dreamt of, but there’s a big chance you’ll be left with dry, lifeless, damaged hair. It’s something that is common after hair bleaching.
The good news is that there are ways to repair your hair and nurse it back to health.
You need to pamper and give your hair some extra love and attention.
If you have been wondering how to make bleached hair soft and silky, this piece will give you pointers on what you need to do.
Why Does Bleached Hair Feel Dry And Rough?
Bleaching is a very common chemical process in hair salons.
You can’t get an even, consistent, light hair color unless you bleach your hair first.
It’s the key to stripping your hair of your natural pigments to go up a shade or two.
But why does it deal a lot of damage to the hair?
Bleach is usually mixed with harsh ingredients such as peroxide to activate it.
This, coupled with bleach’s alkaline and stripping properties, force your hair cuticles open to let the melanin (aka your hair color pigments) spill out, leaving your strands lighter in shade.
Effects Of Bleaching
The bleaching chemicals will break down the proteins that make your hair strong and healthy, leaving it weak and fragile instead.
It also dissolves all the important oils, fatty acids, and fibers that fortify your hair and leave it naturally moisturized, which is extremely bad in the long run.
That’s why you’ll notice that right after bleaching your hair, it will start feeling dry and rough.
There will rarely be any softness and elasticity left to your strands, so they’ll literally feel like “dead” hair.
At this point, your hair is more porous – a major sign that your locks have been damaged by bleach.
Porous hair means there are lots of tiny gaps and holes in your hair cuticle.
This means it’s difficult to moisturize your hair since the hydration will just leak out of it.
Another effect of bleaching damage is hair breakage.
Since your hair is brittle and has zero elasticity, it doesn’t have the power to bounce back into shape after a little tension.
That means something as simple as pulling your hair tie out of a ponytail could lead to your strands snapping off.
Other side effects of damaged hair due to bleaching can be dull hair with absolutely no shine.
Bleached hair is also prone to tangles.
This is because the gaps in the hair fiber make it easy for your locks to snag onto each other and create stubborn knots.
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How To Make Bleached Hair Soft And Silky
The key to smooth, soft hair is strength and moisture.
Because bleaching your hair leaves your cuticles wide open, it’s likely that water will seep out of your hair instead of staying locked in to keep your strands hydrated.
The effect is constant dehydration that’s difficult to remedy, especially when you don’t use ultra-moisturizing products.
That’s why you have to be dedicated enough to repair the bleaching damage with nourishing and strengthening products.
Hydration is key for getting your hair back in shape, while strength-building ingredients help make your hair more resilient to any future damage.
Some look to humectants like aloe vera and honey to hydrate the hair and add shine.
Others with thick and super porous locks, on the other hand, are huge fans of oils like jojoba, coconut, sunflower, and argan oils.
These oils seal the hydration in your cuticles, allowing them to retain more moisture.
Here are seven ways to soften and condition your hair after bleaching it.
Some focus on relieving the hair of tension and stress, while others are all about moisturization.
Moisturize your strands before doing root touch-ups
When it’s time for you to do root touch-ups, you must moisturize your hair beforehand.
That means doing a deep conditioning mask a few days before your appointment at the salon.
This will prepare your hair for treatment, protecting it from impending damage.
If you’re doing your touch-ups at home, try coating your hair in your favorite oil before bleaching.
Coconut oil will be great for this.
Not only does it help to moisturize brittle hair, it also acts as a protectant against bleach when it comes into contact with your strands.
I know that you’re thinking: “Won’t that block the bleach from working on my hair?”
But on the contrary, bleach will still work even when your locks are coated in oil.
It’s a terrific way to soften the blow of bleaching damage while hydrating your hair and adding more shine to it.
Slathering your hair in coconut oil will also prevent your scalp from burning or itching during your bleaching session.
Related Post: How To Touch Up Roots On Bleached Hair At Home
Switch to gentle, sulfate-free shampoos with hydrating ingredients
As mentioned before, bleach strips your hair of the much-needed natural oils that keep it moisturized.
The same exact thing happens when you over-shampoo your hair.
Harsh shampoos can be very drying, especially when you use them daily.
So if you can, try to space out your hair wash days so you don’t end up with parched strands.
It’s bad for all hair types, but it’s an absolute nightmare when it happens to bleached hair because it just aggravates the existing damage.
Aim for about two or three washes a week.
Or you could simply wait until your hair gets too greasy and sweaty before jumping into the shower.
This gives your hair a chance to be moisturized by the natural sebum emitted by your scalp.
And when you do wash your hair, make sure you use a sulfate-free shampoo.
Sulfates are known to be the harshest of surfactants that can dehydrate weak hair.
Plus, they can strip your hair of the dye, gloss, and toner your stylist might have put in your locks after bleaching your hair.
Instead, look for sulfate- and silicone-free shampoos and conditioners, preferably ones that are designed specifically for chemically treated hair.
Keep an eye out for hydrating ingredients like glycerin, coconut oil, shea butter, and more.
Related Post: Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Permed Hair
Build up your hair bonds with a protein treatment
Your hair is made up of proteins called keratin.
It’s the part of your hair that makes it strong and gives it structure.
When you bleach your hair, those protein bonds get broken down and destroyed.
This leaves your hair feeling rough and prone to breakage.
One of the best ways to restore not just silky softness but also strength to your locks is to use a protein treatment in place of your deep conditioner.
The proteins will fill in the gaps and voids in your hair cuticles that make them weak.
That way, your strands get a temporary boost in resilience and thickness.
The SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Treatment is a protein-rich mask that is both strengthening and extremely nourishing.
It’s formulated with thick and creamy shea butter and reparative proteins from yogurt to build up your damaged hair again.
This helps prevent breakage and hair loss while your hair is still recuperating from the damage of bleach.
The formula also includes manuka honey for added hydration and shine.
Meanwhile, mafura oil helps to soften your locks, bringing them back to their healthy state.
On a tight budget?
Protein treatments need not be expensive.
In fact, you can make it in the comfort of your own home.
One excellent, protein-rich DIY hair mask is the combo of yogurt, honey, and one egg yolk.
Mix them all up and give your hair a reparative hair mask with the concoction as a pre-poo.
Deep condition at least once a week
When it comes to moisturizing your bleached hair in the shower, sometimes regular conditioner isn’t enough.
Your damaged locks need something even more nourishing.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to do a deep conditioning mask every week.
Make deep conditioning a weekly habit – something to cap off a long week or a spa-like treatment you give yourself during the weekend.
Your hair will immediately feel rejuvenated and moisturized afterward.
A terrific hair mask to try out is the tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Deep Conditioner.
It’s infused with olive oil and raw honey to hydrate the hair and seal in all that goodness in your cuticles.
Plus, it has jojoba oil and vitamins A, D, and E to strengthen the hair and boost its elasticity and bounce.
The natural ingredients in this deep conditioner don’t just restore the health of your processed hair.
They also work to soothe and calm down your scalp when it’s feeling flaky and itchy.
This deep conditioner is also perfect for frizz control because of its hydrating, smoothing ingredients.
It reduces flyaways and tames unruly hair, making your mane look sleek and feel soft to the touch.
Use a leave-in conditioner every day
If you shouldn’t wash your hair every day, how can you condition and hydrate it?
Simple: leave-in conditioner.
Leave-in formulas are a quick and easy way to replenish your hair with the moisture it is craving.
There’s a wide range of them available, from lotion-like creams to spray-on serums.
The OUAI Leave-In Conditioner is one of my favorites for bleached, damaged hair.
It’s a multi-use mist that protects your hair against heat, tames frizz and flyaways, detangles unruly locks, and adds shine to your mane.
It’s also free from sulfates and parabens, so it’s super safe on chemically-treated hair!
The conditioner is made with OUAI’s unique amino acid blend to help fortify lifeless strands.
It also contains tamarind seed extracts, panthenol, and vitamin E to smooth down the hair and add a bit of gloss.
Related Post: Best Leave-In Conditioner For High Porosity Hair
Seal all your hydrating hair products with a finishing oil
After you bleach your hair, you will likely have high porosity levels.
This means that there are holes and “pores” on your hair fibers, making it easy for moisture to escape from your hair and turn it dry.
Therefore, your hair needs all the help it can get to seal all that hydrating goodness in.
Hair oils can do the trick.
They have emollient properties that fill in the gaps in your hair cuticles, sealing them so that no moisture leaks out.
Oils that penetrate the hair are best for this, like coconut and argan oil.
They can nourish your hair deeply while still smoothing down your cuticles.
All you have to do is take a few drops of your oil of choice into your hands and apply them to your hair after styling.
Focus the application to the ends of your hair, which is likely the driest area and needs extra hydration.
Stay away from hot tools
Heat can aggravate the damage your hair is already going through.
When your hair comes into contact with your flat iron, the moisture inside it is vaporized.
Sometimes, this can burn the hair and destroy your cortex, making the hair weaker and even more dehydrated.
That said, it may be a good idea to lay low on the heat styling while you’re trying to recover from your last bleaching session.
Instead, embrace your natural texture by letting your hair air-dry and wearing it down for a few weeks after you bleach it.
If you really do have to iron out or curl your hair with heat for an event or photoshoot, always use a heat protectant first.
Recommended Post: Best Heat Protectant For Bleached Hair
It can be discouraging to find that your hair feels rough and brittle after you bleach it.
Don’t stress yourself wondering how to make bleached hair soft and silky.
There are a number of ways to care for your hair so that you can restore its shine, softness, and adequate hydration levels.
Just remember that moisture and strength are key when healing bleached hair, and that excess tension, heat, and stress are the enemy.
As long as you put in the effort and energy to nourish your hair, it’ll be in great condition again before you know it.
So next time you bleach your hair, make sure you do the steps above to ensure that you’re still being good to your locks even after the harsh chemical procedure.
That way, you can enjoy your gorgeously bright new color while still maintaining that silky smoothness.