Should I Cut My Hair Before or After Bleaching for Best Results?

damaged ends

  • It’s always better to cut your hair after bleaching it if possible.
  • Bleaching your hair is an aggressive chemical process, and even if you leave it to a professional, it will still affect your hair. If you cut or trim your hair after bleaching it, you’ll be able to get rid of the damaged parts of your hair and it will look better.
  • Now, if you’re planning to bleach your hair as part of getting highlights or a balayage, that’s a different story. In that case, it’s better to cut your hair before you bleach it. I’ll tell you why in a moment.


Do you want to know how many of the women that come to my salon come to bleach their hair?


80% of them. Yep, you read that right!

 I bleach 80% of the different heads of hair I see in my salon,  whether their owner wants a drastic color change or because they want to get a sought-after balayage.


But, even though it’s one of the treatments I do most often, it’s always a good idea for my clients to keep a few basic ideas in mind. Like how often they need to trim their hair to keep it healthy and when they should do it, before or after the bleach.

I’m going to give you two examples.

Caitlyn came to my salon looking to go from light brown hair to an almost platinum color. The thing was, we were dealing with two problems: One, her hair was very damaged. And two, I can’t bleach damaged hair.

What did we do in her case?


 First, I made her undergo one month of deep hydration treatments for her hair to prepare it for the chemical process. Once it was sufficiently restored, we bleached her hair.   And after we did that, I trimmed her ends.


But, Lily came to my salon looking to get a few beautiful highlights in her incredible waves. So, in Lily’s case, I cut a few inches off the end of her hair first.

Why do you think that in Caitlyn’s case I cut her hair after bleaching it, while in Lily’s case, I did it beforehand?


Have you guessed why?

If so, stick around because I’ll reveal the answer, and I’ll tell you:

  • Why it’s better to cut your hair after bleaching it
  • How to take care of your hair after bleaching it

Get your scissors ready or risk ruining your hair! You decide!


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Why it’s better to cut your hair after bleaching it

with scissors

Do you know what exactly bleaching your hair involves?


It’s a chemical process in which you actually extract the natural pigment from your hair in order to lighten it.

During the process, you utilize products that contain an alkaline solution, which in turn lightens your hair. How?


By altering the cuticle, which is the external layer of your hair. It opens so the bleach is able to get inside and carry out the reaction in each strand of hair.

That means that the peroxide goes as deep as it can into your hair and lightens those natural pigments.

What happens to your hair after bleaching it?


 Of course, no matter how many precautions you take, your hair will end up damaged because part of your hair’s natural moisture evaporates with the chemicals. And it’s likely that your ends will take the brunt of the damage.  

So, would it have make sense to cut Caitlyn’s hair before I bleached it?


Of course not!

First, because even if I trimmed her ends before bleaching her hair, the hair that remained would still be damaged. So, I’d have to cut her hair again afterward.

Nobody wants to sacrifice a few inches off the end of their hair for nothing, right?


And now you’re probably asking yourself why I decided to cut Lily’s hair before bleaching it.

The explanation is simple.


 When it comes to balayage or highlights, you should always cut your hair before you bleach it, because if you do it afterward, you’d be eliminating some of your beautiful new highlights or balayaged hair. 

And that means wasting time and money.


Now that you know when it makes sense to cut your hair before and after bleaching it, I’ve kept my promise. But, I’ll also tell you how to take care of your hair after bleaching it.


How to take care of your hair after bleaching it

If you want to have bright hair with depth and shine after bleaching it, you need to do a few things in addition to always keeping your ends trimmed.


  • Choose shampoo and conditioner made for dyed hair.

If you never paid any mind to the sticker on your shampoo or conditioner bottles that lists the ingredients they’re made with, now’s the time to do it. If you see the words “sulfate,” “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate” or “Sodium Laureth Sulfate” on a product, you can go ahead and put it right back on the shelf.


 Because sulfates dry out your hair, and if you’ve dyed your hair after bleaching it, they’ll also make the pigments in your hair fade quicker. 

Look for shampoos made for dyed or fragile hair, and that are sulfate-free.


  • Use a toning shampoo.

It’s very probable that after bleaching your hair, your hair colorist used a toner on it to neutralize unwanted tones.

When you get some yellowish or orange tones in your hair, it’s a good idea to use a toning shampoo, which will eliminate those kinds of tones from your hair and prolong the life of your color.


  • Use cream baths or masks once or twice a week.

This is key. Even if you’ve cut off your damaged ends after bleaching your hair, it’s very important that you keep nurturing your hair. Don’t forget that it suffered during the bleach process and you need to care for it accordingly.


  • Limit your usage of heated styling tools.

Hair straighteners and curlers are wonderful allies for getting amazing ‘dos, but if you abuse the tools, all you’ll end up doing is drying out your hair and damaging your ends.

And you don’t want to have to cut your hair again, do you?


  • Get your ends trimmed every 2-3 months.

Trimming your ends is one of the best ways to keep bleached hair heathy. What is an inch or two every few months? The difference in length won’t be so noticeable but your hair’s improved health will be.



  • As a general rule, it’s best to cut your hair after bleaching it. Since bleaching is an aggressive chemical progress, your hair fiber tends to be weakened and damaged by it.
  • When you get rid of the damaged ends in your bleached hair, it will look healthier and feel stronger.
  • You should only cut your hair before bleaching it if you’re bleaching it to get highlights or a balayage, since if you do it before, you’ll avoid having to cut off large areas that you spent time and money to bleach.


And remember that having bleached hair means more commitment to caring for it on your part.

And now, tell me: Will you cut your hair before or after bleaching it? Why?

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