- If your hair feels like straw after bleaching, it’s obviously ruined by the process. However, with patience and a few miracle products, you can restore it to health.
- If you exposed your hair to a chemical process such as perming or coloring before bleaching, it’ll be weak and won’t resist the bleach in the same way that virgin hair does.
- Also, higher volumes of peroxide and long exposure to the bleach can turn your bleached rough and straw-like.
As a professional hairstylist, I made a decision some time ago: to speak out about caution.
Why speak out?
Because I think I’ll sleep a lot better and see fewer tears the day people understand that bleaching is a very aggressive chemical process. It should only be done by professionals.
I know what you’re thinking. If bleaching is such an aggressive process that leaves your hair looking like straw, why are the ingredients sold over-the-counter?
For the same reason cigarettes are sold even though they contain carcinogenic ingredients. And that reason has a first and last name: vested interests.
As a hairdresser, I can’t start a campaign against the sale of products but I can help make people aware of the risks of bleaching without the necessary skills and care.
If your hair feels like straw after bleaching, don’t take it lightly. Try to understand what happened during the process.
Then, you can begin your recovery process.
However, one thing should be clear to you: if your hair is straw-like, it’s definitely crying out for help. And you shouldn’t ignore it.
I’m sure you won’t. So, let’s start at the beginning.
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What happened during bleaching that made your hair feel like straw now
Even if bleaching is done by a professional stylist, it’s one of the most aggressive jobs in salons.
And to make it easier for you to understand, I’ll try to illustrate the situation as simply as possible.
I invite you to imagine each hair as a tube lined with scales like those of a fish. These scales would be the cuticles of the hair.
The inside of the tube is full of little balls, which are the pigments responsible for the color.
When you bleach your hair, the peroxide opens the cuticles, and the bleach removes those little balls. Then, the tube is ready to absorb the color of the hair dye.
Once you put the hair dye in, the tube fills up again with balls, and the cuticles close.
So far, it seems like a simple process. It looks as if it were a magic act where the magician pulls a rabbit out of the rabbit hole. However, it is not that simple.
- If you use high volumes of peroxide during bleaching, your hair will end up dry, coarse, and brittle.
The volume of peroxide defines whether the bleaching will be softer or more aggressive.
Also, the “aggressiveness” depends on the color you want to reach and the hair health before starting the bleaching process.
Therefore, if you use a 40-volume peroxide, your hair will not only end up straw-like, it’ll also burn.
In that case, you’ll have to remove all the burned hair by trimming it.
Therefore, it’s always advisable to perform two bleaching processes with a low volume peroxide rather than one bleaching session with a 30 or 40-volume peroxide.
You should always use a 20-volume peroxide to avoid damaging the hair to the point of breakage.
There’s one more thing you need to keep in mind when bleaching.
- If your hair was dyed or permed before bleaching, it’ll most likely end up with a straw-like texture.
Virgin hair is more resistant than colored, permed, or bleached hair. What’s more, dark-colored hair will be harder to bleach and more prone to heavy damage.
On the other hand, the damage will be less if you bleach some sections of your hair for highlights or a balayage than if you bleach your whole hair.The more bleached hair, the more dry and straw-like hair.
Finally, something very important.
- Bleached hair loses pigments easily. It contributes to it becoming dehydrated and feeling rougher to the touch.
This happens because the artificial pigments that you applied after bleaching fade with washes.
Do you remember the example of the tube full of little balls and covered with scales?
Once the bleach removes the balls (natural pigments from your hair), the pigments of the hair dye you apply will fill the tube again and give the hair its new color.
With time, washing, and other factors, the cuticles open, and the pigments of the hair dye fade, leaving the tube empty again.
That’s precisely the moment when you start the “straw-like” effect. As the cuticles are damaged and open, the hair begins to dehydrate and lose nutrition.
Therefore, it’s more difficult to comb and detangle.
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- If you abuse heat tools, your hair will end up dehydrated and straw-like.
The indiscriminate use of hairdryers and irons produces dehydration and straw-like hair.
It loses its natural elasticity and begins to have a well-known gummy texture.
Well, we’ve come this far, and you probably already know why your hair is dehydrated, dry, and strawy after bleaching. However, I don’t want to leave you with the feeling that I am leaving you alone.
It’s time to answer the call for help.
How to improve straw-like hair after bleaching
PLEX. A little word that hides a universe of “almost” miraculous products. You can use them to restore hydration to your bleached hair.
You probably know these products by their name rather than their function. Olaplex, Smartbond, Brazilian Bond Builder, and Fibreplex are some of these products that help rebuild molecular bonds after bleaching.
Some are for professional use. However, they designed different steps for the treatment to be done at home.
So if your hair is straw-like after bleaching, I wouldn’t think twice and ask the salon for an appointment to apply the professional step of any of these products.
You’ll notice a before and after in your hair in a single session.
If you don’t have time or money to go to the salon, you shouldn’t stop. Remember, you owe your hair hydration.
- If your hair is thick and strong, the bleaching probably didn’t ruin it. In that case, you can use argan or linen ampoules once a week.
- If you have medium-thickness hair, you’ll need stronger nutrition. So, opt for nourishing masks, protein mix, or cream moisturizers.
- If your hair is fine to very fine, you’ll need intense treatments, such as intensive masks, cuticle sealing, hair botox, or keratin treatments. Anything that helps restore and recover your hair will be more than welcome.
Unless you use a product like Olaplex during bleaching, your hair will most likely become dehydrated, straw-like, and dry.
However, you can always work on its recovery using hair products that nourish it and restore lost hydration. They seal the cuticles to end that ugly straw-like appearance.