One thing I’ve noticed ever since bleaching my hair and getting it dyed all kinds of crazy colours, is how strangers of all-ages strike up a conversation with me more often. Often, it’s a proclamation of, “I really love your hair!” or “Your hair colour is really nice!” This is then followed with a barrage of questions, like “What colour is your hair and how do I get mine to look like yours? How is your hair still so healthy? Is it tough maintaining bleached locks?”
It would be remiss of me to not write this story and share the wealth of information I’ve gleaned over the one year and some of not sporting the hair colour I was born with. Firstly, know that bleaching your hair will inadvertently change your hair texture. For me, it made my hair more voluminous – especially great if you tend to have bone-straight locks that doesn’t hold styles well. I’ve also taken on the luxurious, yet necessary habit of sleeping on a silk pillowcase (a silk scarf will suffice in a pinch!) to protect my strands from being tangled up and only use a Tangle Teezer to detangle. There will also be some damage, #NoLie, but with preparation and patience, unnecessary damage can be avoided. So if you’ve been waiting all this while to join the bleach brigade (but haven’t for the lack of information!), here’s hoping this will spur you on.
Prepare and Protect
I have coarse hair – the best hair type for bleaching – according to my mane man Jason from Picasso Hair Studio. Because it’s thicker, coarse hair can withstand more chemical processing (be it bleach, heat, or perming) before breaking. Even so, I prep my hair with Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 leading up to my bleaching sessions. Every Sunday morning, I dampen hair and comb globs of the creamy product through my locks. Then my hair goes up in a bun and stays that way until I shampoo at night. The longer you leave it on to work, the better. What it does is rebuild broken hair by reconnecting broken disulfide bonds (chains that give hair its elasticity and strength). I swear it makes my tresses feel softer and smoother than they were pre-bleach – it’s magical.
Find an Experienced Stylist
Not just any experienced stylist but one who’s experienced with bleached hair and has a fat portfolio full of clients with unnaturally coloured locks. Bleaching is a science, and dye application is an art. I say this because the last thing you want is entrusting your crowning glory in the hands of someone, who’s not spent enough time bent over painstakingly applying bleach and foil to sectioned parts of your hair. Don’t be that person in the “Expectation VS Reality” meme. Trust me, it’s no use crying over spilt milk, or broken hair in this instance.
Request for Damage Control
You’ve found your stylist, now make sure they offer Olaplex – or an alternative bond protecting treatment – as a service. If you’ve been taking notes, I mentioned using Olaplex No. 3: Hair Perfector above. What I haven’t covered is that Olaplex is a three-part process. The first step, No. 1: Bond Multiplier is mixed into the dye/bleach to prevent as much breakage as possible during the process. After the colour is rinsed off, No. 2: Bond Perfector goes on to seal the cuticles for a more lasting effect. A quick search of #olaplexsg on Instagram is the best way to find the one. IMO, finding the right hairstylist who knows, and can work with your hair is the equivalent of finding a life partner. Plus point: You’ll be able to check out their finished work before you decide to book yourself an appointment.
Take Your Time
Want less damage and breakage? Who doesn’t! Jason says its best to split up your bleaching sessions. Two to three days in between each session is a good gauge. Take it from me, I’ve done three rounds of bleaching in one night, and I noticed significantly less breakage when I went for three different bleaching sessions instead. Going holographic requires your hair to be light blonde, and when going light the old saying – patience is a virtue – holds true.
Maintain and Enhance
You’ve spent a pretty penny to get Instagram-worthy hair; here are Jason’s tips on how to get more bang for your buck and make the colour last.
- Ask for a more intense dye application even if you want pastel locks. The colour will fade with washes, so you’ll achieve a lighter shade in due time.
- Don’t wash your hair so often. Bleached hair doesn’t get greasy as quickly, so you can afford to wait longer between washes. To keep your hair feeling fresh, pick up a dry shampoo. We like Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk and Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo
- Switch to a damage-repair shampoos and conditioners (bonus points if they’re sulfate-free!) so to nourish weakened hair and prevent further damage. Try Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Cleanse & Nourish, Kevin Murphy’s Re.store, Phytokeratine Extreme Shampoo, Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon, and Kerastase Resistance Soin Premier Therapiste
- Alternate with a purple shampoo and conditioners like Pravana The Perfect Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo and Conditioner, Original & Mineral Conquer Blonde Silver Shampoo and Conditioner or Rahua Color Full Shampoo and Conditioner to neutralize brassy tones
- Avoid swimming in the sea or in the pool. If you must, apply a leave-in treatment like Kerastase Reflection Fluid Chromatique and wear a swimming cap to protect your hair
- Set aside your favourite clarifying treatment for now (see you later Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt!) – it’s like using dishwashing liquid to wash your hair
- Always dry hair immediately after washing as bleached hair is most fragile and prone to breakage when wet
- Apply a leave-in heat protectant before styling. We love Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique; it smooths frizz and adds shine or the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protecting Oil which hydrates without weighing hair down while protecting tresses from damaging UV rays