If there’s one thing everyone in the hair-care space can agree on, it’s the bleaching is just one of the harshest processes out there. Though it's pretty lot the only way to acquire that dramatic dark-to-light shade change, bleach can cause serious damage, especially on textured hair. We consulted the pros to uncover out specifically how bleach works, its results on the hair, scalp, and skin, and how to protect your curl after lightening up.

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What go bleach do, anyway?

It’s straightforward to forget simply how strong chemical bleach is when you're sitting in her colorist’s chair or buying a box of dye from the drugstore. However, that doesn’t advantage anyone to ignore the fact that bleach is very toxic. Bleach flour is typically made that a hold of reactants, including peroxygenated ammonium, and sodium or potassium salts consisting that persulfates, perborates, and percarbonates. These compounds are mixed with liquid hydrogen peroxide to create bleach.


“When this composition is applied to hair, high concentrations of oxygen pass through deep right into the hair’s cortex and failure the melanin or natural color pigmentation. Together the melanin granules space degraded, the hair becomes lighter in color,” explains Joseph Cincotta, a cosmetics chemist because that Federici brand (parent firm of shade Wow and Time Bomb). “Oxidation decolorizes the colours in her hair shaft, i beg your pardon is why bleach will turn your hair nearly white if it’s left top top for too long,” defines Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist in ~ Phillip Kingsley. This is additionally why highly processed hair regularly has a yellow tint; keratin (the protein our hair is make of) is naturally a pale yellow.


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BROOKLYN, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Solange poses backstage at Glamour's 2017 ladies of The Year Awards at queens Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Brooklyn, new York. (Photo through Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty pictures for Glamour)Dimitrios Kambouris
Keratin is held in addition to disulfide (or cysteine) bonds, which give hair its strength and elasticity. In bespeak to produce enough oxygen for oxidation to occur and also effectively lighten the hair, caused bleach must have a high pH, which, together Cincotta point out out, is in the 9.5 to 11.5 range. “When these disulfide bonds are exposed come the high pH level of energetic bleaching compositions, they deserve to break. So, the unavoidable negative repercussion of lightening hair is the your strands end up being weaker and also less resilient,” the says. The reaction that occurs in between oxygen and also the hair binding is at the crux that all damages caused through bleaching.


The harsh reality is the the an ext frequently you bleach, the much more bonds room broken, which has an result on the appearance of your hair. “While all bleaches have actually a damaging effect on your hair’s protein structure, this is intensified every time the procedure is undertaken,” describes Kingsley. For this reason those three-month source touch-ups room actually working versus you. For a intuitive you never asked for, think of bleaching hair together swollen. The porousness or swelling that occurs from exposing hair to bleach makes it much more vulnerable through every kind of styling, native blowouts to perms.


The effects of bleaching room not restricted to the hair follicles, however, as the scalp, face, and neck room all normally exposed come bleach during any kind of color service. “The high concentration the H2O2 and alkalizers in countless bleaching assets can cause blisters and burns ~ above the skin,” states dermatologist Michelle Henry. No only can this it is in all-around painful, it can additionally lead to momentary or irreversible hair loss and also scarring that the scalp. Though this sounds choose a nightmare scenario, it’s actually an ext common than you think. “Studies show that many hair stylists view transient scalp redness, also after routine bleaching treatments,” she notes.


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CHELMSFORD, ENGLAND - respectable 18: (EDITORIAL usage ONLY) Singer Rita Ora performs live ~ above stage throughout day 2 of RiZE Festival at Hylands Park on august 18, 2018 in Chelmsford, England. (Photo through Simone Joyner/Getty Images)Simone Joyner
Not only deserve to bleach chin aggravate the skin, the ingredients provided in hair dye along with bleach may also produce a an adverse reaction, explains dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, cofounder and medical director of Facile dermatology + Boutique. “Even if the dyes don't come in call directly v the scalp, areas that the dyed hair touch, most typically the ears and neck, can construct a rashes 24 to 48 hrs after the treatment,” she adds. Come avoid any kind of potential disasters, be certain to have your stylist execute a patch check to make sure you can tolerate the formulas they’re using.

How to safeguard your curls indigenous the bleaching process

If you decide that lightening is precious it, prepare your hair prior to bleaching and make one extra effort afterwards. Kingsley recommends using the Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer, a pre-shampoo deep-conditioning treatment, 3 days prior to (and after) lightening. She also suggests a everyday treatment favor Daily damage Defense to help protect hair of all types from the elements.

Another means to protect versus the damaging effects of bleach is to make sure your stylist is mixing a link builder into your lightening formula. Colorist Johnny Ramirez swears through the brand-new Redken flash Lift Bonder Inside, i m sorry he provides to defend his clients' hair, coupled through a prescribed DIY regimen. “At-home hair care is vital to maintaining the wellness of your hair,” he says. “Using a shampoo and conditioner choose Redken shade Extend Blondage will assist tone hair and also remove brassiness while also strengthening strands in in between salon services.” (Ramirez is additionally a Redken ambassador.)

Some rules for curly/kinky hair


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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11:(EDITORIAL usage ONLY) Shakira performs throughout the 'El Dorado people Tour at The O2 Arena top top June 11, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Brian Rasic/WireImage)Brian Rasic
Although everyone can advantage from these treatments, folks v textured hair must go the extra mile as soon as caring because that bleached strands. This is because curly hair — even without gift bleached — is drier and more fragile than straight hair, largely since of the form of the strand. “Dryness happens because as curls get an ext tightly coiled and crimped in shape, the hair is unable to wick sebum (secreted by the sebaceous glands in the follicle) quickly (or evenly) under the hair shaft from source to tip,” describes Cincotta.

And it's not simply the strand that is shaped differently with curly hair it's the follicle together well, one more factor the contributes to its fragility. “The follicles the curly hair are not round yet fall on a spectrum from oval come elliptical in shape,” Cincotta continues. “This reasons the hair, as it increase from the follicle, come twist and also curl. In tight, curly hair, each of these twist points becomes a weak connect and very susceptible to breakage. When the hair is additional weakened through bleaching, this twist points can break easily from wicker or brushing,” that adds.

To safeguard textured hair special, Cincotta proposal a sulfate-free shampoo, like shade Wow shade Security Shampoo, which consists of no silicones, waxes, thickening/styling polymers or any type of other ingredients the can develop up in the hair (which is one of the main reasons of hair loss). Because that those through a tighter curl, that suggests applying a leave-in therapy to strengthen damaged protein de defiders bonds, counteracting breakage. He recommends color Wow Kale Cocktail, i m sorry is do from blue sea kale (a natural resource of sulfur, the primary element that renders up de defiders bonds).


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JOHANNESBURG, southern AFRICA - DECEMBER 02: Beyonce performs during the global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in ~ FNB stadion on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, southern Africa. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty images for global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100)Kevin Mazur
To format delicate, bleached, curly hair, Cincotta advises “ styling gels formulated v stiffening materials or hard-hold polymers.” Instead, he recommends shade Wow Dream Coat because that Curly Hair for those with tight curls, noting that it’s “an right moisturizing inside wall before applying a more heavier curl-control product.”


Felicia Leatherwood, the hairstylist responsible for slaying Issa Rae top top Insecure, stresses that once you bleach her textured hair, you have to remember to “Condition, condition, condition — i can’t speak this enough,” she says. “When you have color on your hair, you need to keep that hydrated so that it doesn't dried out and break off.” Leatherwood depends on Olaplex No. 4 and No. 5 Bond maintenance Shampoo and Conditioner to rebuild hair and keep it strong post-color service.

“Overprocessing will break her hair and make it feel brittle. Store in mind that bleaching her hair can additionally alter her curl pattern,” says hairstylist Lacy Redway, who believes in focusing on repair. “Try to use treatments as soon as you have color-treated hair,” she advises. Redway (who is an ambassador for Nexxus) proposal Nexxus Keraphix, i m sorry is draft to regain strands come pre-bleach levels of strength. Save in mind that “finer hair will certainly lighten a lot quicker than coarser, special hair,” she explains. If her hair is colored or you plan on bleaching it, keep warm styling “to a minimum,” notes Redway, that incorporates assets that aid in moisture retention at any time possible, prefer Virtue Labs 6-in-1 Styler.


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PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 30: Singer Madonna is viewed on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo through Marc Piasecki/GC Images)Marc Piasecki
For those with type 2c curls, hairstylist Vernon François (he’s Lupita Nyong'o’s go-to), recommends Light weight Styling Serum because that finessing your ends and Re-Vamp moisture Spray native his very own line before getting a blowout. “Ask her stylist if her hair requirements a trim every time it’s colored, to protect against over-processing the ends,” he says.

If she bleaching type 3c hair, François suggests the Sephora repertoire Tidy: Detangling Comb, a wide-tooth comb that won’t break fragile, dyed curls, rather of a consistent brush. “Twist and also pin hair before bed, sheathe it with a silk lid overnight, and gently clearly in the morning,” the says, giving the recipe for prompt slayage. To store curls moisturized ~ bleaching, the opts for a moisturizing shampoo like the Vernon François curly Shampoo.

Type 4cs, don’t acquire it twisted: her hair is actually very fragile. “Kinky hair deserve to be dry since natural oil created at the scalp has an indirect trip to the ends,” states François, that recommends regular co-washing (in-between sulfate-free shampooing) to keep moisture levels up. He proposal his Co-Wash Shampoo and Mist Nourishing Water to lock in moisture. And again, the insists that you need to never simply haphazardly brush. Instead, “detangle with fingers or a wide-tooth comb to minimize breakage,” the says.

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If you desire to bleach textured hair, walk for it. Just take this pro advice and remember to moisturize.

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