If there’s one thing everyone within the hair-care space can agree on. It’s that bleaching curly hair is one among the harshest processes out there. Though it’s just about the sole thanks to get that dramatic dark-to-light color change. Bleach can cause serious damage, especially on textured hair. We consulted the pros to seek out out exactly how bleach works. Its effects on the hair, scalp, and skin, and the way to guard your curl after lightening up.
What does bleach do, anyway?
It’s easy to forget just how strong chemical bleach is when you’re sitting in your colorist’s chair or buying a box of dye from the pharmacy . However, it doesn’t benefit anyone to ignore the very fact that bleach is very toxic. Bleach powder is usually made from a number of reactants. This is including peroxygenated ammonium, and sodium or potassium salts consisting of persulfates, perborates, and percarbonates. These compounds are mixed with liquid peroxide to make bleach.
“When this composition is applied to hair bleaching curly hair, high concentrations of oxygen penetrate deep into the hair’s cortex and break down the melanin or natural color pigmentation. Because the melanin granules are degraded, the hair becomes lighter in color,”. Explains Joseph Cincotta, a cosmetic chemist for Federici Brands (parent company of Color Wow and Time Bomb). “Oxidation decolorizes the pigment in your hair shaft, which is why bleach will turn your hair almost white if it’s left on for too long,” explains Anabel Kingsley. A trichologist at Phillip Kingsley. this is often also why highly processed hair often features a yellow tint; keratin (the protein in hair is formed of) is of course a straw .
Keratin for bleaching curly hair
The protein in our hair, Keratin bleaching curly hair has been used to hold along side disulfide (or cysteine) bonds. This give hair its strength and elasticity. So as to make enough oxygen for oxidation to occur and effectively lighten the hair. Activated bleach must have a high pH, which, as Cincotta points out, is within the 9.5 to 11.5 range. “When these disulfide bonds are exposed to the high pH level of active bleaching compositions, they will break. So, the unavoidable negative consequence of lightening hair is that your strands become weaker and fewer resilient,” he says. The reaction that happens between oxygen. Therefore, the hair bonds is at the crux of all damage caused by bleaching.
The harsh truth is that the more frequently you bleach, the more bonds are broken. This has an impact on the looks of your hair. “While all bleaches have a harmful effect on your hair’s protein structure. This is often intensified whenever the method is undertaken,” explains Kingsley. So those three-month root touch-ups are literally working against you. For a visible you never asked for, consider bleached hair as swollen. The porousness or swelling that happens from exposing hair to bleach. This makes it more vulnerable with every sort of styling, from blowouts to perms.
Effects of Bleaching bleaching curly hair:
The effects of bleaching curly hair aren’t limited to the hair follicles. And hence because the scalp, face, and neck are all generally exposed to bleach during any color service. “The high concentration of H2O2 and alkalizers in many bleaching products can cause blisters and burns on the skin,” says dermatologist Michelle Henry. Not only can this be all-around painful, it also can cause temporary. Or even permanent hair loss and scarring of the scalp. Though this seems like a nightmare scenario, it’s actually more common than you think that . “Studies show that the majority hair stylists see transient scalp redness, even after routine bleaching treatments,” she notes.
Not only can bleach itself aggravate the skin, the ingredients utilized in hair coloring along side bleach can also produce a negative reaction. This is explained by dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, cofounder and medical director of Facile Dermatology + Boutique. “Even if the dyes don’t are available contact directly with the scalp, areas that the dyed hair touch. Most ordinarily the ears and neck, can develop a rash 24 to 48 hours after the treatment,” she adds. To avoid any potential disasters, make certain to possess your stylist do a skin test to form sure you’ll tolerate the formulas they’re using.
How to protect your curls from the bleaching process
If you opt that lightening is worthwhile , prepare your hair before bleaching curly and make an additional effort afterwards. Kingsley recommends using the Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer, a pre-shampoo deep-conditioning treatment, three days before (and after) lightening. She also suggests a daily treatment like Daily Damage Defense to assist protect hair of all kinds from the weather .
Another way to guard against the damaging effects of bleach is to form sure your stylist is mixing a bond builder into your lightening formula. Colorist Johnny Ramirez swears by the new Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside. This uses to guard his clients’ hair, including a prescribed DIY regimen. “At-home hair care is critical to maintaining the health of your hair,” he says. “Using a shampoo and conditioner like Redken Color Extend Blondage will help tone hair and take away brassiness. While also strengthening strands in between salon services.” (Ramirez is additionally a Redken ambassador.)
Also read: Top 5 DIY Heat Protectants
Some rules for curly/kinky hair – bleaching curly hair
Although everyone can enjoy these treatments, folks with textured hair got to go the additional mile when caring for bleached strands. this is often because curly hair — even without being bleached — is drier and more fragile than straight hair, largely due to the form of the strand. “Dryness happens because as curls get more tightly coiled and crimped in shape, the hair is unable to wick sebum (secreted by the sebaceous glands within the follicle) easily (or evenly) down the hair shaft from root to tip,” explains Cincotta.
And it isn’t just the strand that’s shaped differently with curly hair it is the follicle also , another factor that contributes to its fragility. “The follicles of curly hair aren’t round but fall on a spectrum from oval to elliptical in shape,” Cincotta continues. “This causes the hair, because it emerges from the follicle, to twist and curl. In tight, curly hair, each of those twist points becomes a weak link and really vulnerable to breakage. When the hair is further weakened by bleaching, these twist points can break easily from combing or brushing,” he adds.
Protecting the Texture by bleaching curly hair
To protect textured hair specifically, Cincotta recommends a sulfate-free shampoo, like Color Wow Color Security Shampoo, which contains no silicones, waxes, thickening/styling polymers or the other ingredients which will build up within the hair (which is one among the most causes of hair loss). For those with a tighter curl, he suggests applying a leave-in treatment to strengthen damaged protein disulfide bonds, counteracting breakage. He recommends Color Wow Kale Cocktail, which is formed from blue sea cole (a natural source of sulfur, the first element that creates up disulfide bonds after bleaching curly hair).
To style delicate, bleached, curly hair, Cincotta advises “[avoiding] styling gels formulated with stiffening resins or hard-hold polymers.” Instead, he recommends Color Wow Dream Coat for Curly Hair for those with tight curls, noting that it’s “an ideal moisturizing primer before applying a heavier curl-control product.”
Advice from the Experts regarding bleaching curly hair
Felicia Leatherwood, the hairstylist liable for slaying Issa Rae on Insecure, stresses that once you bleach your textured hair, you want to remember to “Condition, condition, condition — I can’t say this enough,” she says. “When you’ve got color on your hair, you’ve got to stay it hydrated in order that it doesn’t dry out and break off.” Leatherwood relies 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 your hair and make it feel brittle. confine mind that bleaching your curly hair also can alter your curl pattern,” says hairstylist Lacy Redway, who believes in that specialize in repair. “Try to use treatments once you have color-treated hair,” she advises. Redway an envoy for Nexxus) had recommended Nexxus Keraphix, which has been used to revive strands to pre-bleach levels of strength. Confine mind that “finer hair will lighten tons quicker than coarser, thick hair,” she explains. If your hair is colored otherwise you plan on bleaching it, keep heat styling “to a minimum,” notes Redway, who incorporates products that aid in moisture retention whenever possible, like Virtue Labs 6-in-1 Styler.
Different Types of Curls for bleaching curly hair
For those with type 2c curls, hairstylist Vernon François (he’s Lupita Nyong’o’s go-to), recommends Light Weight Styling Serum for finessing your ends and Re-Vamp Moisture Spray from his own line before getting a blowout. “Ask your stylist if your hair needs a trim whenever it’s colored, to avoid over-processing the ends,” he says.
If you’re bleaching curly hair type 3c hair, François suggests the Sephora Collection Tidy: Detangling Comb, a wide-tooth comb that won’t break fragile, dyed curls, rather than a daily brush. “Twist and pin hair before bed, cover it with a silk cap overnight, and gently unravel within the morning,” he says, giving the recipe for fast slayage. To stay curls moisturized after bleaching, he opts for a moisturizing shampoo just like the Vernon François Curl Shampoo.
Type 4cs, don’t catch on twisted: Your hair is really incredibly fragile for bleaching curly hair. “Kinky hair are often dry because natural oil produced at the scalp has an indirect journey to the ends,” says François. He recommends regular co-washing (in-between sulfate-free shampooing) to stay moisture levels up. He recommends his Co-Wash Shampoo and Mist Nourishing Water to lock in moisture. And again, he insists that you simply should never just haphazardly brush. Instead, “detangle with fingers or a wide-tooth comb to attenuate breakage,” he says.
Also read: serum vs plasma
If you would like to bleach textured hair, go for it. Just take this pro advice and remember to moisturize.
Expert Advice by MDC
Each curly-haired woman has a horror story about curly-hairs. It could involve going to a salon that doesn’t know how to cut and shape correctly. It could have to do with getting a bit overzealous with heat from a stylist and causing your subsequent fear of flatirons. It might even focus on someone who uses a relaxer to “tame” your curls a little bit (yes, this happens). We have problems with confidence, and rightfully so. Our hair is simultaneously high-maintenance and sensitive. With a lot of well-justified hesitation, anything that threatens our natural curl pattern, which we have spent years coddling, moisturizing, and detangling, is met.
Of course, when I recently decided that I wanted to get highlights, I experienced an unsettling mix of emotions: caution, skepticism, and extreme nervousness. I still had a deep-seated fear that something could go wrong, even with the research I’d done on how to dye curly hair, an essential step before any salon visit.
It turns out, thanks to my extensive research, that I had nothing to worry about when it comes to bleaching curly hair. My greatest tip from this experiment: Find a great colorist. Undoubtedly, that is the most significant part of the process. Seven more tips below on how to dye curly hair that will ensure you walk away with curls that are perfectly colored.
Book a consultation and explore bleach alternatives.
You should always reserve a consultation before any colour appointment and bleaching curly hair. It is useful to bring in reference pictures, then work with your colorist to see if you can duplicate those results on your type of hair. Seventy-two hours before my appointment, I went to meet with stylist and owner Tiff J at London’s 3Thirty Salon. She asked what I was looking for during our consultation and gave me more than enough time to ask all of my burning questions. Since I was shooting for a warm caramel shade and had “virgin hair” (meaning it had not been colored before), she told me that we would skip the bleach and instead choose a permanent tint. However, if I had wanted a lighter tone, it would have been necessary to bleach.
That’s not to say that bleach is not safe; when it is carefully and properly applied, you can use it on curly hair and retain your texture. Curly girls are often told that this step can ruin our texture and cut it off is the only way to save it. This is and is not true-many factors go into taking your hair from healthy to fried. For example, if your hair has a lot of elasticity to it and you’ve been mo
“[Some colorists] believe that bleach is needed for any dark hair that needs to be lifted more than four shades,” says Tiff. “That’s where people go wrong.” Keep in mind, however, that your colorist may need to use bleach to lift it and cleanse the cuticle if you already have color in your hair and want to go cooler or lighter.
On the Olaplex, load up.
“The invention of Olaplex has been a great saving grace for women who color their hair, both curly and otherwise, according to Tiff. “That’s our best friend,” she says. “Colors break down the natural bonds within the hair, so as much as possible reconstruction is what Olaplex does. That way you don’t feel like your texture changes so much.” She mixes the salon-grade product into the color itself, then shampoo
With Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, a leave-in treatment, you can continue keeping your hair healthy at home. Make it a regular part of your routine to ensure that your texture stays the same.
Ask for a test on a strand before bleaching curly hair
The strand test, which shows how your hair will react to the color, is another step you should ask your colorist to perform. After our consultation, Tiff placed some of the product she would use on the hair behind my ear to test for allergies. If my skin reacted in any way over the next day or two, we would explore other methods. More importantly, she wanted to check whether my hair was porous
We were good to go since I had no adverse reaction. I continued to do my typical washing routine leading up to my appointment. Tiff told me that throughout the process we would use Olaplex, so I did not need to do any additional treatments.
Try highlights in place of color allover.
“If their hair is not healthy or strong enough to handle the amount of peroxide required, Tiff sometimes turns away customers. Or she’ll suggest highlights because it uses less product: “It gives the illusion of being blond, but you don’t get it on your scalp and it doesn’t cover all your hair.
I took this advice and opted for highlights for my first round in her chair. In an Afro shape, my hair grows up and out, so Tiff applied color throughout the head, as opposed to just the top. In order to stretch the curls and guarantee that the highlight would cover the whole strand, she gently brushed my hair. Then the foil came out and they started the process. She pulled the foils out an hour later, washed and conditioned my hair with Olaplex, and gave me a glimpse of my new, caramel-strung hair. Just as she had promised, even though we had not covered every curl, the highlights were prominent enough to transform my hair color.
Divide up your appointments for bleaching curly hair
When you get allover color, the process of coloring curls is a little different, but not by much. Permanent tints, minus the foil, follow the same process as highlights. Tiff adds more conditioning treatments and trims if your makeover requires bleach. But it’s definitely doable if you add extra maintenance to your routine, as she says. You will need to go all the way to the lightest base if you want platinum blond or pastel curls on a dark base. “The bleach needs to keep working and working, and what that’s doing is slowly killing off your natural curl pattern,” says Tiff. You’re reversing your color, but you’re also reversing your texture.” She flatly refused requests like this a few years ago, but Olaplex enabled her to fulfill more of these requests.”
If she ends up going through the process, instead of just one, she will ask customers to book several appointments. This allows her to gradually build up to the desired shade instead of doing too much to the curls at once. “Their hair is more porous and stronger,” she says. She tells customers to do additional treatments between sessions and try as much as possible to rebuild the natural bonds.
Play with shades that are semi-permanent.
“Another less damaging option is to opt for a semi-permanent shade for curly girls. The exception is henna, which Tiff does not recommend because it can actually be quite drying the natural product. She prefers L’Oréal Professionnel Dia Light and Dia Richesse instead. “Semipermanent dye allows you to lighten the hair a little bit without the risk of harm,” she says. “Semipermanent dye allows you to lighten the hair a little bit without the risk of harm. “Eventually, it washes out, but it doesn’t get into the cuticle.” The glossy tone should last between six to eight washes.
Stock up with a conditioner.
“No matter which route you go, Tiff regularly advises customers to deep-condition. It might also be a good idea to avoid heat, especially if you go for a shade as light as platinum blond. She says, “That’s another thing that breaks the natural bonds down. Try adding the Bond Maintenance Conditioner Olaplex No.5 to your shower routine. The Davines Renaissance Circle Hair Mask easily gets the work done for additional hydration.
I have been washing and deep-conditioning once a week following my appointment and have yet to experience any breakage. My post-highlight curls feel the same as before, they just have a lovely sun-kissed impact now. While I don’t know if in the future I’ll go back for more highlights or an allover color transformation, now that I know how to dye curly hair, I’ll definitely tick off every box on this list. Consider my first brush a resounding success with color.
Step by Step Guide by Experts
DO NOT Wash Your Hair
Keep your hair out of the shower or basin for at least two days prior to going to the salon. This is the easiest bit of advice for most curly girls and I bet you can even go longer than two days!
But when you don’t wash your hair, what you do is build up a nice layer of natural protection from the hair oils on your scalp.
It can be quite damaging to have colour applied directly to your scalp and can also be a little bit painful. So the way to go is to have your natural hair oil safeguard your scalp.
Don’t worry about really dirty hair coming in; it’s better than clean hair going in, especially for bleach.
BRUSH Those Curls Out
Do you know how I never told you to brush your curls off? Well, in this case, doing it yourself is going to be much more comfortable for you than having someone do it in the salon. Because before they apply color or bleach, they will have to.
Take some photos to show them what your curls really look like before they’re all brushed out, if you haven’t been to that salon before. At the end of your appointment, this will give them an idea about styling your hair.
To smooth out your curls and remove any knots and tangles before you go in, I recommend using a Tangle Teezer or similar brush to make it much easier (and faster) for your hairdresser to section and color your hair, and I know it is much less painful to brush your own curls than to have an apprentice do it for you.
CAREFULLY Select your APPOINTMENT DATE
This is probably TMI, but at the beginning of your period, I would avoid going to the salon.
Like many women, these days I have increased sensitivity to pain, and while I usually don’t feel anything bleaching my hair, these days I have found it really uncomfortable a few times.
It’s not a reason to cancel your appointment, but it’s worth mentioning to your hair dresser that at the moment you are a little more susceptible to pain and they will take more care to watch the process and verify that your color goes smoothly.
Use PLEX OR BOND Products Always
Make sure that when they color your hair, you choose a salon that uses one of these new bond-repairing products.
Look for names like Olaplex, Cureplex, Matrix Bond and other similar goods. Here’s my article on how Plex products work and also my video interview with Grant Withnell, the National Technical Educator of Schwarzkopf, who also explains it really well.
Personally, I like Olaplex and Matrix Bond, but one of these is crucial to protecting your curls. I’m not too picky about the brand.
Step One should be mixed with your hair color in the salon, Step Two is a 10-minute mask applied either at the basin or you can go back to the chair for it. And to take you home, you should buy some Step Three, which is designed to help nourish your curls.
Without the Plex products, I couldn’t be blonde and have curly hair.
To tone your hair at home, get a purple shampoo and conditioner
Your hairdresser will probably tone your hair in the salon after bleaching, but this won’t last the entire time until your next appointment.
Use a purple shampoo or conditioner at home to rid yourself of any yellow or brassy tones. On the ‘cooler’ side of the colour spectrum are blue and purple, so they counteract the yellows that come through the longer you are away from the salon chair.
These colored shampoos and conditioners really help to correct your hair color and keep it looking bright, vibrant and shiny.
Here are some I’m recommending:
Find it here in Australia and here in the USA-Matrix So Silver
Fudge Clean Blonde-Find it in Australia & in the USA here
Available in Australia & UK, Provoke Touch of Silver
Don’t attempt to go completely blonde in one goal
Going slow will really help keep the curls looking the way they ought to. And the most significant thing is the health of your hair and scalp. In a single sitting, asking to go from a dark color to platinum will end badly.
Not only is it likely to cause bleach to burn on your scalp and dry your hair, it will take you so long to look at a very costly appointment.
And because your hair will certainly be damaged by such extensive peroxide contact, future treatments will not go so well either.
As my colourist says, as long as his hair is healthy, he can do anything. And so, when going blonde, that should be your motivation.
I hope these tips will help with how to treat your curls before and after coloring, as well as what to expect. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about any of this.