Hair Hair Care

Bleaching Curly Hair and Untamed them Without Damaging It

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, 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 .


The protein in our hair, Keratin 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:

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.)

Some rules for curly/kinky 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

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).

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

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 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. “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.

If you would like to bleach textured hair, go for it. Just take this pro advice and remember to moisturize.

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