Blondes seriously have more fun… or at least that’s what I usually tell everybody. I’m 26 and started bleaching my hair when I was 12. Even though I always go back to the dark side every once in a while, I always end up with platinum blonde hair. I’m just happier with blonde hair. I feel like it brightens up my face. Since most people are in the same boat, let’s talk about how to keep bleached hair healthy.
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How Hair Lightener Works:
If you really want to learn how to keep bleached hair healthy, you should first learn how lightener works.
Bleach can take its toll on your hair very quickly. It basically works by penetrating the hair cortex and removing all color pigment.
- The first component of hair lightener is an alkaline, which lifts up the “scales” of the hair cuticle to allow the next step to happen.
- The alkaline is mixed with an oxidizing agent, which allows it to penetrate deep in the hair shaft to the area where color molecules hang out.
- Once it’s in there, the bleach starts to lighten the pigment molecules by releasing oxygen molecules during the oxidation process. These oxygen molecules break up the chemical bonds of chromophores, the parts of molecules responsible for color. “The changed chromophore molecules either reflect no color or a color outside the visible spectrum. This absence of color is seen by our eyes as white.” (Wonderopolis)
Hair lightening goes through a series of phases. Remember the three primary colors that make every other color are blue, red and yellow. Bleach first removes the blue molecules, which leaves the hair red. This process is very quick, so if you blink, you’ll miss it. Next, the red molecules start to come out. This process takes a long time, and if you stop in the middle, you may end up with orange hair. The last part of the process removes some of the yellow pigments, which results in a pale yellow. The natural color of keratin, which is the protein that hair is composed of, is yellow, so your hair will never not be some form of yellow. If you want a more defined shade of blonde, you will have to use a toner, but that is a whole other article in itself.
Did you love all that science talk? If so, you should check out this super cool article about how hair color works.
The next thing you need to know about how to keep bleached hair healthy is to learn how it damages your hair.
Bleach doesn’t just strip the color molecules in your hair… it also strips the protein, vitamins, and moisture. It changes the structure and texture of your hair. Remember how I said that it uses an alkaline solution to raise the cuticle? Well if you over-process your hair, the cuticle won’t lay back down, which leaves the hair dull and susceptible to more damage. Remember that the cuticle’s purpose is to act as a barrier and protect what’s on the inside of the hair. If it becomes damaged, the inside will get damaged too.