How to Fix Bleach Damaged Hair

If you have landed on this page, it is most likely that you have suffered some kind of devastating damage to your hair as a result of bleaching, either at home or at the salon. This page is an emergency guide for treating extremely damaging hair.

We feel your pain, we’re so sorry you are here, let us help you heal your hair!

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Here is the truth – you can not fix your bleach damaged hair. I am sorry to be the one to break this to you, but once the hair is damaged, its damaged until it grows out. Any website or product telling you otherwise is lying to you. Hair is made of protein and once a protein structure is damaged it cannot be put back to its original state (damage means the protein structure has unfold and the law of biology is that a protein cannot refold into the original shape – high school biology).

The great news is that we can treat your hair so that it does not look damaged and we can work to make your hair healthy over the next few years while maintaining the bleach colour of your choice.

The two most important rules you need to follow from now on are:

1. Add as much moisture (lipids) to your hair as possible

Your hair will be very dry from the bleaching process and this is the primary cause of brittleness and frizz which in turn leads to breakages. Dry hair is caused a reduction in the hydro-lipid layer which is composed of hydro (water) and lipids (fats and oils) and form a thin emulsion that coats the hair. Bleaching can strip this layer from your hair. So to stop anymore hair strands breaking and to get your hair looking better overall, add moisture (in the form of lipids) over and over again in ever way you can.

2. Do everything you can to reduce any further damage

Your hair is now very delicate and will break very easily. The more breakage and reduction in the hydro-lipid layer, the worse your hair looks and the longer it will take to repair.

You’re going to need some products to help your hair recover. The whole kit listed below will cost the same as a full head of highlights (which you probably won’t be getting again anytime soon – sorry babe), but if this is too expensive for you, we’ve highlighted the products that will give you the biggest impact.

Step by step guide for fixing your bleach damaged hair

Follow these steps for a few weeks and you should start to see some improvement in how your hair looks. Once you have seen improvement, follow the guide for long-term care of bleach damaged hair.

Step 1: Use less (or no) shampoo.

Shampooing can dry your hair out even more (remove the hydro-lipid layer), so you want to avoid this as much as possible in the coming weeks. Try to go without shampooing for now. If you can’t go without shampooing, use the smallest amount possible (2 teaspoons of shampoo is all you need) and only at the roots. I cant stress this enough, only shampoo the roots!

One of the best shampoo we found was Living Proof Restore Shampoo (budget option), it actively adds to the hydro-lipid layer while it cleans, which is everything you need right now. The shampoo is free from all the nasty toxins (parabens, silicones, sulphates and phthalates) too. It wins on every front.

Step 2: Treat your hair with a hair mask

Get a really good hair repair mask, this is worth investing in as its the most essential step you can take. A hair masks work by penetrating the cuticle of the hair strand to add moisture (this is where the hydro-lipid layer is formed and secreted out). A hair mask will help you to disguise hair damage in a big way by packing the hair strands with moisture making them look thicker, reducing frizz, help with manageability and work to nourish the cuticle.

You need a mask that adds lipids and moisture not protein. The best mask we’ve found is Kerastase Resistance Therapiste Masque (budget option),  which is saturated with light weight lipids that penetrate the core of the hair strand. The Coco & Eve Like a Virgin Hair Masque is also fantastic and is a clean beauty mask, which gives it extra points.


Step 3: Condition, condition, condition

After the hair mask, condition your hair. Yes, hair masks and conditioners are separate products and work in different ways. Conditioners will coat the outside of the hair mimicking the hydro-lipid layer, which smooths the hair strand making it easier to style and look smooth and sleek. Once the conditioner is on, try to brush it through with a tangle teaser to minimise any breakage in the hair. Seriously get a tangle teaser. The best conditioner is OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Hair Conditioner. Its a heavy conditioner that is specifically designed to smooth your hair using lots of oils. However if your hair is fine, you will want something lighter so your hair does not look limp and greasy, we love Living Proof Restore Conditioner. Remember to leave the conditioner on for a few minutes before rinsing to get the best results.

Step 4: Do not use protein treatments for now

Protein treatments are not the magic cure. In fact, it is impossible to throw protein onto the hair and have it regenerate the hair strand. Remember high school biology when a protein is unfolded by heat or chemicals that damage the protein structure, it can never refold into the same shape again. Don’t fall for the marketing, right now the protein treatments will make the hair dry and brittle and this will lead to more breakage. For now, concentrate on lipids that add moisture, like the ones above. There is a time and place for protein treatments.

Step 5: Styling without heat

Invest in a Lisse Luxe Hair Towel by Aquis. This towel is made of microfiber and will make your hair dry quicker while minimising frizz and damage, its hands down amazing. Towel dry your hair by patting the hair only, never rub your hair again because this adds frizz and can further damage your hair.

Spray in some leave in conditioner (budget option) followed by hair oil (budget option) and wrap hair up in a turban with your Aquis towel. Leave for as long as possible (2 hours is good) then take the towel off and leave to air dry.

You need to reduce the amount of heat your hair is exposed to because heat will remove the moisture you’ve just added, so no blow-dry’s, straighteners or wands for a while. Go French and dry your hair naturally early in the morning or overnight (read How To Be Parisianthis will give you so much confidence with your new hair) .

The Aquis towel is perfect for achieving this look together with some hair oil. If this can’t work for you pick a style that will hide the frizz for the short term future, such as buns, plats and pony-tails, make it your new signature style. If you opt for the hair up version (which I did for 3 months because my hair was a frizz ball) invest in an invisi-bobble to reduce breaks when securing the hair.

Once your hair is dry, style with hair oil again to reduce the frizz and add some shine. It is important to invest in a really good hair oil that will not weigh your hair down as the more you can add the better.

If you must blow dry your hair, use a cool setting on a hair dryer and try to only blast the hair dry, don’t blow dry with brushes because this can damage the hair more and any heat will remove much of the moisture you have just added, ruining all your hard work. If your willing to be really extravagant, invested in a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer which will dry your hair in record time while on a low heat setting. Or a good second best is a negative ion hairdryer for reduced frizz.

Points to remember

  • Use a very small amount of shampoo that is surfactant and silicone free, so you don’t dry your hair anymore.
  • Use a deep conditioning hair mask. Sleep in this mask if you can. It is your best friend and the most essential product you need.
  • Condition again with a deep hydrating conditioner and follow with a leave-in conditioner.
  • Dry with a microfiber towel and use as little heat as possible when styling. Follow with hair oil to keep the hair ends from drying through the day.

After working on your hair for a few weeks you should start to see your hair is less dry and easier to style. The damage will still be there but hopefully you can live with it now it is mostly concealed.

Shopping list – The Kit

We’ve linked you to Amazon so you can get the products ASAP – if you are panicking and want to get your products next day delivery, you can always sign up for a free 30 day Amazon Prime trial. We also linked you to Look Fantastic, which is our go to shop. While Amazon delivers quickly, you may need to order from multiple sellers and the prices can vary drastically. Look Fantastic sells every product, delivers world wide for free and has competitive prices.


Peace out – The bleached hair don’t care team x