Damaged Hair With Dye and Bleach? You Can Still Save It!

I recently ventured into the pastel hair territory! Exciting, I know. I am now silver, ultra-light lavender and spectacularly damaged! At least when it comes to my hair- although we could argue other things as well. Let’s stick to a hair article for now.

My hair is fine, thin and medium brown naturally. I haven’t colored it in a pretty long time, and I definitely haven’t bleached it in at least 3 years, so I pretty safely ventured into the color lift territory without too many concerns. Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate the ferocity with which my mousy brown hair rejects change.

I had to bleach twice in order to get the shade to a light enough blonde. Then I toned. Then I waited. Then I spot bleached again to even thing out. Then I toned. Then I toned again because I was patchy violet. Then I blasted it with clarifying shampoo to fade all the violet. You get the picture.

So here I am, sitting with my silvery lavender hair (that’s still a bit patchy by the way.) It’s not frizzy or fried. It’s not breaking off and it doesn’t feel like straw. If you know what straw feels like, you’ll find damaged hair to be especially appalling. My ponytail is smooth in all its patchy glory! How?

  1. Prior to applying the second round of spot bleach, I saturated my hair with coconut oil. I should’ve done this from the get-go to minimize damage, but alas I only discovered the magical powers of secretive Rapunzels everywhere after bleaching my hair. Apply your bleach right over the coconut oil, and make sure the oil has been in your hair for AT LEAST 4 hours. I slept in mine then applied bleach next day when I was spot treating. Your hair will feel significantly healthier.
  2. Apply coconut oil after bleaching/dyeing your hair. The protein in coconut oil coats your hair strands and fills in weak points. Make coconut oil your nightly ritual for a week after a damaging process.
  3. Stop using shampoo for a week! Give your hair a break. It’s thirsty and needs all the moisture it can get right now, so give it water, not alcohol. Pump it up with hydration instead of stripping the natural oils further. When you wash your hair, rinse it with water and conditioner.
  4. Keep on doing deep treatment masks! Coconut oil at night, deep conditioner for 1-2 hours during the day. Happy hair.
  5. Stop applying heat!! Seriously, put the heat tools away. If you need volume and bounce, wash your hair in the evening, towel dry, let it air-dry a bit and put in velcro rollers! Now go to bed, wake up next day, remove rollers and enjoy the smooth volume! Feel free to do the same with smaller rollers for curls or learn how to pin curl.
  6. This one’s a biggie for me: Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. Full disclosure, I’m NOT getting paid/asked to promote/free product. This is 100% a product I started using to make my hair manageable and breakage free. I use the shampoo (smells fine), the protein treatment (smells foul) and conditioner (smells like man) post-dye/bleach. Apparently, you can do this prior to killing your hair with (insert damaging process here), but I only found this product after bleaching. If you read reviews of this thing, it might sound scary and conjure up images of freeze-dried hair snapping off. If you believe you have a brain that operates, you can do this treatment! Just follow directions and do not agitate your hair while the protein treatment is drying/dry! The most repulsive part of this process is the slightly vomit-like smell of the protein treatment. It’s also a bit labor intensive- but it’s worth it!
A Before & After of Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment // Photo: MakeupAlley