How I Care for My Bleached and Damaged Hair.

Last summer I made the horrible decision to go blonde. I was dying my hair red for two years leading up to my wedding last May, and I had decided that after we came back from the honeymoon, I’d stop destroying my poor hair. But I figured that if I wanted to stop damaging my hair, I should take it upon myself to fulfill my dream of being a blonde before my hair recuperated further down the line. I made an appointment to get it bleached and dyed (Drew had always dyed my hair at home when I was doing red) and the next day I took the plunge.

What an absolutely horrible  mistake. My hair dresser brutalized my hair by keeping the bleach on my burning scalp for over an hour. Then immediately dyed it a unnatural blonde tone. It looked great with it styled and five seconds out of the salon. The next hour… day… week? Let’s just say I kept the blonde for the recommended two week hair healing period and then I was brunette again for the first time in almost three years.

That was a year ago and I am still having to deal with damaged, broken, knotted, bleached hair. I’ve cut a lot of it off, gone to great lengths to keep it healthy, and I have tried almost every hair mask, rejuvenating conditioner, and damage removing spray out there. No really. Pantine, Herbal Essence, Aussie, L’oreal, Pureology, Redkin, you name it, I’ve tried it. I’m not going to say bleaching it was the only thing that damaged my hair. Two years plus of home dying had already left my hair a little unruly. But over an hour of bleach was the straw that broke the camels back for sure.

I quickly found out that there is no way to reverse damage. Except for cutting it all off. You can make it manageable and possibly even look nice. But if your hair is frazzled, one giant knot that literally cannot be untangled (my biggest problem), there’s no way to get rid of that forever. If you’re going through what I went/am going through, the quicker you realize that, the easier life will get. I had a different hair mask on my hair for hours a time for the first few weeks and was always so disappointed with my hair hadn’t magically healed. At least now I now how to manage it!

I have found one amazing product that has let me not go crazy and cut off all my hair. I also have discovered two other helpful products that make life a little easier when I just don’t want to deal with my healing hair.

L’oreal Paris – Total Repair Extreme.
I use this every time I shower. No exception. Sometimes I’ll even add it on top or after I use normal conditioner. My hair is impossible to brush through without it. And it makes my hair look way healthier, smoother, and almost back to normal. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without this product. I slather tons of it on every shower and leave it while I shave, or wash, or just relax for a little while. I rinse most of it out and then jump out. I have never tried any mask or conditioner that leaves my hair this manageable and healthy.

Suave Kids – Detangling Spray.
Right after the damage was done and I was desperately trying to find a way to brush through my hair every day, I reverted back to my childhood with this product. I barely use it now because __ does such a great job. But if you are ready to shave your head because your hair just won’t cooperate, I’d run to the store and get this. Even if you haven’t damaged your hair before, this product makes life easier when your hair doesn’t want that.

Garnier Fructis – Damage Eraser.
This was the second best conditioner/mask I have tried for my hair. Back when 100% of my hair was bleached, I’d use this out of the shower as a mask a few times a week. But I was doing that in hopes of healing my hair back to normal, which as I mentioned above, just isn’t possible. Now every once in a while I’ll use it as my conditioner and it definitely helps makes things easier. If the Total Repair Extreme just wasn’t for you, or your hair isn’t that badly damaged, I recommend this sweet smelling mask any day.

I loved dying my hair, and I’m glad I can say now that I’ve been every natural color in the book. But I’m even more glad that I now know how to take care of my poor bleached hair and that it’s almost back to normal!

— Brey