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

51 thoughts on “How I Care for My Bleached and Damaged Hair.

  1. I have never dyed my entire head, only the tips and it almost killed my hair. If you are still looking for an all-over cure I highly recommend coconut oil and washing it the least amount possible. It’s one of the only things that can penetrate to your hairs cuticle, even better than synthetic/non-natural products. You can buy a big tub at CostCo or Sam’s Club and it lasts awhile. The first time I used it I slept with it in and covered it in a shower cap (your husband may not appreciate the granny appeal haha). When I washed it I used only cold water and it was like magic. I have a bunch of hairstylist friends who have the same issue as you do but aren’t as lucky to have found such great products. If I ever get the guts to do the all-over color I’ll make sure to try out these awesome products. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Oh goodness, I did the same thing! Only I had cut off the majority of my hair and donated it. It didn’t get crispy fried right away, but I strove to get that elusive platinum color and that last time I was in so much pain! It was fun, but the damage was done. I am growing my hair out and slowly cutting off the damaged part. It’s a shame because I did like it, but not worth killing my head over! Think I need to go back to reds 🙂 Btw, I thought your blonde head looked awesome…just sayin’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At the end of June I took the pluge and went blonde again I’ve done it every year for 3 years, I have very natural curly hair and could compare it to an afro if brushed out, when I was getting my hair styled I almost went mad at the lack of conditioner used in my hair at the salon, it took me 3 weeks with no heat applied to get my hair to the normal manageable stage, my hair hasn’t ever been properly healthy, it took morroican oil in my hair for 4 hour minimum twice a week, I swear by aussie miracle moist but I had to change conditioners because of how damaged it had left my hair, and I was using to much to cope so I changed to the new garner honey one, and changed to using an old t shirt to dry my hair rather than a towel, after 2 weeks I began to notice a difference, my after hair care is aussie miracle hair insurance leave in conditioner I have used it for 8 years and I cannot do without it and a small amount of morroican oil, now if I’m applying heat I add a heat defence straight in balm! And have found the routine to work wonders for my hair


  4. That L’Oreal Paris stuff is the best! I actually bought more of that type of sulfate free conditioner this afternoon. 🙂 Once I discovered such a nice, affordable product that helps my hair stay soft and detangled, I haven’t bought any other kind.


  5. I am so glad I read this.

    My natural color is medium ash brown with a little grey here and there. I go to the salon 2-3 times a year and have it foil highlighted. I have it done pretty heavy. I will need to try some of these products out.

    Thank you for sharing this well written review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes; once hair is chemically altered, it is never the same. For some, the investment comes at a higher investment than anticipated. It’s good to read that you took a deep breath first, and realized that all you had to do was change up your routine to thwart breakage plus limit distress. Find a hair colorist, someone who will talk to you (not at you), and enjoy all that s/he can create.
    Your article brought a smile to my face.


  7. Yes; once hair is chemically altered, it is never the same. For some, the investment comes at a higher investment than anticipated. It’s good to read that you took a deep breath first, and realized that all you had to do was change up your routine to thwart breakage plus limit distress. Find a hair colorist, someone who will talk to you (not at you), and enjoy all that s/he can create.
    Your article brought a smile to my face.


  8. If you get in the mood to try something different. Try Wen. It’s VERY expensive, I won’t lie about that but it’s worth it. I had major damage and breakage due to over processing and coloring. I tried it all! Then a family member introduced me to Wen and it changed my life. It took some getting used to since it doesn’t really lather like traditional shampoo’s but my hair grew back stronger, thicker, and healthier than it had been in months. Maybe even years. Also the leave in conditioner was amazing. Again it’s very pricey but I found it was the only product I needed…….Love your site BTW! *waves* Hey Breybrey44

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have the same experience – I still regret that my hairdresser has not advised me against perming on top of my red (includes bleach) hair. It all turned to straw.

    First, I dyed it back my natural colour so I didn`t have to care about roots any more, but it took about a year until I had healthy looking hair again. I honestly don`t recommend it!!


  10. I am considering dying my hair for the first time in my life. Yeah, I know. But I’ll probably just do a rinse on too of my natural color because the word bleach just scares me.
    I love the blonde pic too. Cute!

    Liked by 1 person

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