It’s not a surprise that hair bleaching is pretty common in our world today. However, some people actually can’t help but wonder what happens when you bleach your hair. There is something alluring about having your hair lighter than its natural colour, but then a lot of individuals may think there’s more to just getting into that hair salon or staying at home to give their hair that lighter colour they’ve always dreamed of.
Many people do this for different reasons. It is definitely a powerful beauty tool that a lot of people have embraced and have very much appreciated, although not everyone does it because they believe it makes them look more attractive. Some people do so simply because it makes them look different, or because it blends with their emotions. There could be other reasons as well.
There’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a popular trend, but the truth is, there’s more to just having it bleached. If you’ve ever had a feeling that this was the case, then you were right. Getting your hair bleached does come with some effects, and I shall do the honours of diving right into them.
Kiss That Melanin Goodbye
Let’s begin with some background knowledge. Melanin is the natural pigment that the hair has, except in the case of albinism where it’s absent. This is what’s responsible for how light or dark it is. Now, there are two types of melanin that contribute to the colour of your hair-eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Eumelanin deals with how black your hair is, while pheomelanin works on how red it is. The more eumelanin an individual possesses, the more black their hair is. This means that someone who has less, naturally has lighter or more blond hair. As for pheomelanin, the more of it a person has, the more red their hair is. These two work together and create beautiful variations of hair colour that different people have, which is totally amazing.
The melanin pigment is found in the cortex of the shaft of your hair, which is the middle layer. When you bleach your hair, the melanin gets broken down and your hair becomes lighter. The longer the bleach is left on, the more the melanin gets broken down. In other words, the longer you wait to wash the bleach off your hair, the lighter your hair is going to get. The most common bleaching agent is hydrogen peroxide.
Note that when you bleach your hair, there’s no going back except you decide to get rid of that part and let your hair grow anew. This means that you need all the preparation you can get for this.
The Porosity Increases
In order to know how bleaching your hair affects its porosity, it’s important to know what that term even means, right? So, the porosity of your hair deals with how much it’s able to take in moisture, and how much it’s actually able to lock the moisture in. There are 3 levels of porosity, which are;
- Low porosity
- Medium porosity
- High porosity
Low porosity hair doesn’t readily absorb moisture. This is because the cuticle, which is the outermost layer of the hair, isn’t elevated. As moisture is difficult to get in, so is it to get out. Medium porosity hair lets in moisture quicker and easier than low porosity hair because the cuticles are a bit raised, which means that it doesn’t take as long to dry. With high porosity hair, the cuticles are extremely elevated, so water gets in easily. However, it’s not retained, so it leaves just as quickly.
Bleaching your hair increases its porosity, which causes it to not be able to lock in the moisture as well as it should. For this reason, your hair would be more dry than you’re probably used to. You would need to hydrate it more often and get products that help with sealing in the moisture.
The reason why keeping your hair moisturized is important is because it contributes to maintaining a healthy hair. If it’s very dry, it has a tendency to break easily. The moisture helps to improve its elasticity and minimize breakage.
Increase in Volume
Have you ever bleached your hair and it seemed like it got fuller? You may have thought that it was all in your mind, but I’m glad to let you know that you were not losing your mind like you probably thought you were. We’ve seen that bleach causes the cuticles of the hair to get raised, which leads to an increased porosity. Well, this isn’t the only effect of having elevated cuticles.
Your hair does get fuller as a result of the raised cuticles. This could cause your hair to get more tangled easily, so you may have to detangle your hair as often as you can. It could also leave you prone to split ends. Note that if you have these, you should trim your hair to get rid of them, so that they don’t keep splitting and causing even more damage.
Your Scalp Could Get Burned
One thing that’s likely to happen when you bleach your hair is your scalp getting burned. Now, if you weren’t aware of this and you were planning on bleaching your hair for the first time, don’t freak out. There are factors that determine if your hair could get burned, and there are ways to minimize the effects of the bleach on your scalp. If you’ve had your scalp burned by the bleaching process and you want to get it to heal, then you may want to keep reading.
Before you get your hair bleached, you need to be prepared. I’m not just talking about mental preparation. There are important steps you need to take to make sure that the procedure isn’t too harsh on your scalp. Before you go to the hair salon or you take up your bleaching materials at home, you want to make sure that your hair isn’t washed. This is important because the sebum helps to protect your scalp during the procedure, to an extent.
The closer the chemical is to your roots, the more likely you are to get burned. The amount of bleach used and how long it stays on your hair are key factors as well. If you’re at the hair salon and you feel like your hair’s beginning to burn, do say something. The same thing applies if you’re doing it yourself at home. It basically means it’s time for you to wash it off, and for the sake of your lovely scalp, you do not want to “endure the pain for a little while to make sure it works fine”.
Depending on how dark your hair is and how light you are willing to go, you need to choose the appropriate strength of bleach. The strength of peroxide ranges from 10 volume to 40 volume, with 10 being the weakest and 40 being the strongest. This means that the darker your hair is, the higher you should go on the spectrum. A piece of advice: Use 30 volume instead of using 40 even if your hair is really dark, simply because 40 is the strongest and if it touches your scalp, you’re almost guaranteed to get burned.
Now, if you’ve been burned and you want your scalp to get better, make sure you do your best to leave it alone for a while. Avoid washing it with a shampoo for some time in order for the sebum to do its work with speeding up the healing process. You can also add some aloe vera or coconut oil because they have properties that will aid the healing of your scalp. If you have scabs or blisters, leave them alone. You don’t want to make things worse.
It’s best for you to be patient with your scalp and give it your best shot at helping it heal. If it seems like nothing’s working and the situation is actually getting worse, then you might want to see a doctor.
It Becomes More Sensitive To Styling Methods
After your hair gets bleached, you might want to take it easy with what you use to get it styled. This is because the bleach makes it more sensitive than it was before the procedure was done. Due to the fact that the cuticles are raised, you might want to be careful with the kind of brush you use, and just how hard you use it. If you’re rough with your hair while you’re brushing it, you risk causing more damage to your hair. If it’s tangled, try using your fingers to have it detangled, or use a wide toothed comb to comb through it gently.
Applying heat on your hair could cause more damage to it as well. If you use a blow-dryer, straightener or a curling iron, it could cause your hair to break more easily. The heat could damage your hair cuticles which would leave the cortex exposed. Once this happens, there would be a lot of moisture loss, resulting in the hair being weak and brittle, and therefore ultimately falling off.
You can use heat protectants for your hair. However, I would advise you to still play it safe with the heating tools, like reducing the heat when you use your blow-dryer and using your curling iron as rarely as you possibly can.
Enjoy Your Hair and Still Be Careful
Knowing what happens when you bleach your hair is really important if you want to go through with the process. At the end of the day, you know what to expect, and you know the measures to take in order for you to enjoy having your beautiful light hair. Cheers!