Hair coloring videos – both done by professional hairstylists and at-home DIYers – have popped up on social media in fast growing popularity over the recent months, perhaps for no other reason than that hair coloring is fun and mesmerizing.
But, one of the things often involved in this process is bleaching, which essentially means stripping your hair of its natural pigment to make the hair strands appear lighter and easier to color. We all know that bleaching can be severely damaging to our hair, but it’s a necessity if, say, you want to go from black to blonde or bright pink.
This poses another problem – the darker your hair is, the harder it will be to lighten, which oftentimes means more than one bleaching session, since the first session will likely result in orange or brassy hair rather than the platinum blonde you’re eyeing for. So, the question is, how long should you wait before bleaching your hair a second time?
- How much time you should wait in between hair bleaching sessions
- How to properly care for bleached hair and prepare for another bleaching session
- How to bleach your hair the first time without damaging it
- Final tips
How much time you should wait in between hair bleaching sessions
Truthfully, the answer widely varies depending on who you ask and a few more reasons. The recommended time frame between bleaching sessions can range from a week to a month or more, but it all boils down to what color your hair is, how healthy it is and how you regularly care for your hair, and what color your end goal is.
Not to mention, there’s also the consideration of how your hair looks and feels after your first bleaching session and what steps you’ve taken so far to care for your hair.
On average, it takes 3 weeks for hair cuticles to heal, close up, and lay flat after bleaching. That said, it’s safest to wait for at least one month before re-bleaching your hair in order to give it the best time to recover and recuperate from the aggressive chemicals in hair bleaching products. Again, your hair and scalp health should factor in this decision.
Here’s the recommended time frame for re-bleaching depending on your hair condition:
If you thoroughly followed the proper hair prep before bleaching AND maintained a great post-bleaching hair care routine, meaning, you have healthy, hydrated, and well-moisturized hair, you can re-bleach it as early as a week and a half.
However, if you had other chemical treatments such as straightening or perming recently, you need to give your hair at least a month since chemical treatments cause the hair strands to considerably weaken.
Or, if you haven’t been practicing much hair care after bleaching and your hair appears severely damaged (aka your strands are dry, weak, and brittle), it’s best to allow your hair to recover naturally for six months before bleaching again.
Here’s an easy way to test your hair health:
Take a strand of your hair and pull on it a bit. This will show you your hair’s elasticity. If the hair strand returns to its normal form after being stretched, it means you have good hair elasticity. Otherwise, it means that your hair isn’t healthy enough and likely won’t be able to withstand another bleaching session without the risk of permanent damage.
How to properly care for bleached hair and prepare for another bleaching session
One important thing that you need to understand is that bleaching your hair is extremely damaging to your strands and follicles, so it’s actually not recommended to repeatedly bleach your hair at the risk of breakage and overprocessing.
That said, it’s often difficult to achieve the right level of lightness after just one bleaching session, especially if you’re starting off with dark brown or black hair and are hoping to get that banana blonde or platinum color, which would involve at least two bleaching sessions and copious amounts of hair toner or purple shampoo.
Here’s the best pre- and post-bleaching hair care:
Before every bleaching session, you should try and keep your hair as healthy and hydrated as possible in order to prevent damage. Avoiding heat styling tools like blow dryers and flat irons in the weeks prior to bleaching, as well as applying coconut oil the night before your bleaching session, will go a long way in preserving your hair health.
And, to keep your hair looking as healthy as possible after bleaching, it’s a must to regularly shampoo and condition your hair with the right products that can deliver your hair’s needed hydration and nourishment. This will strengthen your hair and restore its health. Letting your hair soak in coconut oil every other day is also proven to help preserve hair integrity and hydration.
How to bleach your hair the first time without damaging it
The best way to bleach your hair without causing any damage is to not bleach your hair. The second best way is to follow a rigid hair care routine and do the bleaching process correctly, ideally done by a professional hairstylist.
You will need a lot of materials and ingredients, including coconut oil for pre-bleaching hydration, a deep conditioner for post-bleaching hydration, and all the stuff you’ll need for the actual bleaching process – the bleach, a couple of gloves, and a plastic bowl.
Here’s the right way to bleach your hair:
- The night before, apply copious amounts of coconut oil on your hair strands and let sit overnight. This is important to minimize hair damage. DON’T wash it off before applying the hair bleach.
- Take a small section of your hair, and with your gloves on, apply the bleach on your hair, starting from the back going to the front of the hair. DON’T bleach your roots just yet.
- Repeat the process until all of your hair is uniformly and evenly covered in the bleaching mixture. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Finish off by applying bleach onto your roots and leave that on for 10 more minutes.
- Thoroughly wash your hair with cold running water, then shampoo and conditioner twice to ensure that all of the bleach is gone and your hair receives much-needed hydration.
Bleaching your hair is a risky yet effective way of permanently making your hair strands about three tones lighter, which means easier hair coloring and more colors to choose from, but also likely multiple bleaching sessions to achieve your desired color results.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when it comes to bleaching your hair:
- Don’t leave the bleach on for longer than the recommended period (20 minutes for the mids and ends, 10 minutes for the roots). This won’t lighten your hair more, and will only cause your hair to severely weaken and get stripped off of their natural oils.
- Don’t bleach your hair twice in the same day – ever. While this will allow you to achieve your dream hair color quickly, you are also risking significant permanent hair damage.
- At the most – and this is only if you’re keeping your hair healthy and moisturized – you can bleach your hair twice a month for a maximum of 6 to 8 times in a year.