So, you’ve already bleached your hair, and you want to do it again. Maybe you didn’t get it as light as you wanted on the first try, or maybe you bleached a while ago and your roots are starting to show. Either way, you may be wondering, when is it safe to bleach your hair again?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy answer. How long to wait between lightening treatments depends on a number of factors, including your hair type, natural hair color, the overall health of your hair, and what color you want to end up with, among others. But before you get overwhelmed, keep reading.
This article will help you sort through all these considerations and determine how soon you can bleach your hair again.
What To Consider Before Bleaching Your Hair Again
Natural Hair Color
Just like an artist must consider the canvas they’re starting with before they begin a painting, it’s important for you to consider your natural hair before you bleach it. Someone starting with naturally blond or very light brown hair will have a very different experience with bleach than someone with dark brown or black hair.
When lightening your hair, it may not start looking blond right away. Bleach will only reveal the “undertones” of your hair, which may range from red to orange to gold before you reach platinum.
Also, of course, the darker your hair starting out, the more color will need to be lifted before you reach a light blond.
If you have very dark hair naturally, consider toning your hair after each bleach. Toner will take your hair a little lighter and remove some of the “brassiness” or undesired warm colors from your hair.
Hair Texture And Health
Hair type and texture are other important considerations when bleaching your hair. Fine hair is more delicate and prone to breakage than thicker hair, so it’s important to tread carefully if your hair is very fine.
Additionally, if you have low-porosity hair (this is very common in African American hair), you will have a more difficult time bleaching your hair. This is because bleach works by penetrating the hair’s “cuticle” or outer layer and stripping out the color within the hair strand.
Low-porosity hair has a cuticle that lays very tight against the hair shaft, so the bleach has a harder time penetrating it, and you may need to bleach multiple times.
The health of your hair will help determine how long you need to wait between bleaches. If your hair is starting out strong, healthy, and moisturized, it will be better able to weather the damage from beaching.
If your hair is dry and brittle, you will need to work much harder to nurse your hair through the process. We’ll have tips to keep lightened hair healthy a little later on in the article.
Also, an important note: if your hair has artificial color in it already, that means it’s already damaged. Even if you got it done professionally, the chemicals in bleach and dye will always do some kind of damage to your hair.
Your End Goal
Of course, what will ultimately determine your bleaching process is what you want your hair to look like. If you’re dreaming of honey-blonde locks, your approach will be very different than if you’re going platinum in preparation for a pastel dye.
Also, if you’re looking to fill in some root growth, your approach will be different than if you’re bleaching your hair for the very first time.
How To Proceed to Bleach Your Hair Again
So, with all this in mind, how soon is it safe to reach for the bleach kit? Ultimately the answer is: as soon as your hair is healthy enough to survive the process. And you can determine that by examining the look and feel of your hair.
Look for excess breakage and shedding — if your hair is breaking off every time you brush it, or you’re finding gobs of hair in the shower or on your pillow every day, you’re not ready to bleach again. And if your hair feels dry, frizzy, or “straw-like” even after conditioning, it also needs more TLC before bleaching again.
If you do bleach your hair again too soon, what can go wrong? Well, you’re essentially causing more damage to your hair before the previous damage has time to heal. Your hair will continue to get more dry and brittle, and more prone to breakage, and in the worst-case scenario, it will actually “melt” off, leaving you with an unexpected pixie cut!
Or even if you don’t lose your hair, you could be left with permanent damage that will last until your hair grows out and you cut it off. But don’t panic, we’ve got some tips to avoid a hair disaster.
Hair Care Between Bleaching
Deep conditioning treatments will be your best friend after bleaching your hair. Remember, bleach strips and dries your hair, so returning moisture to it is your top priority after you lighten it. It’s a good idea to deep condition immediately after washing the bleach out of your hair, as well as every time you shampoo your hair after that.
In addition, try to avoid shampooing every day, as this will strip out your scalp’s natural oils, and slow down the healing process. Washing your hair one to two times a week should be plenty.
If the deep conditioning isn’t cutting it, it may be time to try a hair mask. These are potent, highly moisturizing products that help rebuild the protein bonds in hair that are broken during the bleaching process.
This will help strengthen the hair and prep it for the next time you bleach. We recommend using a hair mask in place of conditioner for the first few washes after bleaching, and if your hair is still dry after that, use the mask once a week in addition to conditioning.
Another option to moisturize your hair is to use a leave-in treatment like a conditioner or oil. These work long-term to penetrate the hair shaft and retain moisture while you go about your day, or while you sleep.
We recommend using a deep conditioner in addition to a leave-in if your hair is extremely damaged, but as your hair gets healthier you can switch to just using one or the other. Alternatively, you can use an oil like argan oil or coconut oil overnight to help lock in moisture and repair damage.
So, you have all the facts, and your hair is on its way to being healthy. When can you bleach your hair again? Well, once again, it depends. If you’re looking to retouch your roots, you should wait about a month between touch-ups. Also, only apply bleach to the grown-out hair. If you overlap the bleach onto your pre-lightened hair, you run the risk of breaking the hair off.
If you’re trying to reach a lighter color than you got with the first bleach, wait for at least seven to ten days. And if your hair is still dry and frizzy at that point, keep conditioning it and keep waiting. It may take a month or even more to get your hair back to peak health, but be patient! It’ll be worth it.
Ultimately, your hair will tell you when it’s ready to be bleached again. If it feels silky and strong, it’s probably ready. But if it feels dry, wait a bit longer. And when in doubt, take it slow. After all, you won’t be able to enjoy your new hair color if all your hair falls out!