Like many women, you may enjoy changing the color of your hair. Although some types of hair-coloring techniques cause little damage, harsh processes, such as bleaching, can cause your hair to frizz, split and dry out. Bleach lifts the natural color from your hair and makes it appear lighter. In order to remove the color from the inner layer of the hair, known as the cortex, the chemical must lift the outer cuticle, causing your hair to become rough and brittle. Keeping your bleached hair looking its best requires careful processing and adequate aftercare.
Take Your Tests
Perform a couple of useful tests. Do a patch test to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the chemicals in your bleaching kit. Follow the instructions for applying the product to a small area of your skin for this patch test. Conduct a strand test before applying your bleach to your entire head of hair. A strand test involves placing just a small amount of the mixed solution onto a few strands in a hidden area of your hair. This test will help you decide on the level of lift and help you determine the correct processing time.
Make sure your hair is in its best condition before you bleach. Don’t apply the bleach after other chemical processes, such as a straightening treatment or permanent wave. Allow old chemical treatments to grow out and trim off any remaining damage. Apply a deep conditioner to your entire head of hair, concentrating on the ends. Place a plastic bag over your hair and wrap a thick towel around your head to hold in the heat. Allow the deep conditioner to remain on your hair for at least 20 minutes. Rinse well to remove all the conditioner.
Keep an Eye on the Clock
Apply your bleach according to the package instructions and set a timer according to the results of your strand test. Check your hair’s progress throughout the bleaching process. You may notice that certain areas of your hair, such as those closer to your scalp or near the nape of your neck, process quicker or slower than your strand test. Be ready to rinse your hair as soon as it reaches the correct shade. Although you may hate to sit and wait, now is not the time to catch up on laundry and phone calls, or anything else that distracts you from your bleaching process.
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