How to turn bleached hair back into healthy brown
Over a year ago I took the plunge and bleached my dark brown locks so I could have violet hair.
And I have absolutely no regrets. It looked amazing and was such a fun colour to have!
BUT, as with every hair colour that requires bleaching, my hair was in need of some serious love and care post-transformation. If you’re thinking of doing a colour similar to this (my latest obsession is silver hair), you should know before committing, that afterwards you’ll need to have a few hefty trims, add some treatments into your hair routine and stay away from heat styling.
These are the post-care steps I took after bleaching my hair and colouring it purple to get it back to its healthy brown colour.
Step #1 Back to brown
The cool thing about my purple hair was the way that it faded. It turned into a silvery purple, kind of like Nicole Richie’s shade a few colours back. But because I have naturally brown hair, my regrowth got the better of me and I didn’t want to be continuously bleaching and dying my roots purple again every six weeks (too much upkeep for a lazy gal like me). So once my roots became too dominant to bear, I went back to brown. My hairdresser used a semi-permanent, chocolate shade to ensure the purple was covered and the colour was rich. I wasn’t ready to cut it all off completely, so I opted for a trim instead and continued to use at-home semi-permanent dyes (mainly L’Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss in Dark Chocolate) to maintain the colour. I also found the conditioners that came with them help to make the effects from bleaching (dryness, frizz and breakage) more manageable.
Step #2 The big chop
After a month or so, I finally allowed my hairdresser to cut my length to a lob. I was warned at the very beginning that a healthy trim would be necessary after the purple to get it strong and healthy again. I was apprehensive because the last time I had short hair, I really didn’t like it. But I took along some photos of Lucy Hale and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Seeing all the dry, frizzy and split ends on the floor was a satisfying feeling too.
I also found my shorter ‘do made it easier to stay away from heat styling because I had a nice natural wave, so all I would need to do is run some John Frieda Frizz Ease ® Extra Strength 6 Effects™ + Serum through the ends to make it look smooth.
Step #3 Protein treatment
Even though I had cut off the majority of my bleached ends, I still had about 5cm worth of damage to deal with. I was still suffering from breakage when washing and brushing my hair, not to mention it would get super knotty and conditioner wasn’t enough to detangle it. After reading reviews on the site and a few of the beautyheaven members’ experiences, I decided to start using the Redken Extreme CAT Treatment once a week. It’s a protein treatment with a reputation for strengthening and reconstructing hair, particularly strands that are distressed after chemical use.
When I purchased it, the salesman directed me to use it only once a week, after shampooing and before conditioning. It doesn’t feel the nicest on the hair upon application (it won’t smooth or detangle it at all), but after the third or fourth week of use I could already notice less breakage and my hair was easier to brush through. I was also using the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Mask instead of conditioner, as I found it was more effective at nourishing my dehydrated ends.
Step #4 Highlights
After weeks and weeks of being diligent with my protein treatment and doing my best to avoid heat styling, at the end of 2015 I was allowed to get highlights (weeeeee!). Once the bleach was rinsed out, my hairdresser applied De Lorenzo Equilibrium, which is a hair mask that first of all, smells amazing and second of all, made my hair feel so silky and healthy, I had to go out and buy some for myself.
Step #5 Hydrate
Fast-forward to today and the plan from here on out is to hydrate my hair as much as possible. I’d say 90 per cent of the damage has now gone thanks to regular trimming, but it’s still dry and can get quite knotty at the ends.
I’ve only had one further round of highlights and I’m still using the Redken protein treatment - but just once a month rather than weekly. I’m currently using the Morroccanoil Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner, which helps to de-frizz and hydrate my ends. The conditioner is actually one of the most effective I’ve used - you only need a small amount to detangle and moisturise your ends. After washing I’ve also been applying the SACHAJUAN Overnight Hair Repair ($57, 100mL) to give my ends further moisture. I find the combination is working well for me so far and I’m happy with how far my hair has come in the last year.
Have you ever dyed your hair a crazy colour? What’s your best tip for restoring hair damage?
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