You did what you sought out to do and impulsively changed your hair color (after having your scheduled weekly mental breakdown). No judgment, me too. Your vibe has changed, your outlook on the next few days seems mildly brighter, and well – your hair is drier than it ever been.
Yeah, the damage from a compromised identity crisis seems to have immediately transferred to your hair. Brushing through it post-bleach sessions is painful and you are mentally starting to play out what your life will look like with early-onset balding. What was momentarily an immaculate vibe is beginning to feel like regret. Here’s the thing, I’ve made A LOT of hair dye mistakes and I assure you that with the right products and whatever hope you can spare at the moment, you and your scalp will be fine.
First things first, avoid washing your hair for at least 3-4 days. Honestly, it might sound gross, but if you’re one of those lucky people who can get away with washing their hair 1-2 a week without getting oily, I would just hold out because you want as much natural oil as possible to coat your strands. Just be sure that you are brushing those natural oils through your hair every night to avoid too much building up exclusively on your scalp. Now, if you’re like me and your scalp is extremely dry and overproduces oil, meaning that you need to wash it a little more frequently, dry shampoo is going to be your best friend. When using dry shampoo, try to use as little as possible. Dry shampoo can still cause product buildup in your hair, which will require you to (at some point) use a clarifying shampoo. The reason you want to steer clear of clarifying shampoos is that they are the enemy of colored hair. Basically, these shampoos strip color. Just like our fortuitous, less oily-scalped peers, be sure to brush through your hair every night to even distribute the dry shampoo and prevent it from building up on your scalp.
When it finally comes time to shampoo your hair for the first time after you’ve colored it, make sure you are using color-safe shampoo. The ingredient in shampoo that strips color is sulfate, which is an ingredient that helps your shampoo get all sudsy and give you the illusion of a deep clean (pssssst – in actuality you are just drying out your hair). A basic conditioner is pretty straightforward but the trick is in the rinsing. You want to make sure you are rinsing out your conditioner with cold water. Cold water seals the hair cuticle and locks in the moisture and color! Also, random tip, I started squishing conditioner into my hair versus combing it through my hair and have noticed a huge difference in how my hair feels. Just push the conditioner into your wet hair. Trust me, it works like magic.
The one product that has always been there for me and my perpetually dry/damaged hair is deep conditioner. What can I say? It’s probably the only thing that helps me justify all the horrible things I’ve done to my hair. Two critically damaging perms, a solid 2-3 years of flat ironing my hair every day, and many shoddy at-home coloring attempts later, I am still left with a full head of hair and the ability to grow my hair fairly long in a short amount of time. There are a lot of options at your disposal and a lot of them work just fine. Generally, I look for deep conditioners that use argan oil because I’ve found that argan oil works well with my frizzy hair and is suitable for just about all hair types. Commit to using a deep conditioner at once a week and watch your hair health go back to the good ol’ days within a couple of weeks.
The last step very much depends on the hair texture you have. After I am done washing and conditioning my hair, I apply hair oil to my damp hair. Actually, I use a mix of two hair oils in my hair. I use argan oil with about 5-7 drops of Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil ($28). The $28 price tag on the one-ounce bottle is not attractive, but I can’t seem to find a dupe for this oil and no other supplemental oil on the market can hold a candle up to the Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil. Not only does this keep my frizz in check but the Olaplex No.7 helps in repairing the busted bonds in my hair that cause split ends and breakage. If you have coarser hair, I suggest going for a creamier leave-in conditioner and adding a few extra drops of the bonding oil to it as well. As for my friends with fine hair, I suggest using the bonding oil on its own. While hydration and locking in as much moisture as you possibly can is usually the goal for post-bleach hair, you don’t want to weigh your hair down or create unnecessary oiliness.
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