I, like many girls, bleach my hair far too often. Lightening your hair has been popular for ages, but when the dip-dye phenomenon, and then the ombre trend, came around a few years back, it seemed like almost every girl had bleached her hair to some extent. And based on the brassy strands and frayed ends I see everywhere I go, I’m pretty sure some of you could use some tips to keep your bleached hair healthy and bright. I’m not judging—I myself have had my fair share of damaged ends and ugly tones in my day. But through the power of the Internet and plain trial and error, I’ve learned how to keep my blonde looking brass-free and healthy in spite of being over-processed!
1. Stop bleaching your ends.
If you’re getting your grown out bleach job touched up, ask your stylist to leave the ends of your hair out of the foils. They’ve more than likely already reached their limit, and if you over-process them they’re pretty much guaranteed to break off!
2. Learn some no-heat styling techniques.
As someone who straightens her hair almost everyday, this one is very hard for me. But to save my hair from even more damage, I try to avoid heat by wearing my hair up or using air-dry products to get the most out of my natural texture (my personal favorite for wavy hair is John Frieda Frizz Ease Foam).
3. Skip a wash.
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. The less you wash your hair, the less often you’ll need to blow-dry or restyle it! Slap on a hat or some Living Proof Dry Shampoo, and suck it up for an extra day or two. Your hair could use the added nourishment from the oil anyway!
4. Use hair treatments & masks.
I am a huge fan of this tip. One of the first things I started doing when I went fully blonde was using weekly hair masks, and they have absolutely saved me! I also went through a period of time where I used Argan oil on my ends after every wash, which worked very well. However, the absolute best hair treatment I have ever found is this split end cream by Nexxus. I don’t want to exaggerate but I’m pretty sure I saw the light of God after using this on my hair. It makes it so soft and smells like candy and it sucks in all of your split ends to create a smooth finish for your hair! Too, this OUAI Treatment Mask works wonders for super stressed, dry hair.
5. Bring back your shine.
There is a reason brunettes are used for shampoo commercials—dark hair is just plain shinier. And bleaching your hair takes all of that shine out! To get some of it back, I use a shine spray after doing my hair in the morning. It’s not quite as good as the real thing, but it’s pretty damn close.
6. Tone your hair.
Unless your hair is naturally very cool-toned, your blonde is guaranteed to get brassy. It’s just a fact. One of the best ways to combat that is with toners. Your best bet is to have your stylist do this, because they can be tricky, but they work wonders. If you do use one at home, Wella toners are unbeatable but beware—if your roots are dark or you have an ombre, a toner like this can definitely strip color out of dark hair and leave it orange (I fell victim to this once). Many blondes also swear by this Christophe Robin mask to help get rid of brassy color and restore cool, baby blonde.
So be careful or stick to a salon! And for people who aren’t savvy enough to tone at home, the next tip is for you.
7. PURPLE SHAMPOO, PEOPLE.
Oh my god, I cannot stress this enough. Purple shampoo is a lifesaver for brassy hair. It doesn’t have as long lasting an effect as a toner, but the right purple shampoo can save you so many salon trips. My hair personally pulls very warm tones, but one use of THIS purple shampoo left mine blonde with a beautiful lavender-gray undertone. If you don’t want that intense of an effect, this shampoo by the same brand is also amazing but less aggressive. I only use it once a week and my hair stays bright and cool-toned the whole time! When choosing a purple shampoo it’s important to check the color. The product should be very dark, almost indigo. A wimpy light purple isn’t going to do a damn thing to your hair. So stay away from the John Frieda Sheer Blonde collection and please for the love of god, stop using Shimmer Lights. It doesn’t do anything.
I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with all of these tips! I’m obviously no expert, but I’ve been experimenting for four years now and these are the things that have worked best for me!