Colouring and bleaching your hair involves the use of a chemical process to change the appearance of your hair colour. Bleaching lightens your natural hair colour while colouring involves changing the colour of your hair. Before you proceed with changing the appearance of your hair colour, it is important to understand the chemical process involved and what impact it may have on your hair.
First, we will look at the hair bleaching process. Hair bleaching involves lightening your natural hair colour. The only way to lighten your natural hair colour is to bleach and lift the colour from the hair shaft. Bleaching involves the oxidisation process, which uses hydrogen peroxide to remove the colour from the hair shaft. If left on for too long, your hair will turn white. Failure to remove the bleach correctly will see the bleach continue to eat away at your hair shaft until it disintegrates. It is important to use an experienced hair professional when undergoing the hair bleaching process to ensure minimal damage to your hair.
Next, we look at the process of colouring your hair. Hair colouring works by coating the hair shaft in a different colour to your natural hair colour. You have the choice of temporary or permanent hair dyes when it comes to changing your hair colour. Temporary dyes allow short term colour changes and wash out after around six weeks. Temporary dyes are less damaging to the hair. They don't use peroxide to lighten your hair colour; they purely change the colour of your hair.
Alternatively, permanent hair dyes use the same oxidisation process that bleaching does, but it doesn’t lift the cuticle and damage the hair to the same degree. Oxidisation lightens the hair slightly while colour is being applied and bonded to the hair shaft. This process not only changes your hair colour, but it allows you to lighten your hair colour. Permanent hair colouring allows for the colour to penetrate more deeply into your hair shaft than temporary hair dye. It prevents regular hair washing from fading your hair colour.
Whenever you colour or bleach your hair, you are inflicting damage upon your hair. The chemical reaction that takes place to lighten or colour your hair results in reducing the elasticity of the hair shaft leading to a much higher chance of hair breakage. It is not all doom and gloom though provided you take the necessary steps to take good care of your hair.
Most importantly, you need to ensure your hair remains hydrated. Regular hair treatments will help your hair retain moisture and add back some of the elasticity to your hair, making it less prone to breakage. Bleached hair will tend to become drier and more prone to tangling after washing than coloured hair. You will need to use a quality conditioner on your hair after shampooing.
It is also essential to keep heat styling to a minimum. The combination of bleach, colour and heat is a recipe for significant hair breakage and damage. If you do need to heat style, opt for a hairdryer over a hair straightener. A hair straightener uses significantly higher temperatures than the hairdryer and will inflict less stress upon your hair.
Don't cancel your next hair colour or bleach appointment and opt to let your grey hair take over! Just make sure you properly look after and maintain your hair after your appointment. Equip yourself with the necessary tools and products that will help repair your hair and limit further damage.