In addition to wanting to try going darker, my hair also really needed a break from bleaching. I currently have some layers in my hair that I didn’t actually want, but were necessary because there was so much breakage happening. To help combat my seriously damaged hair, I stopped bleaching it and had to learn to care for it accordingly. Just when I finally had my haircare system figured out, my roots started growing out. Suddenly I had all this healthy hair at the top which needed totally different products than the bottoms and that’s when everything got a bit confusing.

If you look at your hair under a microscope, you will see that the each strand is covered with dead cells in overlapping layers that give your hair a scale like appearance. When you add bleach to your hair, these layers (hair cuticles) all swell open. This is why fine hair can appear more voluminous after it has been bleached. In this swelling process, the hair also becomes more porous due to the opening of the cuticles making it absorb both product and colour better. Adding dye to bleached hair is far more effective than to healthy hair, but it also fades much faster due to the open/porous nature.

Once your hair cuticles have been opened by the bleach, the chemicals penetrate the hair’s cortex and gradually begin to dissolve the melanin (colour) in your hair. This process takes time. It usually turns bright yellow/orange before going platinum. Once this process has occurred, the shingles that were opened around your hair shaft stay standing straight up. This porosity makes your hair way easier to style and it holds longer too. Winning!

In addition to ease of styling, bleached hair also absorbs moisture at a much higher level than healthy hair. As a platinum blonde, five pumps of serum would disappear into my hair no problem without looking remotely greasy. This is where things started to get complicated when my natural hair began to grow back in.

For almost a year I had been loading my hair up with conditioners, masks, serums and whatever else would temporarily hydrate and smooth out my bleached strands, but the more my new hair started to grow in, the greasier is started looking at the top. My healthy hair couldn’t absorb the hydration I was putting in it, but my bleached hair needed it if it wasn’t going to break off. Additionally, remember what I said about volume? Suddenly the ends of my hair were light and airy, but the new healthy hair was thin and heavy making it sit super flat on top, but big on the sides. Basically, I had two entirely different types of hair on my head and it was seriously annoying!

Just before Christmas I received a package from Kerastase with The Resistance Collection for nourishing and revitalizing weak hair. What I found was that this system was actually a great way of dealing with my hair problem because you put the conditioner on before the shampoo, so I could effectively hydrate the bleached sections of my hair without over-hydrating the new hair at my roots. After adding the Soin Premier Therapiste (conditioner) first, I would shampoo my hair focusing only on the roots using Bain Force Architecte (shampoo) second and end up with hair that felt so soft, but not weighed down on top. Finally, I would add Gelee Volumifique to the roots, which is a rinse out gel that would add volume to my healthy hair to help it match the lightness of my bleached hair. Every couple of washes I do use the Schwarzkopf Repair Rescue mask, but only on the ends to help reduce further breakage.

Are you growing out your bleached hair? Maybe this backwards condition and shampoo system is just the thing if your hair has different levels of damage like mine. Let me know if you try it!

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