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Does Bleaching Your Hair Damage Your Curls?

Does Bleaching Your Hair Damage Your Curls?

Anyone with curly hair can attest to being a little fearful when trying something different with their hair. It is far too common that people with curly hair have been given a bad haircut or have lost their texture due to a poor dye job. Yet, having curly hair does not mean that you can’t experiment with different colors or cuts. However, if you have curly hair and want to get a lighter color, you do need to be a little more careful.


Bleaching is one of the most common ways to get lighter hair. However, it damages your hair in the process of lightening up your locks. And if you have curly hair, the damage can be more evident as it can change your texture. Here is a look at what you need to be aware of when going lighter and what you can do to reduce the damages to your curls.

How Bleach Works

Understanding the chemical process behind lightening your hair is essential if you want to avoid harming your curls. Bleach works by stripping the color from your hair. It starts with an alkaline agent that forces the hair cuticle to open. Then, an oxidizing agent helps open up the cortex of the hair follicle so that it can strip your hair of its natural color (called melanin - just like in your skin). The lighter you want your hair, the longer you need to leave on the bleach. As you can imagine, the longer the bleach is left on, the more damage you will have on your hair.


When anyone bleaches their hair, it can change your hair’s texture, making it less soft and more brittle. This change happens because bleach makes the hair more porous and elastic, which eventually causes the hair to split and break off. As you may imagine, bleach also weakens the hair shaft, which is caused by a breakdown in the fatty acids that are inside your hair follicles.

What Happens When You Use Bleach On Curly Hair?

Bleach works just about the same on everyone. However, the results can change depending on your hair type. People with straight hair will likely be less affected by the textural changes of using bleach, although they will have issues with breakage and loss of elasticity. If you have curly hair, the changes will be more noticeable and possibly concerning.


Because bleach causes your hair to become more porous and less elastic, it relaxes your curls and makes them fall limp. Applying any bleach to your hair will likely cause your curls to drop. However, there are a few ways you can lessen the damaging effects of bleach on curly locks:


  • Don’t go blonde all at once - You need to go slow when transitioning to a lighter shade. If you go completely blond in one appointment, you will likely strip your hair of everything that makes it healthy and strong, leaving you with lifeless, stretchy hair strands. Therefore, if your end goal is to go significantly lighter than your current or natural shade, you will need to make multiple appointments so you do not completely damage your hair.
  • Don’t wash your hair for a few days before your appointment - The natural oils on your scalp and hair can protect both your skin and hair shafts from the bleach. Therefore, it is best not to show up with freshly washed hair for your lightning appointment.

Can You Reverse The Damage To Your Curls?

When we use bleach, we generally assume that the damage is done. Indeed, it can be extremely complicated to get your hair to go back to what it was without just waiting for it to grow out. However, there are a few options that will help you get your bounce back, and restore your hair health.


Firstly, start with good shampoo products that heal your hair strands while protecting your color. Many cleansing products sacrifice either your color or your hair health. However, there are products that can both heal your hair and make your color stay vibrant. Look for a restructuring shampoo and conditioner system like the NIA Restructuring line at DS Laboratories. These products will boost your bounce, all while sealing up damaged hair. Perhaps one of the best parts of the NIA products is that it detangles without using any mechanical forces (like brushing), which is almost always an issue for people with curly hair.


If your scalp has been damaged by the bleaching process or is particularly sensitive, you will benefit from a shampoo like the RADIA High-Performance Purifying Shampoo and Conditioner. Together, these products help heal and protect a damaged scalp while curbing frizz and maintaining your color. Preserving your color is particularly important because you do not want to keep visiting the salon for more bleach, as the more bleach you use, the more damage you will have on your hair.


Secondly, you will need to use a product that helps restore strength in the cuticle. NIA FIX instantly starts restructuring the cuticle and repairing bonds from the inside out in your hair. It not only repairs the hair strands, but also heals split ends, making your hair softer, brighter, and stronger. NIX FIX does not compromise your hair color, so you don’t have to stress over having more bleaching appointments to keep your color vibrant.

Reverse Damage From Bleaching

If you have curly color-treated hair and aren’t sure how to care for it, chat with a DS Laboratories product advisor to see what products will best help your hair maintain its curl and color.

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