Bleaching your hair for the first time is an exciting first step to a whole new look, but it can be daunting, especially if yours is naturally textured and more prone to dryness and breakage. Luckily, there are safe and easy ways to bleach naturally textured hair without serious damage. If you’ve been dreaming of a new look, here’s what you need to know about bleaching and caring for your hair type.
How Are Curly and Kinky Hair Types Structured?
All hair is made of keratin, a complex protein structure that gives it elasticity. Curly hair is structured differently than straight hair. That structure helps define its wave pattern, volume, and definition. The hair follicles for curly or kinky hair are oval, compared to the round shape of straight or only slightly wavy hair. Oval follicles tend to have keratin coating on only one side rather than in an even distribution all the way around.
Why does all this matter? Because your hair’s structure will make it interact with the bleaching process differently. Losing keratin bonds in curly hair can cause more overall damage since the hair is already more prone to breakage and dryness.
What Does Bleach Do to the Structure of Hair?
Keratin is held together with disulfide bonds, which bleach will break down. Using large amounts of bleach or processing your hair more often will result in more bonds being broken. This can result in extra-dry locks that break more easily, creating frizz and damage along the shaft.
Bleaching results—and damage—are affected by a few factors. These include the percentage of hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching agent in the product, the length of time it’s left in the hair, and the frequency of applications.
Additionally, you should always be careful with bleach because it can affect your scalp as well as the hair follicles.
How Do I Protect Textured Hair When Bleaching?
The first thing you need to consider is when you will be bleaching. If you have naturally textured hair, you can’t bleach it on a whim—you have to take special precautions beforehand. If your hair has a lot of split ends, get it trimmed to avoid increasing that damage.
Around three days before the treatment, use a deep conditioner or mask to ensure your hair has enough moisture at the follicle. Do not rewash your hair between this deep conditioning and the time you plan to bleach. The conditioning product will help keep your scalp safer during the bleach application.
Our hair therapy products are great choices for keeping your mane soft and healthy. Our Hydrating Hair Mask and Revitalizing Hair Oil were made to boost moisture and shine without weighing strands down.
Choose a bleaching product that offers some flexibility. The first time you bleach naturally textured hair, it can be helpful to go with the lowest concentration of peroxide offered. While this may not give you the most dramatic results, it will lessen the potential damage to your hair structure. Additionally, look for products that have bonding or moisturizing ingredients that condition the hair as lightens. Our Unicorn Bleach Party comes in two concentrations of peroxide and also contains aloe vera, which helps hair to retain more moisture. It’s also wise to do a patch test at least 48 hours in advance to ensure you don’t have any skin allergies to the product.
For added safety when bleaching, make sure to work in a well-ventilated room and only use the amounts suggested on the packaging. Keep your space neat with a washable Mixing Bowl and Brush Kit. Keep some Sectioning Hair Clips handy to ensure you can work in small, manageable sections to get an even application.
Bleaching curly hair may seem scary, but our vegan hair products put your safety and well-being first. That means that you can see great results, no matter your texture.