How do you keep your hair healthy despite bleaching it repeatedly? Silky smooth hair is a difficult feat to achieve anyway, but especially when your hair is breaking and frizzy from excessive bleach. There are thousands of products that flood the market all promising to salvage damaged locks – but which have actually worked for real people? We found some seriously effective hair hacks and product recommendations from three ladies who have bleached their hair but still sport gorgeously healthy tresses...

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @ROMEESTRIJD

Ella

Ella’s hair was a dirty blonde when she decided to take the plunge and go lighter. Ella already had light hair to begin with, so she didn’t expect the bleach to wreak much havoc, but she noticed her usual ‘shampoo and go’ routine was no longer cutting it. “I definitely got more split ends and my hair was so much weaker, dehydrated and prone to frizz,” Ella says. Ella says no matter what type of hair you have, you need to upgrade your haircare routine, as bleached hair needs serious care.

Pick Your Products

Shampoo and conditioner wise, she religiously uses Kevin Murphy Angel Wash and Rinse – she has strayed from this combo but always comes back. The shampoo gives her hair a stunning fresh-out-the-salon airiness, while the conditioner delivers a glasslike sheen. But her ultimate multifunctional hair hero is Olaplex. She says it “salvaged” her hair, calms frizz and adds strength to her locks. It’s a lazy girl’s best friend because it “makes styling your hair so much easier – you don’t have to worry about knots and straw-like texture.”

Learn To Layer

While we’ve all heard of layering skincare products, what’s rarely discussed is layering our haircare. It’s the idea that when products are combined, they boost the performance of each other – working together to produce a super-charged nourishing effect. Ella swears by a special haircare layering technique to boost hair health.  She applies hair serum at the ends of her hair, followed by a light coating of hair oil and seals the concoction in with a hair mask. Ella says this hack  leaves her hair feeling “insanely silky”.

Mask On The Move

Most of us apply hair masks at home or in the shower, but Ella says hair masks are perfect to wear anywhere. She slicks on some hair mask and pulls her hair into a bun while she goes for a run or trains at the gym. “It actually gives this slick, high fashion editorial look, but above all it’s just a great time saver,” she laughs. Ella also recommends smoothing hair treatments at the ends of your hair before swimming or going for a splash in the ocean, as it helps combat the drying effects of the pool or ocean.

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Find A New Use For Aluminium Foil

Judy has bleached her hair since she was 15 – she’s now 27.  Judy’s hair was initially quite resilient when she first started dying her virgin black hair – no breakage or even dryness. It was only recently that her hair was starting to feel brittle, and no matter how hydrating a mask claimed to be, nothing could quite tame the tangles. “I couldn’t even run a comb through my hair,” she laughs. After a few trips to the hairdresser and thousands of dollars worth of product experimentation later, she’s finally found her holy grail routine that restored softness back to her hair.

A Winner Shampoo Duo

Judy swears by rotating between two shampoos to keep her hair in tip top condition. She uses the Eleven Hydrate My Hair Moisture Shampoo frequently for sleek locks and zero flyaways. But she admits it can make her hair feel limp if she uses it daily. Instead, once a week, she uses a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup. But she warns against most deep cleansing shampoos on the market, saying they’ve made her hair feel brittle. “The only clarifying shampoo that hasn’t damaged my hair but still removes all the gunk is the Franck Provost Pure D-Tox Shampoo, but you can’t use it too often or your hair will become dry,” she says.

Her Holy Grail Mask

As for hair masks, she’s loyal to one only: the Pureology Superfood Hydrating Masque. “Everytime I use it I don’t need to straighten my hair,” she says. It restores moisture levels, smooths damaged ends, boosts hair resilience and on top of that delivers world class radiance, Judy tells me. “But it does weigh your hair down if you use too much, so a dollop is enough,” she says. Her top hack? Slather a hair mask on liberally, place aluminium foil over your hair, then use a hairdryer to distribute heat across your hair for a few minutes. The aluminium foil acts as a heat protectant and the mild heat will enable the mask to penetrate deeper.

DIY Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo and anti-brassiness hair treatments can be drying, so Judy makes her own. It’s super easy: she occasionally mixes IGK Mixed Feelings Leave-In Blonde Drops with her regular shampoo or conditioner for added insurance against unwanted yellow and orange pigments. The drops are designed to infuse any hair product with the toning qualities of a traditional purple shampoo – banishing brass easily.

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Ashley

Ashley dyes her hair multiple times a year – from brunette, to blonde, jet black and fiery red. “It’s safe to say my hair has taken a beating,” Ashley laments.  She noticed her hair started falling out rapidly when she went from jet black to platinum blonde, and no matter how many heavy duty oils she lacquered on, her hair was still super frazzled. “All these nourishing masks weighed down my hair and yet it didn’t improve the quality,” she laughs.

Buy The Dye, But Not For The Dye

Ashley’s tresses are now pretty perfect – with pageant queen-worthy volume, it’s hard to believe her locks once resembled a bird’s nest. What’s the secret to her drastic hair transformation? Was it luxe in-salon treatments and splurge-worthy haircare? Turns out the gamechanger was a lot more budget-friendly. “I stock up on the L’Oréal Excellence Creme Box Dye because I’m obsessed with the additional conditioner that comes with it – I don’t even use the hair dye,” she raves. Ashley says the complimentary conditioner delivers a stunning blowdry-esque smoothness and a high shine reminiscent of Pantene commercials. As for shampoo? She loves to use Baby Sanctum Shampoo as it’s gentle and never strips her hair, yet still provides a thorough clean.

Reverse Your Shampoo and Conditioner

Traditional hair wisdom tells us to shampoo then condition, but Ashley found the reverse made her hair feel bouncier and less prone to frizz. “I actually put conditioner on dry hair, leave it on for 30 minutes then wash it off with shampoo.” Right after Ashley showers, she smooths her ends with organic Argan oil for an extra punch of hydration.

Bristle Brilliance

While Ashley relies on haircare products to do the heavy lifting, she says switching from a plastic bristle brush, to a boar bristle brush has made a significant impact. Her favourite? Mason Pearson Pocket Pure Boar Brush. “It just adds more shine and knots come out faster without having to tug at your hair, it’s expensive but definitely a great investment,” she says.

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Story by Kristina Zhou.

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