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Bleach Asian Hair

Q: I've been coloring my hair for quite some time now, about 5 years or so, most of those years I have been going to a salon to dye my hair blond. It looked really awesome, so I decided to stay a blond until now. I have recently dyed my hair dark brown to match my dark Asian hair roots since I decided that repeated hair coloring and bleaching is getting progressively worse, so I figured I'd give my hair a really long break. When I had my hair blonde, there was no shine to it at all, and it felt like hay-hair. But for some reason, now that it's been colored dark brown, there is a LOT of shine to it and it's soft too... Nevertheless, I wish to dye my hair blond again since I really miss it. So I'm wondering, usually, how long can one dye their hair like I do before it gets really damaged? Can I continue dying my hair blonde (it was a honey blonde with lowlights and highlights) without damaging it too much? I actually just dyed it dark brown a couple of days ago, so how long should I wait until I get back to the salon to get it blonde again? I'd really like to be blond again! Thank you so much for your help!
 
A: Well, some of the things you describe alarm me. As an Asian individual, bleaching your hair to a blonde level involves some very significant chemical processing. You explained that, when you were blonde, the hair had no shine and “felt like hay-hair”. This is a sign of damage. Healthy hair will have a natural shine to it, and all of the products that are meant to be “shine enhancing” use oils and silicates to make the hair “look healthy”.
 
      The reason, that the darker color service makes your hair shinier is that the addition of color to the hair adds some “substance” to the hair, and most modern deposit-only color don’t roughen the cuticle layer as much. With many modern hair coloring formulas the hair’s cuticle layer is left smoother than before coloring. This means shinier, healthier-looking hair.
 
      As for how long you can “dye your hair” before it gets too damaged? The answer depends on the starting condition of the hair. And you should remember that lightening the hair color is ALWAYS harsher to the hair than darkening the color. I suggest talking to your salon stylist and asking him or her for their input regarding your hair’s current condition and the likelihood that it can survive another harsh chemical bleaching. Even if the decision is made to proceed, insist on a strand test before having the process done, to ensure that your hair won’t be irrevocably damaged.
 
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