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Healthy Hair Bleach

Q: I had healthy and well over shoulder length brown hair and a couple of years ago I decided to become a blonde because my boyfriend repeatedly asked me to do so. Unfortunately, my hairdresser over-processed my hair, it looked awful and I had to get it cut very short. I want to keep my blonde hair, but I also want to let it grow long again. Can I bleach my hair and keep it healthy at the same time? What products do I need to use or should I find myself a better hairdresser that doesn't over-process my hair?
 
A: When you say “brown hair” exactly how dark is your natural color? Is your hair Cindy Crawford brown? Or is your hair brown like Jennifer Lopez’s color? (see the photos) The distinctions are important because the amount of lift required to bring these two colors to blonde levels is dramatically different.
 
Jennifer Lopez Cindy Crawford

 
      It’s the level of lift that has significant impact on the damage done to your hair. One of the side effects of bleaching processes is that along with color molecules, some of the peptides in the hair are also dissolved and washed away. The level of damage done directly corresponds with the amount of lightening being done. So, any lightening process must be carefully monitored and treated like a balancing act. {Note: All chemical services (depositing color, lightening color, and perms and chemical straightening) damage the hair through their varying processes, and all these damages are cumulative, so repeat services only add to the damage level that must be dealt with by the individual.}
 
      Unfortunately, your information is vague on the starting and finishing hair color levels in question. So, I cannot make any accurate suggestions. I can, however, suggest that you carefully consider how much lightening you do to your hair. And also keep in mind that the damage done to the hair by bleaching and other chemical services is cumulative, so you need to be careful of overlapping when treating new hair growth and lightening it to match an existing color.
 
      As for options on at-home lightening, or seeking professional help, I strongly recommend that you opt for a professional’s assistance. Given your belief that your former hairdresser over-processed your hair, I will suggest you find a hair new stylist to assist you. It’s important to do your homework however, and find someone with a good reputation and who is willing to offer references. In the meantime, use conditioner (rinse through and leave-in varieties) daily to keep the hair moisturized and to prevent breakage.
 
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