What Hairstylists Want You to Know Before Bleaching Your Natural Hair

Here's how to keep your curls healthy.

What Hairstylists Want You to Know Before Bleaching Your Natural Hair
Photo: CFL Group Media/Stocksy/Adobe Stock

Lightening your hair can be a complex process for anyone, but especially those who have natural hair. There are a few ways to lighten black or brown curls, but the magic potion that will help you achieve the brightest, most vibrant color is simply bleach.

The chemical solution is regularly used by hairstylists to open the hair cuticle and dissolve the natural pigment. And the longer the bleach is left on, the lighter the hair strands become, making it easier for the hair to absorb dye.

However, bleaching agents can be harsh, and the procedure often changes the porosity and elasticity of the hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage (see why it's a little more complicated for natural girls?).

However, that doesn't mean you should forget about bleaching your hair if you're in the mood to switch things up. So long as you take the right steps, you can avoid damage and keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

To help you get equipped, we reached out to Brendnetta Ashley, a stylist at The Salon by InStyle Inside JCPenney, to ask her to share everything stylists want you to know before bleaching your hair.

All her expert tips, ahead.

Can Natural Hair Be Bleached Safely?

Straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair, and coily hair can all be bleached. But since hair types 3 and 4 are already more prone to dryness, you just have to be mindful before you take the plunge.

"The key is to understand your hair," says Ashley. "If your hair is fragile, it is best to have a slow and steady approach when lightening it. This meaning, your desired color may have to be achieved over a period of time."

If your hair is already damaged, it is best to wait until your hair is in a healthy state before you bleach it. But even after you've repaired your hair, you shouldn't rush it.

"Once your hair is in better condition, still take a slow approach to coloring it," Ashley suggests. "This will ensure you don't damage your hair again."

How Do I Prep My Natural Hair For the Bleaching Process?

Curly hair can be fragile, so before you bleach it you want to ensure your hair is in a healthy condition. Doing a treatment can help.

"I always recommend doing a deep conditioning treatment three to five days before you bleach your hair," says Ashley, who uses Genedor Beauty Moisture Resuscitate Conditioner on her clients. Its special blend of exotic butters, honey and oils, help to envelope every hair strand, promoting a protective moisturizing barrier. The stylist is also a fan of Design Essentials Platinum Ultra Moisturizing Hair Mask, which works wonders to help retain moisture both before and after the hair has been color-treated.

bleaching natural hair

To shop: $18; jcpenney.com

VIDEO: Michelle Obama Showed Off Her Natural Hair Texture on Instagram

Should I Bleach My Hair Myself?

Unless you're a professional, probably not.

Bleach is a very strong solution, and attempting to lighten your hair yourself can be very damaging. Plus, over-processing your hair with bleach can permanently alter your natural curl pattern.

"It is always best to have your color done by a professional," recommends Ashley. "They will evaluate the condition of your hair to ensure it remains healthy."

How Do I Prevent Damage Once My Hair Has Been Bleached?

Creating a regular hair maintenance routine will help prevent damage. Your routine should include hydrating shampoos, deep conditioning treatments, regular trims, and styling products that seal in moisture and add shine.

"To maintain the health and integrity of your hair after your color service, you want to use products that have moisture to hydrate your hair. Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Sulfate-Free Shampoo will restore the health of your curls and help them to retain moisture," says Ashley.

bleaching natural hair

To shop: $13; jcpenney.com

Related Articles