Bleaching is one of the various treatments that is done to enhance the look of one’s hair. While it is tempting to bleach your hair, you should know that bleaching is a harsh treatment and may not be completely safe for your mane. This is because
- Bleaching damages the hair shaft by penetrating the hair cuticle with chemicals. This eventually removes your natural pigment, melanin, and makes your hair lighter.
- The protein bonds known as keratin are also removed by bleaching. Keratin is the one that makes your hair look healthy, soft, and shiny.
- Bleaching changes the structure of your hair and makes your hair prone to damage.
What to do before bleaching your hair at home?
The two most common ingredients that are used for bleaching include ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Even if you want to bleach your hair with these chemicals, what we recommend is to have a strand test. Here is how you can do this:
- Apply a small paste of the bleach cream/lightener on a few strands of your hair.
- Read the label. Keep the lightener on your hair as per the label instructions.
- Then rinse and wash away.
- Observe the condition of the lightened hair. See whether you have got the expected shade of lightened hair and if they are frayed or frizzy. If you are not satisfied with the results of the shade and it has damaged your hair, avoid bleaching.
What is the easiest way to bleach your hair at home?
If you still want to get a lighter shade of hair, go for the easier and safer ways of bleaching your hair at home. None of these have been studied for their effects on their hair. It is just that girls and women in countries such as the Philippines and Singapore have been using them for hundreds of years. Here are a few of them:
- Lemon juice spray: Lemon juice is one of the oldest natural lightening techniques. Pour lemon juice mixed with water into a spray bottle. Coat your strands completely with the spray. Let the solution dry for about 20 minutes and rinse it. Lemon juice is extremely dry for your hair. Complete the procedure by doing deep conditioning of your hair.
- Honey mask: Honey naturally contains a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Honey has a gentle bleaching effect on hair unlike the undiluted hydrogen peroxide available in the market that has a stronger effect. It combats the drying effect of hydrogen peroxide, which is present in it, through its moisturizing effect on the hair. Mix honey with a bit of distilled water and apply it to your hair and keep it for 30 minutes. Shampoo your hair to wash the entire honey. To double the bleaching effect, head out in the sun while honey is still on your hair.
- Cinnamon paste: Cinnamon is an alternative to honey that contains trace amounts of peroxide. It will not dry out your hair. It is most suitable for dark hair. Make a cinnamon paste and apply it on the hair strands where you need its bleaching effect. Wash your hair with shampoo followed by conditioning.
You can enhance the effect of all the at-home-based bleaching methods by sitting outside for long periods. This way you will get the added bleaching effect of the sun. Remember to wear sunscreen to protect your skin.
Do it yourself (DIY) methods may be better than the market preparations of bleaching if you want a gentler way to achieve lighter strands. Try all of them and check which one suits your hair the most. The results may not be as dramatic as the bleaching products, but they are better for your hair’s health in the long run. Make sure you use conditioners after washing your hair as care for your bleached hair.
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Jeong MS, Lee CM, Jeong WJ, et al. Significant Damage of the Skin and Hair Following Hair Bleaching. J Dermatol. 2010 Oct;37(10):882-7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20860738/