5 Things That Happen When You Bleach Your Hair

Published on Mar 22, 2018

Let's get straight to it - bleaching damages your hair and that's the truth! That said, most of us still choose to bleach our hair in the pursuit of pastel, ash or the several other instaworthy colours that can only be achieved with the help of a bleaching agent. Of course, there's a way to minimize the damaging effects of bleaching with olaplex, hair treatments or products that promise to revive bleached hair but the fact remains that too much bleach is never a good thing!

Let's find out what else happens to your hair when you bleach it ...

1. Your hair is more susceptible to damage


Environmental elements like the UV rays, humidity, and wind can worsen the damage already brought on by the bleaching process. Bleached hair is already dry and damaged and these environmental elements suck out moisture from your hair, further exacerbating the dryness. 

For this reason, we highly recommend adding olaplex / cureplex or similar agents to your bleach to reduce damage during bleaching AND nourishing bleached hair afterwards with Tokio Inkarami.

Before and After Tokio Inkarami Hair Treatment
Before and After Tokio Inkarami Hair Treatment

Before and After Tokio Inkarami

What the treatments do is to fill the empty hair cuticles with amino acids and other ingredients that help to shield the hair from further damage. Olaplex and cureplex also creates additional bonds during the bleaching process so that the hair remains healthy. 

2. Bleaching reacts with melanin in an irreversible chemical reaction


hair feels like hay

Bleaching is a process where hydrogen peroxide is used to soften the hair’s cuticle and dissolve the color by reacting with the melanin, lightening the hair through a process called oxidation.

Melanin is essentially what gives hair its natural colour, and when hydrogen peroxide strips melanin of its colour in an irreversible chemical reaction. This oxidation is the process can weaken and damage the hair as the natural fatty acids on the hair shaft are broken down, which is why it's crucial to not over bleach your hair but limit it to 1 - 2 rounds. 

The only treatment that can possibly SAVE your bleached hair (for a few months at least) is Keratin Treatments. 

Before after back

99 Percent Hair Studio revive's Agent M's over-bleached hair 

3. Hair colour fades faster the more you bleach your hair


Porosity is your hair's ability to absorb moisture. Hair that is too porous has a difficulty retaining moisture and maintaining protein balance, and prone to damage and breakage. This is often caused by chemically altering the hair such as bleaching, and/or heat damage. When your hair has high porosity, frizz and dryness are going to be a constant battle. You'll want to have hair that has a high to medium porosity as it lets moisture in and keeps water out. Low porosity is when the hair’s cuticle remains flat and closed, natural oils and products tend to just sit on the hair rather than sink in.

Wanna test? Just drop your hair into water!

Test Hair's Health in Water

When your hair becomes too damaged and porous, moisture isn't the only thing that the hair can't absorb. You'll find that hair colours fades very quickly because cuticles are open and therefore, are unable to retain the colour molecules deposited. 

This includes BLACK Hair colour; if your hair was previously bleached 3-5 times (sometimes intentionally, sometimes due to stylists' mistakes), even black hair colour will fade very rapidly! 

The only thing you can do is therefore, use a colour shampoo. Colour shampoos like these replenish the colour molecules in your hair so that the colour doesn't fade as quickly!

4. Hair appears voluminous 


Lavender Blue by AVENTA

Lavender Blue by Bump by AVENTA

Does your hair look voluminous after bleaching? That's because your hair becomes drier and more damaged afterwards. As damaged hair tends not to be so straight, your hair volume actually increases!

5. Your scalp may burn, itch and redden


If you are going for a full head colour that requires bleaching, you are going to have to bleach starting near your roots - yikes! As bleach is a chemical, the bleach will cause your scalp to burn slightly and it will start to itch from the burn. It will also turn red and inflamed. This is normal so don't start freaking out, but these side effects also show you just how bad bleaching is for your scalp and hair!

Warning: The images below might be disturbing.

scalp analysis
scalp analysis

Before vs After Revivre Scalp Treatment

Some salons avoid damaging your scalp by applying a scalp protector before the service. Japanese salons such as Bump Hair Design apply creams near sensitive scalp areas to avoid burning your scalp.

Such scalp protectors are however not 100% foolproof. Hence for customers who are very worried about your sensitive scalp, you can avoid all scalp damage by going for an ombre or inner hair colour style! 

Rainbow Hair Colour

Inner Hair Colour by Project Hair @ Jurong

Bonus: You get a hair colour that turns heads like no other!


As damaging as bleaching may be, it is a necessary evil to tolerate if we want amazing hair colours like this. 

Rainbow Hair Colour Balayage

Oil Slick Balayage @ 99 Percent Hair Studio

Brown Balayage

Tiger Eye Balayage by Gene by Ginrich

Though the effects of bleaching is not a very fun one, that feeling of rocking a new cool colour 'do is like none other, which is why we can totally understand if you are seriously considering putting your tresses to a round or two of bleach.

You should be fine if you take the necessary precautions and not overdo it... just remember to take tons of instaworthy photos so that you make the effects all worth it!

Learn from Agent CW as she spills her secrets to keeping her heavily bleached hair healthy.

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