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What You need to know about Hair Bleaching

Bleaching (Part 1): What you need to know about hair bleaching

Ash blonde, silver, pastel pink or rainbow hair colors are some of the major hair goals you must have come across Instagram, Facebook or your favorite beauty blogs. Whether you like it in ombre, highlights or full color, if you have dark hair, the only way to go is some serious bleaching. You might have heard or read somewhere that bleaching is damaging, Is it? What does bleaching actually do to your hair? Either you’re someone who already have your hair done or still thinking about it, this is definitely worth a read.

How Does Bleaching Work?

You must be familiar with melanin– the dark pigment predominantly present in those with dark skin and hair. Bleaching primarily targets melanin to lighten hair.  Hydrogen Peroxide is the common chemical used as bleaching agent. During bleaching, the following happens:

What Bleaching does to your hair


  1. Your hair shaft opens, allowing peroxide in. Peroxide breaks the chemical bonds of the hair, releasing sulfur, hence the burnt smell when bleaching (sulfur is also released in burnt tires).

2.Peroxide oxidizes the melanin molecule. Oxidized melanin turns colorless. At this point (where hair shaft is  open and melanin lost its dark color), pigments from hair dyes can be deposited to give hair a nice, vivid color.

Addition of conditioner after bleaching            3. Applying Conditioner after the treatment closes the hair cuticle back. However, the hair cuticle is now    irregular and disorganized.


So it Affects only the External Parts of the Hair?

No. It can get ugly inside as how it is on the outside.  Because bleaching damage the hair cuticle, your hair’s natural barrier is compromised. The interior part, which is the cortex, can be damaged too. Remember that the external layer of a healthy hair is hydrophobic – meaning water cannot easily come in… and out. A damaged hair loses its hydrophobicity and  becomes porous. Hair with high porosity allows water in too quickly when wet, and has poor water holding capacity when dry.

Hair Porosity


Porous texture of Hair

Sponge is a porous material. Can you imagine a hair with very high porosity?

Is there a way I can undo the damage?

If you are talking about restoring your hair to its natural and healthy state, Im sorry but  I’ll be Ms. BadNews and  tell you: you cant. Your hair is basically dead cells that has grown out of your hair follicles. It lacks the active living cells to do any restorative function. It is incapable of repairing itself.  However, you can make it appear healthy and prevent it from further damage by some hair products and proper hair care.

Can I still grow healthy hair back?

Okay, now you are a guilty criminal for damaging your hair and you are wondering if you can start a new life by growing your healthy hair back. Fortunately, the chemicals only damage the dead keratinous layer of the hair shaft, and usually does not affect the growth of the hair. However, one should be cautious of the things that can damage the hair follicle and may actually prevent you from growing back healthy hair.


Last Words: Be Smart and Beautiful

We don’t discourage you from going for a bleach because these treatments look fabulous when done correctly, ideally with a professional. But it’s smart to know what this beauty treatment can actually do to your hair. Be aware of its proper care to minimize damage. Don’t believe salons when they tell you that they can bleach your hair with zero damage. It’s not a question of whether it damages the hair or not but rather the magnitude of the damage. This rely entirely upon your hairstylist’s skills and the quality of product they’re using.

Dark, light, or unicorn hair – whatever makes you feel happy and beautiful- you go for it girl! Your hair is your crowning glory, take care of it like a baby and carry it confidently.

You know a friend who’s thinking of an edgy hair style? Feel free to share! And Oh, We’d love to hear from you too! Please leave comment





Article written by:

Anne Porter

Hi! I’m Anne. I am a chemical engineer from Cebu, Philippines. I created Zarins Beautylab because of my love for cosmetics, skin care products and all other stuff that makes me (and you) look and feel beautiful. My semesters of chemistry courses come in handy as I explain the science behind different beauty products: which works and how it works. Well, Sometimes its science and sometimes its just good ol’ common sense.

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