Anyone who has been through the struggle of repairing bleached and broken hair will empathise with me. Over the last few years my hair has been through a lot, I’m going to give you a bit of a back story and then some tips on how I repaired my bleached, damaged hair.
Let’s start at the beginning, up until the age of about 13 I always had healthy, long, curly hair that my mum would occasionally straighten for me. It wasn’t until I moved to secondary school that I started becoming really self conscious about my hair, mainly because all the other girls seemed to have naturally straight hair, and you always want what you can’t have, so I began straightening my hair more often. Despite the straightening, my hair still seemed pretty healthy.
Here are some pictures of me when I was about 13 with long, healthy hair (sorry about the awkward, embarrassing old photos which look like they’ve been taken on a potato):
The beginning of the end for my hair
When I was around 14 I had my hair cut by a family friend (who was a qualified hairdresser but was awful), and she literally cut my hair to my shoulders, which I never wanted, and did my first ever head of highlights. I didn’t mind the length when it was straight, but when my hair was left natural and curly it looked like a bob cut which I HATED!! So of course I just kept straightening it every day to get that length I wanted. On top of this, I was getting more and more highlights every 6 weeks, from various different hairdressers. By the time I was 15/16 my hair was well and truly screwed, it was bleached and singed to within an inch of its life. My once healthy head of hair was now a thin, damaged mess. Below are some photos from a trip in year 11 when my hair was at it’s worst, the photos don’t show just how damaged it was but you can see how short and thin it is!
My solution at the time
I eventually got sick of how my hair looked so I invested in some clip in hair extensions, and they were my absolute savior. I ended up wearing them so much that most people didn’t even realise that they were extensions, they had just become a part of me and I felt naked without them. Throughout my AS year when I was 16/17 I wore my extensions almost every single day to college – it would take me a stupid amount of time to get ready in the morning! This is what my hair looked like with clip in extensions:
But continuously clipping hair extensions into my already weak hair just made the situation worse. Finally I thought enough was enough, and I started taking steps to repair my natural hair.
How I Repaired My Damaged Hair
- Stopped highlighting – I actually stopped going to the hairdresser altogether, I let all the bleach grow out and trimmed the ends myself every 8 weeks or so. This was a frustrating process because even though my hair was growing, it wasn’t getting any longer because the bleached ends were still breaking off. It wasn’t until the bleach had fully grown out that I started to see a difference in length.
- Less heat – now I very rarely put heat on my hair, only when I’m going out. I never blow dry my hair and just leave it to dry naturally. I had to discover ways of making my hair look presentable without using heat, which is not easy when your hair is naturally curly like mine. I’m actually intending to write a post about easy hairstyles for curly hair, so let me know if I should!
- Hair oils – After I’ve washed and towel dried my hair, I will run some extra-moisturising oil through it. My favourite oil to use is the ‘Renewing Argan Oil Of Morocco – Extra Strength Penetrating Oil Dry, Coarse Hair‘ I love this oil because it seriously hydrates my hair and helps to define my curls.
- Hair masks – I’ve actually only started doing this in the last few months and I think it’s really made a difference to the softness of my hair. I use a hair masque in the shower once a week. At the moment I’m using the ‘TRESemme Restructuring Deep Conditioning Treatment – extra dry, brittle hair‘ but I’ll keep changing it up so my hair doesn’t get used to one formula.
- Refrained from wearing extensions – seeing as I stopped straightening my hair, I couldn’t really wear my clip in extensions. This helped my roots to become stronger as they weren’t having to constantly hold the weight of my extensions. Although it was difficult not wearing them to begin with, I quickly got used to having short hair again and I knew I would thank myself in the long run.
The process of letting my hair grow out and nurturing it back to a somewhat healthy state took around 2 years. I am now 19 (turning 20 this year) and my hair is the healthiest it’s been since I was 14, so healthy in fact that I’ve been able to get some subtle blonde highlights just to give the colour a boost – but don’t worry I’ve learnt my lesson and I DO NOT intend to go bleach blonde again!! I’m also going to wait around 3 months between each colour top up, and continue using my oils and hair masks.
Although my hair is no longer falling out, it is still no where near as strong and healthy as it used to be, but it’s getting there. I am 100% determined to have long, healthy hair as well as being blonde (because of my complexion , blonde hair suits me best.) Hopefully if I continue to take good care of it, one day I will live up to my own hair goals!
If you’ve got a hair horror story of your own, tell me about it in the comments! Or if you have any additional tips that you think would help me, I would love to hear them!