Changing your look and coloring your hair with a lighter color is fun. However, most hair-dying products contain at least some amount of bleach. But, what is bleach, and does it really affect your hair that badly?

Your hair color is determined by melanin, a pigment found in your hair shaft. Each hair strand is covered with a cuticle that comprises of protective protein scales. When you bleach your hair, the chemicals that bleach are made up of break apart this cuticle to reach the melanin and alter it to a lighter color. The essential protective proteins of your hair are broken down and hair strands get stripped of their natural oils and fibers in this process.

Bleach is essentially a harsh intruder that tears down your hair proteins to erase their natural color. Breakage, dryness, and frizz are just a few side effects of bleaching your hair.

A] Here are a few signs that your bleached hair is dehydrated and needs nourishment

1. They’re lackluster, they lack natural shine –

Healthy hair shines naturally, and there’s a proper scientific reason behind this – when the hair cuticle lies flat, it allows light to reflect on it, giving hair a nice healthy and all-natural sheen. As we saw earlier, bleach damages the cuticle and it doesn’t reflect light as much and therefore, it ends up making your hair look dull.

2. They feel brittle and dry –

Since the cuticle is a protective covering that traps in natural oils and moisture in your hair, when it is damaged, this moisture and natural oils – essential for glossy, healthy hair is allowed to escape making your hair dry and brittle.

3. More frizz –

When hair strands are stripped of their moisture, it leads to frizzy hair. This causes more tangles. Combing hair, again and again, to get rid of tangles also leads to an increase in frizz.

4. Split ends –

The ends of your hair are the oldest hair on your head. When bleach is applied to already old and dead hair, it leads to intense breakage and ragged split ends. These split ends can cause further damage if they aren’t moisturized and managed properly.

So, to avoid such disastrous effects, how do you hydrate hair after bleaching?

B] Here are a few easy home remedies to hydrate bleached hair

1. Hydrate, girl, hydrate!

Keeping your bleached hair hydrated is the most important. Using natural oils to hydrate your frizzy hair helps repair the strands and prevents internal swelling and breakage in strands. Coconut oil, argan oil, olive oil, and almond oil help salvage bleached hair best.

2. Rice water rinse every few days, keeps hair damage away!

Rice water contains inositol that penetrates into your locks and strengthens them from inside. It is known to reduce hair friction thus causing lesser tangles too. To use rice water, simply wash your rice, then cook them in clean water. Strain your rice and store the leftover water in the fridge overnight. You can use it the next day. You can use rice water every day if your hair is extremely damaged or needs quality care. We also recommend Pantene 2in1 Silky Smooth Care which comes infused with fermented rice water and Pantene’s patented Pro-Vitamin B5 formula.

3. Aloe vera is the answer – always!

Aloe vera is one of the best and easiest natural care remedies available out there. Aloe vera is known to moisturize dry, damaged hair and can work wonders for bleach-damaged hair too.

4. Wash your hair with cool water, not hot

Bleached damaged hair is already fragile. Using hot water to wash it can damage it even further. Steam and hot water breaks open the hair cuticles causing even more damage to your hair strands. When washing hair, remember to use lukewarm water, not hot. Then, use cool water while rinsing off the conditioner, since lower temperature water helps keep the moisture locked in your hair strands.

5. Air dry your hair - patience is a virtue

Allow your hair to dry naturally after a shower. Do not plug in the hairdryer, please, trust us! Blowing hot air on already weak and brittle hair can cause even more breakage and can lead them to lose their glossy sheen altogether. While air drying takes a tad bit more time and patience, it is the best option for your hair. Avoid heat styling - at least for a few months.

6. Choose your hairbrush with care

Avoid combing bleached damaged hair frequently. When damp, divide your hair into sections and use a wide-toothed comb to slowly and carefully detangle knots. Apply a serum like Pantene Open Hair Miracle before detangling hair. Be gentle when brushing your hair. Do not tie them very tightly, instead use a small clip or scrunchie to keep them in place.

7. Protect your hair at all costs!

Always remember to cover your hair while out in the sun – UV rays can cause a lot of damage to bleached hair. Avoid swimming in chlorinated water. If you have to, remember to wear a shower cap and keep your hair away from the water. Remember to rinse them as soon as you’re out of the pool.

8. DIY Masks!

DIY hair masks are a great way to give your bleach-damaged hair some much-needed hydration. You can whip one up easily with ingredients you might already have in your home!

Bleach highlights might look really bold and fun but bleached hair tends to become rough and unhealthy if not maintained properly. Now that you know how to care for your bleached hair, go have fun with them (provided, you’re up for adding some extra steps to your haircare routine!)

Hair care problems are varied for different people, so your hair care products should also be so. Take a look at our diverse range of Pantene Shampoos and Pantene Conditioners and pick your choice!