I’ve been blonde for about five years, but as a natural brunette, I understand the struggle to keep bleached hair healthy and icy. We’ve all been there. You leave the salon with this beautiful, icy, cool-toned blonde balayage. Then three weeks later, the warmth creeps in and you’re calling your colorist, begging her to squeeze you in to tone your hair – STAT! Besides trying to keep that gorgeous shade of blonde, constant bleaching can cause dryness, breakage, split ends and other problems that require a ton of damage control (no pun intended). After years of trial and error, I’ve managed to come up with the perfect routine to maintain healthy blonde hair at home between salon visits. With the right products, you can keep your blonde locks healthy, bright and non-brassy.
KEEPING YOUR COOL
Let’s start with a little color theory. When that beautiful, ashy blonde begins to take on those pesky, yellow/orange tones, you need something to counteract that. Here’s where hair products with purple pigment can help. Purple and blue are opposite yellow and orange, respectively on the color wheel and will help to cancel out the brassiness in your hair. Purple shampoo is a blonde’s best friend and, yes, I’ve tried them all. Unfortunately, purple shampoos often leave your hair feeling dry, but I have found a few gems that don’t leave my hair feeling like straw.
Silver Shampoo by Sachjuan deposits the perfect amount of pigment to rid my hair of brassiness and doesn’t suck the moisture from my hair. If you’re looking for a vegan, sulfate-free option, I’m obsessed with the Hello Hair Natural Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner for Blondes. This duo is just as hydrating as their original formula, with the added bonus of the purple pigments to combat those brassy tones.
To keep your hair shiny and healthy after bleaching, I would definitely recommend not shampooing every day. If you can go a few days in between shampoos, that’s even better (hello, dry shampoo!). I’ve worked up to only washing my hair every 3-4 days, so I use a purple shampoo every other time I wash my hair. If you’re washing every day or every other day, I’d recommend sticking to using a purple shampoo once a week.
When I feel like my hair needs an extra boost of toning, I use the Rita Hazan Breaking Brass Ultimate Shine Gloss. This in-shower mousse also contains purple pigments and is an extra step in between your shampoo and conditioner. When used in conjunction with a purple shampoo, it really helps to brighten and replenish your color.
The constant use of bleach can really strip your hair of it’s natural moisture, so hydrating treatments are key to keeping your blonde hair healthy. Maintaining healthy blonde hair can actually start while you’re in the chair. Ask your colorist about Olaplex, a salon-only, 2-step treatment that’s added to your color and limits the amount of damage to your hair. I always notice a difference in the strength of my hair and a decrease in breakage when my stylist uses Olaplex. To keep the magic going, I use Olaplex No 3 once a week (which is now conveniently available at Sephora).
Hair masks are a must if you want to keep your blonde hair shiny and manageable. I’ve raved about the range of Hydrating Hair Masks from Australian brand, Hello Hair, before and still swear by them. Hello Hair Masks are packed with natural oils and work like nothing else to hydrate, smooth and add shine to my hair. I typically slather my hair with the mask, wrap it in a towel, sleep with it on and shampoo it out in the morning. As far as in-shower masks go, I adore Bumble & Bumble’s Mending Masque and Quenching Masque. I’ve been using these for years and can always count on them to keep my hair soft and shiny. Lastly, I spray my hair with Orlando Pita Play Former Glory Protein Treatment Spray to help mend the damage from coloring. I go into more detail about protein and damaged hair here, if you’re interested.
Now let’s talk products. We all know that the use of hot tools damages your hair. So, the less heat you use on your hair, the better. I try to style my hair after I wash it, then just use heat in small doses to touch up until my next shampoo. A good shower cap is a necessity, ladies. I use either Ouai’s Memory Mist or Does it All by Bumble & Bumble on my hair every time I curl it. Both of these products do a great job of extending the life of your curls or waves, in turn – less heat. If you hate the DIY blowout as much as I do (especially during the summer), Bumble & Bumble’s Don’t Blow It styling cream is a godsend. My naturally puffy hair air dries soft and smooth when I use this (and I don’t have to break out my hairdryer – Score!).
Sometimes blonde hair can look dull and lackluster, but you can combat this with hair oils. I use oils on my hair while it’s wet to nourish and protect from damage during heat styling, as well as on dry hair. As someone who deals with frizz and unruly hair, I’m addicted to hair oils. Typically, I’ll apply some sort of oil to the ends of my hair daily.
There’s too many good oils to mention, but I’ve been using Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil by Bumble & Bumble for years and love how light it feels on my hair. Neon & Co’s Treatment Oil is also incredible. It feels like water, goes on like an oil and never weighs down my hair. You can read more about my love of this product here. I recently found my bottle of Ouai Hair Oil and fell in love again. If you’re searching for something more natural, Kopari’s Coconut Melt is a great option. Just don’t go overboard with this one. A dime size amount is perfect for smoothing medium length hair.
Switching out a few everyday items in your routine can help to keep your hair in good shape. I recently replaced my regular towel for an Aquis Hair Towel. My hair dries smoother and experiences less breakage. If you’re on a budget, you can cut an old tee shirt in half and use it as a hair towel. It’s best to avoid brushing your hair while it’s wet, but if you must, don’t use just any old brush. The Wet Brush is the only brush that ever touches my hair in it’s most fragile state.
Last, but not least, switching out your cotton pillowcase for a silk one will help to extend your style, end bedhead and reduce damage from your hair pulling while you sleep. I use Hello Hair’s Silk Pillowcase, but I’ve heard amazing things about Slip’s Silk Pillowcase as well. Yes, it’s an investment, but a silk pillowcase offers skin benefits as well. Win-Win!
So, that’s how I maintain healthy blonde hair. Yes, there’s a lot of steps and a ton of product involved, but when you’re spending good money to achieve the perfect color, it’s important to protect your investment. I’ve experienced the worst of bleach mishaps (a stylist quite literally fried my hair) and spent months working to repair the damage. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I take special care to keep my hair healthy.
If you have a favorite product or secret to keeping your hair (whether blonde or not) healthy, I’d love to hear about it. Share your tips in the comments below.
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