While relaxed and permed hair is two different things, they are primarily achieved using the same chemical procedure with a bit of variation. By relaxing or perming your hair, you change its texture to straight or curly. Your hair goes through intense chemical processing with whatever texture you settle at the end of the day. So, can you go a step further and bleach relaxed or permed hair?
You can bleach relaxed hair only if it is already not weak or overly processed by the chemical straightening. Experts recommend giving your relaxed hair strands the rest of at least 4-6 weeks before bleaching them.
And what about the permed hair? Can you bleach a little bit early?
If your permed hair is not in good health or has high porosity, you should not bleach it until it gets stronger enough to withstand another harsh chemical processing session.
But if you permed your virgin hair, it might have the capacity to go through bleaching after a few days of the perm and not suffer severe dryness and breakage.
Below, I have explained when you can’t bleach your relaxed or permed hair. And when you can! So, let’s break down some points.
Can You Bleach Relaxed Hair?
It is not recommended and wise to bleach relaxed hair, especially the same or next day of getting your hair straightened chemically. Otherwise, your hair will lose elasticity and become porous and gummy. In the worst-case scenario, it will break and fall in clumps.
The hair relaxer solution (chemically known as sodium hydroxide or ammonium thioglycolate) reconfigures the protein bonds by breaking them. Experts have also to put in the effort to straighten your hair strands physically. All of it is followed by a neutralizing solution that lowers the pH and allows the bonds to reform.
So, you can imagine how much chemical processing your manes have to go through. And indeed, it weakens and damages the hair.
Now, if you plan to put your hair strands into another chemical processing straight away, which is harsher than the first one, what do you expect your hair not to get dry, fragile, and brittle?
It is certain that your relaxed hair will suffer damage from the bleaching but how much depends on the condition of your hair strands. If they are in good health even after being chemically relaxed, they may survive the bleach better than those already fine and damaged.
That’s why experts recommend allowing your relaxed hair some rest, at least four weeks if it is not healthy, and two weeks even if your locks are in better condition, and then bleach it.
But if you have decided to bleach your relaxed hair as early as possible, I have put together a few points to help you in the following.
How To Bleach Your Chemically Relaxed Hair?
Whether you plan to get your relaxed hair bleached by a professional at the salon or do it yourself at home, it is crucial to ensure that your mane will not take the repercussions. So, take a look at what you can do to prevent your relaxed hair from getting brittle, dry, and straw-like from bleaching.
1. Allow Your Relaxed Hair Time to Recover
I know that you are probably in a hurry to bleach your straightened hair to pull off a fantastic look. But what’s the point of flaunting your hair when it breaks and falls and requires high maintenance?
Therefore, I will suggest you wait for at least two weeks and allow your relaxed hair to restore its strength. Nourish and moisturize it regularly and avoid using styling products.
If your hair is already damaged from the chemical relaxing and straightening, it would be better to wait longer than two weeks before you can bleach it.
2. Do a Hair Strand Test
Once you have given your hair the possible time to recover and get sturdy, it is now time to test its condition. If you go to an expert, they have the instruments and expertise to evaluate the health of your hair strands.
However, if you are to lift the color of your relaxed hair at home, you can check the condition of your mane by doing a porosity test.
Cut a few hair strands of an inch length and put them in the glass of water. If they sink to the bottom of the glass before five minutes, they have high porosity, which means they are still weak and may suffer damage from bleaching.
If your chemically relaxed hair does not get dry quickly as usual manes do after the bath, it has high porosity.
After you have evaluated its condition and decided that your relaxed hair can be bleached, it is time to consider the strength of bleach.
3. Opt For a Gentle Bleach
The hair damage from bleach is real. The more levels you want to lift your hair color, the more robust developer you will need to employ. And higher the volume developer you use, the more severe hair damage it can cause.
So, if you recently have got your hair relaxed chemically, never consider changing its color drastically using bleach. Instead, opt for a 1-2 levels color lift, which is gentle because it employs a mild 20 volume developer.
4. Use Olaplex
Why bleaching your relaxed hair makes it susceptible to breakage? It is because a number of disulfide bonds holding the hair shaft structure together are broken. A study shows that the chemical action of bleach disrupts the internal structure of protein fiber in the hair, making it weaker and brittle.
So, you can use olaplex while bleaching your chemically straightened or relaxed hair. It comes in parts.
The no. 1 solution is called the bond multiplier, which increases the number of disulfide bonds in the hair shaft. And the no.2 is named the bond perfector that repairs and rebuilds the bonds broken from the bleaching. The last is a moisturizing oil that gives your bleached hair extra luster and strength.
You might not have to use all of them and can settle with the bond perfector olaplex if your hair has survived the bleaching.
Can You Bleach Permed Hair?
You can bleach your permed hair, but there should be at least a 4-5 weeks gap between the two procedures. Hair perm is aggressive, but bleaching is even harsher that can ruin your hair by making it dry, brittle, and highly prone to damage.
According to a study, in 95% of cases, the hair suffers varying degrees of damage from chemical hair relaxers and perms. And when bleaching has more adverse effects than perming, how can you do both procedures to your hair without not giving it much time to recover from the one?
The best-case scenario to bleach your permed hair will be to evaluate its condition. As mentioned above, you can do the strand test to find if your chemically treated hair is ready to withstand bleaching or not.
Moreover, you would need to moisturize and nourish your permed hair to prepare it for bleach. Also, in addition to choosing a gentle developer for the bleach, you can use olaplex to rebuild the broken protein bonds from bleaching.
Whether your hair is chemically relaxed or permed, you should not bleach it for 4-6 weeks. Processing your hair with chemicals iteratively in a matter of a few days can cause excessive dryness and breakage. Therefore, it is better to wait for a few weeks than to ruin your manes irreversibly for months. When in a hurry to lift your hair color, do a strand test to evaluate the condition of your relaxed hair and make sure it is ready for bleach.