Bleaching allows you to go blonde or experiment with bright hair colors by lightening your tresses. And if you want to go a step further to get super sleek and smooth bleached manes, you might need to straighten your hair after the bleaching.
Bleaching and hair straightening involves using strong chemicals that might not be good for your mane to deal with. So, can you straighten your bleached hair while not ruining its health?
The bleaching agent opens the hair cuticle making your hair strands prone to damage. So, straightening your bleached hair with a flat iron or a chemical agent may leave it dry, frizzy, and injured.
However, it depends on how much your hair has recovered from bleaching. Also, which straightening technique do you employ, and how healthy is your hair?
I have listed a few safe hair-straightening agents for bleached hair below!
This article will guide you on how to straighten your bleached hair without causing any damage to it. So, let’s get into it!
Can You Straighten Your Hair After Bleaching It?
The chemicals from bleach open up the protective layer of your hair called the cuticle to reach the middle layer and oxidize melanin there.
This process weakens the bonds inside the hair shaft and removes some of the keratin, making your hair light, weak, and porous.
Straightening your hair using heat or chemicals immediately after bleaching is not wise. Because it will make your mane dry and frizzy and cause hair loss, it is best to wait for some time, allow your bleached hair to recover, and then smooth it.
While you can stretch the time as long as you want, you should wait for at least 14 days before trying to straighten your bleached hair with chemical relaxants.
However, if you don’t have the circumstances to wait that long, you can try smoothing your hair after bleaching using the techniques discussed in this article.
Can You Chemically Straighten Bleached Hair?
Straightening chemicals break the disulfide and hydrogen bond in the hair shafts to relax the curls and frizz. Subsequently, a neutralizing solution is applied to your hair to allow these bonds to reform in a way that gives you sleek straight hair.
Like other chemical treatments of the hair, this one also has a fair share of damage to your mane.
So, if you bleached your hair a day or a few hours ago, using chemicals to straighten it might dry out your locks, leaving it prone to damage like breakage. Especially when your bleached hair is already weak and thin, chemically straightening can go awry.
It mainly depends on how healthy your bleached hair is. You can analyze the strength of your locks by checking their porosity.
And If you get positive results, you can chemically straighten your hair after bleach. But if your hair is not healthy enough, don’t risk its health by using chemicals.
Safe Straightening Agent For Bleached Hair
No specific agent, lotion, or cream can straighten your bleached hair without hurting it. Even the keratin treatment, which is thought safe, employs extremely drying chemicals for your hair. So, you should expect some damage from whatever hair straightening agent you choose.
However, a few creams and lotions are designed to straighten the bleached hair while causing minimum harm. They are free from chemicals like formaldehyde and have hydrating and moisturizing effects on the hair.
The following are safe keratin-based alternatives to harsh straightening agents that will go perfectly with your bleached hair.
- Cezanne Classic Keratin Smoothing Treatment
- Unique Amino Style Keratin Treatment For Bleached Hair
- Keratin Cure Gold & Honey Bio Hair Treatment
- Argan Protein Therapy by UNEX PROFESSIONAL
If you want a more affordable way to straighten your bleached hair, employ olaplex, also used when bleaching relaxed hair.
Even with these straightening agents, we suggest you rest your bleached hair for at least a week or two before smoothing it using chemicals.
Can You Flat Iron Your Hair After Bleaching It?
If your hair holds enough strength after the bleach, you may use the flat iron to straighten it. However, you would need to moisturize and nourish your mane first. Also, using heat protectants is extremely important to avoid hair breakage.
Analyze the health of your hair strands after bleaching by using any of the following ways:
- Wet your hair to see if it stretches and springs back quickly. Weak hair doesn’t shrink back.
- Check the porosity of your locks by cutting them from the ends and putting them in a glass of water. They are more porous if they soak in water and drown before five minutes. Higher porosity means hair strands are weaker.
Don’t use a flat iron on your hair immediately after bleaching. Giving your mane for a day or two rest will be worth it.
Use a nourishing and moisturizing serum or oil in this time window. After that, you can use the flat iron on your bleached hair but ensure you apply a heat protectant.
But if your hair is fragile and injured after the bleach, we suggest you hydrate and nourish it for weeks, and then it may withstand the heat from a flat iron.
How To Straighten Bleached Hair Safely?
Bleach is a harsh invader that opens the hair strand by penetrating through the cuticle and breaks many bonds to oxidize melanin in the middle layer of hair, also called the medulla.
This process is extremely drying for your hair because it rips moisture and natural oil. Also, it peels away some of the proteins from the hair shaft, making it weak and rough.
When all of this has already happened to your hair, going for another chemical treatment to straighten bleached hair might wreak havoc.
Therefore, you need a more sound and safe way to finish the straightening. In that regard, you can follow the steps mentioned below.
1. Give Your Hair Time To Recover From Bleach
There is no exact time you should wait to straighten your hair chemically after bleaching. Some experts say a month, and others suggest two weeks will be enough.
So, it all comes down to how healthy your mane is after the bleach. And how would you know it?
There are various techniques to check the strength of your hair strands. When you are done checking, proceed accordingly. For hair that is a little damaged, you might straighten it after 14 days.
2. Moisturize and Nourish It
Getting your bleached hair more robust will need a lot of nourishing and moisturizing. You can do this by the following means.
- Use coconut oil regularly. It contains short-chain fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the hair shaft. Moreover, it contains proteins that coat the hair shaft and compensate for protein loss during bleaching.
- Wash your hair less to allow the natural oil to build up in your mane and scalp.
- Apply rice water (boil rice in water) to provide keratin protein treatment to your hair.
- Use good shea moisture masks.
- Avoid heat styling and use gentle shampoo.
3. Choose A Less Harsh Straightening Method
There are various ways to straighten your hair, including chemical relaxants, keratin treatment, rebounding, and thermal straightening. All of these techniques employ chemicals to different extents.
We suggest you choose the less harsh treatment to straighten your bleached hair. We mentioned some of the products above that would work well for you.
Or a Brazilian blowout can be a good option if the stylist doesn’t employ formaldehyde. How would you know that?
Visit a professional to let her check what your hair strand can withstand. She will guide you to which way is safer to straighten your hair after bleaching it.
If you have recently bleached your hair and want it to get sleek and smooth chemically or thermally straightening it, wait! While you can straighten the bleached hair, it can put your mane at risk of damage.
We suggest checking the health of your hair first to see if it can withstand another chemical processing. Give your mane a week or two to recover from the bleach, nourish it, and hydrate it. Visit a professional to get the advice.