The long journey of “going blonde” has been paraded by many—Billie Eilish, Katy Perry, and J.Lo, to name just a few. You may have been inspired to bleach your hair at home with a boxed dye (please don't ever do this). Or maybe you've spent countless hours in a salon chair to achieve that golden hue of your dreams. However you got there, being blonde is fun—even if you’re just trying to go light enough for a bold color. The upkeep and aftercare of an intense bleaching session can be strenuous, but it is necessary. And when it comes to repairing bleached hair, a good deep conditioner or hair mask is vital.
Do I need to use a deep conditioner on bleached hair?
Yes. Especially if you want to have the best hair possible, according to New York hairstylist Brad Mondo. “Deep conditioners have a high concentration of extremely beneficial ingredients that promote the healthiest hair possible," he says. "They’re an easy way to get a quick pick me up and noticeably softer, easier to manage hair in minutes.”
Many top hairdressers second that, agreeing that deep conditioners add protein and moisture into the hair.
How often should you use deep conditioner on bleached hair?
Mondo recommends deep conditioning every wash if your hair needs the extra TLC, using it in place of a regular conditioner. If you’re looking for a more penetrating mask application, Mondo says, “I recommend putting a plastic bag over your hair and then wrapping a towel on top of that. This will keep your head as hot as possible which will help expand the hair fibers and get the hair mask to work on a deeper level.”
How should you apply deep conditioner?
Deep conditioners work best on damp hair and should sit on the head for anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight. Over-conditioning is possible, especially if you have fine hair, and leaving in the conditioner can lead to excessive protein and moisture in strands. Bodt says, “If you have fine hair or are worried about losing volume, be mindful as it can weigh your hair down when it comes to styling.”
What else can you do to repair bleached hair?
You should utilize specialized products and routines that will help hair grow healthier—and in some cases faster—depending on the regimen. Remember: Consistency is key. “Emphasize on maintaining a good balance of protein and moisture, because too much moisture can make your hair heavy or too much protein can leave your hair brittle. You also want to add something to repair the bonds that have broken during lightning services,” says Bodt.
Using products like the Matrix Total Results Unbreak My Blonde
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will infuse hair with citric acid that helps strengthen and soften hair. Mondo, who has seen his fair share of bleach fails, recommends:
Staying away from hot tools;
Deep conditioning at least every other wash;
Sleeping with a silk pillowcase;
Getting a haircut to remove excess damage on bleached hair.
What should you look for in a deep conditioner?
When it comes to deep conditioners, opt for reparative masks that target damaged hair but won’t fill strands with artificial silicones or parabens. We’ve rounded up a few expert favorites and highly-reviewed products.