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Gummy Hair After Bleaching: Can It Be Repaired?

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Coloring your hair is exciting, we know. Changing your hair color also means putting your hair through a lot of damage, though. For lightening your dark hair and preparing it for a new color, bleach is probably the simplest option you have. But if left for long, bleach can ruin your hair. Gummy hair after bleaching is a common concern for most people. The hair becomes sticky, mushy, and extremely brittle. 

So, what is bleach-damaged hair? How do you know your hair needs serious attention? And, can gummy hair after bleaching be redeemed? We’ll get to know all about it in a while.

Table of Contents:

  • What is bleach damage?
  • What does gummy hair after bleaching indicate?
  • How to reverse the damage done by bleaching?
  • Wash your hair less frequently
  • Switch to an organic, sulfate-free shampoo
  • Oil your hair and massage your scalp
  • Invest in a good hair mask or leave-in conditioner
  • Trim the ends
  • Avoid heating tools
  • Go for a protein treatment at the salon
  • Improve your diet and take hair supplements
  • Best products to repair gummy hair after bleaching

What is bleach damage?

Bleach-damaged hair is hair that has been over-processed with bleach and hair dye. Here’s how hair coloring works. Dark hair gets its color from the natural pigment known as melanin present in the hair shaft. When you bleach your hair, the chemical opens up the cuticle of the hair shaft (which is the protective coating) and reacts with the melanin inside to strip your hair of its natural color.

Ideally, the cuticles should close after the bleaching process is complete. But the strong chemical you are using on your fragile hair strands does not let the cuticle go back to its original state and it remains partially lifted. Open cuticles cannot trap the moisture in the hair strands, leaving your hair dry, coarse, and frizzy. 

According to a study in the International Journal of Trichology

“Excessive or repeated chemical treatment, grooming habits, and environmental exposure produce changes in hair texture and if extreme can result in hair breakage. These changes can be seen microscopically as “weathering” of the hair shaft and contribute to tangling, and frizzing. Weathering is the progressive degeneration from the root to the tip of the hair.”

For severely damaged hair, the results may be a gummy or sticky feeling, where your hair looks clumped together. It is hard to brush, and your hair will likely break at every tug of the hairbrush. 

What does gummy hair after bleaching indicate?

If you have mushy, gummy hair after bleaching, it implies that your hair has been over-processed and it has suffered severe damage to its internal support structure. It lacks protein, and protein is what gives your hair its texture and strength. So, bleach-damaged hair that is devoid of protein is brittle and breaks off at the slightest pressure.

This usually happens if you bleach your hair too frequently or do it wrong. Doing it wrong could mean leaving the bleach on your hair for too long, using too much bleach at one go, or not rinsing it out well. 

How to reverse the damage done by bleaching?

The good news is that there is a chance you could repair your gummy, stringy bleach-damaged hair with some care. The first thing you would need to do is, of course, avoid getting any more chemical treatments or hair coloring done for a while. The next step would be to replenish the nutrients that your hair has lost. You will need to revive your hair both from the outside and the inside. 

Here’s what you should do.

Wash your hair less frequently

Though you might think that the gummy, sticky feeling would go away by washing your hair every day, the truth is the opposite. Bleach-damaged hair is already stripped of natural oils and moisture. Washing your hair with chemical-laden shampoos will only dry it out further and increase the damage. 

Avoid washing your every day and bring it down to about 2 times a week. Also, make sure you only wash your hair with cold water. Warm water can further dry out your hair.

Switch to an organic, sulfate-free shampoo

Your regular shampoos contain sulfates, parabens, synthetic additives, and none of these are good for hair health. For someone with otherwise healthy and well-nourished hair, this might not be much of a concern (though it should be). But for your severely damaged hair, checking the ingredient list on your shampoo is a must.

Go for organic shampoos and conditioners that are hydrating and revitalizing. 

Oil your hair and massage your scalp

Pampering your hair with a good, nourishing oil massage at least once a week can be the best thing you’ve done to it. Pick an organic hair oil that suits you. 

Anything rich and hydrating should work, be it coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, Argan oil, onion seed oil, or others.

The best way to do this would be to heat the oil to a comfortably warm temperature and then massage it onto your scalp. Apply the oil to the shafts and ensure they are completely coated. You can do this at bedtime and leave it on overnight, or do it 3-4 hours before a shower and then wash off your hair.

Hair oil massages increase blood circulation in the scalp, stimulating hair growth. They also hydrate the damaged shafts of hair and make them much smoother and softer.

Invest in a good hair mask or leave-in conditioner

Bleach-damaged hair needs deep conditioning to overcome the dryness and bring it back to life. While regular conditioners are doing their bit, you need to back them up with some more hydration with a good hair mask or a leave-in conditioner. You can go for homemade DIY masks or get yourself a good, natural hair mask that treats hair breakage and restores health.

Protein-rich masks having ingredients like coconut, avocado, egg protein, etc. are a better choice for damaged hair. 

Trim the ends

In the case of damaged hair, it is usually the ends that take the major part of the blow. Trimming the ends off or cutting the lengths of your hair as much as you can, will significantly reduce the problem. Longer hair is likely to get tangled easily and is more prone to breakage.

Trimming/ cutting the frayed ends will eliminate most of the damage and you will have less to worry about.

Avoid heating tools

Heating tools do similar damage to your hair as bleaching does. So, if your hair is already bleach-damaged, skip the heating tools for a while till you can restore its health. Heating tools like flat irons, curling irons, straightening hairbrushes, and even blow dryers can strip moisture off your hair.

Go for a protein treatment at the salon

If you think your hair needs more than home remedies, you can go for a professional protein treatment. But the protein treatment must be done correctly because too much protein can make your hair even more brittle. Discuss with your hairstylist and seek their advice on what would be best for you.

Improve your diet and take hair supplements

Remember that your hair needs nourishment from the inside as well. What you eat will also have a significant impact on your hair's health. Make sure to have a balanced diet, rich in proteins and vitamins. It would also be a good idea to get some hair supplements like Vitamin E capsules or fish oil capsules that are rich in Omega 3. There are many other supplements you can choose from, but make sure to pick something natural. 

Best products to repair gummy hair after bleaching

There are a plethora of hair care products in the market and it can get confusing as to what’s good and what’s not. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that anything with loads of chemicals in it is a big NO.

Go for products that are 100% natural and organic instead.

Cold-pressed coconut oil

If you can get your hands on some organic, cold-pressed coconut oil, there’s nothing like it. Coconut oil is extremely hydrating and nourishing for your hair. There’s a reason why it has been used for ages now.

Cold-pressed castor oil

Castor oil is known to promote hair growth and provides extreme nourishment. Try WOW Skin Science’s 100% pure Castor Oil. It is cold-pressed and completely natural with no silicones, mineral oils, or synthetic fragrances.

Moroccan Argan oil

Moroccan Argan oil is a favourite when it comes to treating dry, dull hair. The WOW Skin Science Moroccan Argan Hair Oil revives dull, damaged hair, reducing split ends, irritation of the scalp, and frizz.

Organic coconut milk

Just like coconut oil, coconut milk has the same nourishing properties too. Coconut milk makes hair smooth and soft while enriching it with nutrients. The WOW Skin Science Coconut Milk Hair Mask is meant for chemically treated hair that is brittle and dry. It helps smooth the cuticles of your hair and makes it softer and glossier.

Strengthening shampoo and conditioner

Lastly, a nourishing and strengthening shampoo will complete your hair care routine. You can choose any organic shampoo that contains ingredients like milk proteins, shea, or plant extracts. The WOW Skin Science Himalayan Rose Shampoo and Conditioner is our favorite for strengthening and smoothening dehydrated hair. 

You can also try the WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Coconut Avocado hair conditioner which is safe for colored hair, or the nourishing WOW Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner.

Discover more of our 100% natural and organic hair care products that help tackle your hair woes and deliver pure nourishment to make your hair stronger, softer, and shinier.

Karen Roche

Karen Roche is a health and beauty expert, with over 25 years of experience in the skin and hair care industry. Karen has helped her clients overcome a multitude of skin and hair issues with her simple, but effective, tips and tricks. She has authored several informative, value-adding articles for global beauty brands as a guest writer, and loves to share her knowledge on skin and hair health through this medium.

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