What Hairstylists Want You to Know Before Bleaching Your Natural Hair

Lightening your hair can be a complex process for anyone, but especially those who have natural hair. There are a few ways to lighten black or brown curls, but the magic potion that will help you achieve the brightest, most vibrant color is simply bleach.

The chemical solution is regularly used by hairstylists to open the hair cuticle and dissolve the natural pigment. And the longer the bleach is left on, the lighter the hair strands become, making it easier for the hair to absorb dye.

However, bleaching agents can be harsh, and the procedure often changes the porosity and elasticity of the hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage (see why it's a little more complicated for natural girls?).

However, that doesn't mean you should forget about bleaching your hair if you're in the mood to switch things up. So long as you take the right steps, you can avoid damage and keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

To help you get equipped, we reached out to Brendnetta Ashley, a stylist at The Salon by InStyle Inside JCPenney, to ask her to share everything stylists want you to know before bleaching your hair.

All her expert tips, ahead.

bleaching natural hair

To shop: $18; jcpenney.com

VIDEO: Michelle Obama Showed Off Her Natural Hair Texture on Instagram

Should I Bleach My Hair Myself?

Unless you're a professional, probably not.

Bleach is a very strong solution, and attempting to lighten your hair yourself can be very damaging. Plus, over-processing your hair with bleach can permanently alter your natural curl pattern.

"It is always best to have your color done by a professional," recommends Ashley. "They will evaluate the condition of your hair to ensure it remains healthy."

How Do I Prevent Damage Once My Hair Has Been Bleached?

Creating a regular hair maintenance routine will help prevent damage. Your routine should include hydrating shampoos, deep conditioning treatments, regular trims, and styling products that seal in moisture and add shine.

"To maintain the health and integrity of your hair after your color service, you want to use products that have moisture to hydrate your hair. Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Sulfate-Free Shampoo will restore the health of your curls and help them to retain moisture," says Ashley.

bleaching natural hair

To shop: $13; jcpenney.com

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