Did you bleach your hair and now have second thoughts? Hey, we’ve all done it at one point or another. I did it and loved it. But there came a time when I just got sick of the maintenance involved. So, I grew it out.
How Long Does Bleached Hair Take to Grow Out?
Hair grows an average of 0.5 inches each month. Research has shown that hair grows at 6 inches per year for Asians, 5 inches per year for Caucasians, and 4 inches per year for Africans. So, it will take 3 months for bleached hair to grow out before you can go back to your original color or dye it again. Hair also grows marginally quicker depending on UV exposure, as well as dietary, and hormonal changes.
Thankfully, I have speedy hair, so it wasn’t all that long before my natural hair started to take over. Coupled with a good cut, I was rid of my bleached-up ‘do fairly quickly. But I still had to exercise patience.
Bleaching is a permanent process. If you have second thoughts about what you’ve done, it’s not a good idea to apply hair dye over it to restore color, at least not on your own. Because you’ve stripped out the natural tones in your hair, you’ll need to add those back in. It doesn’t bode well when you do it in your own bathroom. You’re likely to wind up with an unpleasant green or blue hue that’s even worse.
If you’re not up for going to the salon, you’ll need to wait it out and let your hair grow out. You can also trim it off but if you don’t want to lose length, waiting it is. And as the late great Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
Don’t fret though because I’ve got tips for you on how to get through this with helping your hair grow fast and correcting the damage done so you can put this bleach business behind you!
How to Grow Out Bleached Hair Fast
So, you want your bleached hair to grow faster? Say goodbye to all that high-maintenance mess every month and get ready to welcome your natural hair color back!
■ Consider Having a Shorter Hair Cut
Look, I know how hard it is to lob off your hair when you spent tons of time growing it. But if you want your tresses to get back to natural faster, you’ll have to part with some of that length.
It’s probably best that you let your stylist help you with that. He or she can help you get a flattering short cut that you’ll love while you wait for your hair to grow out. Do some research first for styles you like and then show them to your stylist. Not everything you like will be a good match to frame your face and if you have a good stylist, they will tell you before they start snipping away.
But if you don’t want to part with length, then consider going for trims on the regular. It will be slower growing it out than it would to do a big chop, but hey, it’s your hair, and I have totally been there before.
Once all that bleached hair has grown out, you’re a free woman with newborn hair that’s ready to go. Hopefully, you won’t go nuts with the bleach this time though.
■ Trim Your Hair
Now, regardless of whether you’ve hacked off a considerable length or you’re going for the slow and steady monthly trims, you should always have your hair trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks. Trimming is essential because it gets rid of those split ends which do you no favors.
What good is having long hair if it looks fried out and dried out at the ends? Plus, if you neglect to trim the ends regularly, your strands will split up the shaft and cause mega damage. At that point, you’ll have no choice but to cut off a significant length in order to have healthy hair.
Trust me, it’s for the best. Get those trims. If you have long hair, you can even snip the ends yourself. But make sure you use the right scissors. You should never trim your hair with the kind of scissors you’ve got in your junk drawer!
■ Build Texture with the Right Products
And if you can’t bear to part with the length of your hair, consider disguising it as you grow it out. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trim on the regular. You definitely should. But you can hide frazzled, dry ends by using a texturizing product. This will create a beachy wave just by scrunching it in.
Products that add texture so seldom add shine though so you’ll have to balance it out with a nourishing hair oil. Add it only to the ends so you don’t slick down your scalp and look like you passed out after a day of surfing at the beach.
■ Blend Your Hair by Adding Highlights, Lowlights, or a Gloss
As your hair grows out, you’ll have telltale roots coming in. Nothing screams, “I was a bleach blonde!” like dark roots. And the 90s was 30 years ago. Perhaps the fashions from then are coming back in style but not as far as hairstyles are concerned.
Adding a little color around can distract from those dark roots. You can add in thin highlights surrounding your face that works with the former bleached hair so it’s less harsh. You can also try a gloss to smooth things out. It adds a more natural look.
Basically, what you need to know is this:
- Use highlights if you have a natural hair color that is lighter
- Use lowlights if you have a natural color that is darker
- Add them in every month until it disguises your roots during the growth process
When in doubt, ask your stylist when you go for your cut or trim. You definitely have options to help conceal those roots or at least make them look like you meant to do that.
■ Use Root Concealing Sprays
And speaking of concealing, you might want to check out those root concealers that are all over the place. Sprays are ideal and preferred to powder. Plus, they have a nice, shiny finish. Powders tend to come off looking dull, not the look you want.
Another thing about powder concealers is they can flake and we all know flakes are not sexy.
Spray-on root concealers stay put and won’t rub off randomly. That means you can hit the sheets next to the new guy you’re seeing without him finding embarrassing brown streaks on the pillowcases. It also won’t go running down your face while you workout at the gym and then chat it up with that total hottie who’s been making eyes at you.
If you want to remove those spray-on root concealers, you need to cleanse them away. So that’s good news if you want to fake it until you make it as far as root touch-up is concerned. Choose a shade darker than you think, one that matches your roots.
■ Match Your Natural Color Using a Hair Dye
Want to color your hair so it matches your natural shade? You’ll need to be patient here too. Your best results will come if you allow about an inch of your roots to grow out so you can match it appropriately.
Your roots should serve as your guide so that you can pick a color of hair dye that most closely fits it. Remember, when you look for boxed color, you might not get what you’re hoping for on the box. The models are touched up and the examples of how it looks on different hair colors will vary in real life.
When coming off a bleached-out look, it is always best to fork over the expense of seeing a professional colorist. Still, not everyone can budget that in, so here are some quick tips on doing it yourself:
- Always read all the directions on the hair dye packaging. Don’t assume that just because you’ve colored your hair before, this will be the same. It won’t. Read EVERYTHING.
- With a box, you have less chance to mess up mixing the developer with the color. These things are already measured for you. But those separate developers and colors are much better options. They’re not as difficult as they seem to mix together. Just read the directions and you’ll see what to do!
- Don’t be lazy when applying it. Take a cue from the colorist and section your hair off into 4 to 8 sections, applying your mixture to your roots.
- After you get the roots, saturate the rest of your hair.
- Set a timer (please see my other post to learn what happens if you leave hair dye on too long) and wait it out. You can busy yourself with something else but please set that timer!
- After the specified time as per the instructions on your dye, rinse it out, shampoo, condition, and then style!
■ Take Hair Supplements
You can’t expect hair (or skin for that matter) to look its best when you don’t eat nutritiously. So start switching up your diet to include healthier, fresher foods, and drink more water. And just to cap it all off, take hair supplements. Vitamins like biotin can really boost hair growth (nails too) though many people trying to stimulate hair growth have good things to say about Viviscal, though it has lots of iron in it which might not be suitable for some. Fish oil and vitamin D supplements are also known to help hair grow out healthier. Before choosing any supplements for your health, make sure you discuss it with your doctor especially if you have any health conditions or are on any type of medication just to be sure.
■ Invest in a Good Quality Shampoo and Conditioner
I have said this before and guess what… I’m going to keep on saying it until I turn blue in the face: DON’T USE SHAMPOO OR CONDITIONER WITH SULFATES!!!
Yes, I guess I am a bit passionate about this point, but for good reason. See, sulfates are used to cleanse away excess oil, dirt, and all those fun impurities your hair picks up throughout the course of life between washings. Sulfates also wash the color molecules from your hair and fade out your color. And they can cause health problems too. Gross!
Your best option is shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for hair that has been color-treated without any sulfates. It should also be highly moisturizing.
Sulfates aren’t the only ingredients to watch out for though. If you see alcohol and water listed first, chances are it’s going to dry out your strands and it’s watered down to the point where anything beneficial in it won’t do you any favors. Nourish your hair with formulas that do good and you’ll see great results soon enough.
Some tips to make it easier to choose:
- Always look for color-safe or color-extending shampoo and conditioning formulas. They’ll be more gentle and help you preserve your new hair dye that’s concealing that bleach.
- A great and affordable alternative is using baby shampoo. If it’s gentle enough for a baby, it’s gentle enough for your bleached hair that you’re trying to grow out.
- If you have oily hair, you don’t really need to condition. And if you want light conditioning, you can get a clean spray bottle and mix conditioner with water to make a gentle detangler that can soften hair without slicking it down.
- Don’t wash every day either. Over-shampooing can dry out hair more. You should aim to wash your hair every other day or even every 3 days for best results.
- Give your hair a break from cleansing by using a dry shampoo when you have no-wash days. It should only be used when you feel greasy. You can mix cornstarch with baking soda and shake it onto the top of your head. Brush it through and your greasiness will disappear!
■ Take Good Care of Your Scalp
It only makes sense to care for your scalp when trying to grow that hair out. That’s where your hair sprouts, so show it love with essential oils for nourishing it. Massage is key too as it stimulates growth in your hair follicles. This encourages hair to grow healthier and stronger.
A good scalp massage involves circular motions in a very gentle way. Don’t scratch at your scalp! Use just your fingertips and swirl it around gently. This boosts blood flow which in turn, promotes healthy hair growth.
■ Gently Brush Your Hair
You put your hair through so much by bleaching it. So when you comb or brush it, be kind. If you really want your hair to grow in healthier and make a fresh start, don’t brush it while it’s wet. Use a wide-tooth comb for that. Start with your ends and then move up the length to prevent breakage while detangling for healthier hair.
It seems so simple, but if you change your hair brushing habits, you’ll start to notice how much healthier it looks!
■ Let Your Hair Air Dry Whenever Possible
I personally love the way my hair looks when it is sleek and smooth. I can’t get it that way without heat styling tools though. Still, I let my hair air dry as often as I can. Heat causes major damage. And when your hair is healing from a bleach-out, you need to really cut it some slack and let it be.
When you protect those ends from damage, you allow it to grow longer since it’s not breaking off as much. Food for thought indeed!
It’s difficult, but if you reserve heat styling for special occasions or simply resist doing so until your hair has made some progress, you’ll be glad you did. Your hair will look naturally gorgeous in ways you never imagined.
If you must break out the heat styling tools so you don’t look like a lion at your best friend’s wedding, use a heat styling spray and section your hair off. Spray each section with the heat protector and keep the temperature lower than usual to avoid causing harm.
The length of time you’ll wait for your bleached hair to grow out all depends on if your hair grows more rapidly. In general, your hair will grow 0.5 inches every month. Cutting off the bleached, damaged ends will help it grow much more quickly but even regular trims can help you do that if you don’t want to lose length and don’t mind waiting a little longer.
As bleached hair tends to be very fragile, if you want to color it again to blend away and put your bleach days behind you, go to your stylist to ensure you don’t have any more hair mishaps. Take care of your hair as it grows back in and you’ll fall in love with it all over again!