It is possible to safely dye your hair after bleaching it. You will need to take extra care, because bleaching you hair can leave it dry and damaged, and cause your new color to appear streaky or uneven. With bleaching, most of the pigment has already been removed from the hair, so semipermanent or demi-permanent hair colors are less damaging ways to deposit color. Using a natural, plant-based hair color such as henna can actually restore some strength to the hair strand and smooth the cuticle, leaving hair healthier.
Repair and Condition
Start using a deep conditioner or conditioning mask on your hair about a week before coloring it. Restoring some of the moisture that you lost when bleaching helps your hair to absorb the new color. Wait at least one day after washing it to allow some of the natural oils back into your hair. This protects your scalp, which can be more sensitive after bleaching.
Deposit Color With Fewer Chemicals
Bleaching your hair has removed most of the natural pigment, so you do not need a hair color with a lot of ammonia or peroxide to achieve the new color you want. A demi-permanent color deposits pigment onto the hair with much less ammonia than permanent hair dyes. When choosing your new color, go a shade lighter than what you would like to achieve, because dry, bleached hair tends to absorb more pigment than natural hair.
Try a Natural Alternative
Henna dye does not contain any of the coloring agents that are in traditional hair dyes, such as peroxide or ammonia. It is a plant-based pigment that can strengthen and thicken your hair, making it less prone to breakage. You will have fewer color options with henna than other dyes, and it is important to choose a high-quality henna that does not contain metallic compounds. Coloring takes much longer than regular dyes, so give yourself at least three hours for application and processing to achieve your desired color.
Chelsea Armstrong is a professional makeup artist and stylist. Her love of writing began while she was studying English at the University of Waterloo. Armstrong later attended the Sonia Ryan Makeup Academy and now owns and operates her own business.