Hair Bleaching Gone Wrong

This is one blog post I never wanted to write and honestly, I almost didn’t. Let me just start this off by saying that I pretty much completely ruined my hair. I have never been so devastated by a hair incident, ever. I wanted to forget that it even happened and just move on with my life. But the more I thought about it, I figured I needed to do my blogging duties and share my experience to either prevent it from happening to others or to help those who may be going through the same thing. And if you are, I am so, so sorry.
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Close to a year and a half ago, I dyed my hair for the first time ever. I didn’t use any bleach and just did a small strip a beautiful teal color. Teal was hard to maintain, so I bleached it a few months later in order to get the blue out and dyed it pink. I’ve had the pink for almost a year now and I was in love with it. It was so much fun! The picture below is one of the last pictures I had with the pink hair. It had grown out a lot and I hadn’t touched up the color in about six or seven months.
Now that I’m in the process of planning my wedding, I wanted to take the pink out and go back to my natural brown. Just because of all the pictures I know are going to be taken around this time, I wanted to keep it natural for these memories. It’s totally possible that I might dye it pink again after the wedding. But right now, I had to get it back to brown.

I went to Sally’s Beauty Supply to have someone help match me to the color that I’ll need and that’s where this all went wrong. I mentioned that I bleached my hair before in order to get the blue out. I used the Beyond the Zone Radical Color Remover and didn’t have one problem with it. My hair was not damaged at all after using that twice, so that’s what I went to purchase again. But the lady at Sally’s told me I was wrong and needed to get the L’oreal Quick Blue Powder Bleach instead and handed me a 40 volume developer to go along with it. I was skeptical at first, but since it was about the same price I figured she wasn’t trying to upsell me and I just went with it. I left with the bleach, the color, two developers, and went on to go get my hair cut.
When I got home, I put the bleach in my hair and let it sit for 40 minutes. The directions said to leave it in for 50, but my hair was really hot when we checked it at the 40 minute mark so we rushed to rinse it out as fast as possible. The very second I touched my hair, my stomach dropped. I knew it was ruined and I had no idea what to do or how to save it. Much of the section of hair had already fallen off and the hair that was left felt exactly like those thin Chinese noodles that just rip apart when wet. I was devastated.
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I take pretty good care of my hair on a regular basis and it’s pretty healthy and strong. I think that is the only thing I had going for me in this situation. Had my hair been any thinner or damaged, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had anything left at all. I wasn’t able to brush it or comb it for a few days because every time I tried, it just created even more knots which lead to even more hair falling out.

So what I did instead was grab whatever oil I could find that I had laying around, poured it into a small bowl and literally dunked my hair in it. I wanted to touch my hair as little as possible, so sitting it in the bowl and letting it absorb the oil on its own was my best option. Then I dropped that hair in a tube sock, tied a hair tie around it at the top where it wasn’t damaged, and gently clipped it on top of my head. I did that for three or four days, switching back and forth between coconut oil, argan oil, and keratin oil. When I showered, I moved the hair into a ziplock baggie and worked around it. I felt so dirty and full of oil, my anxiety was through the roof. Not to mention that I still hadn’t come to terms with what had happened.
After a few days of the oil treatment, we were having our families come over for a barbeque at our house and I had no option but to comb it out and dye it brown. I could no longer keep my hair separated because it was giving me horrible headaches, it was so uncomfortable to sleep with, and I was tired of not leaving the house. The hair didn’t have any more damage after dying it brown, but you can see in the picture below just how much hair has fallen out of that section compared to the length of my normal hair. It’s now four weeks later and I am still losing hair every day.
Matching my hair was pretty difficult. I had never dyed any part of my hair, other than that one section, so I had my own kind of mix between dirty blonde, light to medium brown, with natural golden highlights. The dye I ended up going with was the ion Color Brilliance 5N Light Brown and I used it with the same brand’s 10 volume developer. It matched me pretty well, but it is a little darker than the other side of my hair that’s natural. I think I’m the only one who can really tell a difference, though, because I know it’s there. I only left the dye in for about 25 minutes before washing it out. I honestly could have washed it out a little sooner because it developed really quickly and got darker than I was expecting since I was starting with such thin, starch white hair.
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I still put the keratin oil treatment in my hair every single night after I get out of the shower. Now that the section of hair is combined with the rest, you almost can’t even tell what happened. It’s still not in the best condition and I can clearly tell a difference in the texture of my hair when I touch it. I’m at least happy that you can’t actually see a difference. I’ve lost the majority of hair from that section, but one of the biggest things I can be thankful for is that it was such a small amount of hair that was damaged.
I know that bleaching your hair can be risky business and my only regret is listening to the lady at Sally’s. I should have just gotten the bleach that I had used before that didn’t damage my hair. Aside from putting the keratin oil in my hair every night, I’m also making sure that I take my biotin supplements every day to make my hair grow faster. I still get really upset when I think about it, but try to keep reminding myself that it could have been much worse.

I hope you found this helpful if you’re going through the same thing or that it prevented you from making the same mistake. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them for me in the comments below. I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of good hair days!

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  1. Christina, I hate you had to go through that experience. Life is all about living and learning!! A lady told me about 10 years ago, not to use permanent hair color because of how damaging it is to your hair. She recommended using a demi color , which washes out after 3 weeks to a month, is much healthier for your hair, and you don't see any new hair grown lines. I still use the keratin like you recommend and I love it, it make my hair so smooth and silky. I hope your hair is on the road to recovery. I know you're hair will look beautiful at your wedding, just as you will make a beautiful bride!!

    1. Thankfully I didn't end up having much damage from the color dye, it was really all from the bleach. I'm at least hoping that the brown won't fade until it's time for another trim and I can just cut the rest of that section off so I don't have to dye it again. Keratin has worked great for my hair, strengthening the damaged hair and making the rest of my hair super healthy. I can't find that oil anywhere else, so I'm hoping TJMaxx keeps it in stock for a while. And thank you so much!

  2. Lord honey....I wasn't gonna write this bc theres literally no point but I'm gonna. I've been looking to bleach my whole head and going teal and at the same time trying to talk myself out of it by watching horror stories of girls going bald for 6 months now. I thought this was gonna be one of them. Girl, I've burnt that much hair off with a candle and not thought twice about it. Thank you though. Realized how little I give a crap what happens to my all natural brown waist length hair as compared to some folks and bleaching the crap out of it tomorrow. Hope your wedding and photos were both lovely, I know your hair was. You literally cannot tell. Had me thinking you fried yourself bald and here I see this tiny lil bottom part of a section. -_-'

    1. This was definitely the worst thing I have ever done to my hair. I had never died my hair before, never gotten a different hair cut, never changed up how I style it. Nothing. This was a whole new world! I miss the pink strip in my hair so much every time I see it and I hope that one day I can move past this experience enough to dye it again. I've always cherished my natural hair and one of my biggest fears is ruining what I was born with. Dying it back to brown looked close enough for such a small section, but it was definitely missing my natural golden highlights. Thankfully it grew back enough in time for the wedding and adding curls to the style made it not very noticeable in photos.

  3. A note about Biotin supplements. If you ever need to take thyroid replacement therapy you need to realize the biotin disrupts it's ability to do it's job.
    So glad you didn't need to remove more color than one piece.

    1. I didn't know that about the biotin and thyroid! If my thyroid ever becomes a health issue for me, I'll be sure to stop taking the supplements. And me too!! So happy it was such a small piece. Thankfully everything's regrown by now, but it definitely took a long while to get it back to a healthy state.


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