Solve These Three Common Bleach Damaged Hair Problems FAST!

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When I published an article 18 months ago about how I rescued my bleach ravaged hair, I never knew it would be so popular! In fact it still gets traffic and comments every single day from people struggling to fix what constant bleaching has done to their tresses. While everything I wrote in that post still stands, I have discovered a few new wonder-products recently so I thought it was high time for an update.

The three most common gripes with dyed hair seems to be damage, colour fade and thinning, and I’m pleased as punch to tell you that I’ve found ways to combat all of these problems. I kid you not!

If your hair is damaged: Olaplex

I don’t think I can properly express how amazing this miracle product is. And yes I said MIRACLE. From the first treatment my hair felt AMAZING, like virgin hair. For serrrrrrrrrrious.

Olaplex is a salon product meaning you need to go to a hairdressers that carries it to have it done. While I have heard of people buying it online (but not from Olaplex directly) and doing it themselves at home, this is not something I would ever recommend. Ever since Kim Kardashian reportedly used it to go from dark brunette to bright blonde, the demand and publicity around this product has been astronomical, and with that comes a slew of knock offs. That’s not to say that every bottle of the stuff on Amazon is fake, but you just never know.

So how does it work? OK let’s get a bit sciency for a second. According to their website,

“Olaplex is an additive that eliminates the bad reaction oxygen has with broken sulphite bonds in chemically treated hair that leads to breakage. For hair that has been compromised chemically or thermally, this should be your first step. The Bond Multiplying System can be used as a reset button for your client’s hair and by doing so allows you to rebuild the strength, structure and integrity to the point where a colour or chemical service would then be feasible once again. This treatment may be done before and/or after a chemical service and may be applied in the salon once a week or more. Compatible with all hair types from virgin to extremely compromised chemically treated hair.”

In layman’s terms this means that when Olaplex is added to the bleach, it not only protects your locks from being further damaged by the process, but it also repairs the already broken disulfide bonds (which are what give our hair its elasticity and strength) in the hair. My hair now feels as healthy and silky as was before it ever saw any bleach (not that I can really remember back that far, mind!)

Olaplex is a three-step process. Your colourist adds No. 1 to the bleach before they put it on your hair and then washes through No. 2 after the bleach/ colour is rinsed. You then take No. 3 home with you and use it once a week for at least 10 minutes on unwashed, wet hair (so wet your hair, apply it, leave for at least 10 minutes, rinse and then wash hair as normal).

Olaplex isn’t cheap. The treatment on hair my length was £50 (its cheaper if your hair is shorter and more expensive if its longer or they have to use more product) on top of the usual cost of having my hair dyed, and a 100ml bottle of No. 3 to take away was £37. I know this sounds like an expensive fad but believe me IT IS NOT. The instant my hairdresser used Olaplex on my hair it felt softer, smoother and unbelievably silky – and it’s stayed like that ever since!

If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, I get my hair done by Elbie at Blue Mango Salon in London. Just check out this before and after if you still don’t believe just how amazing it is!


If your colour fades too quickly: oVertone

I discovered oVertone a few months ago and I have been OB-SESSED ever since. They offer a range of colour depositing conditioners in unnatural colours (red, blue, teal, pink, purple, orange, yellow, green, silver) that are made to fight the fade.

For the past eight or so years I have been washing my hair in cold water (to fight fading) and having to re-dye it every couple of weeks. Not fun. So when I found out I could just use this conditioner every day and my hair colour would never fade, I was totally sold!

Again, oVertone isn’t cheap. It’s only sold via their own website and they’re based in the States so if you’re in the UK it is a little pricey to get it shipped over. They do a pack of the daily conditioner, the weekly treatment and a travel size daily conditioner for $45 (the conditioner is usually $17 and the weekly treatment is $28), shipping to the UK is $25 and you sometimes get stung with customs charges BUT for me, its 100% worth it.

Yes, you could just mix your colour in with your conditioner and get a similar effect, but that never really worked for me. I always found the result would be patchy if I did this and the colour not intense enough. Unlike a dye + conditioner combo, oVertone also doesn’t stain your hands meaning you can use it in the bath or shower without gloves!

With oVertone you literally never have to re-dye your hair between root touch ups. I LOVE it. In fact the only problem with using it is it that if I ever want to change my colour I’m a bit stuck because the blue never fades out, haha!

48 Hour Reader Discount!

When I told the oVertone crew that I was writing this post they offered a discount code for my readers! This code is only valid for 48 hours, until midnight tomorrow, Wednesday 21st October, so make sure you take advantage of it right away! To get 10% off your oVertone order, simply use the code RRBFALL10 at the checkout. I will certainly be using it to stock up on some more!

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If your hair is thinning: DIY dyed extensions

This is something I’ve been doing for years and I can’t believe more of my rainbow babes haven’t thought of it!

If your hair won’t grow past a certain length, or is thinning, then buy some clip-in blonde real hair extensions and dye them! I get mine from Amazon or Sally’s. You can even get your hairdresser to cut them to the right length for you so they look natural. I wear them every day and no-one is ever the wiser. Genius!

When my hair was suuuuuuuuuper short and damaged I would wear a full head of them, however now I just wear a couple of strips on either side at the front, and sometimes one at the back, just to add a bit more volume. It’s my little haircare secret! Just make sure you wash them at the same time you do your hair (or use oVertone on them) to ensure they stay the same shade as your actual hair.

I hope that if your hair is as damaged as mine was, that I’ve given you some light at the end of the tunnel. I promise that all is not lost! While I’m not a hair care professional, I’ve been bleaching and dying my hair crazy colours since I was 16 so I hope you can learn from my mistakes!

I was not paid or compensated in anyway by the companies mentioned in this article. I was not given money to bleach my hair, dye it blue, get it damaged it and then write about it. My hair is the number one thing people always ask me about so I wanted to share the love for these brands that have revolutionised my life and my mop!



  1. Oh man I totally need to get my hands on that overtone stuff. I have to dye my hair every 2 weeks as you said and since I’ve been doing it for a decade+ I’ve gotten used to it but I am totally using that code to give it a try!

  2. Morgan

    Gosh I wish I found all this last year when my hair was bleached till the ends of the earth to be blue and then I gave up, dyed it black and cut it off. This gives me hope, I will soon be blue again. Thank you 🙂

  3. Cat

    I am so appreciative of both this post and the “How I Rescued” post. Full of great information that is widely echoed by those in the know, but with great product mentions. You are enabling my Amazon addiction right now.

    Particularly, I am so excited about Overtone and the BaByliss styling product, which is not widely used in the US. I have always hated using a flat iron but found juggling the brush and hair dryer to be tricky and cumbersome.

    Do you find that it helps mitigate the heat damage on your hair?

    Thanks again for the product recommendations and advice. Bookmarked!

  4. Clara

    Another fantastic product is Merlin professional. These products level out moisture and protein levels and repair the structure of hair from the inside. Totally different to olaplex as yes this is truly is revolutionary and reduces damage,but Merlin addresses moisture and protein levels as olaplex does not. Therefore if your protein and moisture levels were balanced to start with and your hair was in good condition you should not have been achieving breakage!! It’s vital you use good professional hair care products. If you use rubbish cosmetic products in your hair don’t expect it to look and feel amazing.

  5. Clara

    Can I also add for any of you out there whose hair is in bad condition from bleaching or any chemical services, I would recommend asking your olaplex stylist for a stand a lone treatment first before having your colour on. This way it allows olaplex to get started straight away and only take 20 minutes. Then have colour with also olaplex in the colour. It’s just a safety net. So many hairdressers don’t do this and yet if the condition is bad I would always do this first. Also don t forget just because you have Olaplex in the colour doesn’t mean your hair won’t break off. You or your stylist still needs to check it a regular intervals and assess the condition and establish if the target shade has been achieved.

  6. Taylor

    I know this was posted quite a while ago, but I feel the need to mention my own experience!! Im currently a freshman illustrator in art school, and my hair was completely virgin before i decided to dye it pastel pink. I had read about olaplex and wanted it used on my hair when i got it dyed, to be safe and retain my hairs health. During the bleaching process, i had read that olaplex shoulsnt be used with heat – but my hairdressers assured me they knew what they were doing when they sat me under the dryer. I was under there for maybe 10 minutes when I asked to be taken out of the hood because my scalp was burning. Long story short, my hair felt softer but now its very damaged – like yours before olaplex. Im unsure if the heat had anything to do with it, and it was also a very extreme procedure on my head! And im using the take home treatment now and its unnerving to have such damaged, crunchy hair when i paid for it to be restored.Ah well, who knows . Whats done is done and im focusing on restoring my locks, but its proven to be difficult emotionally.

  7. Fran

    Thanks for the great hair advice, Kat! Do you find that using a shampoo/cond for coloured hair makes a difference in the amount of fading? Not sure whether I should be using strengthening products (like redken extreme), or colour-preserving products on my bright red (on top of bleached and quite damaged) hair…

  8. angela

    Hi – how many olaplex treatment should I do and how often? I bleached my hair – it’s horrendous… thanks!

  9. Post author

    Get your hairdresser to use it everytime they bleach your hair and use the step 3 (at home treatment) about once a week or every two weeks. Leave it on as long as you can, you can even sleep in it!

  10. chantel olson

    question for you. i just discovered overtone. I LOVE IT. i am a cross between a silver and a pastel blue. i will be due for a highlight in a little over a week. what will the bleach do to the blue? should i just bleach my roots and leave my ends. i’m a color newbie.


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