Here's How Often You Can Safely Bleach Your Hair

Have you ever woken up one morning and had the sudden urge to change your look? We've all been there. Whether you want to take the scissors out to pull off the trendy shaggy bob or dye your locks a fire engine red, one visit to the salon or your local beauty supply store can help you achieve it. When it comes to lifting the hair color, though, depending on how light you want to go, it may take more than one bleach application.

Caitlin Richardson, celebrity hair colorist and owner of Blonde / Blond, Los Angeles' first all-blonde color salon, told The Zoe Report that depending on your hair history and its condition, it could take a handful of bleaching sessions to lighten the strands to the desired blonde color. And that doesn't mean visiting the salon or applying bleach to your head at home several consecutive days in a row.

In fact, doing so can cause some significant damage, leaving you with bald patches and broken bits of hair (per StyleCraze). Have you seen those DIY hair color horror stories online where people can barely touch their freshly-bleached hair without it coming off in chunks? Knowing when to wait between bleaching applications is essential in keeping your hair healthy and intact. So how often can you safely do it?

Wait six to eight weeks between sessions

Bleaching can be aggressive as it literally strips your hair of its natural color (via Refindery29). But because you likely can't go from brown to blonde in one session unless your strands are undamaged and free of any other dyes, the bleach works in layers. For example, it may turn your hair orange or red first, then your desired blonde color. In turn, this can take a few visits to your salon.

Healthline recommends waiting at least six weeks before reapplying the bleach. This is because your hair weakens each time you use it, so you want to let it shaft repair before breaking it down again with more bleach. However, some experts say you should wait even longer than that, per Curl Centric. A general rule of thumb may be closer to an eight-week mark, as The American Academy of Dermatology suggests holding off at least eight to 10 weeks to touch up any hair dye treatments. Your hairstylist can provide a more accurate timeline after accessing your strands and let you know when to return for the next bleaching session.

How to care for your bleached hair

The truth is, your hair is going to need a little bit of extra care after bleaching; that just comes with the territory of stripping it with harsh chemicals. According to Refinery29, there really is no escaping the damage that will be caused by such treatment. However, there are steps you can take after bleaching your hair to keep it as healthy as possible. The first includes using the right shampoo and conditioner between sessions. "Alternating between moisture and protein — and not overdosing on either — is the most important thing when caring for blonde hair, no matter how long it's been since your last appointment or how severe any damage is," celebrity colorist Tabitha Dueñas told Byrdie.

So, use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, and make sure the formulas are protein-rich and moisture-rich. You may also want to apply a hair mask every now and then to add much-needed moisture back into the strands, letting it soak in the hair as long as possible for maximum hydration (per Glamour). Be sure to also use a brush specifically designed for wet hair after your shower to ensure as less breakage as possible. And as tempting as it may, refrain from reapplying any bleach before your six or eight weeks are up!