My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products
Image Source: @essencewileyy

A couple of years ago, I made a rash decision to bleach my hair almost platinum blonde. Unaware of the high-maintenance journey I was about to embark on, it wasn’t long before I noticed drastic differences in my once dense, relatively long (thanks to the pandemic) coily hair. My ends were thinner than ever. Some parts of my hair had completely broken off. It was dry and brittle. It was then that I realized exactly what I had signed up for. I spent the last year nurturing my hair back to life, hoping to go blonde again eventually. In June, I returned to my ash blonde roots, with the right commitment this time. Here’s how I did it.

Blonde Hair and Hair Loss

The First Mistake: It was October of 2021 when I got the urge to dye my dark brown hair blonde. Fresh out of a long-term relationship, away at college for the first time, and needing a new look, I wanted to embrace change head-on. What better way to do that than bleaching my hair? I debated the idea for a couple of weeks, polling my tribe. I had a reference picture of singer Kelis in her blonde era to help sell the idea. My friends loved it. 

My family, specifically my mom and grandmothers, warned me about the implications of such a drastic color change. “You’re getting really busy, are you sure you’ll be able to take care of it?” questioned my mother. “Blonde is a lot of work, and your hair will break off,” said my grandmother. Bleaching completely disrupts your hair’s structure as it breaks down the protective outer layer to lighten the strand, altering the hair’s elasticity and reducing moisture.

In true 19-year-old fashion– I didn’t care. My sights were set on becoming a blondie. I, coincidentally, was headed to my hometown in Indiana for Thanksgiving. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, I enlisted a cousin’s cousin to bleach my hair. After two rounds of bleach on the front, a third in the back, and nine hours, my hair was a beautiful mix of ash-blonde tones. I loved it.

The day I initially went blonde in November of 2021. I bleached my hair several times in one session.

The results of my initial color session.

Throughout my natural hair journey, twist-outs have been my go-to style.

The Second Mistake: I have always nurtured my hair. In fact, wash days are therapeutic for me. Washing out all of the energy from the past week from my hair feels like the perfect way to reset. But I hadn’t done much research on maintaining blonde hair. I continued to use my slew of natural hair products for wash days and my go-to twist-out styles. My routine didn’t necessarily include items geared toward color-treated hair. I noticed my strands felt dryer faster than normal but considered that a sign to wash and deep condition it more frequently. 

My hair pulled back into a bun a month after bleaching it.

Pre-breakage, my hair was the healthiest it had ever been.

The Final Straw: Things were great until my spring semester. I became super focused on getting involved on campus and had less time to care for my hair. I turned to slick back bun styles– I wanted to sport a low-maintenance style that didn’t make me look juvenile. It didn’t help that the colorist I had entrusted with my hair wasn’t in the same state for treatments or follow-up appointments. By summer, the dense, mid-back length hair I had spent the entire pandemic growing out was broken, brittle, and dry. The mid-section of my hair was entirely broken off. The perimeter could barely be put into a bun. I was forced to start over. 

I suffered from breakage all over my head but the perimeter and crown of my head was worst as seen in my see-through ends. My hair could barely be pulled back into a bun.

Over the next year, I was able to restore my hair health. Now, I’m back blonde while still maintaining the integrity of my hair. These are the products that my blonde, type four hair can’t live without. I regained some density and retain length after restructuring my hair routine.

Between treatments and protective styling, I trimmed my hair regularly to prevent more split ends and breakage. This is after a year of growing out my hair.

I decided it’d be best to start fresh with a bob haircut before going blonde.

This is my hair after using the Mizani and Carol’s Daughter and after going blonde the second time. My colorist did an amazing job.

Building a Routine to Restore My Hair Health

Blonde hair is high maintenance. Outside of costly touch-ups and salon treatments, it requires constant bond reinforcement to keep the hair strong and nourished. A solid routine was my first step in restoring my hair health.

OLAPLEX Hair Repair Treatment Kit, $62

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

I had heard about Olaplex through friends. I would occasionally see it on social media. My local salon has it on the shelves. Looking to revive my curls and retain length, I knew I needed a roster of heavy-hitting products. I immediately began researching Olaplex and found this hair repair treatment kit that was essentially everything I needed– nourishment, bond repair, and hydration. I initially used the kit twice a month and transitioned to once a month based on my hair’s needs. As someone who loves switching up my ‘do, the No. 3 Hair Perfector is still my go-to product after quick weaves, sew-ins and other styles that require more heat.

Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo, $37

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

Healthy-looking hair starts at the shampoo bowl. Hydration and moisture were pivotal parts of reviving my dry, brittle hair. This shampoo is life-changing. With just a dime-size amount it lathers on the hair beautifully leaving it feeling clean and soft. I also feel like my other products penetrate my hair shaft much better after two washes with this shampoo due to its hydrating nature. My style results seem to last longer than with my other shampoos. 

Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Hair Mask, Deep Conditioner for Dry Damaged or Color Treated Hair, $35.24

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

Deep conditioning has always been an instrumental part of my hair care routines.  A nourishing hair mask was a must-have in my hair revival kit. This Briogeo deep conditioner is the truth. It softened my curls almost immediately and, in my hair crisis, helped me retain the little hair I had left. I want this product buried with me.

Creme of Nature Pure Honey Moisture Whip Twisting Cream, $7.29

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

This is a product I picked up after my initial color job. It’s at the top of my twist-outs’ roster and when used with the products above, it keeps my hair moisturized for an entire week. I often use it alone directly after washing out my deep conditioner.

Current Status of My Hair

Since cutting my hair into a bob (to get rid of the remaining blonde strands) and going to a master colorist in DC, where I attend college, for more blonde balayage (that I love!), my hair is growing out nicely. As I said, I love a good sew-in and quick weave, so I’ve been extremely intentional about focusing my treatments on the edges and the middle part where I leave my hair out. I am also purposeful about planning my hairstyles, always leaving at least a week between styles. I still actively use all of the products that have revived my hair, but I’ve added a few gems to the routine. These are the products that have helped me become a healthy blonde.

Tresemme Moisture Rich with Vitamin E Conditioner, $6.79

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

This Tresemme conditioner makes my blonde, type four hair feel like BUTTER! I usually allow this to sit on my hair after my shampoo and before going in with a deep conditioner. It’s a great detangler. I love that it’s affordable and accessible as well.

Mizani 25 Miracle Leave-In Cream, $26

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

The aunties were on to something with Mizani products. I picked this one up in my colorist’s salon and am so grateful I did. After putting so much time, effort, and money into my wash-day haircare, this leave-in cream retains all the moisture and hydration from the preceding products. My hair is immediately soft after using just a drop of it. I use it for wash-and-gos, twist-outs, blow dries, and refreshing my leave-outs. It has 25 benefits for curly hair, and I’m obsessed with the smell too.

Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength True Stretch Defining Cream, $16.49

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

I grew up on Carol’s Daughter products, so adding this to my routine has symbolized a return to my roots. This, in combination with the Mizani leave-in and my go-to gel, has single-handedly transformed me into a wash-and-go natural. Not only are my curls extremely juicy and defined when I use this, but they also are super soft. I love how lightweight the cream is, as well. 

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil, $30

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

If you haven’t drawn this conclusion, do not sleep on Olaplex! Its innovative bond-building technology and wide range of products have been instrumental in reinvigorating and maintaining my hair. When refreshing my leave-out, I typically use the bonding oil as a heat protectant or a seal. Sometimes, I’ll put a few drops in my hands before unraveling my twists. My hair is noticeably shiny every time I reach for this product, and I like to think it’s protecting my hair from everyday wear and tear.

While it wasn’t ideal for experiencing a hair crisis, I learned that haircare is a continuous journey requiring as much attention, patience, and care as skincare or body care. I’m excited to see how my ‘fro continues to grow and flourish.

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