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Whether your colorist uses bleach to hand paint on a few sun-kissed highlights for a nice face frame, or you’re the platinum bleach-and-tone type, you know that regardless of how much Olaplex is involved, if you want to go lighter, there’s a good chance that there’s going to be some level of damage present post-appointment. Finding the best conditioner for bleached hair is absolutely essential in the endeavor to stave off causing additional split ends, breakage and ending up with straw-level dryness. In general, you want to look for a conditioner that has the perfect balance of protein (usually keratin) to rebuild structure and hydrating ingredients like jojoba and argan oil to retain moisture.
Protein-infused conditioners restore strength to damaged hair by latching on to the hair cuticle and shaft, which promotes enhanced structure in the compromised regions. But, if you over do it, protein-based treatments can actually lead to dry, brittle ends and yes, even more damage over time. Maintaining a solid moisture-to-protein balance is basically the golden ticket when it comes to rebuilding and repairing damage from bleach, and for keeping further damage at the bare minimum.
On the other hand, giving your mane too much moisture (sans rebuilding proteins) can also be problematic. While moisture is essential for promoting elasticity (and obviously, dry hair is going to break more easily), going overboard with hydration can actually soften already weak strands. The best course for success? Choosing an option that strikes the right balance between both—and isn’t full of filler ingredients that are essentially useless (isopropyl alcohol and petroleum are two such examples to avoid like the plague). We’ve rounded up a few that editors (and customers) swear by.
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1. Olaplex No.5 Bond Rebuilding Condition
Olaplex’s O.G. bond-rebuilding products have long been a go-to among colorists, and now the brand has extended their range to include a conditioner to non-professionals for at-home care. Not only is this conditioner ultra-moisturizing, but it also helps to reconnect broken ends with continuous use.
2. Davines OI Conditioner
This rich conditioner delivers parched locks a heavy dose of hydration without leaving hair limp and lifeless. It also contains Roucou Oil, which is a natural hair-restructurer that combats breakage without sucking repelling moisture.
3. Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Condition
This affordable leave-in conditioner is lightweight enough to not weigh your hair down, and it also contains Castor Oil—a natural ingredient known for helping accelerate hair re-growth.