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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 swear by.
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1. Olaplex No.5 Bond Rebuilding Condition
There is a reason that countless colorists and hair stylists rely on this solid bond builder to protect and repair client’s hair.
2. Davines OI Conditioner
This natural conditioner and bond building hybrid delivers hair-loving nutrients to damaged strands while restoring balanced moisture levels and preventing further breakage.
3. Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Condition
This natural formula is suitable for all hair types, but is especially beneficial for those with chemical damage and compromised strands. The formula is heavy, so it you do want to use it sparingly as a little bit goes a long way.
4. L'Oreal Elvive Total Repair Leave In Conditioner
Super-charged with nourishing ingredients including hydrating almond oil and restructuring proteins, this lightweight leave-in helps to repair dehydrated strands and split ends.
5. Pureology Hydrate Sheer Moisturizing Conditioner
Best for those with thin hair, this repairing conditioner is infused with ingredients like Jojoba, Green Tea, and Sage and an aromatherapy blend to soften strands and heal damage without compromising volume and shine.