Hair Color

Damaged Bleached Hair and Cysteic Acid

Breakage and Bleached Hair

Damaged bleached hair is one of the biggest problems in the salon, yet bleaching is one of the hair-decolorizing techniques widely used in all  salons. Damaged bleached hair and cysteic acid are completely connected. Since hydrogen peroxide is used in this process, the bonds in the hair proteins are broken up and the pigment breaks away leaving the hair lighter. At this point, cysteine residues are converted to cysteic acid residues. Cysteic acid is considered to be a major cause of hair damage, and the changes in the properties through cysteic acid formation have been presumed to affect the hair texture in an undesirable manner. 

The amount of cysteic acid increase in the hair related to the bleaching time, has been shown to cause more damage the longer it’s left in the hair. 

Before I begin the process of bleaching someone’s hair, I measure the breakdown of hair by its elasticity when it’s wet. I always consider the durability, the color, and the current state of the hair before bleaching. The darker the hair, the longer the bleaching agents must be left on to reach the desirable shade. Therefore, it becomes a balancing act between the hair before it’s bleached and what I assume the integrity of the hair will be after I bleach it. 

The bleaching agents must pass through the cuticle layer, (the hair surface) and then the cortex of the hair, (the inner layer of the hair shaft). The cysteic acid formation behaviors in the cortex show a stepwise increase depending on the bleaching time. Cysteic acid formed by bleaching, is constant across the cortex layer. Cysteic acid formation in the cortex layer is due to the slow diffusion of hydrogen peroxide into cortex cells, leaving the hair with the chemical residue when the client leaves the salon.  That spells damage!

Long-lasting cysteic acid in the hair is a complication of many different bleaching agents. I choose my bleaching agents very carefully. I have found that the German and Italian bleach agents are usually the best. I always try to minimize the impact of the bleaching agents by adding elixirs, buffers, and most definitely conditioners with good pH levels. Bringing back the natural state of the hair as quickly as possible after the service is paramount. Bleach keeps working when he client goes home if it’s not properly managed first.

Cysteic acid might be what you talk to your colorist before beginning the lightening process. If they understand the concept, you’re with the right person.

MJ Hair Designs, signature, mjhairdesigns, (818) 783-0084, NAHA

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