ELLE Beauty Extremist: Lou Teasdale's Blonde Addiction

​And why she's finally gone for the chop

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As a self-confessed, out of control, complete and absolute blonde addict, I've spent my life trying to balance whiter-than-white hair with minimal damage; and a lot of the time, I have failed.

The unfortunate fact is, the lighter the hair colour, the greater the chance of breakage. But then this addiction doesn't care about facts. No matter how blonde I go, it is never blonde enough; I'm hair colour dismorphic - it kind of looks brown in my mirror.

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To understand why bleaching wrecks hair so badly, it helps to understand how it works. So, some science (please stay with me here).

The outside of the hair shaft is called the cuticle, and this protects the inner portion of the strand – the cortex. Inside are protein molecules called melanins, which give hair its colour. When bleach is applied - usually hydrogen peroxide – it opens up the hair shaft, allowing chemicals to get inside the cortex and react with the melanin, which strips out the colour pigment and leaves each strand vulnerable to damage. Hence, dry, brittle, sometimes straw-like hair that breaks: I know this all too well.

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Basically, if blondes have more fun they must be the natural ones, because I have to spend my days fighting to keep my hair hanging in there.

Luckily for me, my favourite celebrity haircut of the decade – The Sienna Miller bob – has so happened to coincide with my worst case of hair breakage to date. So, I've followed Sienna's suit and gone for the chop. This is the first and best line of defense to get some natural, un-frazzled length back when it grows out. It's about prevention rather than cure at this point. 

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A photo posted by Lou Teasdale (@louteasdale) on

My level of addiction means my poor hair needs some extra help, so I'm taking my own advicefrom this day forward to give it a fighting chance;

1. Use A Hair Elasticiser (or any pre-shampoo treatment)

Philip Kingsley's Hair Elasticiser is nothing short of AMAZING – it's my new favourite product in the world. It works by rebuilding hair elasticity, the thing that is lost via the bleaching process, but it is important for strength and suppleness, to prevent the brittle ends that will eventually break off. Olaplex has a new similar offering, as does Living Proof - all of which are great.

2. Ditch My Straighteners*

Running irons over bleached ends is only going to do one thing; break them off. Stop using them and your hair will be allowed to rehabilitate somewhat into thicker and longer lengths, even with the bleaching.

* Ok, if I do use them, it will only be for special occasions and definitely not daily. If you think bleached hair is cool enough anyway, you'll realise styling isn't so important.

3. Play With Pastels To Tone

Grey, blue and lilac hair is the new normal, easier to achieve than ever and a great colour compromise in-between dye jobs. I'll be bringing my colour back to life with some DIY toner, done by mixing a pink or lilac Crazy Colour  (£4 each) with conditioner for a pastel effect that washes straight out the next day.

Is all the fuss worth it? Absolutely.

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