Originally Posted by Shades
if you have dark hair naturally, those bleach products you buy at the store will really damage it. Mine felt like plastic. If I were going that route again, I'd get the bleaching done professionally by a stylist I trusted and do the rest myself. Big difference in price, but it would be worth it to me because the bleached hair doesn't recover; you just have to wait for it to grow out.
Yeah, I've had some pretty fried hair...
The neat thing I always found with Manic Panic was that it made wicked conditioner. The bleach would strip it, then I would refrain from using the bleach-enclosed conditioning creme, so that the hair would be like a big colour-sponge. And with most of the colours, after a couple applications, my hair came out feeling more-or-less normal.
I don't think the professional bleaches themselves are any less harmful, it's all peroxide-based. I think they just have better quality conditioners and oils to repair the damage with afterwards.
I've also found the same damaging effects with any permanent DIY hair colour: red, black, blonde... it didn't matter. The black surprised me, since it shouldn't have been taking anything out of my hair, but the dye has to break down the hair somewhat in order to stick?