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Being a K-pop idol isn’t easy. Between the long hours of practice, attending promotional events, and staying connected with fans, the pressure to keep up their energy levels while still maintaining a picture-perfect image is undoubtedly high.

Moreover, common beauty practices like frequent hair bleaching and dyeing can start taking a toll on one’s health and appearance, such as in the case of TWICE’s Nayeon.

Nayeon’s hair evolution through the years

The 27-year-old lead singer of the popular girl group has always received praise for her baby-faced appearance, bubbly personality, and of course, stunning vocals.

Being a seasoned performer who’s been in the spotlight for many years, Nayeon has gotten accustomed to changing her style and hairdos frequently to keep her growing fanbase engaged.

Throughout the years, she’s been seen pulling off several vibrant hair colours – bright red, light brown, purple, and even orange.

Receiving high praise each time, she even started trending on Twitter in April last year after posting a few selfies on Instagram showing off her platinum-blonde hairdo. It was part of yet another image revamp in preparation for her solo debut album “I AM NAYEON.”

Credit: nayeonyny/Instagram

Some of the positive comments she received from netizens include:

She’s so pretty with her blonde hair. So unexpected, but I love the surprise.
Nayeon looks so perfect in blonde. Honestly, one of her prettiest looks.
Please stay blonde all the time”

All this positive buzz didn’t come without a cost, though. In a September 2022 interview with Elle Korea, she shed light on the damage that the bleaching had on her hair condition.

Photo source: Elle Korea/YouTube

“This is a very sad photo,” the lead singer lamented while looking at a past photo of herself.

Photo source: Elle Korea/YouTube

With a seemingly regretful tone in her voice, she then explained that she “used to have a lot of hair”, and that it “has shrunk in half” from the sheer number of times she’s had it bleached and dyed.

Photo source: Elle Korea/YouTube

It didn’t improve after a year of hair treatments

As Nayeon had given her hair a break from the brightly-coloured hair and gone back to a darker brunette by the end of the year, fans had hoped this move would’ve given her hair the rest it desperately needed to restore its condition.

Unfortunately, new photos of Nayeon, which have surfaced, showed that this was not the case.

Credit: Nayeon

The SIXTEEN contestant shared that she had recently opted for a short wolf cut, and in a series of selfies taken from the hair salon, it can be seen that the idol is still struggling with damaged hair.

She lifted several pieces of her hair after it had been freshly cut, showing the uneven layers caused by hair that had broken off.

Credit: Nayeon

This shocked some fans and showed us just how lasting the damaging effects of hair colouring could be, even after undergoing remedies like hair treatment.

How do K-pop idols keep their bleached hair looking “healthy” all the time?

Spoiler alert: they can’t.

It may appear from stage performance videos and magazine shots that idols with dyed hair are somehow able to miraculously keep their hair looking glossy, full, and healthy.

Credit: official_everglow/Instagram

What sorcery is this? You might ask.

For instance, Everglow’s Onda can be seen pictured above with gorgeous long blonde hair that appears to be smooth, shiny, and even.

However, in a casual video of the girl group attempting ITZY’s “Shoulder Dance”, the actual condition of her hair can be seen, where it appears much drier and uneven from the side.

Source: EverGlowSubs/YouTube

According to celebrity hair stylists, their photo-ready locks are usually the product of hair styling, lots of hair extensions, and timely hair masks used right before public appearances.

Other K-pop idols have spoken out on the alarming effects of frequent hair bleaching and dyeing

Blackpink’s Lisa received quite the attention from concerned fans last year, following a vlog posted regarding her trip to Paris where the state of her hair was revealed in a “get ready with me” segment.

While receiving a trim before a CELINE show, the idol likened her dried, short hair to “grass”, an unfortunate association which Girl’s Generation’s Taeyeon has made in the past as well.

“My ends are so damaged so it’s like grass,” the Thai singer jokingly said.

Photo source: Lilifilm Official/YouTube

Fellow girl group member Jennie went through a similar experience herself, following a gruelling 18-hour session her stylist shared she underwent to achieve her iconic two-toned look for the group’s hit single, “How You Like That”.


“It took two days to get the colour. We would bleach her hair and follow up with the treatment, over and over again. In total, it took 18 hours to achieve her iconic highlights,” her stylist said.

Less than two weeks into getting them, though, Jennie had no choice but to remove the edgy blonde streaks due to her sensitive scalp.

The “Solo” singer shared, “I grew to like this hair colour, but because my scalp is highly sensitive, it’s too hard to maintain it.”

With fans putting more pressure on stylists to take better care of the idol’s hair, with some going so far as to beg them to let the idols retain their natural hair colours, one can only hope that fewer locks are sacrificed in the name of beauty.

The dangers of frequent hair colouring: how bad can it get?

Credit: Unsplash

If you aren’t convinced already, the harsh processes of bleaching and dyeing your hair can be pretty damaging to your scalp and hair health.

Applying permanent or semipermanent dye to your hair alters its hair structure, which can cause a series of unwanted side effects, such as:

  • Hair thinning
  • Weakened hair strength
  • Lowered resilience under heat-styling tools
  • Rougher texture of the hair follicle

Moreover, if your hair is already thin or brittle, dyeing can weaken it further with subsequent application.

How can I minimise the negative effects of hair bleaching and colouring?

Credit: lalalalisa_m/Instagram

If you’re a fan of the youthful look that coloured hair brings and don’t want to give it up, then it’s important to avoid common hair dyeing mistakes and follow some steps to mitigate the potential damage.

Space out your hair appointments

As with most health-related concerns, prevention is better than cure. This is why our first tip is to allow sufficient time to pass between your hair dyeing appointments to minimise long-term damage.

Choose dyes with less harsh ingredients

When at the salon, you can also opt for hair dyes with conditioning agents, such as hydrolysed silk proteins, as this can lower the extent of the damage as well.

Apply the appropriate shampoos and conditioners

Choosing colour-specific shampoos and conditioners will enable you to protect your colour-treated hair, and reduce the need for frequent salon trips.

We also recommend selecting hair care products that have moisturising properties if you have coloured hair. For instance, moisturising shampoos will help your hair retain its moisture after dyeing, minimising the dried, “grass-like” texture that is commonly associated with dyed hair.

Related read: 18 best shampoos for coloured hair that repair your damaged tresses and care for your bold look

Consider choosing a hair colour that’s closer to your natural shade

As a rule of thumb, the more you have to bleach your hair, the more damaged it’ll be. This is why hairstylists typically recommend customers opt for a hair colour that isn’t too far off from their natural colour to minimise the time exposure to harsh chemicals involved.

If you’re concerned about the state of your dyed hair, speak with your stylist for targeted advice to achieve a healthy look again!

Featured image credit: nayeonyny/Instagram