Whether you want to get blonde hair or try a fun pastel hair color, one thing’s for certain — getting a lighter hair color will often require using hair bleach. If you prefer to color your hair at home as opposed to visiting the salon, it’s essential to know how to bleach hair properly to get your desired results and avoid hair damage.
Luckily, learning how to bleach hair at home is easy with the right at-home bleach kit. Keep reading to learn how to bleach your hair on your own, and the best bleach products you can use to do it.
What You Need to Know Before Bleaching Your Hair
If you’re looking to take the plunge and go blonde or try a trendy shade like lavender hair, it’ll take patience. Depending on how dark your starting color is, it could take multiple sessions for you to achieve your desired hue. And if you want to make a seriously drastic change — like going from dark brown hair to platinum blonde — it may be a good idea to visit a professional colorist, as going lighter by that many layers could take quite a bit of work and skill to achieve.
That being said, you can learn how to bleach your hair at home with the right steps. Keep reading to learn what to do.
What You Need to Bleach Your Hair at Home
Before bleaching your hair at home, avoid dyeing your hair or undergoing any kind of straightening or perming treatment for about three months. This will reduce the risk of getting any kind of breakage or discoloration once you start the bleaching process. A week before bleaching, reduce the usage of hot tools like hot rollers, curling irons, and blow dryers.
When you’re about two or three days out from the day you’re going to bleach your hair at home, stop washing your hair. Your strands’ natural oils will actually protect them from getting damaged by the bleaching process, in other words, if your hair is too clean you’ll risk hair damage.
When you’re ready to start bleaching, gather your products first. You’ll need:
A bleaching kit
A plastic bowl
Color-safe shampoo and conditioner
How to Bleach Your Hair at Home
Now that you’re a bit more aware of what your hair transformation will require, it’s time to dive into the actual process.
1. Grab Your Hair Bleaching Kit
Sticking with a kit will make things simple, as it will include everything you need: bleach powder, developer, gloves and instructions. Speaking of instructions, be sure to follow the ones in your kit and note that they will differ from product to product.
2. Start the Bleaching Process
A general breakdown of how bleaching your hair works is as follows: First, you’ll mix together bleach and developer, then you’ll brush the mixture onto your hair, being careful not to get it on your skin or clothes (we recommend wearing something no longer in your outfit circulation).
3. Let the Bleach Sit
The bleach should be left on your hair for typically between 15 and 30 minutes. How long bleach is left on hair can vary depending on your starting color, the product you’re using, the volume of your developer and whether your strands have been bleached before, so be sure to read the instructions on your kit carefully.
4. Rinse the Bleach Out
Once the bleach is ready to be rinsed out, you’ll need to shampoo and condition your hair. Most bleach kits come with an extra nourishing conditioner, so make sure to slather your strands with that.
You can also reach for a product like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Strengthening Color Care Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Strengthening Conditioner. This duo works to seal in hair color for up to sixty days, while also keeping your hair healthy. After that, wait for your strands to dry to see your results.
If you want a hair color besides blonde, you should then follow up with the color of your choice — but note that you may need to wait between bleaching and coloring if you’re using a permanent hair color.
Can You Bleach Wet Hair?
While you shouldn’t bleach clean hair, you can bleach wet hair. You can give your hair a quick rinse at the sink or spray it with a water bottle to wet it, but note that bleaching wet hair should only be done under a few circumstances, such as when you want a soft bleached color.
Since the water on your hair will dilute the bleach, bleaching wet hair will result in a more subtle color change, which is great for those who only want their color to be lifted a few levels. However, wet hair is more fragile than dry hair (meaning there is more room for error), so you may want to leave bleaching wet hair to the pros.
The Best Bleach for Hair
If you’re looking for the best bleach for hair, try one of these hair bleach kits below.
Ideal for those starting with darker base colors, this hair lightening system can lift up to eight levels without compromising your hair’s health.
This bleaching kit can lighten dark brown and medium brown hair. With its advanced super-lightening action, it delivers smooth, even blonding from the roots to the ends and lightens natural or color-treated hair in one simple step.
This hair bleach is designed to work on dark blonde, light brown, and medium brown hair, and it can be used all over, or for an ombré or highlighted look. The kit contains a developer crème, bleaching powder, lightening crème, and an anti-brass conditioner.
How to Care for Bleached Hair
Once you’ve safely bleached your hair at home, maximize your new hair color by making your hair care routine more suited for color-treated hair.
1. Use Color-Safe Products
As we mentioned before, a color-safe shampoo and conditioner will be a key part of your bleached hair maintenance routine. If you notice your hair getting brassy as time goes on, you’ll also want to add a purple shampoo into your blonde hair care routine.
To combat the brass, reach for the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Shampoo, L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Conditioner, and the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Anti Brass Purple Mask Treatment once a week as a full system to neutralize any yellow and orange tones in your bleached hair.
2. Cut Down on Heat
Bleached hair is more fragile than non-bleached hair, and heat can further weaken your strands. Try to cut down on heat tools, and even lowering the temperature of your shower can save your hair from damage and color fading. For the times when you just need to break out the curling iron, first use the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant to protect your hair from heat damage.
3. Add a Hair Gloss to Your Routine
The L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss is a deep conditioning treatment that boosts color and shine — no gloves or mixing necessary. Use it once a week to get rid of unwanted brassiness or when you notice your color-treated hair starts to fade. It corrects brassy and faded tones and leaves hair with a glassy shine.
Edited by: Témi Adebowale, Photography: Chaunte Vaughn, Senior Art Direction: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Senior Visual Designer: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Assistant: Victoria Ochoa, Digital Tech: Kyle Thompson, Model: AnnChristine Velazquez
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