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With highlighting trends like wet balayage circulating the beauty world, you may be asking yourself, “Can you bleach wet hair?” After all, it’s no secret that bleach can damage your strands, so is it safe to use when they’re in their most fragile state? Instead of guessing and taking a gamble with your mane, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to answer your questions and arm you with all you need to know about bleaching wet hair.
We’ll cut to the chase—yes, you can bleach wet hair. This should come as no surprise as techniques like wet balayage are likely dominating your social media feeds. That said, there is a time and place for bleaching wet hair—and specific reasons why you’d opt for bleaching wet hair instead of dry hair (more on that later).
If you find yourself asking, “Can I bleach my hair after washing it?” you’ve come to the right place. Just like when dyeing your hair, it’s a good idea to avoid washing your hair right before a bleach process. This is because your hair’s natural oils can actually serve as a protective barrier for your scalp, helping to prevent irritation during the bleaching process. If you want your colorist to wet bleach your strands, they won’t give your mane a full wash beforehand. Rather, they’ll give your hair a quick rinse at the sink or spritz it with a water bottle.
Now that you know you can bleach wet hair, you’re probably wondering why your hairdresser would decide to bleach your strands while they’re wet rather than dry. There are actually quite a few reasons for using this lightening technique, and we’ve listed the three most common, below.
Does wet hair lighten faster? As it turns out, it does! If you’re pressed for time or simply want a quick lightening method, your stylist may apply bleach to wet hair instead of dry.
If you’re applying bleach to wet hair, keep in mind that the color of your strands won’t lift as much as it would if applied to dry hair. This is because the water on your hair will dilute the bleach, resulting in softer results. For a subtle color change, your colorist may use bleach on wet hair. This technique is usually best for lifting your strands one to two shades.
Having ends that are a bit brighter and lighter than the rest of your mane is one of the most popular trends for 2020. This trend lends itself perfectly to the wet balayage technique. After highlighting your mane when dry, allowing the foils to process, and rinsing the bleach from your mane, applying more bleach to your wet ends will add an extra boost of subtle definition for a beautiful, sun-kissed mane.
With more knowledge of this hair coloring technique under your belt, you may be tempted to try this lightening method at home. But before you reach for the bleach, we urge you to steer clear! Your hair is at its most fragile state when wet, so using bleach on it can cause some serious damage if not done right. Rather than DIYing the technique, your best bet is to book an appointment at the salon. Not to mention, while the above reasons are great for using bleach on wet hair, your colorist will know if bleaching wet hair is the right method to achieve your desired look—or if another lightening technique would be a better route.
Additionally, at-home hair bleach kits have specific instructions that you should follow closely. You don’t get to make up your own, and we’re guessing they don’t say to bleach wet hair. If you’re set on at-home bleaching, use the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach All Over and forgo the wet hair.
Next up: While we’re on the topic of bleaching your hair, let’s answer another important question. How Long Are You Supposed to Leave Bleach on Your Hair?
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