Bleaching your hair is possible to do at home, but it does need to be done carefully. Even a slight mistake can cause extreme damage to your hair, so it’s important to do each step with care.
The following article is a detailed how-to explanation of how to bleach your hair at home without damaging it. It also includes tips on keeping your hair healthy after bleaching or repairing it if it gets slightly damaged.
How To Bleach Different Types of Hair Without Damaging It
The steps outlined further in the article are primarily for individuals with straight or light colored hair. But people that have curlier hair or hair that has a darker color can still bleach their hair. It just takes a few extra steps and a little more care.
Bleaching Dark Colored Hair
If you have any shade of brown or black hair, bleaching your hair is going to take a little more work. The first thing you have to do is get all of your tools together. You can use most of the same tools that were mentioned above, including the hair dye brush and the purple shampoo. The main thing that’s different is that you’ll need a more heavy-duty hair bleach or hair dye.
Use A More Heavy-Duty Hair Bleach or Hair Dye
A hair bleach or hair dye that can lighten your hair by seven to eight shades is ideal for people with darker hair. Depending on how dark your natural hair is and how light you want your hair, you might have to find a product that’s even more heavy duty. For example, if your hair is black and you want to go blonde, you’ll have to find a hair bleach or hair dye that will make your hair nine times lighter.
Reapply the Hair Bleaching Product as Needed
Once you’ve finished applying the product, you’ll start to see it lighten your hair. The longer it sits on your hair, the lighter your hair will get. However, you might notice that your hair isn’t getting as light as you want, or the bleach wasn’t as evenly distributed. If this occurs, then reapplying the bleach a little bit at a time will help solve this issue.
The hair bleaching product will also need to sit for longer on darker hair, so it might end up getting crusty and dry over time. If your hair is a lighter shade of brown, then you don’t have to worry too much about this since the product will most likely have to sit for the same amount of time. If your hair is a darker shade of brown or is completely black, you’ll have to reapply fresh product every hour or so.
This keeps the product from building up on your hair and causing oil and grime to form. The fresher the product is kept, the healthier your hair will be.
Make Sure You Get The Roots
Darker colored roots need extra attention when bleaching dark colored hair. If they don’t get the same coloration, it will be more noticeable and make the entirety of your hair look discolored. You should still get the longer parts of the hair first, but you can start on the roots while you wait for them to finish.
To saturate the dark colored roots in the bleaching product, pick up a small amount of the product onto your brush or into your hands. Lift up a small area of the longer strands and hold it out of the way with a hair clip or your other hand. Rub the product into the hair roots repeatedly, making sure you get each part of the root. Do this until all the roots look the same color as the long strands of hair.
Bleaching Curly Hair
If you have curly hair, then making sure it stays hydrated and moisturized during bleaching is the most important thing. This will require some extra preparation beforehand, as well as some extra care afterward.
Preparing Curly Hair for Bleaching
The most common way to prepare curly hair for bleaching is by using a pre-shampoo deep conditioning treatment. This will make sure the hair is heavily saturated with nurturing hydrants that will combat the intense drying effects of bleach. It’s recommended that you do this at least three days before and after you bleach your hair.
You can also keep your curly hair healthy during bleaching by mixing a bond builder into your bleaching product. Curly hair has weaker bonds to the follicle since it’s so twisted, and bleach only adds to that weakness. This can result in your hair becoming brittle and potentially falling out. A bond builder helps combat this by strengthening keratin between the hair follicle and the hair strand. The more keratin the follicle produces, the stronger the hair strand will be. Products like KeraNew from Kintsugi Hair attempt to increase the keratin in your body via supplementation.
Bleaching Curly Hair Requires Care
The process of bleaching curly hair is very similar to the steps mentioned in the first part of the article. The prime difference is that each step must be done with great care. This is, again, due to the fragility of the hair strands.
It’s recommended that you try bleaching just a small section of the hair to start and seeing how your hair reacts to the bleaching process. If your hair is reacting normally, aside from becoming lighter in color, then you’ll be good to go for completing the process. If your hair begins to feel dry or look frizzy, then you should stop the bleaching process and consult with a professional hairstylist before you continue.
Keeping Curly Bleached Hair Hydrated
As mentioned before, keeping curly bleached hair as hydrated as possible is the most important thing about this process. You usually have to keep your hair hydrated after the bleaching process has finished to keep the color consistent and your hair healthy. The most common way this is done is to use a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week.
A deep conditioning treatment will not only keep the hair follicles hydrated, but it will also make sure the scalp is kept healthy. Bleach tends to dry out the scalp, making it more difficult to keep the hair follicles strong, making the hair strands weaker. When you have a healthy scalp, it makes it easier to keep the hair strands healthy as well.
Tools You Will Need to Bleach Your Hair
If you choose to use hair dye or hair bleach to lighten your hair, then there are some tools that you need to make the process go as smooth as possible. Some of these tools include:
- A good hair bleach or hair dye
- A hair dye brush
- Deep conditioner and purple shampoo
Choosing The Right Hair Bleach or Hair Dye
Using a high quality formula of hair bleach or hair dye can mean the difference between a beautiful shade of hair and a damaged mess. A good rule of thumb to go by when buying a hair bleaching product is that it’s usually higher quality if it costs more.
Using higher quality formulas that also have nourishing elements is recommended, as these formulas will be less damaging on your hair while still giving you a lighter shade. You don’t have to spend a small fortune but spending a little extra money on a good formula will be the most beneficial for you and your hair. It might cost you more now, but having healthy hair will prove to be much less costly in the long term.
A Hair Dye Brush
The only ways to apply hair bleach or dye to your hair are by using your hands or by using a hair dye brush. Both methods are effective but using a hair dye brush makes it easier to get the lightening color into your roots and through the entirety of your hair.
A hair dye brush has bristles that will pick up the hair bleach solution and brush it through each strand of hair, making the color evenly distributed and preventing product build-up. Product build-up can cause the hair to feel grimy or crusty, and a hair dye brush can help to avoid that.
The same rule applies to choosing a hair dye brush as choosing a lightening solution. Getting a good quality hair dye brush that has strong bristles will make sure it’s able to pick up the product and evenly distribute it through your hair.
Using Gloves to Bleach Your Hair
If you do decide to use your hands to bleach your hair, then it’s highly recommended that you wear a pair of heavy-duty gloves throughout the entire process. Using rubber or plastic gloves when lightening your hair helps to protect your skin from the damaging effects of bleach.
Bleach affects the upper layers of the skin by breaking down the cells that inhabit it. This can result in the skin becoming discolored with a white and chalky appearance. The skin also might feel dry and fragile if bleach comes in contact with it. Wearing high quality gloves can help you avoid any bleach or dye that might drip down from your hair and keep your skin safe and healthy.
Deep Conditioner and Purple Shampoo
The last few tools you will need for bleaching your hair are a hydrating deep conditioner and a neutralizing purple shampoo. Deep conditioning your hair with a super hydrating mask or a special conditioner in the shower can help to nurse your hair back to health after bleaching it. This will help lessen the chances of damage. You can also deep condition your hair before bleaching it, and it will help keep your hair healthy throughout the process.
It’s also recommended that you use a shampoo infused with purple pigments after bleaching your hair to help neutralize the chemicals and make your hair look less brassy. This is especially true for those with blonde hair, but anyone who bleaches their hair should use a good quality purple shampoo to make sure the lightened color looks natural.
Steps to Bleach Your Hair
Now that you have all of the right tools to help avoid damaging your hair, you must also follow the right steps to bleaching your hair. They’re fairly simple but doing them correctly will ensure you end up with the results you want.
1. Apply The Hair Bleaching Product Evenly
After you’ve put on your gloves and have all your product ready, wrap an old towel or blanket around your shoulders so that the product won’t damage your clothes or skin. The product should be in a plastic bowl so that you can easily access it with a brush.
Use the long, pointy end of the brush handle to separate your hair into small sections. The thicker your hair is, the more sections you will need to separate it into.
After you’ve done each of those steps, dip the hair dye brush into the product you’re using, tapping it lightly to get rid of any excess. Brush the product onto your hair using even strokes, applying it to small handfuls of the individually separated areas. Depending on what the product package says, let the bleach or dye sit on your hair for 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Tone Your Hair
After the product has sat on your hair for a little while, you will have to tone it to look more natural. Bleach tends to make your hair look like it has a yellowish tint, and the lighter your hair is, the more obvious that tint is. To combat this, you’ll have to tone your hair with a purple shampoo as mentioned earlier, or with a toning product that you prefer for your hair.
Rinse the bleach out of your hair with warm water and lightly shampoo it with your selected purple shampoo. If you’re using a toner, apply it to your hair while it’s still damp and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. When that time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water and apply a hydrating mask to your hair.
3. Maintaining Your Freshly Bleached Hair
Once you’re finished with bleaching your hair, you have to maintain it so that the color will always look good, and your hair will stay healthy. The most recommended way of doing this is by using a shampoo and conditioner that’s specially formulated for bleached hair.
You usually only have to use that shampoo and conditioner once a week to keep your hair looking nice. If your natural hair is darker or the bleach color is closer to a platinum blonde, you’ll probably have to use the shampoo and conditioner twice a week.
It’s also recommended that you go to the salon for regular touch ups, especially if the bleach color starts to fade or discoloration begins to appear.
How to Avoid And Repair Bleach Damaged Hair
Even if you do manage to do all of the steps correctly, your hair still might get damaged based on a number of factors. It could be because of how incompatible your hair might be with the bleaching product, if it’s your first time bleaching your hair, or a mistake that was made during the at home bleaching process. You might not be able to repair it completely, but you will be able to lessen the appearance of damaged hair.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to repair damaged hair and prevent it from being damaged in the first place. The most highly recommended ways to repair or avoid damaged hair include:
- Bleach less often
- Don’t use heat on your hair
- Use olive oil or almond oil
- Use a rice water rinse
Bleach Your Hair Less Often
The more frequently you bleach your hair, the weaker the strands and follicles become and thus the more susceptible it is to damage. If you take care of it and maintain it well, bleached hair can last for a few weeks and even a few months. Extending the amount of time you can go without bleaching your hair will allow it time to grow back healthier and regain its strength.
This is especially true if your hair has reacted negatively to hair dye or hair bleaching products in the past. These negative reactions can include the hair becoming very dry or strands even falling off completely. If this has happened to you, then it’s highly recommended that you consult a professional hairstylist to see which option is the best for you.
Don’t Use Heat on Your Hair
Once your hair is fully bleached, you should start focusing on using heat as little as possible in your daily hair routine. This means not using any hair irons to straighten or curl your hair and protecting your hair from the sun as best you can. Heat is another thing that can cause hair follicles to weaken, so that combined with the already damaging effects of bleach, is a recipe for a bad hair day.
While you can’t avoid the sun altogether, you can protect your hair from it. Wearing a hat or a product that’s designed to protect your hair from sun damage will help lessen the effects of the ultraviolet rays on your hair.
Using Olive Oil or Almond Oil
Oils that are more commonly used in cooking or baking can also be a life saver for damaged hair. For example, olive oil is rich in natural hydrants that will make your hair feel soft and healthy. Wait a day or two after bleaching your hair to apply it, as applying it immediately after bleaching can cause it to not get deep enough into your hair.
Almond oil can also help to soften your hair, but it can also help to rebuild its strength. Running a small amount of almond oil through your hair can help moisturize the hair follicle and replenish the nutrients in your hair.
Use a Rice Water Rinse
As unorthodox as it seems, using a rice water rinse on your hair in the shower or in your daily routine can help repair damaged hair from the inside out. Rice water includes an ingredient called inositol, which sinks into damaged hair and starts rebuilding the follicle from the cuticle to the end of the strand.
You only have to use a rice water rinse once or twice a week to repair damaged hair. Or, if you want to keep your hair damage free from the start, you can put some into a spray bottle and spray it on your hair each day.
How To Lighten Your Hair Without Damaging It
There are multiple ways that you can dye your hair a lighter color without using bleach. Using a more natural approach might not get your hair the color you want, but it will reduce your hair’s chances of being damaged. But if you use hair bleach, you will need certain tools and follow certain steps to do it safely and correctly.
Naturally Lightening Your Hair
Using hair bleach or hair dye on your hair is the most common way to lighten it, but there are more natural ways to make your hair lighter. Using natural ways to lighten your hair can lessen the chances of harmful chemicals damaging it. But you should still be careful when using these methods, since doing them too much can also cause damage to your hair.
The most common ways to lighten your hair naturally include:
- Using cinnamon and honey
- Using a saltwater solution
- Apply vitamin C
Use a Cinnamon and Honey Mixture
Combining honey and cinnamon together into a hair mask is a great way to naturally lighten your hair. If you combine it with a bit of conditioner or olive oil, it can also nourish your hair. Honey contains an oxidizing liquid called hydrogen peroxide, which is activated by the cinnamon. The resulting reaction is making your hair appear lighter without drying it out or damaging it.
- To make this mixture, combine 2 tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon of cinnamon. If the mixture is a bit too thick, adding 1 tablespoon of your preferred conditioner or 1 tablespoon of olive oil should make it easier to apply. Once you have combined all of the ingredients, let it sit for a half hour before applying it.
- Apply the mixture to your hair by scooping some into your hand and running it through your hair. Applying it strand by strand will make sure the mixture is evenly distributed.
- Put your hair into a bun or ponytail, then place a shower cap over your hair to protect it. Leave the mixture on for at least four hours, but you can leave it on overnight. Rinse with warm water, and your hair should look about two shades lighter.
You can combine different amounts of each of the ingredients to make your own unique mixture for your hair. If your scalp starts itching or burning, then rinse it out immediately and consult a professional stylist.
Use a Saltwater Solution
This method can only be used in places where you’ll be out in the sun a lot, such as at the beach or camping, but it’s effective, nonetheless. Spending enough time in the sun can naturally lighten your hair. The one caveat is that this process takes a while, but it can be sped up with the saltwater solution.
Before going somewhere, you’ll be outside a lot; mix water with a pinch of salt in a spray bottle and spray it on your hair. The salt will make the hair cuticle open, and it will be exposed to the sun more. This will help to make your hair lighter faster, but it isn’t recommended to do this every time you’re under the sun. The sun can also fade your hair, making it look brittle and discolored, so using this method frequently can cause unwanted damage.
Applying Vitamin C to Your Hair
Vitamin C is saturated with citric acid, an element that can easily make your hair lighter. But putting vitamin C directly on your hair, such as through a serum, isn’t recommended. Due to its acidity, too much vitamin C or vitamin C that’s been highly concentrated can burn your hair. This can make your hair feel dry and look frizzy.
To avoid this, using some shampoo and conditioner that has vitamin C in it can keep your hair nurtured and healthy while also lightening it. If you want a lighter shade, crushing up some vitamin C tablets and mixing them with water and coconut oil in a spray bottle is also recommended. Spritz it onto your hair once or twice a week, and your hair will get lighter while also staying healthy.
Bleaching your hair is a lengthy and somewhat risky process, especially if you have naturally weaker hair that’s more susceptible to damage. But if you take care of your hair properly during each step, the end result can be very satisfying.