The process of bleaching for dark hair may seem difficult and challenging, even for a hairdresser. But it is not impossible to get the lighter shade you desire in the end, even from home. Meaning, if you are someone with dark tresses as the base, your try to turn into a blonde —or any other shade for that matter— won’t be completely futile. However, you undergoing bleaching only become successful after a number of sittings and, of course, with patience.
So, if you are planning to go bleach blonde, platinum white, or even pastel pink from dark hair, get ready to bleach till your locks turn light enough to pass as natural. Here’s everything you need to know about, before and after bleaching dark hair. Also, by the end of this article, you will know everything about bleaching dark hair and how to do hair care after bleaching.
Bleaching For Dark Hair: Choose Wild And Go Bold!
- 1 Bleaching For Dark Hair: Choose Wild And Go Bold!
- 2 Why Should You Bleach Your Dark Hair?
- 3 Before Bleaching Your Dark Hair
- 4 What Are Three Types Of Bleaches?
- 5 What Is The Best Bleach For Dark Hair?
- 6 How Do You Bleach Dark Hair Without Damaging It?
- 7 Safety Tips: Before And After Bleaching Dark Hair
If you look at all those celebrities whose hair turned light from dark, you will be shocked to see the difference. Be it Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Kristen Stewart, Kim Kardashian, Kaia Gerber, or Billie Eilish whose hair turns several shades, their shift from such dark shades to such vibrant colors is dreamy. That fact alone considered, those with dark tresses wanting to go lighter also doesn’t seem too shocking. Maybe a wild choice, but not shocking since many we know did not look any less stunning.
Then comes the question: can you do bleaching for dark hair at home? And, is it safe to do bleaching for dark hair at home? First things first. You will not bleach and dye your dark hair to a light shade in one sitting of bleaching. Not even salons guarantee that. Can’t blame them either. If you have a dark base, it is practically impossible to turn it light in one go. Unless you have a magic spell from Hogwarts.
Assuming that you don’t have any spells on your sleeve, you have to prepare yourself for a few bleaching sessions. It is indeed a long process. The goal is to bleach your hair gently with less damage as possible while keeping it healthy. But it is possible to bleach your dark hair at home without making a mess or regretting it right after the first step. What’s more important is the use of appropriate products and techniques. If you use just any random drugstore find and start bleaching, trust me, you will end up looking like ugly ginger.
Although most professionals do not recommend doing bleaching at home, with the right products, proper techniques, and helpful safety tips, you are good to go. You can find all of these in this article. So, safe bleaching at home is possible! But if you are too worried about messing up and damaging(1) your hair, I’d recommend going to the local salon near you.
Why Should You Bleach Your Dark Hair?
This is a frequently asked question when it comes to color-treating dark hair. To understand the reason why you cannot go dye directly without bleaching, you need to know how bleaching works. In a nutshell, bleaching is an aggressive chemical process that helps hair cuticles to open and dissolve melanin. If you leave the bleach longer on your hair (not more than 60 minutes), more melanin bonds will get destroyed and your hair will be lighter. But this might leave your strands too porous and straw-like.
Some hair types easily absorb color without so much hassle. So dyeing and injecting pigment can be easy for such hair types. But transforming dark pigments to light shade is practically impossible without bleaching. This is where bleaching comes —to help this process of lifting hair’s color. Bleaching works to strip your hair of its existing dark color while opening your hair cuticles. This results in a seamless base to dye your hair.
How does it work? With the help of a compound, usually hydrogen peroxide, that covers hair with oxygen and an alkalizing agent that raises hair cuticles. This process also releases molecules that break up the bonds of melanin or chromophores and render hair strands colorless. So you cannot skip this process. You cannot dye your hair without directly breaking the bonds responsible for dark pigments.
Before Bleaching Your Dark Hair
This is for those who pick up random drugstore finds and start bleaching right then. When bleaching dark hair, you have to consider several factors, which many ignore altogether. Is your hair virgin or have you dyed your hair before? What is the condition of your hair? And, what is the color level of your hair? Can your hair and scalp withstand bleaching?
First, you need to understand your current hair’s color, level, texture, and tone. You can find several hair level charts covering color names and corresponding pigment numbers. Also, decide which shade of blonde you want. With several options available, it’s easy to get confused. Also, all of these are accompanied by a different tone. So you need to know both the shade and the tone.
Then, determine whether hair and scalp withstand bleaching. You have to check with your hairdresser in advance to prevent bleaching from being disastrous. Is your hair chemically treated or straightened? If yes, bleaching is not recommended. After considering these, you can purchase a professional bleach for dark hair. Before bleaching, you have to follow certain safety tips as well, which are listed below.
What Are Three Types Of Bleaches?
There are three types of bleaching available. You can choose any from the following:
- Oil Bleaches: Made with hydrogen peroxide and sulfonated oil, oil bleaches are usually mixed with other volume developers and lightning activators. They can lighten up to 3 shades and provide maximum lighting control. They are great for lifting color off roots and creating highlights.
- Cream Bleaches: Cream bleaches are a popular option among those who bleach from home. Since their consistency is thicker than oil, they do not drip nor run, making it easier to apply. They contain thickeners, conditioners, and bluing agents to further add to their use. Also, these minimize possible hair dryness. Though cream bleaches may not be quick to lighten, you can gradually see the color lift to the shade you want and you can stop after getting a certain shade.
- Powder Bleaches: Compared to their counterparts, powder bleaches provide the fastest results. Not only do they hold well, but also don’t overlap with previously colored hair. To use, you have to mix the powder with a develop into a paste of thick consistency. As powder bleaches do not contain conditioning ingredients, your hair may be prone to overdrying.
Developer Strengths: What Should You Know?
There are different developer strengths such as 10 volume, 20 volume, 30 volume, 40 volume, and so on. The level of developer you want to use chiefly depends on the level of lift you want and your current hair color. While 10 volume developer shows little to no lift (1-2 levels), 20 volume developer provide gentle and slow-acting of 2-3 lifts.
30 volume developer shows a noticeable change (3-4 levels) but does not cause as much damage. Usually, medium brown hair uses this developer. 40 volume developer is believed to provide up to 8 levels of lift. To bleach dark hair, you need at least 30-40 volume. But never go beyond 40 volume. Though they can change hair noticeably, they can also completely damage your hair and cause burns.
What Is The Best Bleach For Dark Hair?
A good quality bleaching product can lighten your hair effortlessly(3). They can lighten up to eight shades. For dark hair, some can lighten three to four shades without damaging your hair at all. Different bleaching products contain a particular concentration of hydrogen peroxide. So, bleaching happens in various degrees. This is also why you should select the right formula.
Choosing the right bleach is the most important step. You can find a few of the best hair bleach for dark hair below, which includes the best professional bleach for dark hair. Others that are not strong enough won’t cut, especially if you are going to bleach at home. Whether for highly admired bleach blonde or pre-color treatment, you need bleaching with high quality to not damage your hair.
Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit
This is the best hair bleaching kit for dark hair that offers the best value. You get a dust-free bleach powder, a developer, mixing tub, brush applicator, plastic gloves, cap, and a blue toner —all at such a low price tag.
After you use this bleach kit, your hair color will lift up to 7 levels. For a beginner who just wants to test the waters or if you are going to dye your hair, this will be ideal to use. It gives a subtle medium blonde. So, if you are looking for an intense lift, you might need to use it frequently. This is also PETA certified, easy to use and gentle on the scalp. Choose this best bleach kit for dark hair for effortless bleach.
Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Lightener 9+
This powder bleach promises to deliver results in just one session, which is unlikely for dark hair. With easy to control lift levels that reach up to 9 levels on both natural and colored hair, Schwarzkopf’s bleach gives ash blonde to platinum shades without an overpowering bleachy scent.
You can use it with or without a developer. Although it contains anti-yellowing agents to neutralize warmer undertones and prevent yellow hues, brassy tones may still appear in lower levels. Some users also complain about scalp irritation.
Wella Blondor Multi Blonde
Known as one of the best professional bleach for dark hair, Wella Blondor Multi Blonde takes you to platinum without much damage or hassle.
The process of bleaching this provides is gentle and even without needing a toner. It lifts at least 7 levels to give an intense shade. Also, thanks to the brand’s Tri Lightening Technology (anti-yellow pigments), this bleach for dark hair wards off warm tones that usually occur after lightening.
Wella Professional Color Charm Powder
Infused with natural oils and fatty acids, this professional bleach for dark hair from Wella provides controlled lightening up to 7 levels.
The oils help lock in moisture and provide a natural protective barrier on your scalp to prevent damage. It is ideal for both all-over bleaching and highlights. Some users also praise how fast it works to bleach dark hair.
Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Lightener
Specifically made to be extra-strength, this powder bleach for dark hair from Clairol is the strongest on the market. It guarantees to lift even the darkest of hair with optimum control over the bleaching process. But it may take a few rounds to achieve that shade you desire.
No worries though, since each tub contains plenty of product. Anyone with dark hair, even black hair, can use this bleach to go lighter. The only drawback is that it carries a strong distinct smell.
These are a few of the best bleach for dark hair at home. You can choose any of these and start bleaching. You can follow the steps below to have an effective bleach without having to go to the salon.
How Do You Bleach Dark Hair Without Damaging It?
After you figure out all that’s necessary and choose the best bleach for dark hair, it’s time to bleach your dark hair without damaging it(3). Before you start, assemble the required ingredients in one place. From comb and sectioning clips to hair bleach, developer, aluminum foil, mixing brush, and bowl, assemble everything necessary. I have listed below the step-by-step process of bleaching dak hair. Follow these steps and you can bleach effectively.
Step 1: Always start with massaging coconut oil or olive oil into your hair prior to the day of bleaching. You can also apply petroleum jelly along your ears, neckline, and hairline to shield your skin from the dye.
Step 2: Wear an old t-shirt or wrap a towel around your shoulders. Then, divide your hair into four sections —two at the front and two at the back of your head, and clip them in place.
Step 3: Mix the bleaching powder and cream developer accordingly. Alternatively, you can mix a ratio of 1:2 respectively.
Step 4: For this step, which is applying the bleach, you might need another pair of hands. Because you have to work quickly to even out the bleaching. Working from the ends to the roots, apply the bleach starting at the back of your head. Don’t cover the roots yet. Instead, apply from about an inch below your roots. When you are done, move to the front sections. Wrap each section in aluminum foil as soon as you bleach.
Step 5: After bleaching each section, start bleaching the roots at the back of your head to the top and then to the nape of your neck. Then, the center to the sides. Try not to get the product on the scalp. You can use two mirrors to make this step easier.
Step 6: Once you are done, place a shower cap over your hair and wait for the bleach to work. The heat helps in boosting lift. You can notice the level of lightness and the change in color going from your natural dark color to orange to yellow to, finally, light yellow. Check the color every 10 minutes, until you hit the 30-minute mark. Although the time varies from person to person, the bleach stops working after 60 minutes. Leaving it on longer than that will damage your hair and scalp.
Step 7: As soon as your hair reaches light-yellow color, rinse it under lukewarm water. Then, apply a purple shampoo followed by a conditioner.
Step 8: To neutralize the brassy yellow and orange tones you might end up with, apply toner on your bleached hair. Applying this takes the hair to the ashy or platinum color you desire. Besides looking natural, it also makes the hair look shinier and healthier.
After you are done with all these steps, continue to follow the rest of the safety tips for bleaching dark hair. You don’t want to mess up any of your hard work, right?
Safety Tips: Before And After Bleaching Dark Hair
There are several safety tips to follow before and after bleaching dark hair. A few of them are the following:
- Do not shampoo for a couple of days before treatment to make your scalp is less prone to abrasions or chemical burns
- Wait for a month after straightening to apply bleach
- Before you bleach, soak or massage your hair with coconut oil, and leave it on for at least 14 hours
- Do a patch test on your inner elbow or behind ears before bleaching your dark hair
- Before starting bleaching, perform a strand test as well
- Remove the product immediately with cold water if you feel any irritation during the 24 hours
- After bleaching, use color-protect shampoo and conditioner
- Treat your hair with deep conditioning to hydrate, nourish, and restore hair fibers
- Get trimmed within seven days of bleaching to seal up the ends
- Wash your hair less frequently
- Use a hair serum daily
- Always use a heat protectant when heat styling
- Use a blue or purple shampoo occasionally
- Wait at least 6-8 weeks before bleaching your hair again
Bleaching dark hair is a continuous process until you get the shade you prefer. But to get there, you have to consider certain factors, choose the right bleach, and follow the step-by-step process of bleaching dark hair without damaging it. All of which are mentioned above, making this article on the best hair bleach for dark hair useful for anyone wanting to go light.
- The influence of human hair bleaching on the ultrastructure of human hair with special reference to hair damage. (Online). Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21882590/
- Clevel and Clinic. (2019). Hair Dye Safety: What you need to know about salon and box color. (Online). Available at https://health.clevelandclinic.org/hair-dye-safety-what-you-need-to-know-about-salon-and-box-color/
- Cosmetics. (2018).The influence of Hair Bleach that Causes Less Hair Damage and Smells Less Pungent than Ammonium Hydroxide. (Online). Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325891413_Research_on_Hair_Bleach_that_Causes_Less_Hair_Damage_and_Smells_Less_Pungent_than_Ammonium_Hydroxide