Hair Color

Best Bleach For Dark Hair Without Damage: Safely Lighten Dark Hair

Hair dying is always an exciting experience, whether you are doing it for the first time or not. But without the right precautions, things can get ugly, especially the bleaching part for dark hair.

Written by Manal Yahya

Medically Reviewed by No medical reviewer assigned.

On Feb 24, 2024 – 12 minutes read

Best Bleach For Dark Hair Without Damag Your Complete Guide

Bleach for dark hair can feel like quite a challenge, even for seasoned hairstylists. But fear not, achieving that lighter shade you’ve been dreaming of is within reach, even if you’re tackling it from the comfort of your own home. So, if you’re a gal with a darker hair base looking to switch things up to a blonde, platinum, or even pastel pink hue, don’t worry—it’s not impossible. However, it’s essential to understand that getting there will likely require multiple bleaching sessions and a hefty dose of patience.

If you’re gearing up to go from dark to light, whether it’s for a bleach blonde bombshell look or a soft pastel pink vibe, be prepared to commit to the bleaching process until your locks reach the desired level of lightness. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know before and after bleaching dark hair. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to embark on your bleaching journey with confidence, as well as tips for post-bleaching hair care.

Bleaching For Dark Hair: Choose Wild and Go Bold!

When you see celebrities who have transitioned from dark to light hair, the transformation is truly striking. Whether it’s Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Kristen Stewart, Kim Kardashian, Kaia Gerber, or Billie Eilish, their shifts from dark to vibrant hues are nothing short of dreamy. Considering this, it shouldn’t come as a shock for those with dark hair who aspire to go lighter. While it may seem like a bold choice, it’s not entirely surprising, given the stunning results we’ve seen on so many others.

Best Bleach For Dark Hair

So, the burning question is: Can you bleach dark hair at home, and is it safe? Let’s address that first. Bleaching your dark hair to a lighter shade isn’t something that happens in a single sitting—no salon can promise that, and it’s not surprising. Transforming a dark base to a light one in just one go is nearly impossible unless you’ve got a Hogwarts-level magic spell handy.

Assuming you’re not secretly a wizard, be prepared for multiple bleaching sessions. It’s a process that takes time, aiming to lighten your hair gently with minimal damage while keeping it healthy. But fear not, it is possible to bleach your dark hair at home without turning it into a disaster. The key is using the right products and techniques. Trust me, if you grab any old thing from the drugstore and start bleaching, you’ll end up looking like an unfortunate ginger.

While most professionals advise against home bleaching, with the right products, techniques, and safety precautions, you can achieve success. You’ll find all the necessary information in this article. So, yes, safe bleaching at home is possible! But if you’re still feeling unsure and worried about damaging your hair, it might be best to visit a trusted salon nearby.

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 bleach for dark hair, 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.

best at home hair bleaching kit

For some hair types, soaking up color is a breeze. Dyeing and adding pigment can be a straightforward process. However, when it comes to changing dark pigments to lighter shades, it’s a whole different ball game. Without bleaching, it’s practically impossible to achieve this transformation. That’s where bleaching steps in—it plays a crucial role in lifting the color of your hair. Bleaching works by removing your hair’s existing dark color while also opening up the hair cuticles. This creates a blank canvas, making it easier to dye your hair in the lighter shade you desire.

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 grab random products from the drugstore and dive into bleaching without a second thought. Before diving into bleaching for dark hair, there are several important factors to consider—many of which often get overlooked. Is your hair natural or have you dyed it before? What’s the current condition of your hair? And what level of darkness is your hair color at? It’s crucial to assess whether your hair and scalp can handle the bleaching process before proceeding.

best bleach for hair at home

First, you need to understand your current hair color, level, texture, and tone. You can find several hair color-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 your 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 getting bleach for dark hair, you have to follow certain safety tips as well, which are listed below.

What Are The Three Types of Bleaches?

If you’re searching for bleach for dark hair, there are three types of bleaching available. You can choose any from the following:

Types of bleaches for dark hair
  • Oil Bleaches: Formulated with hydrogen peroxide and sulfonated oil, oil bleaches are typically combined with other volume developers and lightning activators. They can lighten hair by up to 3 shades and offer precise control over the lightening process. It is ideal for lifting color from roots and creating highlights.
  • Cream Bleaches: Cream bleaches are a popular choice for at-home bleaching. Their thicker consistency prevents dripping, making application easier. They contain thickeners, conditioners, and bluing agents to enhance their effectiveness and minimize hair dryness. While cream bleaches may not lighten hair as quickly as other options, they allow for gradual color lift, enabling you to achieve your desired shade before stopping.
  • Powder Bleaches: Powder bleaches deliver rapid results, often preferred for bleaching dark hair. They provide strong adherence and minimize the risk of overlapping with previously colored hair. To use, mix the powder with a developer to create a thick paste. However, powder bleaches lack conditioning agents, which can leave hair prone to dryness.

Developer Strengths: What Should You Know?

There are various strengths of developers available, including 10 volume, 20 volume, 30 volume, 40 volume, and beyond. The choice of developer strength primarily depends on how much lift you’re aiming for and your current hair color. A 10-volume developer offers minimal lift (1-2 levels), while a 20-volume developer provides gentle and gradual lifting of 2-3 levels.

A 30-volume developer produces a more noticeable change (3-4 levels) without causing excessive damage. It’s commonly used for medium brown hair. A 40-volume developer is known for providing up to 8 levels of lift. When bleaching dark hair, it’s recommended to use at least 30-40 volume developer, but never exceed 40 volume. While these stronger developers can achieve significant changes in hair color, they also pose a risk of severe damage and burns if used improperly.

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 safest bleach with the right formula.

least damaging hair bleach brand

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 safest bleach 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, a mixing tub, a brush applicator, plastic gloves, a cap, and a blue toner —all at such a low price tag.

Best Professional Hair Bleach 2024

Price: $14.99

After using this bleach kit, your hair color will lighten up to 7 levels. It’s perfect for beginners dipping their toes into hair bleaching or for those planning to dye their hair. It delivers a subtle medium blonde shade. If you’re after a more dramatic lightening effect, you may need to use it multiple times. Plus, it’s PETA certified, user-friendly, and gentle on the scalp. Opt for this top-notch bleach kit for dark hair for an effortless lightening experience.

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.

Best Drugstore Hair Bleach For Dark Hair

Price: $40.95 (900g)

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.

best bleach for hair at home

Price: $32.45 (800g)

The bleaching process with this product is gentle and consistent, eliminating the need for a toner. It lifts hair color by at least 7 levels, resulting in a striking shade. Additionally, thanks to the brand’s Tri Lightening Technology, which includes anti-yellow pigments, this bleach for dark hair effectively prevents the appearance of warm tones that often occur during the lightening process.

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.

best bleach for dark hair at sally's

Price: $24.25 (454g)

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

Specially formulated for maximum strength, this Clairol powder bleach for dark hair is the most powerful option available. It promises to lighten even the darkest hair while providing precise control over the bleaching process. However, it might require multiple applications to reach your desired shade.

best bleach for dark hair drugstore

Price: $18.67 (277g)

No need to fret, as each tub contains an ample amount of product. Individuals with dark hair, including black hair, can confidently use this bleach to achieve lighter tones. The only downside is that it does have a strong, distinctive scent.

These are just a few of the top bleach options for dark hair that you can use at home. Pick any of these and begin your bleaching journey. Follow the steps below to achieve effective results without having to visit a 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 dark hair. Follow these steps and you can bleach effectively.

best bleach for dark hair at home

Step 1: Begin by massaging coconut oil or olive oil into your hair the day before bleaching. You can also apply petroleum jelly along your ears, neckline, and hairline to protect your skin from the dye.

Step 2: Wear an old t-shirt or drape a towel over your shoulders. Divide your hair into four sections—two in the front and two in the back of your head—and secure them with clips.

Step 3: Mix the bleaching powder and cream developer according to the instructions or in a 1:2 ratio.

Step 4: Enlist some help for this step. Starting from the ends and working towards the roots, apply the bleach to your hair. Begin at the back of your head, avoiding the roots for now. Once done, move to the front sections, wrapping each in aluminum foil promptly after applying bleach.

Step 5: After bleaching each section, address the roots at the back, moving upwards, then to the nape of your neck, and finally to the sides. Avoid contact with the scalp. Use two mirrors to assist with this step.

Step 6: Cover your hair with a shower cap and let the bleach process. Check the color every 10 minutes until reaching 30 minutes. The bleach stops working after 60 minutes and leaving it longer can damage your hair and scalp.

Step 7: Once your hair reaches a light-yellow color, rinse it with lukewarm water. Follow up with a purple shampoo and conditioner.

Step 8: To counteract any brassy tones, apply toner to your bleached hair. This will help achieve your desired ashy or platinum shade, enhancing shine and overall hair health.

After completing these steps, be sure to follow additional safety tips for bleaching dark hair to preserve your hard work.

Safety Tips: Before and After Bleaching Dark Hair

There are several safety tips to follow before and after using bleach for dark hair. Once you have figured out the best and safest bleach for you, follow these tips :

  • Avoid shampooing for a couple of days before treatment to reduce the risk of scalp abrasions or chemical burns.
  • Wait at least a month after straightening your hair before applying bleach.
  • Prior to bleaching, consider soaking or massaging your hair with coconut oil, leaving it on for at least 14 hours.
  • Perform a patch test on your inner elbow or behind your ears before bleaching to check for any adverse reactions.
  • Conduct a strand test before starting the bleaching process to ensure desired results.
  • If you experience any irritation within 24 hours of application, immediately rinse off the product with cold water.
  • After bleaching, use a color-protect shampoo and conditioner to maintain the vibrancy of your new shade.
  • Treat your hair to deep conditioning treatments to hydrate, nourish, and restore hair fibers.
  • Schedule a trim within seven days of bleaching to seal split ends and maintain hair health.
  • Reduce the frequency of hair washing to preserve natural oils and prevent color fading.
  • Incorporate a hair serum into your daily routine to add shine and manageability.
  • Always use a heat protectant before styling with heat tools to minimize damage.
  • Consider using a blue or purple shampoo occasionally to neutralize brassiness and maintain color freshness.
  • Wait at least 6-8 weeks before bleaching your hair again to allow for sufficient recovery time.

Final Thoughts

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 these are mentioned above, making this article on the best hair bleach for dark hair useful for anyone wanting to go light.

  1. The influence of human hair bleaching on the ultrastructure of human hair with special reference to hair damage. (Online). Available at
  2. Clevel and Clinic. (2019). Hair Dye Safety: What you need to know about salon and box color. (Online). Available at
  3. Cosmetics. (2018).The influence of  Hair Bleach that Causes Less Hair Damage and Smells Less Pungent than Ammonium Hydroxide. (Online). Available at

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Manal is a lifestyle influencer who has spent years delving into the world of beauty, fashion, and wellness- a pro when it comes to anything woman.

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