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So, you want to bleach your hair.
But you don’t know the best type of bleach to get that’s going to work for you.
Maybe you have dark hair. Or maybe your hair is really thin. Or you’re a total bleach virgin and you’re scared to damage your strands beyond repair.
Well, here’s the secret:
There is no secret. Because we have the answers right here in this post.
Read on to find out.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to buying hair bleach. They come in different brands, shapes, sizes, ingredients, consistencies, and lightening strengths.
So, buying the right one for your hair is crucial.
But in general, you want a good quality lightener that’ll lift your hair quickly and efficiently without breakage or damage.
If you go to a store and look at different hair bleach products, you’ll notice that the ingredients vary between brands.
For example, some brands have more nourishing ingredients that are healthier for the hair and scalp.
Other bleaching products have cooler tones to counteract orange-y tones and deliver a more platinum blonde.
Yet other lighteners bleach the hair more effectively without needing to use as much developer.
Of course, with so many products to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one that’ll best create the look you’re going for, without compromising the integrity of your hair.
So, how do you choose?
How to choose (buying guide)
Here are some things to consider when choosing the best hair bleach:
How light (or dark) your natural hair is
Different types of bleach offer different levels of “lift”. The levels go from 1 to 10, with the smallest number offering the lowest level of lift and the largest number offering the highest.
The higher the lift, the lighter your hair will get, and vice versa. So, the darker your hair is, the higher the lift a bleach should offer, and the “stronger” it should be.
But if your hair is lighter, you won’t need a bleach that’s very strong. So opt for a bleach that’s more gentle.
The same goes for developer, which is the hydrogen peroxide that “activates” the bleach when you mix them together. Developers come in volumes of 10, 20, 30, and 40, with 10 being the weakest.
The thickness of your hair
As we mentioned above, a bleach that provides less lift and a developer with a lower volume will be more gentle on your hair.
So, if you have thinner hair, it’s best to avoid getting a developer over 30 volume. Any developer that’s over 30 should only be for highlights, darker hair, or thicker hair.
How “cool” or “warm” you want your hair to be
Different hair bleaching products have different tones. A bleach that achieves cooler tones like platinum blonde has a blue purple hue to it.
If a bleach is just plain white, it’ll likely create a “brassy” color, which might come out looking more orange than blonde.
If this happens, you might have to use a toner, which can help you achieve a more platinum blonde.
The different types of bleach
Hair bleach comes in powders and creams. Bleach creams are easier to apply and are less messy than powders.
Plus, cream lighteners are more gentle on the hair, thanks to their creamy, nourishing consistencies.
So, if you have a sensitive scalp, consider a cream lightener. But just be aware that you won’t get as much lift as you would with a powder.
That’s because bleaching powder tends to have more lifting power.
Best of hair bleaching products in 2022
Here’s our roundup of the best hair bleach of 2022.
Looking for that enchanting platinum? Here’s the answer
Best for platinum hair – Schwarzkopf BLONDME Premium Lift 9
Schwarzkopf’s BLONDME is perfect for achieving that cool-toned blonde you’ve been craving.
- Lifts up to 9 levels
- Has a blue tint to neutralize brassiness
- Less damaging to the hair
- Comes with lightener, developer and hair clips
The ultimate damage-avoiding bleach
Best gentle hair bleach — Wella Color Charm Powder Hair Lightener
The Wella Color Charm Powder is gentle on the hair and scalp.
- Up to 7 levels of lift with minimal damage
- Infused with natural oils and fatty acids
- Adds a protective barrier to the scalp
- Contains anti-yellowing agents to prevent brassy orange tones
Need a lift? This bleach has what you’re looking for
Best high lifting hair bleach — Clairol Professional BW2 Lightener
Need the best bleach for dark hair? Clairol Professional BW2 Lightener is the perfect choice. Plus, it’s the best professional hair bleach, so you know you’re getting the good stuff.
- Extra strength formula for darker hair
- Contains a moisture sealing humectant
- Has a creamy, decadent consistency
- Works quickly
Looking for a bargain? This bleach is for you
Best for budget — Quick Blue High Performance Powder Lightener Packette
When it comes to cheap bleach for hair, Quick Blue High Performance Power Lightener Packette just might be the answer. It’s highly inexpensive, yet it can still help you achieve the results you want.
- Lightens up to 7 levels
- Has a smooth consistency for a more precise, controlled application
Don’t miss out on this hidden jewel
Our Top Pick: Manic Panic Flash Lightning Bleach Kit
What we love most about it:
For the best home bleach for hair and the best hair bleaching kit, we chose the Manic Panic Flash Lightning Bleach Kit.
Not only is this bleach affordable, but it also comes with everything you need, including:
- Cream developer
- Mixing tub
- Plastic cap
This means that you don’t have to buy everything individually, which is a huge win. Most hair bleach doesn’t come with all the essentials.
And even though this bleach only lifts to a 5, we still think it’s the best choice, especially for beginners. That way, you won’t be frying your hair if you have no idea what you’re doing.
You can use this bleach to either prepare your hair for a brand new color or help you achieve a slightly lighter blond.
Plus, we love that this Manic Panic bleach kit is vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA-certified. You really can’t beat that in a hair bleaching product!
The Manic Panic Flash Lightning Bleach Kit is a great option if you’re looking for something that has everything you need.
Click here to find out what other people are saying about this product
The ABCs of bleaching your hair
When trying to go blonde, here are a few things you need to know:
1. Your natural hair color matters
If your hair is pretty dark, then you’ll need some of the strongest hair bleach on the market. But be careful because it’s likely that you’ll have to do it more than once to achieve the look you want.
But doing so can leave your hair more prone to damage. Because while darker strands to bright blonde is possible to do in one session, it’s probably not a great idea.
So plan to wait a few weeks to bleach your hair again. This will give it time to regain optimal moisture and strength.
And accept that you can’t go platinum overnight. Well, you can. But not if you want to keep your hair.
2. You might need a toner and a toning shampoo
Some bleaching products won’t give you that perfect blonde you’re looking for. Instead, your hair might look more orange than anything.
That’s where a toner comes in. Toners work great because they literally “tone” down the orange color and make the hair a cooler blonde.
Toning shampoo does the same thing as a toner, but doesn’t work as well. However, once you’ve achieved that perfect platinum blonde, you can use a toning shampoo to prevent those orange and yellow or brassy tones and keep your blonde fresh.
3. The term “blonde” isn’t universal
There’s golden blonde, strawberry blonde, beach blonde, dirty blonde, ash blonde, and the list goes on.
So, what blonde means to you might be different than what it means to someone else. And if you look at a picture on the packaging, you might end up disappointed. Why?
Because depending on your natural hair color, your results might come out different from what the person on the packaging looks like.
4. Your hair texture might change
Depending on your hair, bleaching it can change your curl pattern. So, if you have really curly hair, you might find that the bleach made your texture a bit looser.
But if your hair is pretty straight, bleaching it could possibly make it wavier.
Bleach has this effect because it swells the hair shaft and alters the structure of your hair. Again, this depends on the individual. Some people see no change in their hair texture at all.
5. Your hair will need some TLC
Bleaching strips the hair of its natural oils. It also opens up the cuticle, which can cause your hair to look dull, dry, frizzy, or brittle.
That’s why it’s so important to use a more acidic shampoo because the alkaline agents in the bleach cause the cuticle to open.
Rinsing with cold water also helps flatten and seal the hair cuticle. After rinsing your hair, it’s vital that you add back the moisture that you lost.
Use moisturizing conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and a nourishing oil to replenish those strands.
And don’t stop there. Practice a strict moisture regimen to keep your hair soft and supple. That way, you’re keeping your hair healthy and reducing the chance of breakage.
Questions from our readers
Does bleach damage the hair?
Not necessarily. But here’s the thing: It definitely can if you don’t do it properly. Because bleaching raises the hair cuticle, it leaves it more vulnerable to damage.
If your hair is healthy, you should be okay. But don’t overdo it because repeated bleaching can permanently raise your cuticle, allowing your hair to quickly and constantly lose moisture.
How often should you bleach your hair?
Bleaching can be a very harsh treatment to your hair. So don’t do it more than once every 8 to 10 weeks. Otherwise, you could damage your hair or cause breakage.
What is the least damaging way to bleach hair?
Here’s the rundown:
- Use a high-quality bleaching product that contains nourishing ingredients and conditioning agents.
- Use the lowest volume developer that should be effective in achieving the color you want (i.e. no more than 20 for lighter hair and no more than 30 for darker hair).
- Pay close attention to how long you leave the bleach in your hair. So no more than 25-30 minutes.
- If you’re bleaching dark hair, you should gradually lighten it over a period of weeks.Use deep conditioning treatments in between applications.
- Avoid washing your hair a day or two before treatment. Your hair’s natural oils will act as a protective coating.
- Use coconut oil as a pre-treatment to protect your hair and scalp from burns.
Which are the bleach brands for hair?
Schwarzkopf, Manic Panic, Wella Best, Clairol Professional BW2 Lightener, and L’oreal are the hair bleach brands we recommend.
Which is the least damaging hair bleach brand?
Wella Color Charm Powder Hair Lightener is the most gentle hair bleach brand. It’s nourishing ingredients protect and add nutrients to the hair to prevent damage.
Before you go
What do you think about bleaching your hair at home? Leave a comment below.
Wella toner chart uses an international level and tone system. It is used for Hair Toner that describes different shades of Wella toner.