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How to do a Bleach Bath for Hair at Home

So you want to do a bleach bath at home, but don’t know how to? Worry no more, this is our complete guide on how to do a bleach bath hair at home! We’ll go with you through the bleaches, the developers, the procedures, and aftercare of bleaching. Bleaching is all about science, so as long you follow all the rules carefully, nothing can go wrong.

bleaching hair checklist

Before jumping in, do keep in mind that bleaching is an aggressive process for your hair, so you must be very careful with it and ask a friend to help you the first time you do this at home.

How does bleaching work?

Hair bleach is a mix of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, the bleaching agent. Ammonia simply activates the peroxide. Once this mix is applied, bleach will remove the colour of your hair by the process of oxidation of the melanin molecule, turning your hair lighter.

Although melanin is still present, its molecule is colourless. After bleaching hair, it will get a yellowish tint. That’s because that is the natural colour of keratin (the main structural protein of hair).

How to Bleach Bath Hair

Bleach bath for hair is done in 4 simple steps: mixing the developer, adding in the shampoo, applying it to your hair, and then leaving it in before you wash the chemicals out of your hair. This illustrated guide will tell you what to do and what to be careful about.

Just a note first: We are not licensed cosmetologists, and cannot vouch for success of this method. Some of the chemicals recommended in this guide can be dangerous. Please consult the labels of all chemicals before you attempt to bleach your hair with a bleach bath.

Bleach wash or bleach baths are less aggressive than full-on bleaching hair, so they are good way to get started in the bleaching world. For this you will need:

Bleach powder



Protection set

clairol bw2 bleach for hairdeveloper redken pro oxideherbal essences shampoodyeing set for protection
We picked this one since it’s cheap and will get the job done with plenty of product to spare.This is the developer we also recommend in our reviews. It’s inexpensive and the bottle has a great delivery system, so you won’t run the risk of overusing it.Any shampoo will do, as long as it’s nice to your hair. If you haven’t got any, here’s a link to our pick.You will need rubber gloves, a cape, applying brushes, and a few other things. This ultra-cheap set will save you the trouble of buying these items separately.
Buy onlineBuy onlineBuy onlineBuy online

1. Mix the Developer

step1: tools you need for bleach bath for hair

Start by mixing in a bowl the bleach powder and the developer. Use 2 tablespoons of each and mix well. Developers come in different levels, that in indicate the amount of peroxide. The higher these levels, the more peroxide it has. Developer comes in different volumes, 10 being the weakest and 40 the strongest. We recommend that you start by using the 10 volume developer the first time, to see how your hair reacts to it.

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2. Add shampoo

step 2: add shampoo

Add shampoo to the mix. Use the same amount you would if you would be washing hair. Adding shampoo to the mix will make the bleaching less aggressive. If your hair is prone to dryness, add a bit of conditioner as well.

3. Start applying

step3: put on your hair

Wet your hair as if you would wash it and dry towel it well. Use that towel to cover your shoulders and protect your clothes. Put the gloves on and start applying the mix with the help of the brush from the bottom up, until you get to the roots. Then, you can apply the mix with the help of your fingers, rubbing them against your head. Make sure you only apply the mix to the roots last, since roots bleach must faster than the rest of your hair.

4. Let it sit

step 4: wait

Once you’re done, use a hair clip to keep your hair together and wrap the plastic wrap around your head. Keep a mirror close so that you can check the process, and remove the mix when you got the desired shade.

5. Wash

step 5: wash the bleach off your hair

Wash out the mix from your hair, rinsing thoroughly. Do not use conditioner if you’re planning to dye your hair afterwards and leave that step for after removing the dye.

How long to leave bleach on hair

How long the bleach can stay in your hair depends on whether you bleached hair before, and also on your natural hair colour. If you’ve bleached hair before, 10 minutes will do. If your hair is dark, you may leave the bleach bath up to 30 minutes. Since the purpose of a bleach wash is to provide a gentler lightening/lift, you won’t need as much time as a normal bleach process would require. If you’re using higher volumes (30-40), the mix will act faster, so keep an eye on your hair and avoid going beyond 15 minutes. In any case, always read the labels and do not let it sit in your hair for more than 30 minutes (better safe than sorry).

How to repair bleached hair

You should know that beaching hair will change the texture of your hair. As soon as you wash the bleach out, you will feel your hair drier and rough.

Bleach bath

It depends, of course, on each own’s hair structure, but the drier and thicker the hair, the more attention you should give to your hair. After bleaching, use hair conditioner everyday and a stay-in hair mask at least once a week to protect and moisturise your hair.

Avoid washing your hair every day and using hair dryer at all costs by towel drying you hair when you wash it. Bleaching takes the moist away from your hair and so the after care is all about bringing moist back into your hair.

If you’re all into going natural when it comes to bleach bath hair, you can try a DIY hair mask to strengthen and moisten your hair.

In a plastic bowl, mix:

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and
  • a cup of coconut oil.

Mix them well. Apply generously throughout your hair, and make sure you cover all the ends. Use a plastic wrap/cap to cover your hair and leave it for an hour. Alternatively, you can leave it overnight too. After, shampoo and rinse well.

Bleaching black hair

Black hair is the most difficult to bleach. For that reason, a single bleach bath won’t be enough for you to bleach your hair for it to be light enough for another shade or colour to stay. It is best that you bleach black hair several times in different days/weeks gradually, until the desired shade. It takes some patience!

Between bleaches, do repair the hair as we mentioned above, by suing conditioners and hair masks. Alternatively you can mix in a bowl the bleach powder and the developer, and add it to the hair without using shampoo, so going through a full-on bleach. Do not let it sit for more than 3o-45 minutes. If the products instructions tell you different times, follow those instead.


A bleach bath for hair is a gentler option than full-on bleaching. However, it still demands a lot of care during and after bleaching.

It is always best to leave the bleach for shorter periods of time and repeat the process several times within weeks, than to risk breakage or even burning your scalp. Always read the labels well and check your hair every 10 minutes once the bleach is on. Don’t forget the aftercare, and condition your hair regularly for its shine and strength to come back.

Or, read our review of the Lanza hair dye

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  1. I went to the Paul Mitchell school and had my hair fully bleached. I had 4 to 5 inches regrowth (my natural hair is lvl 3) and the ends were a level 5/6. So the student got me to a 8/9 and some parts are lvl 10 which is were my regrowth was. I wanted to achieve a level 10 and I know it would take some time. But since I lifted a lot , would I be able to do just a bleach bath to achieve that 10 or would I go in and bleach it the parts that are 8/9? And would I be able to use 10 devoloper or are there any bleaches just for blondes? Also one more question can I just get blonde box dye to try to even it out ? I need options lol I could go back to the school but I just didn’t have good service and felt like my hair was rushed.

  2. 1. 10 vol developer does not lift, it is for depositing colour. You use it for hair dye, not bleach. To bleach your hair you have to use 20 vol+ (don’t ever use 40 ok, it’s a bad time).

    2. You cannot repair fried hair as bleaching changes the composition of your hair entirely. You can mask the damage a bit, but unless you’re using olaplex or a bond builder, it ain’t gonna do anything. Oils will do nothing for you.

  3. In an effort to protect my fragile hair, I can’t see any reason I couldn’t use a conditioner to mix in the bath instead of a shampoo. What’s your thoughts &/or experience on this?

  4. How you doing I used all your steps and my hair came out blonde green blue and brown what did I do wrong I need some help changing my hair color

  5. As a professional colorist of 30 years I can tell you with certainty this article has mistakes and following it will most likely lead to a very unwanted outcome.

  6. Hello so my hair was dark brown almost black but after 3 months I thought dyeing it red would turn who head read because it has lightened soo much but problem it only lightend my roots and most bottom end . Since I have dark mid way and light ends both ways I was gonna bleach it all way around to fix it so I can dye it a solid blonde and leave it alone for a while . Would you suggest knowing it’s been 3 months since my mistake bleaching and trying this process could really use some help … thanks

  7. I used a color stripper to remove dark brown semi permanent hair dye and it didn’t work. How can i remove this hair color without using a bleach bath? Is there another alternative you recommend?

    1. Color stripper only removes permanent dyes. Bleach is how you remove semi permanent, have a professional do this.

  8. Hi Jessica, thank you for a great page and all the helpful details. I have natural dark brown hair and have been dying it copper red for two years. I once got a bleach wash at the salon in order to get nice red results instead of any violet or brown. Then came GREY, which I would say about 50 % especially in the front, is very grey.
    1. I want to stop dying it red, I find myself coloring the whole hair every 6 weeks instead of just the roots every 3. As you know, red washes out faster.
    2. I want to go back to brown and not bother recoloring all the time except for roots every 3 weeks which I probably will with natural henna.
    3. I just want natural healthy hair and stay away from dyes.
    Should I do the hair stripping or the bleach wash? If the answer is the second, can I just put the same amounts you recommend to my hair and shampoo it as I normally do instead of leaving it for minutes?

    1. Blonde hair turns grey when an ash color is applied. Opposites on the color wheel show most. Yellow shows purple when purple is lacking in the color. If you have permanent dye you can strip your hair, if it is semi/Demi permanent you will need to bleach or grow it out.

  9. I have 95% natural white hair with a yellow tinge from nicotine stains. I quit smoking. Will a bleach bath take out the old stains and leave my hair white?

    1. Yeah, it should! Take it slow with the bleaching, bleaching in several steps, until you notice the stains gone.

    2. After make sure to use a purple shampoo every tome you wash. The purple cancels out any yellow. It will make it more vibrant and white.

  10. Here’s a question that has probably not been asked in years-but I wud like to highlight my dark brown shoulder length hair ( which has been semi-permanent colored about a month ago dark brn ) I wud like to use a cap for highlighting- but then thought of how it would look lightened up a bit over all – I fig I shud do the cap highlights first cuz of the damage during the pullout process of the hair thru the holes – so my only concern is if I do a bleach bath after the cap highlights wud be it wud splotched – I have a ph/protein binder to use 4 both the beach processes & have gotten toner also which I no how to use — any suggestions- thx 2 all

  11. How many times in a day can you do a bleach bath I did one last night and one this morning my hair feels fine no breakage and no dryness would it be safe to do it on the ends of my hair tonight ? they are now a medium to dark brown it will need one more bleach bath then I will put a semi permanent colour on until my hair is rested . I diluted the bleach a lot using the ratio 1.3.1 as in powder , shampoo , developer just wandering if I could try again tonight or if it would be best to wait abit ? Thankyou

  12. I had my hair color stripped, bleach bathed and then recolored from black at the ends to a dark purple brown. I had this done by a professional but my hair is not quite as bright as we wanted. I would like a more visible plum color but do not know how long to wait or how I should go about lightening and recoloring it. Any input?

    1. Hi, Alexa!

      In principle, 2 weeks of ‘resting’ period would do fine! Try re-bleaching it at home, and then apply a color similar to plum. Remember that color builds on color, so the color you apply to the hair will ‘mix’ to the one you currently have. I’d suggest that you use a fantasy color, as normal dyes in drugstores are much more subtle. Good luck! :)

  13. Hi, I have been dying my hair black for years and they were store bought and boxed. I found out i was pregnant February of this yr so i have not dyed it black in about a year.About a month ago i dyed my regrowth a hi lift burgundy red but i didnt like the way it was so bright on my roots and not the ends.This month i used color remover 3 times and now my hair is about a level 4-5 like a medium to light brown and the darkest parts are still the ends but they dont look black anymore more like darkish medium brown..I want to go dark blonde.Should I bleach wash or is there another suggestion?

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Perhaps it would be good to wait to re-bleach it, which would be the ideal suggestion to go a bit lighter than you already are. A bleach wash should do the trick, since it seems you don’t want to go much lighter than your current tone. :)

  14. I have my hair dyed a burgundy color about how many times would I need to do the bleach bath to get my desired color to take of white? I’m new to this

  15. I’ve found that saturating hair in coconut oil the day or so before bleaching helps retain moisture and doesn’t noticeably effect the bleaching process. Do it at least 24 hours before bleaching. I have black ethnic hair and use sally’s blue flash, 30 developer and red gold corrector plus.

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