Best Bleach for Dark Hair

Sometimes, dyeing your hair can be a bit of a pain when you have dark hair. 

To get the most vibrant colors to show, or for you to go from dark to light brown or blonde, you’ll often find that bleach is the only answer. 

Bleach often gets a pretty bad wrap for being drying, discoloring, and even terribly damaging. 

This bad reputation gets even worse, especially when used in high concentrations on dark hair. 

While bleach itself should be handled with caution, there are ways to use it without having to ruin your hair! Certain brands are more reliable at getting the job done. 

But of course, most importantly, making sure the right technique and kind of products are used as well are crucial to lifting your hair color to your desired lightness. 

Quick Answer: Best Bleach for Dark Hair

  • Best at home bleach kit for dark hair: Manic Panic Hair Bleach Kit Read Review
  • Best drugstore bleach for dark hair: L'oreal Paris Quick Blue Powder Bleach Read Review
  • Best bleach for black hair: Wella Blondor Multi Blonde Powder LightenerRead Review

Before diving deep into the options, there are a few things to consider.  

First, of course, the burning question might be, Can black hair be bleached? Can you bleach really dark brown hair? 

The simple answer is yes! 

It would highly depend on how light you want your hair to go, and if you’re using the corresponding product, that’s right for the amount of lightening you want. 


What level of bleach should I use for dark hair?

The lightening process is done with a combination of bleach powder and developer. The bleach powder dictates how light the color will be, as it often states how many levels of lifting it can take your hair.

Some bleach powders also having toning built-in. This means the bleach powder itself can already start canceling out yellow and red tones from the get-go. This prevents orangey hair and brassiness in the long run.

On the other hand, a developer, regardless of the brand, is usually similar and is often graded by the volume peroxide you use to lighten. 

The higher the volume of peroxide, the stronger and more potent your bleaching combo will be.

It’s recommended that when dyeing dark hair, you should use 30-40 volume peroxide to achieve good results without creating serious burn damage on your scalp. 

It may take a few different sessions to really lift the color to the shade you want, but it is a lot better than enduring chemical burns on a higher volume of peroxide.


Best Bleach for Dark Hair: Our Top 5 Picks

Now that you know the basics of bleaching dark hair, here are a few recommended products if you’re looking for the best at home bleach for dark hair.  

1. MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit

Best at home bleach kit for dark hair

Manic panic is a brand best known for its bright colors and vibrant pastels. These intense colors show best on a blank canvas. So, it’s only second nature that they have a great bleach kit in their line. 

The Manic Panic Hair Bleach kit is a Forty Volume formula that evenly lifts color up to seven levels lighter than your starting shade. The formula is also cruelty-free and vegan. 

It contains a bleach powder and a cream developer, making it a bit easier to use than its liquid counterparts. 

This is also the only bleaching kit on this list which means it already comes with both the bleach powder and developer. This means it is good to go right out of the box!

Pros: 

  • Easy to use formula
  • A complete kit already contains both the bleach and developer 
  • Potent bleaching level 
  • Cruelty-free, vegan 

Cons: 

  • It may be too harsh on sensitive skin and thinner, finer hair

2. Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Lightener

Best bleach for dark hair at home

This powder bleach works hard in lightening your hair while also protecting it from damage and discoloration. It has bonding technology that changes the make-up of each strand of hair which enables it to lighten your color by up to 9 levels. 

This is great for people with very dark hair who want to go a lot lighter. But don’t let the huge results scare you. This formula also contains anti-yellowing agents to cancel out any orangeness or discoloration. 

It’s also formulated to protect your hair strands and withstand high-volume development, which means it’s less prone to breaking. 

Pros: 

  • High capacity to lighten dark hair 
  • Can prevent discoloration and damage

Cons: 

  • Finding the right developer to pair with it needs testing

3. L'OREAL PARIS Quick Blue Powder Bleach

Best drugstore bleach for dark hair

Lóreal probably has the widest range of coloring products that are widely available just about anywhere. In the same way, it has reliable bleaching products that can be your new go-to drugstore favorites. 

The Quick Blue Powder Bleach lifts up to seven levels, which is great for going from dark brown to blonde or black to a lighter shade. 

The powder is also easy to use and non-messy even when used with a developer. It’s also a formula you can keep using without re-mixing in the middle of your processing as it stays moist and creamy. So, what bleach should I use for dark brown hair? Give the L’oreal one a shot.

Pros: 

  • Easy to use formula 
  • Good for dark brown hair 
  • Blue tone prevents yellowing

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t go as light as other brands 
  • Can be a bit harsh

4. Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder Lightener

Best box bleach for dark hair

The Clairol BW2 is a professional-quality bleach powder that can work on all different hair types. The lightening power in this one is so strong; you can even use it with just a 10-20 volume developer, letting you lighten with less damage. 

It’s no wonder, given its formulation, that many users also claim that this is one of the least damaging hair bleach brands. 

Pros: 

  • Lightens hair with less damage 


Cons: 

  • More prone to yellowing

5. Wella Blondor Multi Blonde Powder Lightener 

Best bleach for black hair

The Wella Blondor powder is the best on our list, as it also is of professionals’ choice. The formula ensures even lightening for up to 7 levels of lift. 

It also ensures anti-orangeness and yellowing due to its special formulation. Once mixed in with any developer, it maintains a creamy consistency that is easy to work with. 

Pros: 

  • Anti-yellowing formula 
  • Even lightening 

Cons: 

  • May need to have more sessions to fully lighten to the desired color.

How To Bleach Dark Hair at Home

Now that you know you know some good options you can try out at home, you might be wondering how to do it. 

Check your hair health. Your hair’s safety has to be your priority.

On damaged and sensitive hair, bleach can take a toll. So, before bleaching, ensure that your hair is in a condition that can withstand chemical damage. 

Choose a brand that works for you and gives you the color lift you want. 

Do a test strand. Treat a small portion of your hair with your choice of bleach to test if it’s safe for your hair. This will also let you see how many re-applications and bleaching sessions you need to reach the shade you want. 

Prime your hair the night before. Deep condition it using some coconut oil to protect it from further damage. 

  1. Once you’re ready to dye your hair, divide it into 4-6 workable sections.
  2. Use protective gear. Use gloves on your hands, goggles, and a mask to prevent unnecessary chemical damage to your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
  3. Prepare the bleach by mixing the powder and developer according to directions. 
  4. Apply the bleach in small sections using a brush, working quickly to give the hair roughly the same amount of time to process. Leave ¼-inch of hair untreated close to the scalp.
  5. Place a cap on top of processing hair and check every ten minutes to see how far the lifting has come. 
  6. You can use heat to speed up the process.  
  7. Towards the end, apply bleach to your roots and leave it on for only 10-20 minutes. 
  8. Rinse out the bleach thoroughly.
  9. Assess the results. Repeat to lighten further after two to three weeks.

READ NEXT: Best Blue Black Hair Dye


FAQs: 

How do you bleach dark hair without turning it orange? Why is my bleached hair orange?

Often, dark hair turns orange because of the naturally occurring red and orange colors in brunettes.

hIt usually means it would need more bleaching sessions, and a blue-toned bleach would be best. 

It can also be due to chemicals and minerals building up in your hair. 

How do you bleach dark hair without killing it?

First, the best way to prevent damage is to assess your hair and choose a realistic goal for lightening it.

Consider how much damage your hair can take. Bleaching is a really harsh, drying process that could make already damaged hair worse. 

Another good step to take is deep conditioning your hair with oils or masks before bleaching. 

Never wash your hair right before bleaching because that will strip your hair of important oils that could protect it. 

CHECK OUT: How long does hair dye last? Permanent vs Temporary

What is the safest bleach for dark hair?

The safest bleach is all about balance. 

You’d want something that can lighten it quickly, so you don’t have to do multiple dyeing sessions.

But it also can’t be too strong that it burns your scalp and hair. 

How long should you leave bleach in your hair if it’s black?

For dark hair, it often takes around 30 minutes to lighten the hair. However, it’s best to check it every 10 minutes to see the progress. 

Most importantly, never go beyond 30 minutes. If it needs to go lighter, you can do another session to process it further. 

RELATED READ: Does hair dye expire?


Wrapping Things Up: Which bleach is best for dark hair? 

Well, it really depends on you.

Always check your hair health, your color goals, and of course, the preferences you might have in formula and consistency before going light!

Last Updated: September 7, 2021

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