Can you bleach wet hair

By: | Last Updated: April 9, 2022

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re contemplating whether bleaching wet hair is possible. 

Most of us are familiar with the traditional way of bleaching, which is typically done on dry hair. 

But the question is, can you bleach your hair while it’s wet or damp? 

After all, bleaching lightens the hair. But what makes bleaching wet hair different? 

Does it cause more damage? Does it bleach your tresses faster? 

Well, this article is here to answer all that.

So read along to know more!

Can you bleach damp hair?


Let’s get this straight —  yes, you can bleach wet hair. 

But bleaching wet hair is not as aggressive as bleaching dry hair

Simply put, the outcome is not as strong as dry bleaching hair since moisture acts as a barrier and hinders the absorption of the bleach mixture. 

As a result, the bleach is ​​unevenly spread out in different areas. 

Also, bleaching damp hair won’t fully lift the strands —  the water dilutes the bleach, so it doesn’t produce a dramatic color change.

Your hair is also at its most vulnerable state when wet. So bleaching on damp hair may cause severe damage, especially when done improperly. 

Hence, always take extra precautions when bleaching damp hair, or better yet, let a trained colorist do the whole process to ensure your hair’s safety. 

How long should I leave bleach on wet hair?

Well, it depends on the result you’re aiming for. 

If you simply want a blonde base, let the bleach stay on your wet hair for 15 minutes

But if you’re aiming for a lighter color than your current hair shade, leave the bleach for about 30 minutes. 

Remember that leaving the bleach on your tresses for too long increases the risk of severe hair damage. 

So always stick with the recommended time. It’s better to be safe than sorry! 

Do you bleach hair wet or dry? 

Do’s and Don’ts after bleaching hair

You can either bleach your hair wet or dry. But bleaching dry hair is preferred if you want maximum and optimal results. 

The bleach deeply penetrates the cuticle and lifts your original hair color from the hair shaft when bleaching dry hair. 

This process reduces pigment in the hair, making your hair much lighter.

But when the hair is wet, the cuticle is already lifted. The result won’t be as drastic since water dilutes the bleach. ​​More water results in weaker bleaching power. 

But why do some hair colorists still opt for bleaching wet hair rather than dry? 

Well, here are the common reasons

Quick lightening 

Applying bleach to your damp tresses is a fast coloring treatment, which means it quickly brightens the hair.

Creates a subtle color change

As mentioned earlier, water dilutes the bleach, making a subtle color change. There is no harsh transition between colors, making you achieve that softer, lightening shade. 

Color correction

Unfortunately, not all color treatments have happy endings. Sometimes, you just hate how your hair color turned out. 

The good news is that bleaching wet hair remedies that dilemma. The technique works best in correcting your hair color.

Dry or wet hair: Which is better?

At the end of the day, it’s all up to you whether you bleach your hair wet or dry. 

Bleaching wet hair is suitable if you’re aiming for a soft, lightening effect or color correction. But if you want dramatic color changes, it’s better to bleach it dry.  

Does wet hair bleach faster? 

Yes! Bleaching damp hair produces faster results in a shorter amount of time. 

Compared to dry hair, wet hair achieves fast coloring treatment. So if you’re in a rush, do this quick lightening method instead. 

Can I bleach my hair after washing it?

Do you shampoo hair after bleaching

Bleaching your tresses after washing them is not recommended at all. 

As much as possible, begin the bleaching process with dirty and oily hair. Dirty hair contains a higher level of sebum which helps protect the hair shaft from harsh and damaging chemicals. 

Hence, washing the hair, even with gentle shampoos, strips away these natural oils. Your hair will no longer have a protective barrier and may be more prone to irritation and damage. 

So leave your hair unwashed the night before or two days before bleaching them. But what if you accidentally washed your hair before bleaching?

I accidentally washed my hair before bleaching

Okay, first thing first — chill out. 

Not washing your hair before bleaching is merely a precautionary measure and doesn’t affect the bleaching process and result.

Hence, you can still bleach your tresses even if you accidentally washed them. 

As mentioned earlier, unwashed hair has a higher level of sebum which protects your roots from damage and prevent skin irritation. This decreases when the hair is washed and thoroughly cleaned. 

So how do you remedy this? 

It’s simple. All you need to do is use products that will replicate its function.

What product? 

Coconut oil. 

Yep, coconut oil works best in protecting washed hair during the bleaching process. 

But wait for your hair to dry first before you apply coconut oil. Give it at least two hours or so.

Your hair should be damp or dry when applying the product. Next, comb your tresses, so the oil becomes evenly distributed.

Then wrap your hair with a shower cap and wait for another two hours — yup, this process requires a lot of patience, so hold still! 

After two hours, do not rinse your hair. I repeat, do not rinse your hair! 

The oil now acts as a protective barrier, so keep it as it is, apply the bleaching mixture directly to your hair, and voilà! 

Say hello to your newly bleached hair! 

For salon appointments, simply tell your hairstylist that you accidentally washed your hair. Nobody’s perfect, after all! 

In this manner, she can evaluate your hair’s condition and determine whether you can still push through with the process. 

Also, ask your hairstylist whether they have Olaplex or Wellaplex products available. These products strengthen the hair’s molecular bonds, thereby preventing breakage and dryness. 

So most likely, she will add these products to the bleaching mixture. 

So there you have it! 

Even if you’ve accidentally washed your tresses, you can continue bleaching with the help of some techniques.

But if you hate taking risks, it’s best to wait for a couple of days ​​until your hair’s natural oil comes back. 

CHECK OUT: How often can you bleach your hair

The takeaway 

Turns out bleaching can be done on both dry and wet hair. 

Bleaching wet hair offers quick lightening and subtle color change. But you might not get dramatic results as when you’re bleaching it dry.

At the end of the day, it’s all about preference. 

But remember that wet hair is more vulnerable to breakage and damage. 

So are you ready to try out this bleaching technique? You decide. 

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