How to wash bleach out of hair

By: | Last Updated: November 26, 2021

If you’re one of the brave souls that have been contemplating on going blonde, then let this be a sign. Bleaching your hair at home is no easy feat; that’s why it’s best to leave it to the professionals. 

But, if you prefer to do it at home, get a loved one or a roommate to do this with you because there’s always an at-home guide to do it safely. 

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably read up on the basics of applying bleach to your hair. Now, let’s discuss an important part of at-home bleaching: how to wash bleach properly out of your hair.

It may sound insignificant, but this step can make or break your at-home bleaching experience. Follow along as we answer a few of your bleaching questions.

How long does bleach stay in your hair?

There’s no universal time to leave the bleach on your hair since not everyone has the same hair type and hair goals. That’s why it’s best to follow the recommended time on the label of the bleach kit you’re using. 

However, the amount of time you leave the bleach on your hair depends on different factors, including the following:

How long does bleach stay in your hair

Starting Hair Color

How dark or light your hair can determine how long you should leave the bleach on. 

If you have blonde hair, leave the bleach on for 15-20 minutes. Since blonde hair is already light, you don’t need a significant amount of time to process bleach to make your hair one or two levels lighter.

But if you have dark hair, leave the bleach on for 30 minutes since dark hair needs more time to process to strip out its color before it could turn blonde fully. 

It’s recommended to bleach your hair in several different sessions to avoid it getting damaged.

Hair Type

Observe your individual hair strands. Whether they’re coarse or thin can determine how fast the bleach can penetrate into your hair cuticle layer. 

If you have fine hair, leave the bleach on for 10-15 minutes only. Since fine hair has a thinner cuticle layer, the bleach can absorb and process faster compared to coarse hair.

If you have coarse hair, leave the bleach on for 30 minutes. Because of the thick cuticle layer, bleaching could take more than one session to get to the lightest color you want.

bleach hair at salon

Desired Color

How light you want your hair color to be can also affect how long you leave the bleach on your hair. The lighter you want it to be, the longer you leave it on. But if you only want to lighten it for one or two levels, then you only leave it for a shorter period.

Whether you have dyed or virgin hair can also affect the time you leave it on. Since virgin hair has never been chemically dyed, it doesn’t need to strip off old hair dye, so it processes faster compared to dyed hair. 

Also, if your hair is dyed black or dark brown, it may require a few bleaching sessions to get to the lightest color you want. 

Developer Volume

The type of developer you use with bleach can also affect how long you leave it on your hair. A developer that has a lower level cannot lift as much color as a higher-level developer can. Here’s a quick list of which toner you should use depending on your hair type and color:

  • 10 volume – toners are recommended to be at this level so they can deposit color without noticeably lightening your hair
  • 20 volume – ideal for light hair or natural blondes since it can lift 1-2 levels of color. This is also ideal for bleaching hair close to the roots.
  • 30 volume – ideal for fine dark brown or black hair as this can lift 3-4 levels of hair color
  • 40 volume – ideal for coarse black hair. Don’t go beyond a 40-volume developer, as it will burn your scalp and damage your hair.

An important detail you should remember is to never leave the bleach on your hair for more than 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, bleach will stop lightening your hair and will start cooking it up. This could lead to dry and brittle hair, or worse, make it fall out.

How to wash bleach out of hair before toner

Now that you’ve determined how long you should leave the bleach on your hair let’s figure out the next steps. 

After bleaching your hair, using a hair toner is always a good idea to remove unwanted brassy undertones and get that vibrant blonde color. But before applying the toner, how do you wash out the bleach?

How to wash bleach out of hair before toner

Do you use shampoo to wash out bleach?

Just like after hair color, using shampoo when rinsing out the bleach is not recommended. Shampoo and conditioner close out the hair cuticles and make it difficult for the toner to neutralize the brassiness afterward. 

Wait to use conditioner after toning your hair instead to add back the lost moisture during the bleaching process to keep your hair from going dry and brittle.

Do you wash bleach out of hair with hot or cold water?

Should I rinse bleach out of hair with cold or hot water? It seems like an insignificant question but rinsing with warm water after bleaching can irritate your scalp. Since bleach is a harsh chemical, it’s better to be gentle on your hair and scalp. 

For the first few weeks after bleaching, be gentle with your hair and scalp by rinsing with cold water, and not wash your hair as frequently to maintain your color longer.

CHECK OUT: How to Make Bleached Hair Soft and Silky

Final Thoughts

Using bleach on your hair for the first time can be a scary thought since bleach could cause a lot of hair damage. But researching or asking a professional hairstylist to apply it properly can make the process go smoothly.

Remember to leave the bleach on your hair according to the bleaching kit’s instructions and rinse with cold water only. 

Don’t forget to include the correct toner for your hair color to finally achieve that vibrant blonde you were craving.

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