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 basics, procedures, and aftercare of bleaching. Bleaching is all about science, so as long you follow all the rules carefully, nothing can go wrong.
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 works?
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).
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
- Hydrogen peroxide (developer)
- Old towel
- Rubber gloves
- Kitchen plastic wrap
- Hair colouring brush
1. Start by mixing in a bowl the bleach power 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.
2. 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. 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. Once you’re done, use a hair clipper 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 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 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.
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 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.