Bleach washing is an easy, effective, hair-friendly way to lift your colour, remove darker pigments and achieve a lighter colour result.
If you want to lighten your hair, your options are generally limited to colour removal products or bleaching processes.
Colour removal products aren’t effective for everyone, but they may lift out permanent colour pigments, although you may need to repeat this process several times to get the lift you want. Colour removal products won’t lighten your hair beyond its natural colour level.
If you want to either lift out stubborn darker colour pigments and colour build-up or lighten your hair beyond its natural colour level then you will need to use a bleach process. Bleach is the only product which will significantly lighten your hair and which will completely lift and lighten when hair has been coloured with darker permanent colour.
Regular bleach applications involve mixing bleach with developer and applying it directly to dry hair, which will corrode the hair cuticle leaving it more porous and prone to breakage. It’s basically the nuclear solution, and should be approached very conservatively.
Bleach washing, or bleach bathing, is a gentler and easier approach to lighten or lift out darker pigments from your hair. A bleach wash uses a bleach mixture which is then blended with shampoo and applied to wet hair. It is easier to apply and manage than regular bleach treatments, as the shampoo bleach mixture blends through wet hair quickly and easily.
It is important to prepare your hair and support its health and condition by doing some leave-in conditioning or oil treatments in the weeks/days before and after you do a bleach wash (although not in the 48 hours immediately before you bleach wash). This will moisturise and strengthen your hair, helping it bounce back from the lightening process.
Bleach washing is fast, easy to apply and will:
- Strip out hair dye
- Correct over-toned hair
- Remove excessive brassiness from partially lightened hair
- Lighten hair one level
Our Bleach Wash Kits ($21.95) include everything you need to bleach wash at home. Bleach Wash Kits can be added as a once-only additional purchase, (shipping either with your next colour order or as a separate shipment, you choice) and include:
- Hi-Lift Bleach powder 30gm
- 20 vol developer sachet 75ml
- Colour Protection Shampoo 20ml
- Colour Protection Conditioner 40ml
How to Bleach Wash Your Hair
As usual, it is best to avoid washing your hair for at least 2 days before using a developer or bleach product as your natural oils help to protect your scalp and hair from damage.
Wear a front-opening shirt or robe (not your finest – any stray bleach wash drops will lighten material). Wet your hair and towel dry it before preparing your bleach wash mix.
Use the tint brush and bowl (provided in your Salon Set) to prepare your bleach wash.
Follow the instructions in your Bleach Wash Kit to mix your bleach wash in the correct ratio. Start by emptying the sachet of developer into your tint bowl. Please note that you will need to remove 15ml of developer (which is one level tablespoons) to get the correct volume to mix with the entire bleach sachet. Use your tint brush to mix the bleach and developer together. To this mixture you add the same quantity of shampoo as the quantity of bleach and developer combined (use any regular shampoo you have at home for this and use the Colour Protection Shampoo we provide to wash your hair when you have rinsed out the bleach wash).
Add a little bit of water to your damp hair and then mix the bleach mix through your hair.
The shampoo blend will spread evenly and consistently through your wet hair, giving you a manageable application process, and more consistent outcomes than a regular bleach process.
Leave the mixture in for 10-20 minutes, depending on the colour result you are looking to achieve. Wash it out in the shower, then shampoo and condition your hair with the Colour Protection Shampoo and Conditioner provided in your Bleach Wash pack.
Leave your hair for at least 2 days if possible before recolouring, and you are now free to colour with a lighter colour option, as your hair would be free of darker pigments and your base colour level should be at least 1-2 levels lighter.
Bear in mind that when you lighten your colour, unwanted warmth is often revealed due to the natural contributing pigment. It is best to recolour after a bleach wash with a colour with cool secondary tones to counter-act and neutralise unwanted warmth.
We also recommend getting personalised colour advice and suggestions, through our ‘Ask a Colourist’ Consultation if you are considering bleach washing your hair.
A Word of Warning:
After a bleach wash your hair will be a bit drier and more porous, and we only recommend that you do a bleach wash a maximum of 1-2 times a year to lift out darker pigments. They should NOT be used for regular, repeated lightening (at all, please don’t do this!).
Bleach washing will lead to your hair over-absorbing colour when you recolour after bleach washing, which leads to darker colour results. You need to select a lighter colour option than your colour goal (and you almost always need cool tones). Please speak to our colourists about your colour and colour goals before bleach washing, and they can recommend a colour for you to use after a bleach wash.
Also, if you have been pre-softening, or you plan to start pre-softening for better colour coverage on your stubborn greys, please DO NOT pre-soften when you recolour after your bleach wash. Skip pre-softening for the colour application after your bleach wash, and you can resume, or start pre-softening the next time you colour. Your hair will absorb more colour after the bleach wash, and there is no need for any additional steps or processes to soften the hair to aid colour absorption.