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Bleach washing is an effective way to remove darker pigments and achieve a lighter base colour level.

If you want to lighten your colour and you already have colour in your hair, your options are limited to colour removal products or bleaching processes.

Colour removal products can lift out some 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 darker colour, eliminate colour build-up or lighten your hair beyond its natural colour level then you will need a bleach-based process. Bleach is the only product which will completely lift pigments and lighten hair which has already been coloured.

Regular bleach applications involve mixing bleach with developer and applying it directly to dry hair, and they will corrode the hair cuticle leaving it prone to breakage. It’s basically the nuclear solution, and should be approached conservatively.

Bleach washing is a gentler and easier approach to lighten or lift out darker pigments from your hair. A bleach wash uses a bleach mixture blended with shampoo and applied to wet hair. It blends through wet hair quickly and is easier to apply than regular bleach treatments.

All lightening processes will dry your hair, as some moisture is removed from your hair along with colour pigments, so it is important to boost the hydration and condition of your hair before and after a bleach wash.

We highly recommend thermal Tsubaki oil or Repair Mask treatments before and after bleach washes. Adding heat with a thermal cap allows for deep penetration of the nutrients in your treatment, which will boost benefits and outcomes and replenish moisture and strengthen your hair.

Bleach washing will:

  • Strip out hair dye
  • Correct over-toned hair
  • Remove excessive brassiness from partially lightened hair
  • Lighten hair colour

Our Bleach Wash Kits include everything you need to bleach wash at home:

  • Hi-Lift Bleach powder 30gm
  • 27 vol developer sachet 75ml
  • Colour Protection Shampoo 20ml
  • Colour Protection Conditioner 40ml
  • Gloves

How to Bleach Wash Your Hair

Avoid washing your hair for at least 2 days before your bleach wash as your natural oils 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 a tint brush and bowl to prepare your bleach wash.

Follow the instructions to mix your bleach wash in the correct ratio. Start by emptying the sachet of developer into your tint bowl and the correct quantity of bleach powder. Use your tint brush to mix the bleach and developer together. 

To this mixture you add 90ml of shampoo to the bleach and developer mix (use any regular shampoo you have at home for this).

Add a little bit of water to your damp hair and then apply the bleach wash to your hair.

The shampoo blend will spread evenly and consistently through your wet hair, giving you a manageable application process, with consistent outcomes.

Leave the mixture in for 10-20 minutes, depending on the colour result you are looking to achieve.

Your aim with the bleach process is to achieve the colour level you are aiming for, without unwanted warmth. Check your hair while the bleach wash is processing by rubbing it with your gloved fingers. You want to see a lighter colour level (which is your target colour level) without minimal warmth (red/orange tones). If you are lightening to a lighter blonde colour level then you want to see a pale or pale yellow tone.

All hair naturally has warm coloured pigments within its colour. The red/orange colour molecules are the largest colour pigments molecules in the hair and they are the last to be lifted out.

  • If your colour level has not lightened sufficiently (if your hair is still too dark) after 20 minutes, or if there is still warmth (red/orange tones) in your hair, you can extend the bleach processing time by 5-10 minutes if needed.

Wash it out in the shower, using the Colour Protection Shampoo and Conditioner provided in your Bleach Wash pack.

Your hair will likely still have some soft warmth (such as pale yelllow tones) immediately after the bleach wash. This is naturally occurring warmth which is revealed during the lightening process due to the natural contributing pigment.

If you have quite prominent visible warmth after one bleach wash, then you will need to repeat the process to lift out the warmer or darker pigments which remain in your hair.

Repeating a Bleach Wash:

Please note that some people will need to repeat the bleach wash process if their colour level is still too dark, or if there is too much warmth in their colour after an initial bleach wash application. It is not always possible to predict whether someone will need to repeat a bleach wash prior to lightening their hair. Some hair holds colour or throws more natural warmth than others.

  • If you wanted to ensure that you have enough product to repeat the lightening/colouring process, you can buy an additional bleach wash kit and/or an additional colour kit, and if you do not need to use these items then you can return them (unopened and in their original condition) and receive a full refund on these items.

Colouring After Your Bleach Wash:

After the bleach wash it is essential that you apply a new, lighter permanent colour which has cool secondary tones to effectively counter-balance the natural warmth which is revealed during lightening. Apply your lighter, cool-based colour blended with either a 20 or 27 vol permanent developer.

A toner or a semi-permanent colour uses a 5 vol developer which is inadequate to colour and balance tone after a lightening process.

Pre and Post-Lightening Care

It is very important to hydrate and nourish your hair before and after a bleach wash. All lightening processes will strip natural oils from your hair, so it is critical to restore oils to rehydrate and strengthen your hair.

We recommend deep conditioning and oil treatments to boost moisture levels and to nourish your hair, before and after all lightening processes.

Our Repair Mask, Repair Spray and Split End Serum are loaded with organic botanicals and are free from all nasties. They will deeply nourish, hydrate, strengthen and repair dry, dull, porous, fragile and damaged hair, and leave your hair instantly softer and smoother.

Tsubaki oil is extremely high in oleic acid, proteins and glycerides, which are essential to keeping hair healthy, stronger and shinier. It is a lightweight, dry oil which can be used sparingly. Massage 10-20 drops through damp hair and add gentle heat with a thermal heat cap. Gentle heat softens and lifts the cuticles of the hair, allowing the oil to enter within the hair to work its magic.

Thermal Tsubaki oil treatments will dramatically boost the health, strength, condition and shine of your hair, restoring critical oils and nutrients which are stripped from the hair during the lightening process.

We recommend bi-weekly Repair Mask or thermal Tsubaki oil treatments for two weeks before and after your lightening process.

A Word of Warning:

  • As mentioned, some people will need to repeat the bleach wash process if their colour level is still too dark, or if there is too much warmth in their colour after an initial bleach wash application.
  • If you wanted to ensure that you have enough product to repeat the lightening/colouring process, you can buy an additional bleach wash kit and/or an additional colour kit, and if you do not need to use these items then you can return them (unopened and in their original condition) and receive a full refund on these items.
  • If your hair is in poor condition we strongly suggest that you do not do a lightening process. Lightening will dry and weaken your hair, and if your hair is already fragile, brittle or damaged then a lightening process could irreversibly damage your hair.

We recommend getting personalised colour advice if you are considering bleach washing your hair. Our colourists are available 7 days a week and can suggest a colour which will give you a lighter, tonally balanced colour result.

Very happy with the end result. I used the bleach wash kit first to get rid of excess previous colour. Easy to use & my colour application was even & bright. Have had some compliments & someone not believing I did my colour at home.

H. McCredie

I used the bleach wash to get old colour out and then used this colour and am so happy with my new colour! I have received so many compliments.

P. Shires

I have been using The Shade since October 2019. I changed from your normal supermarket dyes to The Shade as my hair was being ruined. After one purchase I was hooked on how full coverage, soft and shiny my hair was. I’ve used The Shade dye and bleaching kit to go lighter on my own with great success and without damage to my hair. For the price it’s definitely worth it and I love you can change the subscription with ease.

K. Good-O’Loughlin

26 replies on “Bleach Washing Your Hair”

  • I want my natural grey/silver ..the back has been highlighted/lowlighted..can I do a bleach wash to get to my grey?

    • Hi Sandra,

      Our bleach wash just removes darker pigments from previously coloured hair to enable a lighter shade.

      I hope this helps!

  • My hair is naturally dark brown but dyed black. I want to highlight around my face with silver. Will bleach washing work on dyed black hair or do I have to bleach and developer …so hard on the hair.

    • Hi! Thanks for getting in touch. We don’t recommend doing highlights at home – the application is critical and can be tricky. If you did want highlights we recommend that you get those done by professionals in a salon. Thank you and wishing you the best.

    • my hair is naturally light to medium brown and it was dyed black. I want to go back to my natural colour my hairdresser is going to do a bleach wash but i am afraid that this bleach wash with turn my hair orange. Is that possible?

      • Hi Debi!
        Yes – a lightening process will always reveal natural warmth. It is important to select a cool based colour within two levels of your natural colour after a bleach wash to balance the warmth. Please complete the Colourist Consultation so that one of our colourists can provide further information and recommend a get in touch with our colourist who can recommend a colour for you. Thank you!

  • Can I do this then do a keratin treatment the same day or the day after? I left my toner on for too long and it is a bit dark, so I just want to get that out properly before proceeding with something more permanent as a keratin treatment.

  • hey so my hair is a mixture of red and dark brown by me using the bleach wash kit will it get most of the permanent color out of my hair as i want to go back to natural

  • Hi, I wanted to go platinum blonde, but my hair stylist I don’t think let my hair develop long enough. It’s a more of a yellow blonde even after purple shampoo. Would this bleach wash help me get to that super light blonde?

  • Hi guys, I’m confused on how much shampoo to add. I’ve gotten your bleach kit, but I’m totally unsure on the shampoo measurements

  • I would check with your GP, and I don’t have any medical qualifications(!), but overall I think it is a good idea to reduce exposure to unnecessary chemicals where possible during pregnancy.

  • My hair is dyed dark brown (originally blonde). I want to bleach the underlayer of my hair to a much lighter shade. Would this product be appropriate? I am scared it will turn that section of my hair orange

  • Hi I’m currently a 6.5-7 shade wise. Would a bleach bath get me to an 8? Or close. I don’t care to go platinum or anything. My hair develops with regular bleach well. I’ve went from my natural(back when I was younger, it’s lightened over time) level 2 hair to a 9-10 in a matter of 20-30 mins and have even had it go that light that fast eating thru permanent hair color. For reference thanks in advance

    • Thanks for getting in touch. Please just provide some further details about what your natural colour is now and your colour goals here, and one of our colourists will get right back to you with a Duo recommendation. Thank you very much!

    • You can apply your colour the same day as your bleach wash. Just shampoo, condition and dry off your hair after your bleach wash and you can then apply your new colour.

  • Okay I’m Kind of confused there are 2 responses as to how long to wait after bleach washing before colouring. Can I do it the same day or wait 24 hours? I’m both nervous and excited to try this

    • It is a good idea to rest the hair for 24 hours before colouring, but this is inconvenient for most people, so you can colour the same day as the bleach wash. Just make sure your hair is dry before applying the colour. I hope that helps!

  • Yes hello, i would like to start using the shade, i am familiar with coloring. My own hair I’ve used Madison Reed for yrs. But i would like a little lighter color i am currently med-dark brown, but i would like to talk to a color specialist about the bleach wash and then get help choosing a new color? Thank You, Debbie

    • Hi! Thanks for getting in touch! The best approach would be to complete our Colourist Questions, which will give our colourist the information they need to provide personalised colour recommendations for you. Please make sure you include a pic and we will follow up asap. Thank you!

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