Can You Bleach Hair After Dyeing

Ever wondered if you can rewrite the colour story of your hair after dyeing it? The answer might surprise you. Many people find themselves at a crossroads, torn between their desire for a new hue and concerns about the consequences. 

Luckily, you can now unlock your fears if you’re one of those people. This post will clarify the sea of uncertainty, ‘Can You Bleach Hair After Dyeing It?’ We’ll dive into the science behind bleaching dyed hair, unravel professional insights on hair bleaching and post-bleaching hair care. So, if you’re pondering the possibility of a post-dye bleach, stay tuned.

Can I Bleach My Hair After Dyeing It? 

Yes, you can bleach your hair after dyeing it, but proceed with caution. Bleaching post-dye eliminates colour molecules from the hair shaft while lightening any residual natural colour. This process facilitates more precise recoloring, ensuring desired results. It’s a delicate balance, requiring careful consideration and prior treatments for optimal outcomes.

Understanding the Science Behind Hair Dye and Bleach

Hair dye contains molecules that penetrate the hair cuticle and cortex, altering the natural colour by depositing new pigment or removing existing colour. Permanent dyes typically contain oxidative agents like hydrogen peroxide, which react with dye precursors to form larger, coloured molecules inside the hair shaft. This process permanently changes the hair’s colour until it grows out or is altered by further treatments.

Bleach, commonly based on hydrogen peroxide, oxidizes the natural pigment molecules in the hair shaft. This oxidation process breaks down the melanin pigments responsible for hair colour, effectively lightening the hair. 

But how exactly do they differ? Unlike dye, bleach doesn’t deposit colour; instead, it strips away existing pigments, leaving the hair lighter or even colourless, depending on the level of bleaching.

How to Prepare for Hair Bleaching

Assess your hair: Evaluate your hair’s current condition, considering factors like texture, porosity, and previous treatments. Healthy hair generally bleaches better and experiences less damage.

Conduct a strand test: Test a small section of hair to assess how it reacts to the bleach. This helps determine the appropriate processing time and reveals any unexpected results.

Deep condition: Prioritize deep conditioning treatments in the weeks leading up to bleaching. Hydrated and nourished hair is more resilient to damage.

Deep conditioned hair

Clarify your hair: Use a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup or residue, ensuring the bleach can penetrate evenly.

Protect your scalp: Apply a barrier cream or petroleum jelly along your hairline and ears to protect your skin from bleach irritation.

Gather supplies: Ensure you have all necessary supplies, including bleach powder, developer, gloves, mixing bowl, and applicator brush, laid out and ready to use.

The Bleaching Process

Section your hair

Divide your hair into manageable sections using hair clips or ties. This ensures even application and thorough coverage so that each strand receives equal bleach, resulting in a uniform colour outcome.

Prepare the bleach mixture

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the bleach powder with the appropriate developer in a non-metallic bowl. Use a whisk or brush to achieve a smooth consistency. Proper mixing ensures the bleach is activated correctly and applied evenly, leading to consistent lightening results without compromising hair health.

Protective measures

Put on gloves to protect your hands from the bleach’s harsh chemicals. Consider wearing an old shirt or covering your shoulders with a towel to prevent bleach from staining your clothes.

wearing gloves bleachng hair

Apply the bleach

Use an applicator brush to apply the bleach mixture to your hair, starting from the bottom sections and working your way up. Focus on the mid-lengths and ends first before moving to the roots.

Monitor processing time

Monitor the bleach as it processes, checking the colour change regularly. Follow the recommended processing time based on your hair’s condition and desired level of lightness.

Monitoring processing time is crucial to avoid over-bleaching, which can lead to hair damage and breakage. 


Once the desired level of lightness is achieved, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove all traces of bleach. Using lukewarm water helps to keep the hair cuticle closed, minimizing moisture loss and damage. Follow up with a gentle shampoo to cleanse the hair and scalp.

Deep conditioning treatment

Apply a deep conditioning treatment or mask to replenish moisture and nourish the hair after bleaching. Leave the treatment on for the recommended time before rinsing thoroughly.

Important Factors Affecting Bleaching Results

Natural hair colour: The starting shade of your hair affects how much bleaching is required to achieve a lighter colour. Darker hair may require multiple bleaching sessions for noticeable results.

Hair porosity: Hair porosity determines how well it absorbs and holds onto bleach. Highly porous hair may lighten more quickly but can also become overly damaged.

Previous colour treatments: Previous dye or chemical treatments on your hair can affect how it reacts to bleach. Residual colour or chemical buildup may impact bleaching results.

Bleach strength and developer volume:  Higher volumes of developer or stronger bleach formulations can lead to more significant lightening but also increase the risk of damage.

Processing time: The duration for which the bleach is left on the hair affects how much lightening occurs. Longer processing times can lead to lighter results but also increase the risk of damage to the hair.

Application technique: How evenly and thoroughly the bleach is applied to the hair can impact the consistency of the lightening results. Proper application ensures uniform lightening and minimizes patchiness.

Hair health and condition: Healthy hair is more resilient and better able to withstand bleaching without excessive damage.

Effects of Bleaching Dyed Hair


Bleaching dyed hair involves the use of harsh chemicals that penetrate the hair shaft to strip away its natural pigment. This process weakens the hair’s structure by breaking down protein bonds, particularly keratin, which is essential for hair strength.

The hair becomes more prone to damage, including breakage, split ends, and overall brittleness. Severe or repeated bleaching can even lead to irreversible damage. 

Dry hair

It disrupts the hair’s natural moisture balance by removing essential oils and proteins that keep it hydrated and supple. As a result, bleached hair tends to become dry, rough, and lacking in moisture. This dryness can manifest as a rough texture, increased tangling, and frizz.


The chemical process of bleaching can also affect the hair shaft’s diameter, leading to thinning or reduced hair density. Bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, penetrate the hair cuticle and cortex, breaking down melanin pigments and weakening the hair’s structural integrity. 

Over time, this can result in hair that appears thinner, finer, and more fragile. 

Porosity changes

It alters the hair’s porosity or its ability to absorb and retain moisture and color. The chemical process opens up the hair cuticle to allow the bleach to penetrate and lighten the hair shaft. However, this can also increase the hair’s porosity, making it more prone to absorbing and losing moisture faster.

Texture alteration

It changes the texture of the hair, affecting how it looks, feels, and behaves. The chemical process alters the protein structure of the hair, resulting in a rougher, coarser texture that may feel brittle or straw-like to the touch.

When to Avoid Bleaching Over Permanent Dye

Sometimes, you may be forced to avoid bleaching over permanent dye in certain circumstances to prevent excessive damage and undesirable results. 

These situations include: 

If your hair is already damaged, brittle, or overly processed from previous chemical treatments. You may suffer further breakage, split ends, and overall weakening of the hair shaft.

If you’ve previously dyed your hair with a permanent colour that contains metallic salts or other ingredients that may react negatively with bleach. These interactions can result in unpredictable colour outcomes, such as uneven bleaching, colour distortion, or hair damage.

If you’ve recently undergone a chemical treatment, such as a relaxer, perm, or keratin treatment. 

Post Bleaching Hair Care

  • Deep conditioning treatments
  • Avoid heat styling
  • Use sulphate-free shampoos
  • Regular trims
  • Protective hairstyles
  • Avoid chlorine and salt water

Colour Correction Techniques

By bad luck, you err while bleaching hair after dyeing it; try the following colour correction techniques. 

Fixing uneven bleaching results

When bleaching results in uneven or patchy colour, colour correction techniques come to the rescue. This may involve targeted reapplication of bleach to lighten darker areas or applying a color-balancing solution to even out the overall tone

Toning to neutralize unwanted tones

The unwanted tones are cancelled out by applying a toner with complementary pigments, such as purple or blue. This means you are left with a more natural and balanced colour. Toning is particularly effective after bleaching to achieve the desired shade and enhance overall colour harmony.

Colour blocking or balayage

Colour blocking or balayage techniques involve strategically applying colour to specific sections of the hair to create dimension and depth. This technique can correct uneven colour distribution or add contrast and interest to the overall hair colour.

Read also: Can I Dye My Hair After Bleaching?


Will bleach remove hair dye?

Yes, bleach is effective in removing hair dye by breaking down the colour molecules in the hair shaft. However, the extent to which bleach removes hair dye depends on factors such as the type of dye, the dye’s intensity, and the hair’s porosity. In some cases, multiple bleaching sessions may be necessary to fully lift the dye from the hair.

How long do I wait to bleach my hair after dyeing it?

Wait at least 2-4 weeks before bleaching your hair after dyeing it. This waiting period lets the hair cuticle to recover from the previous chemical treatment and reduces the risk of damage from over-processing. Your hair’s natural oils and moisture levels have time to replenish. 

Can you bleach my hair after using semi-permanent dye?

Yes, you can bleach your hair after using semi-permanent dye, but it’s essential to consider the condition of your hair and the colour results you desire. Semi-permanent dye typically coats the hair shaft and doesn’t penetrate as deeply as permanent dye. 

How do I lighten dyed hair without using bleach?

Lightening dyed hair without bleach can be achieved through methods such as using clarifying shampoos, vitamin C treatments, or natural lightening agents like lemon juice or honey. These methods help to gradually fade the dye and lighten the hair without the harsh effects of bleach. However, results may vary depending on the type of dye and the hair’s porosity. 

Wrap Up

When you use bleach on your hair, it’s like painting a picture. Absolutely! You can make your hair lots of cool colours. But be careful before you start. 

You need to get ready and take care of your hair. Then, enjoy trying out different colours and let your hair show who you are inside. 

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