How To Prepare Hair For Bleaching

Ever dreamt of rocking a vibrant new hair colour, only to find your locks brassy or damaged after bleaching? 

Prepare your hair first before bleaching to achieve stunning results. Let’s unravel the secrets to safeguarding your strands. Yes, you can achieve that coveted salon-worthy look. From prepping with nourishing treatments to understanding your hair’s unique needs, we’ve got you covered. Get flawless bleached locks that turn heads for all the right reasons.

Ways to Prepare Your Hair for Bleaching

Research and select the right bleach and developer

Opt for a bleach with conditioning agents and a developer strength appropriate for your hair type and desired level of lightening. Consider factors such as hair porosity, thickness, and current colour to make an informed decision. Remember to follow manufacturer instructions and consider consulting a professional for personalized recommendations.

Conduct a patch test

Conduct a patch test to assess potential allergic reactions or sensitivities. Mix a small amount of bleach and developer according to package instructions and apply to a small section of skin behind your ear or on your inner elbow. 

Leave it on for the recommended time and monitor for adverse reactions such as redness, itching, or irritation. If any discomfort occurs, refrain from bleaching and consult a dermatologist.

Identify your hair type

Determine whether your hair is fine, medium, or coarse, as well as its natural texture (straight, wavy, curly). This information will guide decisions regarding bleach application techniques, processing times, and aftercare routines. 

Fine hair may require shorter processing times to avoid over-bleaching, while coarse hair may need extra conditioning to prevent excessive dryness.

Evaluate your hair health

Look for signs of damage, such as split ends, breakage, or excessive dryness. If your hair is compromised, consider postponing bleaching until it regains strength and vitality. 

Implement a nourishing hair care routine consisting of deep conditioning treatments, protein masks, and regular trims to improve hair health before bleaching.

Let any damaged parts of the hair heal

Prioritize repairing any existing damage before proceeding with bleaching to prevent further harm. Trim split ends and brittle sections to promote healthy hair growth and minimize the risk of breakage during the bleaching process.

Incorporate restorative treatments such as keratin-infused masks, leave-in conditioners, and serums to nourish and strengthen damaged strands. Patience is key, so allow sufficient time for your hair to recover fully before bleaching.

Avoid heat tools or chemical treatments a week before

Steer clear of heat styling tools such as straighteners, curling irons, and blow dryers at least a week before bleaching. Do not forget chemical treatments like perms or relaxers.  

This is because heat and chemicals can weaken the hair’s structure, making it more susceptible to damage during the bleaching process. Instead, practice air drying and natural hairstyles to give your hair a break and allow it to strengthen before bleaching.


Hydrated hair is more resilient to damage from bleaching, so prioritize moisture in the days leading up to your bleaching session. Incorporate hydrating hair masks, leave-in conditioners, and moisturizing oils into your hair care routine to replenish lost moisture and strengthen the hair’s protective barrier. 

Focus on the mid-lengths and ends, which tend to be drier, to ensure thorough hydration and minimize post-bleaching dryness.

Shampoo a few days before, not right before

Avoid washing your hair immediately before bleaching. Freshly shampooed hair can be more sensitive to the bleaching process. 

Shampoo your hair a few days prior to bleaching to remove excess oils and buildup without stripping the hair of its natural oils entirely. This will help maintain the scalp’s natural protective oils and minimize potential irritation or sensitivity during bleaching.

Apply hair oil prior

Apply a small amount of oil to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, focusing on any particularly dry or damaged areas. Pre-treating your hair with a lightweight hair oil or serum before bleaching can provide an additional layer of protection and nourishment. 

It will help seal the hair cuticle, reduce moisture loss during bleaching and minimize damage. Opt for oils rich in antioxidants and vitamins to promote overall hair health.

Protect the scalp with barrier cream:

Protect your scalp from potential irritation or chemical burns by applying a barrier cream or petroleum jelly along the hairline and any exposed skin. This creates a protective barrier that helps prevent the bleach from coming into direct contact with the scalp. 

Use a small amount and apply it carefully to ensure complete coverage around the hairline, ears, and neck. This helps to minimize discomfort and sensitivity during the bleaching process,

Deep condition

Give your hair an extra dose of hydration and nourishment with a deep conditioning treatment. Choose a deep conditioner specifically formulated for damaged or colour-treated hair and apply it generously from roots to ends. Leave the conditioner on for the recommended time to allow it to penetrate the hair shaft and repair any existing damage. This pre-bleaching conditioning treatment will help fortify the hair and minimize post-bleaching dryness and breakage.

Assess hair porosity

Porosity refers to how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture and chemicals. Conduct a simple porosity test by placing a clean, dry hair strand in a water bowl. 

If it sinks quickly, your hair has high porosity, indicating it may absorb bleach more rapidly. If it floats, your hair has low porosity, which may require longer processing times. 

Consult a professional

When in doubt, seek guidance from a professional hairstylist or colorist before bleaching your hair. 

A professional can assess your hair’s condition, recommend the most suitable bleaching technique and products, and provide personalized advice tailored to your hair type and desired results. They can also offer insights into potential risks and how to mitigate them, ensuring a safe and successful bleaching experience.

Post Bleaching Hair Care

Use the right shampoo for blonde hair

Invest in a sulphate-free shampoo specifically formulated for blonde or colour-treated hair. Sulphates can strip away natural oils and cause colour fading, so opt for a gentle, colour-safe formula that helps maintain your bleached locks’ vibrancy. Look for shampoos enriched with hydrating ingredients like argan oil, keratin, or violet pigments to combat brassiness and keep your blonde hair fresh and luminous.

Don’t wash too often

Washing too frequently can strip away natural oils, leading to dryness and damage, particularly for bleached hair, which is already more susceptible to moisture loss. Aim to wash your hair no more than 2-3 times per week, using dry shampoo between washes to refresh your hair and absorb excess oil without stripping away colour or moisture.


Co-washing, or conditioner-only washing, involves cleansing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo to gently remove dirt and buildup while preserving natural oils and moisture. 

Choose a lightweight, hydrating conditioner formulated for colour-treated hair and massage it into your scalp and hair lengths to cleanse and nourish without stripping away colour or hydration.

Use a leave-in conditioner

Incorporate a leave-in conditioner into your post-bleaching hair care routine for ongoing hydration, protection, and manageability. Choose a lightweight, non-greasy formula that won’t weigh down your hair or leave it feeling greasy. 

Apply the leave-in conditioner to damp hair after washing and conditioning, focusing on the ends and areas prone to dryness or damage.

Use hair masks

Treat your bleached hair to regular hair masks to nourish, strengthen, and revitalize stressed strands. 

Apply the mask to clean, towel-dried hair, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends, and leave it on for the recommended time to allow the ingredients to penetrate deeply and provide intensive hydration, repair, and protection

Apply hair oil daily

Apply a nourishing oil such as argan, jojoba, or coconut oil. Apply a small amount to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. Focus on any areas prone to dryness or frizz; at the same time, avoid the roots. More oil can weigh down your hair and make it appear greasy. 

Opt for protein treatments

Give your bleached hair a boost of strength and resilience with regular protein treatments to repair damage and prevent breakage. 

Use protein-rich treatments specifically formulated for colour-treated or bleached hair, containing ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin, silk amino acids, or wheat protein. Apply the treatment to clean damp hair after shampooing,

Gentle brush & detangle when wet

Handle your bleached hair with care, especially when it’s wet and more prone to breakage. Use a wide-tooth comb or a gentle detangling brush to remove knots and tangles gently. While doing this, start from the end and work up to the roots. 

Avoid pulling or tugging on your hair, as this can cause damage and breakage, particularly for bleached hair, which is more fragile. Be patient and take your time to detangle your hair gently and effectively, minimizing stress and damage.

Cut any damaged ends

Schedule regular haircuts every 6-8 weeks to keep your hair looking fresh, healthy, and free from split ends. Communicate with your stylist about your hair goals and concerns, and work together to determine the best haircut and styling options to suit your bleached locks and promote overall hair health.

Minimize heat styling

Reduce heat styling tools such as flat irons, curling wands, and blow dryers, as excessive heat can further damage bleached hair and cause colour fading. Try air drying and heat-free styling techniques whenever possible to minimize heat exposure and preserve the integrity of your hair. 

When heat styling is necessary, use a heat protectant spray or serum to shield your hair from thermal damage and ensure a smoother, sleeker finish.

Natural Sustitiutes for Lightening Hair

Lemon Juice and sun

To use lemon juice as a lightening agent, mix it with water in a spray bottle and spritz it onto clean, damp hair. Then, expose your hair to direct sunlight for an hour or two to activate the lightening effects.

The citric acid in lemon juice interacts with the hair’s melanin, gradually breaking down pigments and producing lighter tones. However, lemon juice can also be drying, so it’s essential to follow up with a deep conditioning treatment to restore moisture and prevent damage.

Chamomile tea and sun

Chamomile tea contains natural compounds that can lighten hair when combined with sunlight. Brew a strong chamomile tea, allow it to cool, and then pour it over clean, damp hair or use it as a rinse after shampooing. 

Sit in the sun for an hour or two to enhance the lightening effects. Chamomile tea gently brightens hair without causing significant damage, making it an excellent option for achieving subtle, sun-kissed highlights. Good news! Chamomile has soothing properties that can help calm the scalp and promote overall hair health.

Raw honey

Raw honey contains enzymes and antioxidants that can subtly lighten hair over time while moisturizing and conditioning it. 

To use honey as a lightening treatment, mix it with warm water to create a spreadable consistency and apply it to clean damp hair. Massage it into the hair and scalp, focusing on areas you want to lighten, and then cover your hair with a shower cap or towel. 

Leave the honey mixture on for at least an hour, allowing it to penetrate the hair shaft and work its magic. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and follow up with a hydrating conditioner. 

Honey’s natural lightening effects are gentle and gradual, making it suitable for achieving a subtle, sun-kissed glow without causing damage to the hair.

What next? Can you dye your hair after bleaching?

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