Bleach bath hair | How to do it right at home.

Bleaching your hair is a great way to go from drab to fab, but it can also be an incredibly damaging process. If your heart’s set on a whole new you and you need bleach to help you get there, what can you do? Bleach bath hair could be the answer.

Whether you want to go back to your natural color or you’re getting ready for a brand new do, here’s everything you need to know to get a bleach wash right – first time -at home.

Let’s go!

Watch and learn: How to bleach bath your hair.

Bleach bath hair – what you’ll need:

You’ll also need:

  • An old towel to protect your clothes and surfaces
  • Vaseline to apply to your ears and hairline to stop the bleach getting on your skin
  • Some hair clips to hold back sections of your hair to apply the lotion more precisely.

And don’t forget to do a strand test before you start!

How to make a bleach bath for hair – The recipe

  • Mix equal amounts of bleach powder and developer. Up to 50ml depending on the length of your hair.
  • Next, add a gentle shampoo. Add enough to double the amount of liquid.
  • Give it all a good stir to blend the ingredients together.
  • You’re ready!
hair dye or bleaching kit accessories mixing bowl and brush and clips

Set the scene: How to prepare for a bleach bath for hair.

Follow these steps for the best results for bleach bath hair:

1. Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo – this gets rid of any excess product that may hinder the bleaching process by interfering with the chemical composition of hair dye color molecules in the bleach solution.

2.Leave your hair wet. Don’t apply the bleach mixture to dry hair, it need to be applied to wet strands. It’s call bleach washing after all! If you have long hair, separate it into sections and secure with pins or claw clips.

Grip the section of hair that you wish to bleach at the top with a claw clip, then remove your grip from the mid-lengths and ends – leave these out of the way.

2.Apply Vaseline to your ears, nose and eyebrows (literally everywhere!).

Bleach washing can burn your skin so Vaseline acts like a shield protecting your sensitive skin underneath!

3.Wear old clothes. And protective gloves. Bleach bathing can stain clothes so it’s a good idea to wear something you don’t mind getting ruined.

Dab Vaseline onto your clothes where the bleach will drip down (collar, cuffs etc) to prevent it from staining.

4.Do a patch test! Check for any allergic reactions to the bleach by doing a patch test on somewhere inconspicuous like the inside of your elbow or behind your ear.

5.Open some windows! The fumes from bleach can be toxic if inhaled so it’s a good idea to have some fresh air in the room.

You’re ready!

How to bleach bath hair.

Step 1: Mix a solution of bleach and developer.

You’ll want to mix equal parts (1:1 ratios) of bleach powder and developer. Follow our bleach bath hair recipe above and make up to 50ml depending on the length of your hair.

We recommend using a 10 volume developer for your first time if you are unsure which one will work best. Try and go one shade or two lighter than the color your hair is now to avoid your hair turning orange!

The higher these levels go the stronger they get, this means that there’s more peroxide in them! If you have very dark hair you’ll need 20 volume developer and up.


Use a mixing bowl and tinting brush to mix the bleach powder and develper together. This will help you apply the bleach mixture in your wet hair too.

Step 2: Add shampoo to the mix.

Next, add the shampoo to the bleach powder and developer mix.

When it comes to the amount of shampoo, add enough to make twice the amount of liquid. It’s more than a good blob.

Give it all a good stir to blend the ingredients together. You’re ready for some bleach bathing!

Step 3: Apply to damp hair

Unlike hair dye, this is not a solution to apply to dried hair. Bleach bath hair needs wet hair to take effect without being patchy.

Wet your hair with cold water and towel dry it to get the excess water off.

Cover all your surfaces and wrap a towel or hair stylists cape around your shoulders. Bleach will eat the color from everything it touches!

Taking a section at a time, apply the mixture from the bottom of your wet hair up using the tint brush and wide tooth comb.

Ensure each strand is saturated from root tip. At the roots, massage it into your hair as you would when you shampoo it.

Repeat the process until your whole head is covered.

bleaching process

Step 4: Leave to develop.

Clip your hair up to keep it from dripping or marking anything while it develops. You can also tuck it up into a shower cap or cling wrap.

Keep an eye on it! You don’t want it to go too light and wash you out. For a guide to timings:

  • For already light hair 7 – 10 minutes.
  • For removing a dark permanent hair dye color 10-15 minutes, or 30 minutes maximum.
  • If you have black hair and you’re using a 30-40 strength volume developer, this will act fast! Don’t let it process longer than 7-10 minutes on black hair.

Step 5: Rinse thoroughly

Rinse and wash your bleach bath hair really well under warm water when your hair has reached the lift you’re after.

Apply some deep conditioning love to help your hair begin to repair from the bleaching process.

It’s likely you’ll need to tone your lightened hair after a bleach wash as natural hair has orange or yellow tones in it.

Or you can dye your hair another color on top for the most fabulous results. This will give you a really good base for other color hair dyes.

And that’s how to do it!

Bleach bath for hair before and after.

bleached hair before and after Instagram post
bleached washed hair before and after instagram post


  • Use a clarifying shampoo to mix into your bleach wash, not a toning shampoo.
  • Make sure you do an allergy test beforehand.
  • Cover all of your surfaces really well before you start.
  • Apply the formula in a well-ventilated room.
  • Keep an eye on the development process – everybody’s hair is different and your hair may develop slower or faster than it says on the instructions.
  • Condition your hair well afterwards if you’re not planning on dyeing it again straight away to avoid damaged hair strands.

Watch and learn: How the professionals do it.

Here’s a fab video that shows you how to do a bleach bath for hair, lighten and tone your hair step by step.

YouTube player

Bleach bath hair FAQS

What is a bleach bath for hair?

A bleach wash or bleaching shampoo is a type of hair treatment that involves soaking your hair in hair diluted bleach to strip the color from your hair strands.

This technique refers to using hydrogen peroxide mixed with shampoo in order to get your hair lighter than its original color, without having an actual bleaching process done at a salon.

Bleach bathing is great for keeping the integrity of your locks intact while removing hair color. The protective layers around each strand aren’t stripped away and less damaged occurs.

It can remove leftover dye to get rid of unwanted tones. If you are wanting to remove dye from your hair or simply go one shade lighter, a bleach process like this is one of the most gentle ways.

The actual bleach bath process may need repeated treatments depending on how dark/light you want your final look to be.

So you’ll need to take into account that processing times can vary from person-to-person.

A bleach bath is really just a gentler way if you want to lighten or lift out stubborn, darker hair color pigments from your hair.

It’s kinder to your hair too as it’s diluted with shampoo and water.

It’s an easier alternative than the regular process because it blends through wet strands quickly and washes away with shampooing- easy peasy!

Bleach bath vs Regular bleach

Regular bleach

  • Used to remove all dye from your hair strands.
  • Is an aggressive substance that’s harsh and damaging for your hair.
  • Works well on dark colors.
  • The bleaching process takes longer.

Bleach baths

  • Only lift your hair 1-2 levels.
  • It’s applied to wet hair like normal shampoo, leave on for 5 minutes – rinse and done!
  • It’s kinder to your hair.
  • It’s easy to do with no experience at home.

Will a bleach bath lighten my hair?

Yes, a bleach wash process will lighten your hair, but maybe not as much as you might think.

It will only lift your hair by 1-2 levels, so it won’t give you the impact you’re looking for if you are wanting to go platinum blonde. For that you may need the regular bleach process.

A bleach wash is a gentler, step by step process that removes unwanted color one shade at time and is a gradual way to lighten your hair.

So although it will lighten your hair more than lightening your hair naturally in the sun, for heavyweight color lifting, you’ll need full strength bleach and the regular bleach process.

bleach wash and developer on dried hair instagram

Is a bleach bath safe for my hair?

While bleach baths can definitely be a great way to lighten and brighten up your hair, it is important to keep safety in mind.

When used incorrectly, a bleach bath for hair can cause serious damage to both your scalp and hair.

To ensure the best results with little to no side effects, you should always follow instructions closely, use quality professional hair products, and monitor the time that the bleach is left in your hair.

Basically, if done right, a bleach bath is absolutely safe and can give you Instagram-worthy hair without putting it at risk; just make sure that you’re taking the appropriate steps!

How many levels does a bleach bath lift?

Get it right and a bleach wash should lift your hair 1-2 levels. If you want more lift and lighter hair, or there are more stubborn color pigments to remove, you can use a stronger bleach.

WARNING: This is not household bleach we’re talking about! Hair bleach is specially formulated to take the color out of your hair without melting it off!

Because bleach bathing is a gentler process, it may leave your hair looking warmer with tones of orange. If this happens, you’ll need to use a hair toner to correct that color.

Do I need regular bleach or a bleach bath?

Is a bleach bath better for your hair?

Lightening your hair is damaging and an intensive process that can leave your hair feeling brittle and dry.

This method uses equal parts bleach and developer to make a weaker strength of chemicals that are diluted with water. This means it’s not as damaging as using the full-on peroxide you’ll find in a regular bleaching process.

If you have a sensitive scalp or suffer from skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, this is a gentler solution for your skin than using full bleach (although please seek advice before using strong chemicals on your skin).

What many people may wonder about is whether this is really better for your hair?

Mainly, it will depend on what you’re trying to achieve and how much time you have in order to get there.

It really depends on what you want your hair to look like in the end, how light you want it to be, how dark your base color hair already is, how often you plan on bleaching your hair and how much time you have for upkeep between treatments.

And sometimes, a regular bleach process will really be what you want.

But generally, because the strength is watered down with this technique, it’s kinder to your hair.

bleach wash hair platinum color instagram post

What do you mix in a bleach bath for hair?

Bleach baths are fast becoming one of the most popular ways to lighten hair and are typically used to remove old color.

But what do you mix in a bleach bath recipe?

The ingredients you’ll need for your bleach wash recipe are:

  • Bleach powder
  • Developer
  • Shampoo

The shampoo is what makes this process a ‘bath’. It dilutes the strength to make it kinder for your hair.

Once you have the right ingredients, you’re ready to follow our step by step guide below!

Should I apply bleach to wet or dry hair?

Applying bleach to hair can be tricky, but luckily, there’s a simple rule – bleach should always be applied to wet hair.

If you apply it to dried hair, the bleach won’t take as effectively, and you could end up with a much lighter or patchier result than you wanted. So, if you’re feeling bleachy, grab a towel, wet your strands and get applying!

Will a bleach bath fix orange or yellow hair?

No, it will not fix orange or yellow hair. To remove unwanted tones from your hair you need to use a color correcting shampoo that is made for this specific purpose.

Unfortunately, the orange and yellow tones that show in blonde and blonde highlighted hair is often a result of your natural hair color and not something that can be easily removed.

BUT you can cover orange hair tone with other hair dye colors or tone your hair using glosses and toners.

You can also use purple shampoo to neutralize those unwanted tones, but not until the whole process is over!

Can I mix bleach with purple shampoo?

Purple shampoo is a must for keeping unwanted orange and brassy tones from happening in blonde hair.

You might think it’s a good idea to mix purple shampoo in your bleach wash to prevent any unwanted brassiness.

But you would be wrong my friend! What happens is the peroxide will eat the purple pigment and dilute the color so it will have no effect whatsoever.

So it’s best to wait until after you’ve finished the treatment to tone your hair with purple shampoo.

Can a bleach bath fix over-toned hair?

Yes! A bleach bath for hair can be used to strip out unwanted color if your hair is too dark or has absorbed too much hair dye.

If you’re wanting to remove color rather than lighten your hair, just leave the bleach wash in for a shorter amount of time to lightly strip the unwanted pigments.

A bleach bath also works particularly well for removing traces of direct dyes like semi-permanent dye.

Can you bleach bath hair at home?

It is totally possible to a bleach bath in your own home with the right instructions, tools and confidence!

The bleach bath formula starts oxidizing the moment you mix it and will start in working on your hair the moment you apply it, so you must be confident enough at dyeing your own hair to apply it quickly.

Otherwise, you might end up with one side of your hair lighter than the other!

This and knowing the right strength of developer you need to mix in with your water or shampoo is the key to getting a bleach bath right at home.

Just follow our step-by-step instructions to get it right first time!

Can I dye my hair after a bleach bath?

You can dye your hair after a bleach wash for sure. In fact, doing this is a great way to strip out old hair color to create a clean base for a new one.

If your hair feels particularly dry or damaged afterwards, you could wait a few days in between colorings to give your hair some time to recover.

If you’re planning to dye it again another color straight away, don’t apply conditioner after rinsing out the bleach bath solution as it can act as a barrier to the new color.

Bleach bath hair pros and cons.


  • It’s an effective way to strip out old and faded color.
  • It can give you a lighter hair base with which to dye your hair pastel and brighter shades, or hues that are lighter than your natural color.
  • It’s not as harsh as pure processing treatments.


  • It’s still a drying process that will leave your hair feeling frazzled.
  • It may not lift your hair as many levels as you were hoping.
  • You will be left with brassy, orange or yellow tinge after the process so will need additional toning or coloring.

How do I care for my bleached hair?

For many people, this is a fabulous way of giving their hair bright and beautiful color.

The downside is that bleach bathing can be damaging to your hair if left in for too long or without proper care afterwards.

A typical consequence of doing it on an ongoing basis is dryness, breakage, fragile hair and other forms of damaged hair that can make your scalp itchy.

Luckily, there are a few ways to restore lost moisture and get your bleached hair soft and silky again.

After you’ve stripped your color and achieved a fabulous blonde look you love, you’ll want to use deep conditioning treatments or a hair mask regularly and repair your hair bonds.

Use both deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner – and avoid a lot of heat styling if you can.  

Bleached hair will be fragile and more prone to breakage and split ends for a couple of weeks. Use a shampoo and conditioner for bleached hair that will help to replenish and restore your hair shafts.

When you do heat style, use a heat protectant every time like the ones in Best hair heat protection sprays your colored hair can’t live without. 

You’ll also need to use specially formulated silver and purple shampoos and conditioners to keep your bleached hair in tip-top condition.

Parting words.

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to bleaching your hair.

The most important thing is that if you’re going for lighter color or want your natural shade back, make sure to take care of the strands! Treat them as delicately as possible and avoid over-processing.

If in any doubt, always speak to your hair stylist. They’ll be able to advise on what’s best for you based on the color and condition of your hair now. Good luck!