Can You Dye Your Hair After Bleaching It? Here’s The Truth.

If you’re rocking down the hair dye aisle with a head full of bleached locks, you may be wondering if it’s even possible to dye your hair after bleaching.

Well, the truth is that yes, you can still dye your hair even if it’s been previously lightened or colored — as long as you’re careful, choose the right hair dye and there isn’t too much damage done to your strands. Sounds easy right?!!

We’ve got your back (or head)!

From understanding how much bleach to use to selecting the right shade and how to care for your newly processed hair, we’re here to help break down this unique coloring process so that you look and feel fabulous with every color change!

Let’s go!

Can I dye my hair after bleaching it?

If you’re itching to switch up your look, the sensible answer is: not right away.

While it might be tempting to go straight in for a new color, your hair needs some time to recover from the bleaching process.

After bleaching, your hair strands will be more porous than usual, meaning it will absorb dye more quickly.

This can lead to uneven color or an intense hue that’s different from what you were expecting.

That’s why most hairstylists suggest waiting at least 48 hours before dyeing your hair, to ensure the best results.

If you can’t wait that long, be sure to take extra care when applying the dye, and consider doing a strand test beforehand.

With some patience and proper care, you’ll have beautiful color that lasts!

“If you are applying a direct dye or “fun” color after the bleach process like purple, green, etc., I have found those take MUCH better if you wait 48–72 hours. This allows the cuticle to close down to a more normal state (bleaching blows it open, making it behave like a sponge for awhile where it sucks color right up, but will also rinse right back out) and will also allow your hair’s PH to return to a more normal level.”

Erin Burr, Experienced hair colorist, stylist and nail tech

Is it safe to dye your hair after bleaching it?

The truth is that bleaching your hair can be pretty damaging, so you want to make sure you’re being careful and giving your hair the TLC it needs.

That being said, dyeing your hair after bleaching isn’t necessarily unsafe, but it’s definitely something you want to approach with caution.

A bleach bath can be a kinder way to bleach your hair if you only need to lift it a couple of levels or you just want to remove some left over color.

Generally, it’s best to wait at least a couple of weeks after bleaching to give your hair time to heal and rebuild its natural oils.

Also, make sure you’re using a quality hair dye and following the instructions carefully. Low-ammonia or ammonia-free hair dyes are best.

If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional hair stylist!

“Putting strong chemicals on bleached hair is damaging hair that has already been compromised. Even if it is “all natural” or “naturally derived” it is still very, very strong and can cause hair to break off or in severe cases melt off.”

Nathan England, Professional working hairstylist and colorist specializing in corrective color

Can I dye my hair after bleaching it on the same day?

Most hair stylists recommend not to dye your hair the same day you bleach it.

That’s because the process of bleaching can strip your hair of its natural oils and color, leaving it weak and vulnerable.

Giving your strands some time to rest and recover lets them replenish their moisture levels and become stronger before adding more chemicals.

How long should I wait to dye my hair after bleaching it?

The recommended time frame to wait before dying your hair after bleaching it is at least 48 hours but really we recommend around two weeks.

During this time, your hair needs to recover and regain strength, as bleaching can leave it more prone to breaking and damage.

If you wait two weeks, you can give your hair a chance to repair. Smother it with deep conditioners and hair repair masks to help replenish strength and moisture.

This will make sure your hair takes the hair dye properly and the dye holds better when it’s time to wash it out.

Are there any precautions I need to take before I dye my bleached hair?

Yes, if you want to dye your hair after bleaching, you should carefully follow a few precautions.

Firstly, make sure that your hair is completely dry before applying the dye.

Secondly, choose colors containing as little ammonia and peroxide as possible, as they are gentler and less damaging to hair that has already been bleached.

Finally, use a deep conditioning treatment on your hair before and after dying to keep them hydrated, healthy, and shiny.

Bleach hair before and after.

How to bleach your hair at home step by step.

Bleaching is a great way to achieve a bold, new look, but it can be intimidating to try at home. Don’t worry – we’ll walk you through the steps to bleach your hair safely and effectively. 

What you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • A mixing bowl
  • A tint brush
  • Bleach powder, and a developer. (Or a hair bleach kit that is ready to go).
  • Depending on your desired hair color, you may also need hair toner.

Make sure to buy high-quality products and test them by doing a strand test before going all out on your hair. Also, carefully read and follow the instructions on the labels.

Step #1: Prepare your hair

First and foremost, consider the condition of your hair before bleaching it.

If your hair is already damaged, dry, or chemically processed, bleaching it further will frazzle, weaken and break your strands!

If you’re not sure your hair can take it, always talk to a professional colorist or hair stylist in a salon. They’ll be happy to recommend what’s right for you.

For healthy hair, make sure to deep-condition and moisturize your hair consistently in the weeks leading up to the bleaching process.

Also, avoid washing your hair for a day or two before bleaching to let your hair’s natural oils protect your scalp from the harsh chemicals.

Step #2: Mix the bleach

Once you’re ready, mix the bleach powder and developer in a bowl to create a paste.

The mixture should be equal parts of bleach and developer, but the amount depends on the thickness and length of your hair.

For instance, if you have short hair, you can use 1 oz of each, but if you have long hair, you’ll need at least 3 oz of each.

Developer Volume matters too. Developer works by activating the bleach powder, lifting the hair cuticle so that color can get in (or out!).

If you’re trying to lift your hair color a level or two, Volume 10 will do. Be careful as the stronger the Volume, the more damage it will do to your hair!

Step #3: Apply the bleach

Use a tint brush to apply the mixture evenly to your hair in sections, starting from the ends to avoid over-processing your roots.

Cover with a shower cap and leave the bleach on for no more than 45 minutes, checking every 10 to 15 minutes to avoid over-bleaching or burning your scalp.

Step#4: Rinse and condition

Once the bleach has lifted your hair to the right level of lightness, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water and shampoo and condition your strands with color-safe and hydrating products.

TOP TIP: USE A TONER!

Toning will help neutralize any brassy or orange tones and give your hair a more even and natural look.

If you plan to tone your hair, do it immediately after rinsing the bleach as toner should be applied to damp hair.

Watch and learn: How to bleach your hair at home.

Here’s a great video that shows you how to bleach your safely at home, step-by-step.

Bleach Bath Hair 101

How to dye your hair at home step by step.

So you just bleached your hair, and now you’re ready to take your hair color to the next level. But where do you start?

Dyeing your hair after bleaching can be a bit tricky, but with the right products and technique, you can achieve your desired hair color with ease.

Step #1: Give Your Hair a Break!

Before jumping straight into dyeing your hair, you must give your hair a break after bleaching.

Bleaching removes the natural oils from your hair, making it more prone to dryness, so it’s essential to wait a few days before dyeing it.

If possible, wait at least two days before dyeing your hair to give your strands time to recover.

Step #2: Choose the Right Hair Dye

Choosing the right hair dye will make or break your color.

If you have recently bleached hair, you should go for a hair dye that is specifically designed for bleached or colored hair.

These types of hair dyes will be rich in moisture to prevent further damage to your hair and improve the vibrancy of your chosen color.

Consider using semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair dye if you want to experiment with different colors.

This won’t contain ammonia or peroxide that will further frazzle and dry your hair.

Step #3: Prepare Your Dye and Tools

When dyeing your hair, you need to gather the right tools and supplies to get the job done with splats, splashes and uneven color.

As well as your chosen box dye, you’ll need gloves, a dye bowl and brush, and a timer.

Prep your hair dye formula according to the manufacturer’s instructions and mix it in the dye bowl using a brush.

Make sure to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands with the dye.

Step #4: Section Your Hair

Sectioning your hair is a must when dyeing your hair at home.

Divide your hair into four sections and clip each section using hair clippers.

This will make it easier to apply the dye evenly throughout your hair without making a mess.

Step #5: Apply the Dye

Using your brush, apply the dye on your hair, starting from the top of each section by the roots and working your way down.

Make sure to apply enough dye to cover all parts of your hair, from the roots to the tips. Sometimes this means buying two boxes of hair dye, particularly if your hair is long.

Leave the dye on for the recommended time frame, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep an eye on it in case it starts turning too dark or too bright!

Step#6: Rinse and Condition

After the recommended processing time has passed, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water until the water runs clear.

Don’t immediately shampoo your hair as you will rinse out the dye and damage your newly dyed hair.

Apply the conditioner included in your dye kit to your hair and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

Once your hair is rinsed and towel-dried, you can style it as usual. Voila!

Watch and learn: How to dye your hair at home

Here’s a great video that shows you how to dye your own hair at home without damaging it!

How to dye your hair at home.

How to care for bleached and dyed hair.

It’s best to give your hair a few days of rest without too much styling or chemicals.

When you do wash your hair, use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to maintain the shade and keep your hair healthy.

Remember to rinse your hair in cooler water to prevent fading and maintain shine.

Avoid heat styling and direct sunlight, which can cause fading.

If you notice any signs of damage or fading, do a deep conditioning treatment or visit a hair stylist for a touch-up!

Can I dye my hair after bleaching it FAQS

What is double-processing?

Double-processing, also known as double-processed color, is a technique used in hair coloring where the hair is first lightened and then toned with a specific hair color.

It’s what you’ll need to do to achieve pastel or super vibrant hair colors that just aren’t possible with a single process because your hair is too dark.

Basically, it’s like getting two color treatments in one session! 

But it can also be super damaging to your hair so it’s not something you should do very often.

Can I use toner instead of hair dye?

Yes, hair toner can be a great alternative to hair dye.

While toner won’t give you a drastic color change like dye would, it can help to enhance and refresh the color you already have.

Toner also works to neutralize any brassy or yellow tones in blonde hair, leaving your locks looking bright and shiny.

So, if you’re in the mood for a subtle change or just want to kick up your current color a notch, you can give toner a try.

Can you bleach dyed hair?

If you’re wondering whether you can bleach your freshly-dyed locks without causing any damage, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”

Here’s the scoop: When you bleach your hair, the chemicals work to break down the melanin in your strands, which provides your hair color.

So, if you’ve already dyed your hair, there’s a good chance that some of that melanin has been stripped away.

If you try to bleach it again too soon, you could end up with some pretty serious breakage or even hair loss.

If you’re dead-set on lightening things up, it’s probably best to give your hair some time to recover and strengthen before trying anything too drastic.

When you do decide to bleach, make sure you do it safely and carefully–ask the advice from professionals, use a good quality bleach, and take your time.

After all, healthy hair is happy hair!

Can you bleach over permanent hair dye?

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

It really depends on a lot of things like the condition of your hair, the level of color you want to achieve, and how much of the permanent hair dye has already penetrated your hair shaft.

That said, bleaching over permanent hair dye is possible, but we’d recommend getting the help of a professional if you’re unsure.

The last thing you want is to damage your locks and end up with a color you weren’t expecting!

Can you dye wet hair after bleaching?

Well, the answer is yes, you can dye wet hair after bleaching it, but it’s not ideal.

Bleaching can weaken your hair and make it more susceptible to damage, and dyeing your hair while it’s wet can further damage it.

Your hair is at it’s most vulnerable when it’s wet and you’ve just bleached it too – yikes!

Plus, the color may not turn out as vibrant as you want.

It’s best to wait until your hair is completely dry before applying any hair dye.

Do I shampoo after bleach?

Yes ma’am, it’s super important to wash your hair with shampoo after bleaching to get rid of any leftover chemicals and keep your locks healthy.

You’ll want to use a shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for bleached hair to keep that blonde looking fresh and fabulous.

Don’t worry if your hair feels a little dry after washing, that’s totally normal.

Just make sure to follow up with a nourishing conditioner and your hair will be looking like a bombshell in no time!

Is it better to bleach dirty hair?

Well, some say yes, but we recommend washing it first to avoid any patchy areas where the bleach hasn’t taken hold.

Although natural oils can offer some protection to your hair and scalp, it’s still best to start on a clean slate.

Plus, washing your hair before bleaching can help remove any product buildup, which may affect how the bleach turns out.

Trust us, we’ve all been there with an uneven bleach job, and it’s not a good look!

Should I rinse bleach out of my hair with cold or hot water?

While it might be tempting to jump in a hot shower after the harsh chemicals, your hair will thank you for opting for cooler temps.

Hot water can actually cause your freshly bleached hair to become brittle and more prone to breakage.

So, turn off the heat and embrace the chill. Your locks will look healthier and happier as a result. 

Parting words.

Dyeing your hair after bleaching it can be a tricky and potentially damaging process.

Don’t be discouraged though; managing the process with proper steps and reliable products may get you exactly the results you’re looking for!

From buying the right bleach, utilizing deep conditioning treatments to restoring proteins in your locks, to finding color that compliments your goals – there are lots of ways to customize how you care for your hair.

Have confidence in knowing you have all the tools to take control of your look: just listen to what your hair has to say!

This article was written and reviewed by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant
    Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.