How long should you leave bleach in your hair?

When it comes to hair, the question of how long should you leave bleach in your hair can be a little tricky. The answer depends on what type of hair you have and how light or dark you want those strands to turn out. However, if there’s one thing that most hairdressers will say is important: don’t overdo it!

Bleaching your hair is a great way to lighten and brighten up those strands, but it can be hard to know how long you should leave bleach in your hair for.

The thing about bleaching your hair is that if you don’t get the timing right then you could end up with some pretty awful results.

Over-bleached locks are not only dry and damaged looking, they’re also incredibly hard to reverse!

That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how long you should leave bleach in your hair based on what sort of result you want to achieve. We hope it helps!

How long to leave bleach in your hair.

The maximum amount of time recommended for leaving bleach in your hair is 30 minutes. This is so you don’t damage your hair with long-term use.

What is hair bleach?

Essentially, it’s a hair formula containing high levels of hydrogen peroxide.

The formula changes the colour of your hair by first opening up the hair cuticle so that it can penetrate and change your hair colouring, then closing down the cuticle again after processing.

The harsh chemicals have been known to cause split ends, dryness and breakage.

Of course as with all dyes not everyone experiences these side effects as everyone’s hair is different but some common problems are highlighted below:

Dryness caused by stripping or removing natural oils from your scalp

Brittleness caused by the loss of moisture in the strand/shaft.

Damage caused by chemicals (commonly ammonia and ethanol).

How does hair bleach work?

It’s a strong chemical that can break down the protein in hair. When it does this, it lightens your hair over time.

As the protein breaks down, the strands become lighter and paler until they get all of the colour out of their core.

In order to bleach your hair properly, you need to know what type of bleach to buy and how you should be applying bleach to your hair.

You also need to know how long you should leave it in for so that you don’t damage your hair too much while still getting a good result.

What kind of bleach should I use?

There are four main types of bleaching agents:

Peroxide – This is the strongest option since it contains 10% or more hydrogen peroxide. Over time, the hydrogen peroxide will lift the color of your hair without damaging it too much. It’s perfect for bleaching dark hair to light blonde.

Hydrogen Peroxide Solution – This option is only 3% hydrogen peroxide so it’s not quite as strong as its more concentrated sibling. However, it still works really well and isn’t harmful to your hair either. Peroxides are used most often by professionals instead of at-home users because they need a stronger solution to work with their clients’ very dark hair.

Bleach Powder Mix – Bleach powder contains 10% ammonium bromate or hydrogen peroxide mixed into a powder form that can be easily applied to hair before being distributed evenly throughout strands of hair. Mixing powder bleach is one of the cheapest ways of bleaching your hair at home.

Liquid / Creme Developer – This type comes in a solution that you must mix with either peroxide or developer cream before applying it to your hair. You can also use creme developer on its own if you are already light blonde but want lighter hair without too much damage. However, this will not work on dark hair because it does not contain enough hydrogen peroxide for the job, so make sure you check how dark your natural colour is before considering this route.

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Each of these types has different concentrations which means some are stronger than others and require different lengths of time to achieve your desired shade.

How long should you leave bleach in your hair?

There’s a misconception that bleach will work better the longer you leave it on. Wrong!

The maximum amount of time recommended for leaving bleach in your hair is 30 minutes. This is so you don’t damage your hair with long-term use.

Some people think that bleach lasts longer on your hair if you leave it for a few hours, but this is not true. This can lead to serious damage including brittle strands and an orange hue in the end result!

Only thirty minutes of bleaching time should be used at most- anything more than that risks too much improper chemical processing that will ruin all those beautiful locks we’ve worked hard (and paid good money) for!

What happens if you leave bleach on too long?

While bleaching your hair can be really fun, it can also go very wrong if you’re not careful. You could end up with a colour that isn’t what you wanted or even worse, damage your locks in the process.

This means leaving bleach in for too long – which can make your hair type become brittle and break easily – as well as not leaving enough time between treatments (which makes the colour uneven).

Check out this video to see how bad it can be!

Can I leave bleach in my hair for 2 hours?

There’s no point leaving bleach mixture in for any longer than 30-40 minutes as it will eventually stop working and stop lifting your colour.

This means all it’s doing after 40 minutes is frying your hair!

We really recommend doing a strand test before using bleach because there are so many variables at play when bleaching your hair or someone else’s.

You could have thicker or thinner strands, even the temperature of the water used, and what percentage of developer you’re using all affect timing.

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How long should you leave 40 volume bleach in your hair?

40 volume bleach is very potent and isn’t supposed to be left in your hair for more than 10-20 minutes.

If you have coarse or very dark hair, you can leave it a few minutes longer. But make sure you keep checking it’s effect so you can rinse it out as soon as it’s achieved the colour you want, before it causes too much damage.

How long can you leave 30 volume bleach in your hair?

You may be wondering how long you can leave 30 volume bleach in your hair before it starts to damage the strands. The answer is not as long as you think!

For those with dark hair, we recommend leaving it on for no more than 20 minutes max – any longer and the result could be very damaging.

With lighter hair, you should only leave it on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing out and using a conditioner or hair mask to repair the damage done by prolonged exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

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How long should you leave 20 volume bleach in your hair?

How long can you leave 20 volume bleach in your hair? The answer is, it depends.

If you have blonde, light brown or red hair and are using the recommended developer to lift colour, you should follow instructions on package instructions for a time before rinsing out.

For darker shades of hair – black, dark brown, deep auburn – plan on leaving it in longer than 10 minutes.

How long should you leave 10 volume bleach in your hair?

Volume 10 bleach is the most common bleach that’s used in hair salons to create highlights, streaks, ombre and balayage styles.

That’s because it’s effective at lifting colour without causing too much damage.

It all depends on what type of hair you have. If you have thick hair, then the bleach will take longer because it has farther to go. But if you have thin locks, then the time is cut down significantly.

10 volume bleach can be safely left in your hair for up to 30 minutes before the chemicals stop working and the hair starts being over-processed.

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How long do I leave bleach in brown or black hair?

Dark hair colours like black and brown can be really hard to bleach.

You may need to up the strength of the bleach or trying lightening your hair a few times to get the result you want.

You can use the maximum time for your chosen bleach. So up to 30 minutes. But bear in mind you may need to do a couple of bleaching treatments.

Always do a strand test so you know what’s in store and what colour your hair will lift to each time.

How long should you leave bleach on your roots?

Do you ever find yourself wondering how long should you leave bleach on your roots?

Well, the time that the bleach needs to stay on the hair is going to depend upon a few factors: firstly, if your hair is dark or light and secondly, if your hair has been dyed before.

If your hair is naturally light or you have virgin hair (hair that has never been dyed) then there’s no need for as much bleach as someone with light coloured or blonde locks so maybe only 5-10 minutes would be enough.

Whereas those of us with darker locks will have more of a wait on our hands. Remember that roots are naturally darker than the rest of our hair. And the grown out root look like blonde hair with dark roots is so on-trend right now.

So you don’t want to get your roots bleached platinum blonde or white-blonde as it just won’t look natural!

Should I try a bleach bath?

If you think that bleaching your hair will be too harsh for your locks, you can try a bleach bath.

Bleach bath hair is a gentler bleaching process that mixes bleach with shampoo to dilute the strength of the bleach.

If you’re wanting to lift your hair more than two levels, it may not be strong enough for you.

But if you want a more subtle lift or highlights, a bleach bath is totally worth trying out.

Should I shampoo after bleaching?

Many people ask whether it’s necessary to wash the hair after a bleaching session. The answer is yes!

You can’t bleach your hair 100% white. If you do not wash out the residues of the lightener, a yellow colour will still be visible in bright light.

Bleaching alters the structure of hair fibres and makes them weaker. When these strands are wet, they’re even more susceptible to damage from shampooing which can lead to split ends and breakage.

This is why one should apply a moisturising conditioner after washing and give your hair lots of love with deep conditioning treatments once a week.

How soon after bleaching hair can you bleach again?

You can bleach your hair less than a day after bleaching it if you need to.

The sooner you do it, the more the dye will take. This is because the cuticle hasn’t fully closed yet and the inside of the strand hasn’t been exposed to natural oils that would slow down how quickly your hair takes the dye.

However, we recommend leaving your hair a couple of days if possible to let it recover from the harsh process of bleaching before dyeing it again. You don’t want to bleach your hair too often.


Parting words.

Bleaching your hair is a process that can take time and patience, but it’s worth the final results.

What is the perfect time to leave bleach on your hair? It’s a question that has many answers. For most people, 10 minutes is sufficient. Other people might need 20 or 30 minutes for it to produce the desired results.

If you’re still unsure what time frame will work best for your hair, consult with an expert at your local salon who can provide you with more information on how long should I leave bleach on my hair?

Good luck!

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