How to bleach your hair at home, DIY style.

If, like us, you’re a fan of changing up your hair colour, there comes a time in all of our rainbow-coloured lives when we think about bleaching our hair. The thought of doing this yourself may well send shivers down your spine! But the truth is, with a little guidance, it’s easy! That’s why we’re here to tell you exactly how to bleach your hair at home.

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What is hair bleach?

Hair bleach is not what you clean the toilets with! Bleaching agents used to lighten hair depends on the level of lightening you’re after.

Hydrogen peroxide is the most common bleaching agent used to lift and lighten hair colour. It penetrates your hair shaft to strip it of colour in a permanent process.

Like all bleach, it’s toxic so you need to be careful when handling it. And yes, it damages your hair so you need to look after it before, during and after.

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Do I need to bleach my hair?

Bleaching your is a lightening process that can strip out colour from your hair and provide a great base for a new one. Whether you need to do depends on what you want to achieve.

If you want to dye your hair a lighter colour than it is, you need to bleach or lighten your hair. Colour can’t lighten colour so you need to remove all of it before you dye it the colour of your dreams.

If you want to go blonde or blonder, you might need to do more than one DIY bleaching process to get the lighter colour you’re after. More bleaching means more damage so space out these sessions to give your hair time to recover in between.

If you’re worried about using bleach, you can try lightening your hair naturally.

Highlights, balayage, and ombre are bang on-trend styles lend themselves to having parts of your hair bleached too.

Can I bleach my hair at home?

Bleaching your hair at home is not as simple as other processes. The results are pretty dramatic and irreversible so you need to go slow and steady. Dark hair in particular can be touch to lighten with bleach. But with the right bleaching kit and advice under your hat, it’s totally doable.

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Will bleach damage my hair?

Of course, bleach is bad for your hair as the processing dries it out and can turn it into a frizz factory. So you need to prepare it for harsh treatment by giving it some love in the run-up to bleaching day.

Smother it in a penetrating deep conditioning mask like this one for extra nourishment Coco & Eve Like a Virgin Hair Masque.

And invest in the wonder that is Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector. The little bottle that will change change your life (and hair) forever with its restorative powers.

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Take a look at the health of your hair too. If it is dull and lifeless and lacking in lustre, bleaching your hair might not be right for you at this moment. Have a chat with your hairdresser about your options.

You can also try a hair bleach bath which is a gentler way to bleach your hair, but it’s not as strong so you may not get the lift you desire.

How long will it take to bleach my hair?

Set aside around 1-1.5 hours to DIY the bleaching process from start from to finish. As we said earlier, you need to go slow and steady to get it right and you don’t want to rush it and end up with patches.

How do I bleach my hair at home?

You will need:

  • DIY comb applicator 
  • Lightening formula/bleach hair kit (see below!)
  • Plastic gloves
  • Conditioning after-treatment
  • Full instructions

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! You can read more about the best bleach kits for your hair in our hair bleach kit reviews.

Best hair bleach kits at a glance.

Bleach kit.Looks likeBest forBuy it now
Garnier Nutrisse Bleach Hair Dye.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B013BL5Y4G&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home DIYGoing platinum blonde.
Schwarzkopf Live Intense Lightenerq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00D870FMK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home diySubtle colour lift.
L'Oreal Colorista Effects Bleach Lightening Kitq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01N4I05Q1&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home DIYExtra lightening fast results.
Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe Premium Brightener.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B06X6K4X19&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home diyGoing a few shades lighter than your base.
Garnier Olia Permanent Bleach Super Blondes Extreme q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01ABXDHKK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home diyLifting darker shades.

How do I apply the bleach formula?


Don’t rush it, the best results won’t happen if you’re slapping it on.

Don’t leave it in too long – it’s tempting if you want to go lighter but you’ll end up going too light and making yourself looked washed out.

Don’t leave surfaces uncovered. Bleach will eat colour wherever it lands so protect clothing, flooring and worktops!


Follow the instructions TO THE LETTER that come with the bleaching kit of your choice. 

Pay particular attention to the development time, every kit is different and it will depend on how light you want to go.

Section your hair to make applying the dye more precise.

Check on a section at intervals to see if it’s developing at the right colour for you.

Watch the professionals in action.

Pick up more than a few tips by watching how the professionals bleach hair.

How can I take care of my hair after bleaching?

After you’ve stripped your colour and achieved a fabulous blonde look you love, you’ll want to deep condition your hair regularly and avoid a lot of heat styling if you can.  

Your 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 coloured hair can’t live without. 

Hair toners will keep your colour and get rid of any unwanted brassiness. You can use them as soon as your hair is bleached to banish orange and yellow tones.

You’ll also need to use specially formulated silver and purple shampoos and conditioners to keep the colour in tip top condition, like these from Joico.

Joico Color Endure Violet Shampoo & Conditioner

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