Will A Bleach Bath Lighten My Roots? Get the Lowdown.

Evidence Based

Fact Checked

If you’ve ever struggled with annoying root regrowth between salon visits, you’re not alone.

Trying to keep your hair color looking fresh in-between appointments can be a challenge—you may find yourself tempted to try all kinds of tricks and shortcuts. So, have you considered giving bleach baths a go?

This method offers a possibly easier way for at-home touch ups without having to get professional coloring services every time, but does it work?

We’re here to cover the ins and outs of bleach baths so that you can decide whether or not this option is right for you and your locks. Let’s jump in!

Will a bleach bath lighten my roots?

Yes, a bleach bath can indeed lighten your roots!

Bleach baths can lighten your roots, but the amount of lightening will depend on various factors such as the current color of your hair, the strength of the bleach, and the duration of the bleach bath.

Generally, bleach baths are milder than regular bleaching and can lift your hair up to two levels.

However, if your hair is dark, the bleach bath may not lighten your roots as much as you want.

  • Lightening Roots: A bleach bath can lift your roots several shades. The number of levels it lifts depends on various factors such as your natural hair color, the current color of your roots, and the strength of your bleach.
  • Process: The process involves diluting bleach with shampoo and applying it to your roots (or entire hair) for a short period.
  • Results: It’s a gentler alternative to full-strength bleach, making it ideal for lightening your roots without causing excessive damage. But remember – results can vary!

Bleach bath roots before and after

How many levels will a bleach bath lift?

Bleach baths are a gentler way to lighten your hair compared to regular bleach.

The amount of lift you can achieve with a bleach bath depends on a few factors, like the strength of the developer, the ratio of bleach to shampoo, and your hair’s starting level.

On average, a bleach bath can lighten your hair by 1-2 levels. However, keep in mind that this can vary based on the factors mentioned above. If you have dark hair, you might need to do multiple bleach baths to reach your desired level of lightness. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you!

“This method is for removing a fresh color & or lightening a fresh toner/ color just a level/ half level or so. It will not lighten non colored hair.”

Versions Vividamnesia, Master Hair Colorist

Bleach bath for roots pros and cons


  • Gentle way to lighten hair
  • Can add a bit of brightness to roots, without damaging the entire length of your hair
  • Easier and faster than traditional bleach methods


  • Results can vary- can be patchy
  • Needs to be done more often than traditional bleaching processes
  • Can cause hair color banding

Bleach bath recipe for roots.

Here’s the golden ratio for your bleach bath:

1 part powder bleach, 1 part developer, and 2 parts shampoo.

Now, the amounts really depend on the length and thickness of your hair. Some of us may have thicker hair and some of us have fine hair. On average, though, these quantities should work:

Powder bleach1 ounce
Developer1 ounce
Shampoo2 ounces

Remember, this is an average. If you’ve got hair down to your waist or a particularly thick mane, increase the amounts proportionally. Keep the ratio the same, though. 

If you’re looking to lighten your roots by about 1-2 levels, a 20 volume developer should do the trick. Need more lift? Go for a 30 volume developer. But remember, the higher the volume, the more damage is possible, so tread lightly!

How to bleach bath your roots step by step.

Achieving salon-worthy results at home requires a bit of patience and a lot of care. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Here’s what you need to do.

What you need:

  • Bleach powder: This is your main ingredient. It’s what’s going to get those roots from drab to fab!
  • Developer: This activates the bleach powder. It typically comes in different volumes – the higher the volume, the greater the lightening power.
  • Shampoo: Not just any shampoo, clarifying shampoo. This will help remove any oils or product buildup from your hair before the bleach bath.
  • Tint Brush: This will help you apply the bleach mixture to your roots.
  • Plastic bowl: You’re going to need somewhere to mix your ingredients together. Note: make sure it’s plastic, not metal. Metal can react with the bleach.
  • Gloves: Safety first! Protect your hands from the bleach with some good ol’ rubber gloves.
  • Timer: You don’t want to overdo it and damage your hair. Setting a timer will help you keep track of how long the bleach has been on your hair.

Got everything? Great! You’re all set to start your bleach bathing journey. Remember: the path to lighter roots is a journey, not a sprint. Take your time, follow the instructions, and you’ll be rocking those lighter roots in no time!

Step 1: Choose the right bleach powder and developer.

You’ll need to use a high-quality bleach powder and developer that is specifically designed for lightening hair.

Look for a powder with a blue or purple base, as this will help to counteract any unwanted yellow or orange tones. A 20 or 30 volume developer is usually sufficient for a bleach bath.

mixing bleach and developer in a plastic bowl

Step 2: Mix the bleach powder and developer.

Mix the bleach powder and developer together in a non-metallic bowl.

Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully, as the ratio of bleach powder to developer can vary depending on the brand. Mix the two together until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.

Step 3: Section your hair.

Use a comb to section your hair into four equal parts: two at the front and two at the back.

Use hair clips to secure each section in place.

how to section hair infographic

Step 4: Apply the bleach mixture to your roots.

Starting at the back of your head, use a tint brush to apply the bleach mixture to your roots.

Make sure you saturate each section thoroughly, but avoid getting the bleach on your scalp or the rest of your hair.

Will a Bleach Bath Lighten My Roots

Step 5: Leave it in to develop.

Leave the bleach wash on for the recommended time.

The amount of time you should leave the bleach on will depend on the level of lift you want to achieve and the condition of your hair. Check the instructions on the packaging for guidance!

Step 6: Rinse the bleach out thoroughly.

Once the recommended time has passed, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Make sure you remove all of the bleach from your hair, as any residue left behind can cause damage.

Step 7: Apply a toner (optional).

If you want to neutralize any unwanted tones, you can apply a toner to your hair after rinsing out the bleach.

Follow the instructions on the toner carefully, as the application process can vary depending on the brand.

bleach bath hair toner

Step 8: Condition your hair.

Bleaching can be very damaging to your hair, so it is important to condition it thoroughly after the process.

Use a deep conditioning treatment to restore moisture and prevent breakage.

Watch and learn: How to bleach bath your roots.

Here’s a great video tutorial that shows you how to bleach bath your regrowth like a pro.


  1. Always do a strand test before applying bleach bath to your roots. This will help you determine how long you need to leave the bleach on your hair and how many levels it will lift your roots.
  2. Use a lower volume developer for your roots than you would for the rest of your hair. This will help prevent over-processing and damage to your hair.
  3. Apply the bleach bath to your roots last, as they will process faster than the rest of your hair. This will help ensure that your roots and the rest of your hair are evenly lightened.
  4. Use a toner after bleaching your roots to neutralize any unwanted brassy tones. This will help you achieve a more even and natural-looking result.
  5. If you have dark hair, it may take multiple bleach baths to achieve the desired level of lightness. Be patient and take breaks in between bleachings to prevent damage to your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a bleach bath lighten dark hair?

Bleach baths can help lighten dark hair, but the extent of lightening will depend on factors like your natural hair color, the strength of the bleach, and how long you leave it on.

Bleach baths aren’t as potent as regular bleach and may not lift dark hair more than a few levels.

When lightening dark hair with a bleach bath, it’s best to begin with a lower volume developer and a shorter processing time. This helps minimize damage and prevents over-processing.

Don’t forget to do a strand test beforehand to see how your hair will react!

Dark hair often has more red and orange undertones, which can be a bit stubborn to lift with bleach.

Here you’ll need to use a toner or color corrector after the bleach bath to get rid of any warm, brassy tones.

Is a bleach bath safe for hair?

Using a bleach bath to lighten hair can actually be safe if you do it right and with caution.

Just keep in mind that any kind of bleaching can potentially cause some damage to your beautiful locks.

Bleach can strip the hair of its natural oils and proteins, leaving it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. It can also cause scalp irritation and burns if left on for too long or applied incorrectly.

To avoid any potential damage, it’s really important to follow the instructions carefully and not leave the bleach on for longer than recommended.

It’s also a good idea to use a lower volume developer, like 10 or 20, to make the bleach less strong.

If you’ve got hair that’s been previously damaged or chemically treated, it’s probably best to skip the bleach bath altogether.

Bleach can make already weakened hair even more fragile, which can result in breakage and hair loss.

It’s a good idea to consult with a professional stylist who can suggest alternative ways to lighten your hair.

What are some alternatives to a bleach bath for lightening roots?

If you don’t want to use a bleach bath or can’t because of pre-existing damage, there are other options available.

#1 Hair color remover

A hair color remover is a handy product that assists in removing artificial color from your hair. It works by shrinking the color molecules, making them easier to wash out.

It can be a great option if you want to lighten your roots without resorting to bleach. Although hair color removers can be a bit harsh on your hair and may not deliver the same results with darker hair colors.

#2 High lift hair color

High lift hair color is a fantastic hair dye option that can lighten your hair without bleach!

It contains a higher concentration of ammonia and peroxide than regular hair dye, giving your hair a lift of up to four levels.

It’s a great choice if you want to lighten your roots without using bleach. It may not work as effectively on darker hair colors and frequent use can be damaging to your hair. Take care!

#3 Sun-in

Sun-in is a hair lightening spray that contains hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients that help lighten your hair.

It’s an ok alternative to a bleach bath if you want to lighten your roots without using bleach – but it can turn your hair orange!

#4 Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a natural hair lightener that can be used to lighten your roots without using bleach.

Simply mix lemon juice with water and apply it to your hair, then put on your shades and sit in the sun for a few hours.

#5 Highlights

Highlights are a great way to lighten your hair without using bleach.

They involve coloring small sections of your hair, which can help blend in your roots and create a more natural look. The downside is that highlights can be expensive and may not work as well on darker hair colors.

Do I need to tone my roots?

Toning can help to neutralize any yellow or brassy tones, giving your hair a more natural, balanced look.

So yes, if your hair has those brassy vibes going on after a bleach bath, you might need to consider a toner.

“Toning your roots can help to neutralize any yellow or brassy tones, giving your hair a more natural, balanced look”.

Consider these points:

  • Root Condition: If your roots are significantly warmer or brassier than the rest of your hair, toning can help to balance out the color. But if your roots are already a cool blonde, you might not need to tone.
  • Desired Result: Are you going for a cool blonde, a warm honey, or something edgier like silver or pastel? The kind of toner you use can help you achieve these different looks.
  • Maintenance: Toning isn’t permanent. Depending on the toner and the health of your hair, you might need to re-tone every few weeks to maintain the color.

How to care for bleached roots.

Bleaching can be hard on your hair, so you’ll want to take extra care of it to keep it healthy. Here are some tips:

  1. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: Bleach can be drying, so it’s important to keep your roots well-moisturized. Use a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week. And remember, don’t skimp on the conditioner!
  2. Use Color-Safe Products: Make sure you’re using products specially designed for color-treated hair. These products will help preserve your color and prevent it from fading.
  3. Watch the Heat: Heat styling can be damaging to bleached hair. So, try to limit the use of your curling iron, flat iron, and blow dryer. And always use a heat protection spray when you do.

Parting words.

Well, we’ve answered your burning question: will a bleach bath lighten my roots? The short answer is yes, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park. It might lighten your roots several levels, but it requires careful application and a bit of patience.

Remember: A bleach bath is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the results will vary based on your hair’s natural color, texture, and health. Always do a strand test first!

This article was written 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!