How To - Bleach Your Hair

This is a basic guide to bleaching your hair - please always check manufacturers instructions before using any bleach kit. NEVER use household bleach on your hair or skin and keep all bleach away from eyes and mouth!

What you will need: 
Bleach Kit 
Bowl for mixing bleach (not metal) 
Tint Brush for applying bleach (not metal) 
Tail / Sectioning Comb (not metal)
Hair Clips (not metal)
Plastic/Latex Gloves
Old Clothes / Towels 
An Extra Pair of Hands if Possible


There is no established time for leaving bleach on your hair - everyone is different and the bleaching time depends on the natural colour and texture of your hair, the dyed colour and which products have been used on the hair etc - always do a strand test to check developing time for your hair type and use that as a guideline i.e.. if the strand test took 20 minutes to reach the desired colour on your hair then allow for 20 minutes bleaching time on your actual head - from FIRST bleach applied to hair NOT from when roots are done - this is why it is important to work fast and have another person help you! Always check bleach results regularly as you may find the heat from your head will cause the bleach to work faster and you may only need 15 minutes bleaching instead of the 20 required on the strand test. Bleaching can damage your hair and you should think carefully before doing this, however many of the semi-permanent hair dyes give a more vibrant result on bleached or pale hair and may only give a sheen/glow to darker hair. Dyed permanent black or dark hair can often be very difficult to bleach and it is advisable to consult a professional should you have dyed black/dark hair that you would like a light colour. Never use bleach on hair that has been dyed with Henna or Metallic Salts. Never mix peroxide or use any bleach product with metal products- always mix in a plastic or glass bowl. Cover up all metal jewellery if it cannot be removed. Roots tend to bleach quicker than the rest of your hair (due to heat from the scalp) so bleach roots last where possible. 

This guide is worded as if you are bleaching your own hair, however it is best to get someone to help you with this as they can position bleach more accurately and spot missed areas more easily. Most hair will bleach in the following stages: Black, brown, red, orange, yellow blonde, light blonde, white. Yellow tones can be counteracted by using the relevant Special Effects or Manic Panic Toner. Please take caution when bleaching hair to white as this is when it can most easily be damaged - most dyes work well over yellow/blonde hair so white hair is not necessarily needed. It is entirely up to you how often you bleach and what strength volume to use as you will know the condition of your hair, however it is not advised to repeatedly do this as bleaching too much can seriously damage your hair. You may want to try a purple/white toner if your hair merely has yellow tones to it , however if you really feel the need to bleach again use as low volume developer as you can and leave at least a week between bleaching. Keep checking hair regularly throughout bleaching process.



Choosing Bleach:

Bleach can work differently on each person's hair depending on base colour, porosity, condition etc- we would always recommend you follow the guides each box of bleach should have to calculate which volume is right for you. You can buy bleach in a kit or as separates - bleach and peroxide (peroxide is also known as developer). The most common strengths of Bleach are 20, 30 & 40 volume. Always try to avoid getting bleach on your skin or scalp as this can cause burns and allergic reactions. If you get bleach on your skin rinse off immediately. Never use bleach if you have sores or cuts on your scalp.

10 Volume - This generally does not change the hair colour much but does open up the hair to allow colour to saturate more. This should not damage your hair as much as the stronger volume bleaches if only left on your hair for a short time (normally about 10 mins). If you have a light base colour from using 40, 30 or 20 volume bleach you would not normally need to use a 10 volume bleach to open the hair and the less bleaching you can do the better for your hair. 

20 Volume - This is generally used for light brown and dark blonde hair. You should normally only need one bleaching to achieve a pale blonde/lemon colour if your hair is a light colour already. Again your hair could bleach very quickly so check results constantly. 

30 Volume - This is generally used for medium dark and deep red hair. Sometimes you may find you need to do 2 x 30 volume bleaching to achieve your desired colour. If your hair has some orange patches after the first bleaching then re-bleach these areas only to avoid over-bleaching and damaging your entire head.

40 Volume - This is generally used for very dark hair and is the strongest volume that should be used on hair of any type. If possible it is best to use the milder 30 volume bleach, although as darker hair has more pigment this may not be strong enough to bleach your hair fully. If you need to use the 40 volume be very careful and check the results regularly. 


Using Bleach:

 -  Split hair into 4 sections (generally divide down centre and then again from ear to ear) and clip hair up using NON-metallic clips. If your hair is very short you can apply the bleach allover in one go rather than using sections. 
 -  Cover your forehead, neck, ears etc with a thin coat of vaseline to protect your skin from the bleach and wear old clothes, protect flooring etc
 -  Wear gloves to protect your hands 
 -  Mix your bleach according to the packet / manufacturers instructions 
 -  Release one of the clips and starting at the back of your head take small horizontal sections of hair and coat with the bleach leaving the roots unbleached for just now (the 1/2inch or 1cm area nearest your scalp). 
 -  Gradually work through this first section placing bleached sections on top of each other until the section is fully bleached (apart from roots). Work as quickly as you can without rushing as the bleach on these sections has started lightening your hair already and to get an even coverage you really want to be leaving the bleach on all your hair (apart from roots for roughly the same time). 
 -  Repeat above with each section 
 -  Go over sections bleaching the roots - again starting from the back and working forwards. Clip hair up again with your non-metallic clips. 
 -  At this point some people cover their hair with a plastic bag or plastic wrap to prevent the bleach drying out. To aid the bleaching process you can cover your hair with a plastic bag/plastic wrap and use a hairdryer - this can really speed up the bleaching time so check it constantly - this method is best used once you are used to how your hair reacts with bleaching so perhaps best to be used after your 2nd or 3rd time bleaching.
 -  When checking hair the colour most people try to attain is a lemon yellow/blonde colour as most dyes tend to work fine over this base and also any left over yellow tones could be removed by using a toner (see below) . To check the result take a small section of hair and wipe off the bleach - if it is not the desired shade make sure the strand is covered with bleach again (from other hair) and clip back up again. You should always check the area that you bleached first as this is the area that will lighten first. 
 -  When your hair is the desired colour rinse your hair with warm water and shampoo. Make sure you remove all traces of the bleach and pay particular attention to your skin - forehead, neck, scalp etc. Do NOT condition hair if you are following the bleaching with a semi-permanent hair dye e.g.. Special Effects or Manic Panic as conditioner can stop the dye from sticking to your hair. If you are not dyeing straight away then it is highly recommended to condition your hair after bleaching. 
 -  Towel dry hair gently as hair will be more fragile due to bleaching and then check hair for any missed or patchy areas - these could become more noticeable when hair is dyed so they are best spotted and re-bleached before dyeing hair - again using as low volume as you can.
 -  Use a toner if required - toners can work fast so follow manufacturers instructions and check hair regularly to prevent over toning. Details under How To....Use Toner

The information given on this site has been from our own personal use, our customers feedback and various websites and forums. Beeunique are not trained hairdressers or professionals and as such we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of all the information in this section and tips etc should be used with caution. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another and if you are in any doubt about a procedure it is recommend you contact a hairdresser or other trained professional first.