Bleach Bath For Shiny Hair: How To Prepare And Apply

Your in-depth guide to this gentle and mild way to lighten your locks.

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
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A bleach bath is an ideal way to get shiny hair with a light hue — that too without any brassy tones. Moreover, it is a milder and safer option than the actual bleaching process. So, what exactly is a bleach bath? How does it work? We have answered all these questions right here. Also, we have thrown light on the entire process of bleach bath for hair and simple tips to manage your bleached hair. Now let us get started.

What Is A Bleach Bath?

If you’ve ever wondered how to do a bleach bath, just know that the process is not complicated. The basic process of bleaching involves mixing the bleach powder with the peroxide. This process is effective in lightening your hair, but its after-effects are quite destructive. Bleaching can alter your hair bonds and turn your hair brittle over time.

On the other hand, a bleach bath is a much milder procedure. It differs from the regular bleaching process. In this process, a diluted solution that is far gentler on your hair is used. Shampoo is added to the mixture and applied to wet hair.

You must be wondering why you should go for a bleach bath when regular bleaching can get the job done just as easily. Scroll down to the next section to find out why.

Why Opt For A Bleach Bath?

Why you should go for a bleach bath
Image: Shutterstock

Since bleach is an aggressive substance, applying it to your hair often can be risky, especially if you have thin, fragile hair. Thus, the perfect alternative is a bleach bath. This process causes no damage and is absolutely safe for all hair types. However, before attempting any chemical hair treatments at home, it is important to consider your hair porosity and hair texture.

Annie, a blogger, tried a bleach bath to achieve a desired hair color and shared her experience on her blog. She writes, “A bleach bath is really the last resort – you don’t want to do it unless you really can’t wait like me or it REALLY isn’t coming out (this mainly applies to darker blues) (i).” She described the bleach bath process as less damaging than regular bleach, saying, “A bleach bath isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds.”

Now that you know why you should go for a bleach wash, you must be wondering when to use one. Find out in the next section.

When To Use A Bleach Bath

You should opt for a bleach bath when you want to:

  • Remove the existing permanent hair dye
  • Fix over-toned hair
  • Lighten your hair by one level
  • Lighten fragile hair

If your current hair dye is refusing to come off, don’t worry. A bleach bath can be extremely useful in removing the permanent hair dye and getting rid of its traces. However, it is important to take all measures that help in hair damage prevention as well as scalp irritation prevention.

A bleach bath may not be as effective as the regular bleaching process, but it is less damaging to your hair than the latter. If you have fragile hair, this minimum bleaching action is perfect for the look you want to achieve.

Now, let’s check out how you can prepare and apply a bleach bath.

How To Prepare A Bleach Bath

To prepare a bleach bath, you need to gather three essential components, i.e., bleach powder, peroxide, and shampoo. This is how you need to prepare the mix:

1. Do An Allergy Test

Step 1 of how to prepare a bleach bath
Image: Shutterstock

If this is your first time using a bleach bath, this step is a must to avoid any adverse reaction. Dip a cotton ball into the developer and the bleach and dab it on your hand. If your skin turns red or starts itching, you are most likely allergic to the bleach. But if you are unsure, wait for 48 hours and check for any more changes. If nothing happens, you may proceed with the procedure.

2. Mix The Bleach, Developer, And Shampoo In A Bowl

Step 2 of how to prepare a bleach bath
Image: Shutterstock

Start off by mixing the bleach powder and the developer in a 1:2 ratio. The volume of the developer indicates the amount of peroxide in it. The higher the volume, the greater the amount of peroxide. Developers come in different volumes, with 10 being the weakest and 40 being the strongest. For a bleach bath, we recommend 10 volume developer. To this mixture, add one part of shampoo. Add bleach powder and shampoo in equal quantities. You can increase or decrease the intensity of this mixture as per your preference by experimenting with the ratio. Adding shampoo to this mixture will subdue the bleach. You can even add a conditioner to soften your hair.

How To Apply The Mixture

Step 1 – Dampen Your Hair With Cool Water

Step 1 of how to apply bleach bath mixture
Image: Shutterstock

You should bleach your hair when it is damp, not dripping wet. Wet your hair by running it under warm water. Before you apply the bleach, let your hair air-dry for a few minutes. You can even towel-dry your hair dry it a bit.

Step 2 – Wrap A Towel Around Your Shoulders

In case of accidental drips, the towel can protect your skin and clothes from getting discolored. You can also wear an old T-shirt to avoid any mishaps. Don’t forget to put on rubber/latex gloves to protect your hands from bleach burns.

Step 3 – Apply The Bleach

Step 3 of how to apply bleach bath mixture
Image: Shutterstock

When applying the bleach, start from the tips of your hair and work your way up to the roots. Once you are done applying it from roots to ends, rub the rest of the mixture on your hair like would apply shampoo while showering. Make sure to soak each strand with the solution.

Step 4 – Secure Your Hair With Clips

Clip your hair up and put on a shower cap. This will prevent the solution from dripping.

Step 5 – Wash Your Hair

Keep checking the color of your hair every 5 minutes. Once you are satisfied with the color, wash out the bleach.

In addition, using professional hair care products can make a big difference in achieving desired results and also helps in hair color maintenance.


protip_icon Quick Tip
Apply the formula in a room with proper ventilation. It is important to keep windows and doors open so fresh air can enter because bleach vapors can irritate the eyes and respiratory system.

For How Long Should You Leave The Bleach Bath On?

The amount of time that the bleach is left on your hair depends on your natural hair color and the volume of developer used. If you have bleached your hair before, you can leave it on for 10 minutes. If you have dark hair and want to lighten your tresses, leave the bleach on for up to 30 minutes. If you are using 30-40 volume developer, don’t leave the solution on for more than 7-10 minutes.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If your hair is black, be aware that it will be the most difficult to bleach. The intended result cannot be achieved with a single session of bleach bath. Instead, you will need to use a bleach bath several times over a couple of weeks to considerably lighten the color.

After a bleach wash, hair tends to become weak and dry. Continue reading to know more about some of the side effects associated with a bleach bath.

Side Effects Of A Bleach Bath

  • Hair Damage: Overuse of the bleach bath or leaving it on for too long can damage the hair cuticles and cause dryness, brittleness, and breakage.
  • Allergic Reactions: In some, bleach may cause allergic reactions like itching, swelling, and redness. It can even lead to breathing difficulties in rare cases.
  • Hair Discoloration: It may cause changes to your hair color if you leave it on for long or don’t mix it properly. The color change can range from slight yellowing to a more noticeable orange or brassy tone.
  • Scalp Irritation: Ingredients in the bleach may not suit your scalp and can cause irritation, redness, and itching.

Take good care of your tresses after a bleach bath as bleaching depletes hair moisture. Here’s what you need to do.

How To Take Care Of Bleached Hair

  1. Condition your hair every time you wash it and deep condition it every two weeks to restore the lost moisture.
  2. Apply a heat-protectant spray or serum to your hair before using any heat styling tools to prevent heat damage.
  3. Avoid using straighteners, hair dryers, and curling irons for a few days after the bleaching process as freshly bleached hair is more susceptible to damage.
  4. Frequent use of leave-in conditioners, serums, and natural hair care treatments like hair masks will prevent your hair from drying out.

Note: To maintain hair health and prevent dryness, incorporate a moisturizing treatment into your hair care routine that helps in hair hydration. Or you can also consider using a hair gloss or hair toning treatment.

Infographic: Hairstyles To Try After A Bleach Bath

After lightening your hair using this method, you would surely want to try out some fresh and fun hairstyles to give that final touch to your look. To help you get some style inspo, we have something in store for you. Check out the infographic below for some excellent ideas to rock your mane. Scroll down!

hairstyles to try after a bleach bath (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

A bleach bath contains bleaching powder and peroxide diluted with shampoo. It is a milder alternative to the bleaching process that makes your hair shine. Bleaching is an aggressive agent that can harm your hair strands, leaving them weak and brittle. But a bleach bath does not damage your hair as badly and is suitable for all hair types. Remember to perform a patch test to check if you are allergic to bleach. After you have bleached your hair, follow the hair care tips listed above to keep your hair looking healthy and beautiful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it good to bathe in bleach?

Yes, a diluted bleach solution is commonly used to treat certain skin conditions. However, undiluted bleach can cause dry skin, rashes, severe skin infections, and even asthma attacks.

How many levels does a bleach bath lift?

A bleach bath can lift your hair color by 1-4 levels depending on the kind of bleach, the type of hair, and the method of application.

Can a bleach bath be used for children?

Yes, a bleach bath is safe for children and can help tackle various skin conditions like eczema and fungal acne.

How many bleach baths can I do?

It is safe to do bleach baths up to three times a week.

Is a bleach bath good for acne?

Yes, bleach baths are known for killing acne-causing bacteria, and therefore can combat stubborn acne.

Key Takeaways

  • Bleach is diluted with shampoo and water to prepare the mixture for a bleach bath.
  • A bleach bath can help lighten your hair slightly and remove brassy tones from it.
  • It can also be used to remove permanent hair dye.
bleach bath

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to safely bleach your hair at home with an easy DIY bleach bath! Watch this video to learn how to go about it without breaking the bank if you have never used bleach on your hair.

Personal Experience: Source

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Madison Dufour

Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist

Madison Dufour is a licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist with 10 years of experience, as well as an entrepreneur running several hair businesses, including MadisonD Barbering and The Exquisite Find Hair Blog. After working behind the chair for several years, she felt the calling to start the non-profit Barber in a Bag that teaches basic hair cutting skills in...read full bio

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