How To Bleach Gray Hair The Right Way

Follow these simple steps at home to add a splash of color to your silvery locks.

Reviewed by Alicia Igess, Hairstylist Alicia Igess Alicia IgessHairstylist facebook_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

Gray hair is the body’s subtle way to notify us that our hair follicles are losing melanin with age (1). However, aging is not the only factor that leads to graying hair.Other factors like vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid disease, vitiligo, and alopecia areata can speed graying (2). And with that, it often gets tough to cover gray hair or even establish a good hair care routine. So, many people resort to bleaching their gray hair strands or using dark hair dye to cover them. Gray hair is often dyed, but it is harder to cover it at the roots, particularly as hair grows out. Bleaching can help address this issue.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Melanin is the compound responsible for imparting color to your hair. Eumelanin is responsible for black and brown hair, and pheomelanin is responsible for red, orange, golden, and other hair colors (3).

Scroll down to find out how to bleach gray hair at home.

Can You Bleach Gray Hair?

Hairstylist bleaching gray hair of customer
Image: Shutterstock

Yes. Bleaching gray hair can help remove the existing dye in your hair. The bleach hair treatment is especially recommended if the shade of your dye is darker than your natural hair color.

Otherwise, you can gradually shift from using a dark-colored dye to a lighter shade that blends well with your gray hair. For example, gray hair can be colored platinum blonde or brown, based on the natural color of your hair.

Curious to know how bleaching works on your gray hair? Check out the next section for the answer.

What Happens When You Put Bleach On Gray Hair?

Bleaching mix and hair dye brush in a bowl
Image: Shutterstock

Bleaching gray areas of your hair will not show any visible difference. However, the bleaching mix helps lighten the hair that is still dark. This imparts a uniform blonde or white look to your hair, based on how long you leave the bleach mix. If you dye your gray hair, shift to a lighter shade before bleaching.

Now that you know the effects of bleaching gray hair, lets go about the process.

Bleaching Gray Hair The Right Way

Preparation of bleaching mix
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Bleach powder (1 part)
  • Developer (2 parts)
  • Gloves
  • Old t-shirt
  • Applicator brush
  • Shower cap

Keep the items mentioned above ready before you start bleaching your hair at home.

The Process

Gloves, bleach mix, hair dye brush, pintail comb and clutch clips required for bleaching
Image: Shutterstock

Step 1: Prepare the bleach mix with the bleach powder and developer. Pick the ideal volume of the developer as per your needs. Follow the instructions carefully as mentioned on the product packaging. You can also add coconut oil to this mixture to neutralize the drying effect of the bleach.

Step 2: Wear the gloves and part your hair into four sections.

Step 3: Apply the bleach mix to your hair using the applicator brush. Make sure to coat each section of your hair evenly.

Step 4: Cover your head with the shower cap. This helps retain heat so that the bleach can lighten your hair color effectively.

Step 5: Leave the bleach mix on your hair for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 6: Rinse your hair with a mild shampoo and conditioner.

Note: Do a patch test on a small hair section from the back of your head. Wait for at least 24 hours to observe for any allergic reaction before the bleaching process.

Can You Bleach Gray Hair To White?

Gray hair bleached to white
Image: Shutterstock

Yes. If you leave the bleach on your gray hair for a long time, it might turn white. However, there is no guarantee for this, and the results might not always be effective.

Also, keeping the bleach on your hair for an unnecessarily long time will cause dryness and brittleness. Instead, you can use a purple toning shampoo to make your gray hair appear whiter.

Note: If you have textured curly or coily hair, using bleach can ruin your curls. Moreover, If you try heat styling your textured hair after bleaching it, your hair can turn yellow. Therefore, it is best to get your hair textured hair bleached by a professional help. And always tone your hair after it has been bleached.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Purple shampoo contains blue pigments that neutralize brassy tones in gray and white hair and make it look brighter.

Infographic: A Simple Guide To Bleaching Gray Hair

Save a few pennies by covering up your grays right at home. Although every component of it has been covered in-depth in the article, we have simplified the procedure for you here.
Check out the infographic below to learn more about how to bleach gray hair.

a simple guide to bleaching gray hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Bleaching gray hair will help you get a uniform look and efficiently maintain your hair. Light hair colors are in style, and you can easily be a part of it this way. Depending on your hair’s natural color, you can color your gray hair platinum blonde or brown. It is recommended to use a shade darker than your natural color. Bleaching your hair may leave it fragile and dry. Therefore, you may have to take care of your hair by moisturizing it. You may use a nourishing mask to keep it strong, healthy, and soft. Wait for at least 15 days before your next bleaching. However, do note that bleaching is a process best handled by experienced people or professional hairdressers. If you have never bleached your hair by yourself before, do visit the nearest salon to get it done by an expert.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I lighten my gray hair white?

You can use bleach and other natural ingredients or silver toner to lighten your gray hair.

Can I bleach my silver hair?

Yes, you can bleach your silver hair. It removes any yellowish hues, ensuring you stay in fashion with your uniformly glossy, silver hair.

Does gray hair need bleaching?

Gray hair is difficult to color at the roots. However, if you want a uniform shade of hair, bleaching can make your grays lighter and easier to color.

Key Takeaways

  • Bleaching your gray hair also helps lighten it to give it a uniform color and even look.
  • Bleaching also gets rid of any dye from your hair if it was previously colored.
  • Using purple shampoo prevents yellow tones and makes your bleached hair appear whiter.
bleaching gray hair_illustration

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Wondering what happens when you bleach gray hair? Watch this video for information on this surprising dyeing outcome when silver strands meet bleach. Check it out!


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Histopathology of aging of the hair follicle
  2. Why does hair turn gray?
  3.  Diversity of human hair pigmentation as studied by chemical analysis of eumelanin and pheomelanin
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Alicia Igess

Alicia IgessHairstylist

Alicia Igess is an accomplished and award-winning stylist with over two decades of experience in hair design. She is the owner and founder of Urban Tangles, a hair and makeup studio focusing on makeovers. She, along with her team, has experienced tremendous success in building an exclusive “referral-only” clientele consisting of many of the who’s who of full bio

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