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How to Bleach Black Hair Without Damaging It (Step-by-Step)

Looking to bleach your black or dark hair? Then make sure you don’t damage it in the process. Here’s how to bleach black hair, without issues.

Written by Danish Bodycare
How to Bleach Black Hair Without Damage

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Bleaching black hair can be challenging, but it is possible to do it without damaging your hair.

In fact, it is possible to bleach your hair without causing any damage at all. According to a study by the Journal of Cosmetic Science, over 50% of women who bleach their hair experience damage.

By using the right products and techniques, you can minimize the risk of damage and achieve the desired result.

Read our comprehensive guide to learn how to bleach black hair without damage.

Can You Bleach Black Hair At Home?

Can You Bleach Black Hair At Home

Yes, you can bleach black hair at home. But there are pitfalls to avoid, such as over-bleaching or orange tones. That’s why it’s good to read a guide on how to do it before you do it.

Bleaching Natural Black Hair vs. Dyed Black Hair

In this section, we’ll discuss the differences between bleaching natural black hair and dyed black hair.

Bleaching Natural Black Hair:

If you are bleaching natural black hair, follow these steps to achieve lighter hair shades:

  1. Choose a high-quality bleach and developer, such as a 30-volume peroxide.
  2. Do a strand test to determine the time required to achieve your desired shade. This will also prevent damage to your hair.
  3. Mix the bleach powder and developer according to the instructions provided.
  4. Apply the mixture to your hair, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots.
  5. Track the processing time to avoid over-bleaching and damaging your hair.
  6. Use a gentle shampoo and deep conditioner to rinse out the bleach and restore moisture to your hair.

Do not attempt to go from black to platinum in a single day, as this can cause damage. Instead, opt for gradual lightening over several sessions.

Bleaching Dyed Black Hair:

Bleaching dyed black hair is a different process. You should take extra care to avoid damage. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Apply a color remover to lift the existing black dye from your hair. This makes the bleaching process more effective.
  2. Choose a high-quality bleach and developer, such as a 30 volume peroxide.
  3. Before you bleach your black hair, it’s important to conduct a strand test. This test determines the processing time needed to achieve your desired shade without causing damage.
  4. Mix the bleach and developer according to the instructions.
  5. Apply the mixture to your hair, starting from the ends, then working your way up to the roots.
  6. Keep an eye on the processing time. Once you’ve reached your desired shade, wash out the bleach.

Consult a professional hair stylist if you’re unsure or nervous about bleaching your hair at home.

Bleaching Supplies

Here’s a list of items you’ll need for a damage-free bleaching experience:

  • Bleach: Choose a high-quality hair bleach that’s suitable for black hair.
  • Low-Volume Developer (10-20): Use a low-volume developer to avoid damage while processing.
  • Wide-Toothed Comb: A wide-toothed comb is essential for distributing the bleach mixture.
  • Brush, Bowl, and Plastic Gloves: Use a brush to apply the bleach and a bowl to mix it in. Wear plastic gloves for safety.
  • Alligator Clips: Clips are handy for sectioning your hair during bleaching.
  • Neutralizing Shampoo, Conditioner, and Coconut Oil: These products restore your hair after bleaching.
  • Processing Cap: You’ll need this cap to cover your hair while the bleach is processing.
  • Toner (Optional): You can use a toner after bleaching to achieve a specific shade of blonde.
  • Vaseline for Skin Protection: Vaseline protects your skin from irritation.

How to Prepare Black Hair for Bleaching

You should prepare your hair before bleaching. Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Don’t bleach if your hair is damaged
  • Hydrate and moisturize
  • Wash your hair with shampoo
  • Avoid heat
  • Mix your bleaching solution

Don’t Bleach If Your Hair Is Damaged

Assess the condition of your hair. If it is already damaged, it’s a good idea to wait for it to heal before bleaching it.

Conduct a strand test to check the elasticity and health of your hair. And, do a patch test to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction to the bleach.

Hydrate and Moisturize

A week before bleaching your hair, hydrate and moisturize it. Use a deep conditioning mask daily to nourish your hair.

Wash Your Hair With Shampoo

Before bleaching, ensure your hair is clean by washing it with a gentle shampoo. This removes dirt and residue that could interfere with the bleach’s effectiveness.

Avoid Heat

Don’t use heat styling tools in the days before bleaching, as it can further damage your hair. Instead, opt for natural styling methods to preserve your hair’s health.

Mix Your Bleaching Solution

When you’re ready to begin, gather the necessary supplies. Mix the bleach and developer according to the instructions on the packaging.

How to Bleach Black Hair

Here’s how to bleach black hair, without damaging it:

  1. Moisturize with coconut oil
  2. Wear gloves
  3. Divide your hair into four sections
  4. Apply bleach & distribute it evenly
  5. Let the bleach sit
  6. Rinse, shampoo, & condition

1. Moisturize With Coconut Oil

Moisturize With Coconut Oil

Before starting the bleaching process, moisturize your hair. A great option for this is coconut oil.

Apply coconut oil to your hair the night before bleaching it. This protects your hair from damage and keeps it hydrated throughout the process.

2. Wear Gloves

Wear Gloves

Always wear gloves when working with bleach. Use them to protect your skin from irritation and avoid contact with your eyes.

3. Divide Your Hair Into Four Sections

Divide Your Hair Into Four Sections

Divide your hair into four sections to apply and distribute bleach the proper way. This makes it easier to manage and bleach each part.

4. Apply Bleach & Distribute Evenly

Apply Bleach & Distribute Evenly

Mix the bleach according to the instructions on the packaging.

Starting at the roots, use a tinting brush to apply the bleach mixture to each section of hair. Work your way down to the ends. Avoid overlapping with already processed areas.

5. Let the Bleach Sit

Let the Bleach Sit

Once you have applied the bleach to all sections, allow it to sit for the recommended time on the packaging.

Keep an eye on your hair during this processing time, as overprocessing can cause damage.

6. Rinse, Shampoo, & Condition

Rinse, Shampoo, & Condition

After the bleach has processed, rinse your hair with cool water.

Use a neutralizing shampoo and a deep conditioner. These products stop the chemical process, restore moisture, and minimize potential damage.

How to Care for Bleached Black Hair

Here’s how to care for bleached dark hair:

  • Wait 48-72 hours before washing again
  • Use conditioner
  • Use blue or purple shampoo for toning
  • Use post-color treatments for repair

Wait 48-72 Hours Before Washing Again

After you have bleached your dark hair, give it time to recover. Wait at least 48-72 hours before washing it again.

Use Conditioner

Despite your efforts to prevent damage, bleaching black hair can be harsh on your strands.

To combat this, be sure to use a deep conditioner after washing. It restores your hair’s health and keeps it smooth and soft.

Use Blue or Purple Shampoo for Toning

Use blue or purple shampoos to tone and counteract unwanted yellow or orange hues that may appear after bleaching.

Use Post-Color Treatments for Repair

After bleaching your hair, it’s important to take care of it to keep it healthy and prevent further damage.

Use post-color treatments that repair and strengthen your hair fibers. Protein-infused hair masks or leave-in conditioners reduce breakage and dryness caused by bleaching.

Be gentle with your hair and avoid rough towel-drying. Instead, pat your hair dry with a soft towel. Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair.

How to Prevent Bleach Damage on Dark Hair

To prevent bleach damage on dark hair, do the following:

  • Condition before and after
  • Use low-volume bleach developer
  • Use hair dye to extend your hair color
  • Don’t bleach too often
  • Don’t let the bleach sit too long
  • Always follow the instructions

Condition Before and After

Condition your hair properly before and after the bleaching. This reduces the risk of damage.

Low-Volume Bleach Developer

When selecting a bleach developer, opt for a low-volume one (20 or 30 volume). This causes less damage to your hair.

Lower volumes are gentler on your strands. Higher volumes can lead to over-processing. Though it may take longer to achieve the desired lightness, it’s a safer approach and will reduce the risk of permanent damage.

Use Hair Dye to Extend Your Hair Color

Instead of bleaching your hair too often, use hair dye to extend the longevity of your color.

Semi-permanent or toning hair dyes keep the brightness of your hair and don’t cause extra damage.

Don’t Bleach too Often

Avoid bleaching your hair too frequently.

This can lead to breakage, heat styling damage, and over-processing. Give your hair time to recover from each bleaching session and schedule regular trims to avoid split ends.

Don’t Let the Bleach Sit Too Long

When bleaching your hair, don’t let the bleach sit for too long.

This can cause severe damage to your hair, including breakage and irreversible harm.

Follow the instructions provided with your bleach to prevent over-processing.

Always Follow the Instructions

Adhere to the instructions to avoid damage to your strands.

Check recommendations or precautions from the manufacturer as well. By following the provided directions, you will get optimal results, achieve your desired color, and avoid harm to your hair.

Types of Bleaching for Dark Hair

There are many ways you can bleach dark hair. Maybe you want highlights or balayage. Or a complete bleach and dye job.

So here’s how to bleach black hair in different ways:

  1. Complete blonde bleaching & dye job
  2. Lightening dark hair
  3. Highlights
  4. Balayage

Complete Blonde Bleaching & Dye Job

If you want to go all out and dye your dark hair platinum blonde, use hydrogen peroxide mixed with hair bleach.

This combination removes the natural pigment in your hair strands. It also opens the hair cuticle to allow the dye to penetrate. Do this gradually, as going lighter too quickly can cause damage to your hair and hair cuticles.

Lightening Dark Hair

If want to lighten your dark hair, use a lower volume creme developer (10, 20, or 30 volume).

This option is less aggressive than a full bleach and allows you to control how light your hair becomes. Comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush after application. This ensures even coverage of the bleach.

Bleaching Dark Hair for Highlights

Highlights are great if you want to add dimension and subtle lightness to your dark hair.

This technique involves applying bleach to small sections of your hair using a tinting brush or alligator clips.

The bleach lightens these sections, creating a beautiful contrast with your natural color. You can customize the level of lightness depending on your desired look.

Bleaching Dark Hair for Balayage

Balayage is a freehand technique that gives your hair a natural-looking color transition from dark to light.

The result is a sun-kissed effect without harsh lines or marks.

Balayage is less damaging compared to traditional highlights. This is due to the fact that foil is not needed and you can use a lower volume developer.

The following table provides a summary of the different types of bleaching for dark hair:

Type of BleachingDescriptionRecommended Developer VolumeProsCons
Complete Blonde Bleaching & Dye JobA full bleach and dye job to turn dark hair blonde.High volume creme developer (30 or 40 volume)Provides complete transformation to blonde hairCan cause severe damage to hair if not done gradually
Lightening Dark HairA less aggressive option to lighten dark hair.Low volume creme developer (10, 20, or 30 volume)Allows control over how light hair becomesMay not achieve desired level of lightness
HighlightsAdding dimension and subtle lightness to dark hair through small sections of bleached hair.Low volume creme developer (10, 20, or 30 volume)Customizable level of lightnessMay require frequent touch-ups to maintain
BalayageA freehand technique that provides a natural-looking color transition from dark to light.Low volume creme developer (10, 20, or 30 volume)Less damaging compared to traditional highlightsMay not achieve as dramatic of a look as other techniques

Common Bleaching Issues for Dark Hair

If you are bleaching black hair, or dark hair, be aware of these common issues:

  1. Orange tones after bleaching dark hair
  2. Under-bleaching & prepping
  3. Bleaching damaged hair
  4. Strand test for bleaching

Orange Tones after Bleaching Dark Hair

When you bleach dark hair, it can sometimes end up with a brassy orange hue.

This is because dark hair has more red and orange pigments that are more visible after the bleaching process.

To fix this issue, you can use a toner or blue shampoo to cancel out orange tones. You can also use a purple shampoo or blue conditioner to neutralize and balance out the orange and yellow tones.

Under-Bleaching & Prepping

Under-bleaching occurs when your hair is not lightened enough during the bleaching process.

This can leave it looking uneven or patchy. To avoid this issue, follow the bleach product instructions and apply the bleach mixture to each section of your hair.

Prepare your hair before bleaching by using a deep conditioning mask daily in the week before bleaching. This will moisturize and strengthen your hair, decreasing the likelihood of damage.

Bleaching Damaged Hair

Attempting to bleach already damaged hair can lead to further damage and breakage.

If you have damaged hair, try to avoid bleaching it or proceed with caution. Some steps to minimize damage include:

  • Using a lower volume developer (10 or 20 volume) to avoid harsh chemicals
  • Applying a protein treatment to strengthen your hair before and after bleaching
  • Deep-conditioning your hair regularly to maintain moisture

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times do you need to bleach black hair?

It depends on how light you want your hair to be. The process of lightening black hair might require many sessions. This is especially the case when you want to achieve a lighter shade. Be patient and avoid over-bleaching, as it can lead to hair damage. It’s essential to maintain the health of your hair during this process.

How long should you wait between bleaching sessions?

You should wait at least two weeks between bleaching sessions. You need to do this to give your hair enough time to recover. During this period, use deep conditioning treatments and other nourishing hair care products.

What happens when you bleach black hair with hydrogen peroxide?

When you bleach black hair with hydrogen peroxide, it decolorizes the pigment in the hair shaft and lightens its color. Follow the instructions provided with the product to avoid damaging your hair.

How long does it take to bleach black hair?

It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to bleach black hair. The time it takes to bleach dark hair varies, as it depends on the product used and the desired level of lightness. Follow the directions and track the process to prevent over-bleaching and damage.

Does bleaching black hair make it brown?

The initial stages of bleaching might turn black hair into various shades of brown, but further bleaching can make it even lighter. Bleaching black hair can result in different shades. This depends on the duration of the process and the product used.

How long does bleached hair last?

Bleached hair is permanent, meaning it will not revert to its original color. As your hair grows, the roots show your natural color. The bleached portions remain until you cut them off.

Can hair turn black again after bleaching?

Hair will not turn black again on its own after bleaching. If you want to restore your hair to its original black color, you need to use a hair dye formulated for that purpose.

Is black hair harder to bleach?

Yes, black hair can be harder to bleach due to its darker pigment. It requires more time and effort to achieve a lighter color. In some cases, many bleaching sessions may be necessary to get the desired shade.

Does bleached black hair fade?

Bleached hair’s color can fade over time. This is especially the case if you expose it to harsh sunlight or frequent washing. Using color-protecting hair care products can maintain the vibrancy of your bleached hair.

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Danish Bodycare

The Danish Bodycare editorial staff consists of beauty experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, and models with years of experience in the personal care space.