Outlines how to bleach bath hair to get a gentle lightening without the damage caused by strong bleaching or harsh ammonia. Bleach washing is an easy, effective, hair-friendly way to lift your colour, remove darker pigments and achieve a lighter colour result.
Bleach is an extremely useful tool for dyeing your hair as it’s the only product that can lighten hair substantially. In fact, if you’ve dyed your hair with a permanent dye, it’s practically the only way you can lighten it at all.
Sometimes you don’t need to perform a full bleach process however, and this is where a bleach bath becomes useful. A bleach bath is formulated in a slightly different way to make it a more gentle way to use bleach.
If you want to remove the colour from your hair without waiting for it to fade or grow out naturally, a bleach bath will do the trick. This helps keep your hair in the best condition and, as bleach isn’t a gentle chemical, it’s vital you are very careful with this process.
Take care: We care about your hair and want you to have your individual look without doing any damage.
What is a bleach bath for hair?
Normally when you bleach your hair, the bleach powder is mixed with peroxide and applied as directed to dry hair. This is an effective way to lighten your hair, but it can be overkill in some circumstances where you don’t need a lot of lightening or you’re dealing with fragile hair. A bleach bath or bleach wash is a milder alternative to this process.
Bleach baths differ from a regular bleach process in a couple of ways and every hairdresser has their own method for performing one. The main differences arise from the fact that shampoo is added to the bleach mixture, it is applied to wet hair, and it is generally mixed up with a lower volume of peroxide.
These qualities lead to a more dilute preparation of bleach that is far gentler on your hair. On top of this, applying the preparation to wet hair means that it is much quicker to apply it to the whole head, and the results are very even all over.
When should you use one?
Bleach baths are handy for a few reasons due to their milder lightening action and ease of application:
- Stripping out hair dye
- Correcting over-toned hair
- Lightening hair one level
- Lightening fragile hair
If you dye your hair with bright colors and you change these colors all the time, a bleach bath can be used to remove stubborn traces of color that haven’t washed out yet. In this case, because the bleach is diluted and isn’t in contact with the hair for very long, very little damage occurs compared to a regular bleach process.
A bleach bath can even be used to strip out permanent hair dye when it either turns out too dark or you need to remove a buildup of color. In this case however, hair dye remover is much more effective and a bleach bath should not be used unless the dye remover fails to lift enough of the color out. For stubborn color or excessive dye buildup that doesn’t respond readily to dye remover, a bleach bath is a useful option.
Of course, bleach baths can also be used to lighten your hair in the same way as regular bleach. When used in this way, they provide you with a much gentler bleaching action and cause less damage to fragile hair, but you won’t see the same amount of lift that a full bleach process could grant you. Use a bleach bath when you have fragile hair and only want to lighten it a little.
When to bleach bath vs full bleach
|Hair condition||Type of bleach|
|Stubborn color||Bleach bath|
|Mild lightening||Bleach bath|
|Dyeing hair blonde||Full bleach|
|Removing dark colors||Full bleach|
|Regrowth tinting||Full bleach|
How to bleach bath hair safely: What you’ll need
- Mixing bowl
- Clarifying shampoo
- Developer – 20 vol is the safest, you could use 30 vol, but no stronger
- Bleach powder
- Quality conditioner (coconut oil works well too)
- Disposable plastic gloves
- Wide-toothed comb and tinting brush
- Plastic shower cap (optional)
- A timer… Err on the side of caution when it comes to developer and bleach. If you’ve not done this before or your hair is fine and light, use 20 vol the first time to be on the safe side.
- Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix the bleach powder and developer together to form a yoghurt-type cream.
- Put the usual amount of shampoo you use into the bowl … about 10ml.
- Add about half that amount of bleach mix to the bowl (or a quarter, if you want to be REALLY safe the first time you do this) and mix thoroughly.
- If you don’t have a clarifying shampoo handy, just use your favourite shampoo, the one you normally use as it’ll be less of a shock for your hair and scalp.
- Rinse your hair then rub with a towel so that it’s semi-dry, not dripping
- Put your gloves on and apply the mix to your hair
- In sections, work up from the ends to the roots, combing through
- You can also use the tint brush to make sure you work the mix well into the roots if that is where the colour is
- Set the timer and put the shower cap on if you want a more intense bleachingIf this is the first bleach bath you’ve done, don’t use the shower cap.
- If you feel any burning or irritation, wash off immediately.
Checking and finishing off
It’s very difficult to give time guidelines as it is so personal to you. Things that affect the timing are your type of hair, the intensity of the colour you want to remove and your natural hair colour.
We want your hair to remain in the best condition possible so check very frequently -at least every four or five minutes. It will stop working after 60 minutes. If this is your first bleach bath, make the first check even earlier.
How to check
- To do this, separate out a small section of hair, scrape a bit of the bleach mix off and see how light it is. If you want to continue, put that section back and spread the mix back over it.
- Once you’re happy with the colour, rinse the mix off really, really well and apply conditioner. Leave the conditioner in for a bit longer than usual to prevent your hair drying out.
- That’s it! You can now leave your hair or apply a new colour, whatever you want.