Bleach Bath Hair 101 | How To Do A Bleach Bath At Home.

Bleaching your hair is a great way to go from drab to fab, but it can also be an incredibly damaging process. If your heart’s set on a whole new you and you need to bleach your hair to get there, what can you do? Bleach bath hair could be the answer.

Bleach washing hair is trending all over TikTok right now with some weird and wonderful results!

This hair lightening technique is becoming increasingly popular, especially among those who want to achieve a lighter hair color without using harsh chemicals.

Whether you want to lighten your hair by one or two shades, correct color, even out your hair tone or strip out some leftover semi-permanent or permanent hair dye, here’s everything you need to know to get a bleach wash right – first time -at home.

Let’s go!

Bleach bath hair - how to do a bleach bath for hair infographic step by step with pictures

What is a bleach bath for hair?

A bleach bath is a mixture of bleach, developer and shampoo.

Bleach bathing is gentler way to remove unwanted hair color from your strands or correcting your color without damaging your hair too much.

It’s a technique that’s kinder to your hair than regular bleaching as the bleach is diluted with shampoo and water.

Because the bleach is diluted, it’s not as effective a process as regular bleach. So if you have dark hair or stubborn hair dye pigments to remove, this might not work for you.

A bleach bath is best for:

  1. Gently removing unwanted hair color without causing excessive damage to your strands.
  2. Correcting your hair color in a less aggressive manner than traditional bleaching.
  3. Stripping off any leftover dye from a previous color job.
  4. Neutralizing unwanted tones in your hair color.
  5. Prepping your hair for a new dye job by creating a clean base.
  6. Brightening up and toning lightened hair for a refreshed look.
  7. Gradually going one shade lighter in a more gentle process than regular bleaching.

If you want to go platinum or bleach blonde, a bleach bath won’t do it!

Bleach baths are best for lightening your hair by 1-2 shades. If you want a more dramatic change, you may need to use regular bleach or visit a professional colorist.

Overall, bleach baths are a great option for those who want to remove hair dye or gently lighten their hair without causing damage.

And best of all- it’s easy to do a bleach bath yourself at home!

How to bleach bath hair at home.

While bleach baths can be a great way to achieve a lighter hair color, it’s important to remember that they can still be damaging to your hair if not done correctly.

That’s why it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and to use a good quality bleach and developer.

And ALWAYS do a patch test first to ensure that your hair can handle the bleach bathing process!

Preparation for a Bleach Bath

Before we start with the bleach bath process, you’ll need to get your hands on the right tools and ingredients. Here’s what you need:


  • Bleach powder
  • Developer
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner


  • Mixing bowl
  • Tinting brush
  • Measuring cup
  • Latex or plastic gloves
  • Old towel

Follow these steps to get yourself ready:

1. Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo – this gets rid of any excess product that may block the the bleaching chemicals and stop them working on your strands.

2.Leave your hair wet. Don’t apply the bleach mixture to dry hair. It needs to be applied to wet strands. It’s called ‘bleach washing’ after all! If you have long hair, separate it into sections and secure with pins or claw clips.

3.Apply Vaseline to your ears, nose, neck and eyebrows (literally everywhere!).

Bleach washing can burn your skin so Vaseline acts like a shield to protect your sensitive skin underneath!

4.Wear old clothes. And protective gloves. Bleach bathing can stain clothes so it’s a good idea to wear something you don’t mind getting ruined. Cover your surfaces too.

Dab Vaseline onto your clothes where the bleach will drip down (collar, cuffs etc) to prevent it from staining.

5.Do a patch test! Check for any allergic reactions to the bleach by doing a patch test on somewhere inconspicuous – like the inside of your elbow or behind your ear.

6.Open some windows! The fumes from bleach can be toxic if inhaled, so it’s a good idea to have some fresh air in the room.

You’re ready!

Bleach Bath Hair Recipe

  • The bleach wash ratio is 1:2:3.
  • That’s one part bleach powder, two parts developer, and three parts shampoo mixed with water.
hair dye or bleaching kit accessories mixing bowl and brush and clips

Step 1: Prepare the mixture.

  • Mix the bleach powder and developer according to the instructions on the packaging. We recommend using a 1:2 ratio of bleach to developer for a gentler lightening effect.
  • Add shampoo to the mixture. Add at up to 3 times the shampoo – how much you need will depend on the length and thickness of your hair. We suggest using a moisturizing shampoo to help prevent dryness and damage.
  • Dilute the mixture with water. This will help to make the bleach bath less harsh on your hair.

The higher the volume of developer, the stronger the effects will be. This means that there’s more peroxide in it, which will be more damaging.

It’s best to use a 10 volume developer for your first time if you are unsure which strength you need. You can always bleach bath your hair again.

If you have very dark hair you’ll need 20 volume developer and up.

We recommend only trying to lift your color one or two shades lighter. This will avoid your hair turning orange!

Use a plastic mixing bowl and tinting brush to mix the bleach powder and developer together. This will help you apply the bleach mixture in your hair too.

Step 2: Apply to damp hair

Unlike hair dye, this is not a solution to apply to dried hair.

A bleach wash needs to be applied to wet hair to take effect without being patchy. This will help the bleach spread evenly and reduce the risk of damage to your hair.

  • Wet your hair with warm water and towel dry it to get the excess water off.
  • Comb your hair using a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. This will help to apply the bleach mixture evenly.
  • Wrap a towel or hair stylists cape around your shoulders. Bleach will eat the color from everything it touches!
  • Using a gloved hand or a brush, apply the mixture to your hair. Start at the roots and working your way down to the ends. Make sure to cover all of your hair evenly.
  • Make sure each strand is saturated from root tip. At the roots, massage it into your hair as you would when you shampoo it.

Repeat the process until your whole head is covered.

applying the bleach wash mixture with a tinting brush on damp hair

Step 3: Leave to develop.

Clip your hair up to keep it from dripping or marking anything while it develops.

You can also tuck it up into a shower cap or cling wrap. This will help trap in heat and speed up the lightening process.

Keep an eye on it! You don’t want leave the bleach in your hair too long as it will damage your hair. For a guide to timings:

  • For already light hair 7 – 10 minutes.
  • For removing a dark permanent hair dye color 10-15 minutes, or 30 minutes maximum.
  • If you have black hair and you’re using a 30-40 strength volume developer, this will act fast!
  • Don’t let it process longer than 7-10 minutes on black hair or it will turn orange!

Step 4: Rinse and condition your hair

When your hair has reached the right amount of lift, rinse and wash your hair really well under warm water.

  • Apply a deep conditioner to help your hair begin to repair from the bleaching process.
  • You can repeat the process and bleach your hair again to get it lighter. But be careful that you don’t damage your hair.
  • Or you can dye your hair another color on top. A bleach bath will give you a good base for a new dye job.

“Since bleach is being applied to the hair, even mildly, a deep conditioner or repairing mask should also be used afterwards for at least 10 to 20 minutes.”

Kristen Kell, top colorist at Salon SCK in New York City

Step 5: Tone your hair (if needed)

If your hair is looking warm and brassy with orange or yellow tones in it after a bleach bath, you’ll need to tone your hair to get rid of them.

This is especially common if you have naturally dark hair, as the process of lifting color can reveal a lot of red and orange tones.

Toning at this stage can help cancel out those tones and give you a cooler, more even base.

  • If you are going to bleach your hair again soon, there’s no point in toning it. Bleach will remove any toner you apply, and you’ll end up with the same brassy or yellow tones you started with.
  • If you plan to leave your hair as it is, or dye it a cool color, toning can make a big difference.

Toners come in a range of colors, from purple and blue to silver and gray.

  • If you want to neutralize yellow tones, you can use a purple toner.
  • If you want to neutralize orange tones, you can use a blue toner.

Toners should be applied to damp but not wet hair. You can mix the toner with developer, following the instructions on the package.

Some toners are more pigmented than others, so it’s best to start with a small amount and test a strand of hair before applying it all over.

Leave the toner on for about 10-20 minutes, or as directed, and rinse thoroughly with cool water.

And voila! You have successfully bleach bathed your hair!

Top Tips!

  • Always do a patch test before applying the bleach bath to your entire head of hair.
  • Use a timer to keep track of how long the bleach bath has been on your hair.
  • Avoid using a bleach bath on hair that is already damaged or over-processed.
  • If you have sensitive skin, use a barrier cream around your hairline to prevent irritation.

Bleach bath for hair before and after.

Watch and learn: How to bleach bath your hair at home like a pro!

Here’s a fab video that shows you how to do a bleach bath for hair, lighten and tone your hair step by step without ruining it.

Should you bleach bath your hair?

It can be tricky to work out whether you need traditional bleach or a bleach bath.

Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider a bleach bath for your hair:

Reason #1: You need to lighten your hair by one or two shades.

If you’re looking for a subtle lift in color, rather than an obvious change, then a bleach bath may be just what you need.

It will take you up a notch without harsh chemicals or too much damage to your hair.

Reason #2: You want to even out your hair tone.

We all know that over time, hair color fades. Washing, styling, and damaging UV rays from the sun can lead to uneven patches of hair color.

A bleach bath is an effective way of evening out those tones without having to re-bleach it all over again.

Reason #3: You want to remove leftover semi-permanent or permanent hair dye color.

If you’ve recently dyed your hair with semi-permanent or permanent hair dye and want to get rid of the remaining tints, this is a great option.

A bleach wash will strip away any traces of unwanted color without damaging your locks.

Reason #4: You want to color-correct blonde or bleached hair.

Bleach baths are also great for toning down overly bright blonde tones that can sometimes look almost brassy or yellowish on certain skin types.

Reason #5: Your hair is too damaged to be able to go through direct bleaching.

We all have days where our hair needs some TLC after being put through its paces with multiple coloring sessions and processes.

Before even considering another bleach job, try a bleach bath first!

It’s gentler on your locks and can still achieve a lightening effect without frazzling your strands.

“A bleach bath can be a much milder process to start with on the hair if the hair has been compromised from previous services.”

Scott Tyler, a colorist and educator at Van Michael Salon 
bleach bath recipe hair - lady bleaching roots

Bleach Bath Hair Pros and Cons

Bleach baths have become a popular option for those looking to lighten their hair without causing too much damage. Here are some pros and cons to consider before trying a bleach bath.


  • Less damaging: Bleach baths are generally considered less damaging than traditional bleaching methods. This is because the bleach is diluted with shampoo, which helps to protect the hair from breakage.
  • Lifts brassy tones: Bleach baths can help to lift brassy tones from hair, which is especially useful for those with dyed blonde hair.
  • Gradually lightens hair: Unlike traditional bleaching methods, bleach baths gradually lighten hair over time. This means that you can achieve your desired look without risking over-toned hair or unwanted pigments.
  • Cost-effective: Bleach baths are a cost-effective option for those who want to lighten their hair without breaking the bank.


  • Risky: Bleach baths can be risky, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. If done incorrectly, bleach baths can cause damage to your hair and scalp.
  • May cause breakage: While bleach baths are generally considered less damaging than traditional bleaching methods, they can still cause breakage if not done correctly.
  • May damage hair bonds: Bleach baths can damage hair bonds, which can lead to breakage and other hair issues.

How To Bleach Bath for Different Hair Types

Everyone’s hair is different. Depending on your individual hair type and desired result, there may be different bleaching techniques that may be more suitable for you.

Let’s break down how bleach bath works for different hair types:

Bleach Bath for Bleached Hair

If you already have bleached hair, then bleach bath can be a great way to refresh your color and remove any unwanted tones.

BUT A WORD OF WARNING: A bleach bath should not be used to go platinum or bleach blonde. It’s best to leave that to the professionals!

Bleach Bath for Dark Hair

Bleach bath can be a great way to lighten dark hair. But it’s a process that should be taken with caution and care!

Dark hair can be more fragile and brittle than lighter hair. So it’s important to use a lower volume developer and keep a close eye on your hair during the process.

A bleach bath will only lighten hair 1-2 shades. So if you’re looking for a more drastic change, you may need to go for more traditional bleaching methods.

Bleach Bath for Brittle or Fragile Hair

If you have brittle or fragile hair, a bleach bath is probably not the best option for you.

Bleach can be very drying to hair, and if your hair is already fragile, it may cause breakage or damage and make everything worse!

It’s best to consult with a professional stylist to determine if bleach bath is a safe option for your hair.

Bleach Bath for Natural Hair Color

If you have natural hair color, bleach bath can be a great way to add subtle highlights or lighten your hair without completely changing your color.

A bleach bath will not work on virgin hair!

If you’ve never colored your hair before, you’ll need to use traditional bleaching methods to achieve the desired result.

Bleach Bath for Hair Texture

Bleach bath can work for all hair textures. But it’s important to use the right developer and to keep a close eye on your hair during the process.

Coarser hair may require a higher volume developer, while finer hair may require a lower volume developer.

If you’re not sure, chat to a professional stylist to determine the best developer for your hair type and texture.

Choosing the Right Products

When it comes to bleach bathing your hair, you need to make sure you’re using the right products. This will get you the look you want without compromising the health of your locks.

Here are some of the key products you’ll need to consider:

Hair Bleach

Hair bleach is the number one product you need for the job.

It’s important to choose a high-quality product that is specifically designed for bleaching hair.

Look for a bleach that is formulated with nourishing ingredients to help protect your strands during the process.

Volume Developer

Volume developer is used to activate the hair bleach and is available in different strengths.

The strength you choose will depend on the level of lightening you want to achieve. Generally, a 10 or 20 volume developer is recommended for a bleach bath.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a key ingredient in hair bleach and is used to lighten the hair.

It’s important to choose a high-quality hydrogen peroxide that is specifically designed for use on hair.

Clarifying Shampoo

A clarifying shampoo is the best product to remove any buildup on the hair before you do a bleach bath.

This makes sure your hair is super clean and that the bleach can penetrate the hair evenly.

Hair Mask

After the bleach bath, use a hair mask to nourish and repair your frazzled locks.

Look for a hair mask that contains ingredients like keratin and argan oil to help restore moisture and strength.

Deep Conditioner

A deep conditioner is another essential product to use after a bleach bath.

This will help to restore moisture and prevent damage to the hair. Look for a deep conditioner that contains ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil to help nourish and protect your hair.


A toner is used to neutralize any brassy or yellow tones in your hair after a bleach bath.

Look for a hair toner that is specifically designed for use on bleached hair and contains purple or blue pigments to counteract any unwanted tones.

Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo is another product that can be used to neutralize brassy or yellow tones in the hair.

Use this once a week when you wash your hair to keep your color looking cool.

Sulfate-Free Shampoo

When you wash your hair, make sure you use a sulfate-free shampoo.

This will help protect and revive your hair color and prevent damage to your locks.

Bleach bath hair FAQS

Will a bleach bath lighten my hair?

Yes, a bleach wash process will lighten your hair, but maybe not as much as you might think.

It will only lift your hair by 1-2 levels. So it won’t help you go from black hair to platinum blonde. For that you may need the regular bleach process (more than once!).

A bleach wash is a gentler process that removes unwanted color one shade at time. It’s a more gradual way to lighten your hair.

It will lighten your hair more than lightening your hair naturally in the sun. But for heavyweight color lifting, you’ll need full strength bleach and the regular bleach process.

Is a bleach bath safe for my hair?

While bleach baths can definitely be a great way to lighten and brighten up your hair, it is important to be safe about it.

If you don’t do it right, a bleach bath for hair can cause damage to both your scalp and hair.

To avoid any side effects, you should always follow instructions closely, use quality professional hair products, and monitor the time that the bleach is left in your hair.

Basically, if done correctly, a bleach bath is absolutely safe and can give you Instagram-worthy hair without putting it at risk. Just make sure that you’re taking the appropriate steps!

How many levels will a bleach bath lift?

A bleach wash should lift your hair 1-2 levels.

If you want more lift and lighter hair, or there are more stubborn color pigments to remove, you can use a stronger bleach.

WARNING: This is not household bleach we’re talking about! Hair bleach is specially formulated to take the color out of your hair without melting it off!

Because bleach bathing is a gentler process, it may leave your hair looking warmer with tones of orange.

If this happens, you’ll need to use a hair toner and leave it in for the right amount of time to correct that color.

Do I need regular bleach or a bleach bath?

Can a bleach bath lighten dark hair?

Sure, you can use a bleach bath to lighten dark hair, but don’t expect miracles!

If we’re being totally real here, you won’t be able to transform jet black locks into a platinum blonde shade.

You might be lucky enough to lighten your dark tresses by one or two levels, but it might just end up turning orange instead.

Anything more than two levels and it’s time for the regular ol’ bleach process. Just remember not to overdue it or else that can turn out tangerine too!

Is a bleach bath better for your hair than regular bleach?

Lightening your hair with any chemicals like bleach is a damaging and intensive process.

This can leave your hair feeling brittle and dry.

The bleach bath method uses a weaker strength of bleach and developer that’s diluted with shampoo water.

This means it’s not as damaging as using the full-on peroxide you’ll find in a regular bleaching process.

If you have a sensitive scalp or suffer from skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, a bleach bath is a gentler solution. Although please seek advice before using any strong chemicals on your skin!

But generally, because the chemical strength is watered down with this technique, it’s kinder to your hair.

What do you mix in a bleach bath for hair?

Bleach baths are fast becoming one of the most popular ways to lighten hair and are typically used to remove old color.

But what do you mix in a bleach bath recipe? What is the bleach bath ratio for hair?

The ingredients you’ll need for your bleach wash recipe are:

  • Bleach powder
  • Developer
  • Shampoo

The bleach wash ratio is 1:2:3. That’s 1 part bleach powder, 2 parts developer, and 3 parts shampoo mixed with water.

The shampoo is what makes this process a ‘bath’. It dilutes the strength to make it kinder for your hair.

Should I bleach bath on wet or dry hair?

Applying bleach to hair can be tricky, but luckily, there’s a simple rule – bleach should always be applied to wet hair.

If you apply it to dried hair, the bleach won’t take as effectively. You could end up with a much lighter or patchier result than you wanted. This is super hard to fix!

Will a bleach bath fix orange or yellow hair?

No, a bleach bath will not fix orange or yellow hair.

To remove unwanted tones from your hair you need to use a color correcting shampoo that is made for this specific purpose.

Unfortunately, the orange and yellow tones that show in blonde and blonde highlighted hair is often a result of your natural hair color and not something that can be easily removed.

BUT you can cover orange hair tone with other hair dye colors or tone your hair using glosses and toners.

You can also use purple shampoo to neutralize those unwanted tones, but not until the whole process is over!

Can I mix bleach with purple shampoo?

Purple shampoo is a must for getting unwanted orange and brassy tones out of blonde hair.

You might think it’s a good idea to mix purple shampoo in your bleach wash to prevent any unwanted brassiness.

But you would be wrong my friend! What happens is the peroxide will eat the purple pigment and dilute the color so it will have no effect whatsoever.

So it’s best to wait until after you’ve finished the treatment to tone your hair with purple shampoo.

Can a bleach bath fix over-toned hair?

Yes! A bleach bath for hair can be used to strip out unwanted color if your hair is too dark or has absorbed too much hair dye.

Just leave the bleach wash in for up 10 minutes to lightly strip the unwanted pigments.

A bleach bath also works particularly well for removing traces of direct dyes like semi-permanent dye.

Can I bleach bath a wig?

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to revamp your wig, a bleach bath might be just what you need.

It’s important to note that not all wigs can be bleached, so it’s crucial to read the care instructions that came with your wig first.

If your wig is made of human hair, then you should be able to bleach bathe it without any issues. A synthetic wig might need something stronger.

A bleach bath can help brighten up your wig, get rid of any stains or discoloration, and restore it to its natural shine.

Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use protective gloves to avoid skin irritation. With a little bit of patience and care, you’ll have a fresh new wig in no time!

Is a bleach bath easy to do at home?

It is totally possible to a bleach bath in your own home with the right instructions, tools and confidence!

The bleach bath mixture starts working on your hair as soon as you apply it. So it’s important to be confident in dyeing your own hair and apply it quickly.

Otherwise, you might end up with uneven results!

Understanding the correct strength of developer you need to mix with water and shampoo is also key to achieving a successful bleach bath at home.

Just follow our step-by-step instructions to get it right first time!

Can I dye my hair after a bleach bath?

You can dye your hair after a bleach bath for sure.

In fact, doing this is a great way to strip out old hair color to create a clean base for a new one.

If your hair feels particularly dry or damaged afterwards, you could wait a few days in between colorings. This will give your hair some time to recover.

If you’re planning to dye it again another color straight away, don’t apply conditioner after rinsing out the bleach bath solution. This will act as a barrier to the new color.

How do I care for my bleached hair?

A bleach bath is a fabulous way of giving your hair a bright and beautiful color.

The downside is that bleach bathing can be damaging to your hair if left in for too long. Or without proper care afterwards.

The side effects of doing it on an ongoing basis are dryness, breakage, fragile hair and other forms of damaged hair that can make your scalp itchy.

Luckily, there are a few ways to restore lost moisture and get your bleached hair soft and silky again.

  • After you’ve stripped your color and achieved a fabulous blonde look you love, you’ll want to use deep conditioning treatments or a hair mask regularly and repair your hair bonds.
  • Use both deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner – and avoid a lot of heat styling if you can.  
  • Bleached hair will be fragile and more prone to breakage and split ends for a couple of weeks.
  • Use a shampoo and conditioner for bleached hair that will help to replenish and restore your hair shafts.
  • When you do heat style, use a heat protectant every time. 
  • You’ll also need to use specially formulated silver and purple shampoos and conditioners to keep your bleached hair in tip-top condition.

Follow these bleach hair tips and tricks and you’ll keep your hair happy and healthy.

Parting words.

All in all, if you’re determined to bleach your hair, you don’t need to subject it to long hours of chalky bleaching powder and peroxide.

A bleach bath could be the answer you’re looking for.

You don’t have to be a professional stylist to achieve beautiful hair color – just come armed with the right knowledge.

By being informed on how to correctly, safely and effectively use a milder alternative such as bleach wash hair, you can get vibrant results that suit your desired look without having to suffer from brittle and brittle locks in the future.

If you dream of lighter hair, try bleach washing today!

Don’t forget: practice makes perfect; so start small and try a few new techniques each time until you find the best one that suits you best.

With a little dedication and experimentation, who knows what amazing looks await! Good luck!

Written by...

Photo of author

Nicola Freeman

Creative Director & Owner

With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during Covid for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!