How to bleach dark hair at home – the easy way!

Bleaching your hair is one of the most popular ways to lighten it. It’s also very easy to DIY bleaching at home, but many people struggle with getting their hair light enough without it turning orange or brassy. So it’s no surprise you want to know how to bleach dark hair at home.

We’ve got you covered! This article will teach you everything about bleaching dark hair and how to avoid those common problems that leave you frustrated and feeling like giving up on this process completely.

How do I know which bleach kit is right for me? What if my hair turns out orange? How can I prevent that from happening? Is there a way to make my color last longer? These questions are all answered in our guide below!

What is hair bleach?

First thing’s first. Hair bleach is not the same as the stuff you clean the bathroom with!

Hair bleach is a chemical substance, typically containing hydrogen peroxide or chlorine.

It reacts with the natural pigment in hair and lightens it to varying degrees – depending on the ratio of bleach to developer you use, and long you leave the bleach in your hair for.

Hair bleach is used by people who want their darker locks to be lighter so they can look more trendy and fashionable, or if they want a light base to try other on-trend hair colors.

When it comes to bleaching your dark hair at home, there are a number of at-home hair bleach kits that can do a great job.

You can also try a hair bleach bath which is a gentler way to bleach your hair, but it’s not as strong so you may not get the lift you desire.

Why is it hard to bleach dark hair?

People often have difficulties bleaching their black, brown, or red hair because of the natural pigments in these colours that shield them from UVA and UVB.

Chemically speaking, it is more difficult to bleach dark hair because melanin can shield the cells from oxidizing which stops them from being easily removed from your hair.

The darker your natural colour or chemically dyed pigments are on your strands, the more stubborn the colour will be and the more challenging bleaching will be for you.

In order for lightening agents like hydrogen peroxide and ammonia to do their job – they need time!

This often means you’ll have to bleach your hair more than once to get the right lift.

Bleaching is a hard process for your hair to take and it can dry it out and damage it. So make sure your hair is in the best possible condition before, during and after bleaching it.

You can also think about bleaching sections of your hair – like the end for an ombre look or giving yourself highlights – instead of all over bleaching.

There are also plenty of hair dyes you can use to dye dark hair without even using bleach!

how to bleach dark hair ombre insta post

How to bleach dark hair without it turning orange?

If you want to bleach your hair blonde, but not turn it orange, there are a few things you can do.

  • First off, use the right kind of bleach for your hair color.
  • Use a hair bleach that includes both hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. These two ingredients will help remove the excess pigment from your hair without turning it orange or yellow.
  • Be prepared to have to bleach your hair more than once to get the right level of color.
  • Leave at least 3 days in between processes to give your hair a chance to recover.
  • Smother it in nourishing deep conditioners in between.

Can you bleach very dark hair?

Whether you’re a salon owner, or just someone who loves experimenting with your hair at home, bleaching dark hair can be tricky.

The answer is yes and no. It really depends on how dark your hair is and what kind of bleach you use.

Something like a bleach bath might go some way to stripping unwanted hair color, but it won’t be strong enough to lighten dark hair.

You can go blonde from brunette with ease, but it’s not so easy for those with black hair.

If you want to go lighter, it will take a lot of time and multiple sessions.

Bleaching your hair is not something to take lightly and will require some preparation beforehand but before you know it, you’ll be rocking platinum blonde locks in no time at all!

How to bleach dark hair at home.

The easiest way to bleach your hair at home is with an at-home bleach kit.

These will provide you with the right instructions and equipment you need to get it right.


Every kit is different and has different strengths. For dark hair, you’ll need more than one kit.

DO A STRAND TEST first to check the level of life you will achieve. This will help you determine how many bleaching processes (and how many kits you’ll need) you’ll have the go through to get the lighter colour you want.

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Best hair bleach kits at a glance.

Bleach kit.Looks likeBest forBuy it now
Garnier Nutrisse Bleach Hair Dye.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B013BL5Y4G&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home DIYGoing platinum blonde.
Schwarzkopf Live Intense Lightenerq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00D870FMK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home diySubtle colour lift.
L'Oreal Colorista Effects Bleach Lightening Kitq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01N4I05Q1&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home DIYExtra lightening fast results.
Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe Premium Brightener.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B06X6K4X19&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home diyGoing a few shades lighter than your base.
Garnier Olia Permanent Bleach Super Blondes Extreme q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01ABXDHKK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBhow to bleach your hair at home diyLifting darker shades.

How to bleach dark hair step-by-step.

  1. Wash your hair with good clarifying before you start to get rid of grease and grime.
  2. Protect your surfaces – and yourself with gloves and preferably a hairdressers cape. Bleach will eat anything it lands on!
  3. Apply bleach on the roots of your dry (not wet) hair first in sections that are about an inch long.
  4. Use a comb or brush to work the bleach through from roots to tips.
  5. Leave to develop for the required time. Check it as you go to make sure it’s not going too light too fast.
  6. You can use foils to speed up the developing process. Get a friend to help you with them, especially at the back.
  7. For black hair, leave it on for 10 mins more if needed. Be careful, if you experience any burning or itching, rinse it off immediately.
  8. Rinse the bleach and wash your hair at least twice with shampoo.
  9. Use a purple shampoo toner if needed to get rid of any yellowish-brown tones that may remain in your hair from the bleach.
  10. Follow up with a deep conditioning treatment to keep your newly lightened locks healthy and soft.
  11. Repeat the process in a few days time if you want to go even lighter.
Platinum blonde hair  instagram post

Watch and learn!

Will bleach damage my hair?

The fear of damaging dark hair with bleach is real! Not to worry, bleaching dark hair won’t completely destroy it – if done right.

While hair bleach can lighten your hair’s color significantly, it also has the potential to damage not only the protective layer on your hair’s surface but the hair shaft itself.

Overbleaching your hair can make it brittle or cause it look frizzy, stringy, and dull or change the texture of your hair – not just temporarily but permanently!

In extreme cases, bleaching can even reduce the ability of hair to absorb hair color – so you could end up with hair that won’t take any kind of dye at all.

It’s important to do a patch test first before coloring your entire head, and chose a formula that is specifically created for dark hair so you don’t over-bleach or leave the bleach in too long and make things worse.

If you properly follow the instructions, you can still achieve lightening without damaging your dark locks.

How do I care for my bleached hair?

After you’ve stripped your colour and achieved a fabulous bleached look you love, you’ll want to deep condition your hair regularly and avoid a lot of heat styling if you can.  

Your 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 like the ones in Best hair heat protection sprays your coloured hair can’t live without. 

You’ll also need to use specially formulated silver and purple shampoos and conditioners to keep the colour in tip-top condition and remove any orange from your hair.

Follow these hair bleach tricks and tips to keep your hair feeling soft and silky all season long.

Parting words

Once you have a lighter, bleach blonde base, you have the best black canvas to achieve any hair colour your heart desires!

Check out the latest hair colour trends this year for ideas and inspiration. GOOD LUCK!

hair colour ideas 2021 pinterest board

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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!