If you’ve considered bleaching your hair, you likely know the potentially damaging effects of bleach on your locks. You may even have heard horror stories regarding individuals whose hair “melted off” when they bleached it. However, with proper research and an understanding of your hair type and how it reacts to bleach, it is possible to lighten your hair without causing excessive damage.
Unfortunately, you may not achieve the desired lightness the first time you bleach your hair. The amount of color taken out of your hair often depends upon a variety of factors. For instance, darker hair takes longer to lighten. To remove most of the color from your hair, you’ll likely need to bleach and tone it several times to get the correct color. Often, this is where individuals run into problems that cause long-term damage to their hair. You should ask one crucial question before re-bleaching: how long do I have to wait to bleach my hair again?
Below, we’ve gathered all the information you need to know about how frequently you should bleach your hair. Plus, we’ve got some tips and tricks from top-rated hair professionals to help you keep from excessively drying and damaging your hair.
Table of Contents
- How Often Can Hair Be Bleached?
- The Bleaching Breakdown
- How Do I Know It’s Safe to Bleach My Hair Again?
- Bleaching Already Lightened Hair
- The Differences Between Toning, Bleaching, and Color-Stripping
- How long do I have to wait to bleach my hair again? – Conclusion
How Often Can Hair Be Bleached?
Bleaching your hair is typically a routine part of the dying process. It helps lighten the hair and ensure that dye sticks better and stays brighter longer.
However, over-processing hair often causes irreparable damage to your hair.
Some of the problems individuals with over-processed hair may encounter include:
- Excessively dry hair, which can lead to matting, tangles and breakage.
- Brittle hair that may break off or cause excessive split ends.
- Frizzy, lifeless hair that does not hold color or grow properly.
These are only a few of the problems you may encounter if you over-process your hair.
Of course, over-processing may not be the result of bleaching your hair multiple times in a row. For instance, failure to properly treat and maintain your hair after you bleach it, or using a high-volume bleaching solution may also damage your hair.
Before you bleach your hair or consider re-bleaching it to achieve your desired tone, you must understand proper bleaching techniques and maintenance once you’ve applied bleach to your hair.
Tips During the Bleaching Process
Bleaching your hair – and the ability to re-bleach your hair without causing excessive damage – requires some prior knowledge. Otherwise, you run the risk of a hair-care disaster, which no one wants.
Therefore, there are some basic how-tos you should know and consider when starting the bleaching process. Additionally, there is some preparation you should go through if you think you’ll need to bleach your hair down to a lighter color after your first application.
- First and foremost, when you bleach your hair originally, make sure you purchase the right kind of bleach for your hair. If you intend, from the beginning, to bleach your hair multiple times, you likely want to buy a lower volume bleach. Lower volume bleach products, such as this one by Manic Panic, are still powerful but are less likely to cause excessive drying or damage to your hair. Therefore, they’re better suited for multiple bleaching attempts.
- Once you’ve purchased your product, you should also read the instructions for bleaching your hair. Often, bleaching products will have instructions for a variety of hair types and desired outcomes. Moreover, some brands also have guidelines for how often you can bleach your hair. By reading the instructions, you’ll avoid accidentally melting your hair off. You’ll also gain a great understanding of how to use the bleach on your specific hair and understand any warnings listed regarding the bleaching process.
- One of the other things you can do is to perform a strand test before bleaching the rest of your hair. A strand test allows you to bleach a small portion of your hair to see how it reacts. You can access damage, dryness and color through the test. This way, you’ll quickly know how your hair reacts to the bleaching process and make an educated decision.
What Should I Do If I Want My Hair To Be Lighter?
Once you’ve bleached your hair, you may decide you want a lighter color.
Different hair types react to bleach differently. Therefore, it often takes some trial and error to get to the exact level of lightness you want for your hair. If you want your hair to be lighter, you have several different options.
To begin with, you might consider using a toner on your hair. Toner helps lighten and even out the overall color of bleached hair. It’s somewhat less abrasive and damaging than bleach, but can help you achieve the exact color you want.
Alternatively, you have the option of bleaching your hair a second time to reach your desired hair color.
The Bleaching Breakdown
Ultimately, determining how soon you should bleach your hair again depends on various aspects, such as:
- The condition your hair is in before you bleach it.
- The condition your hair is in after you bleach it.
- The type and volume of bleach you used.
- Why you’re bleaching your hair.
- The products you regularly use on your hair.
Each of these factors can impact the overall quality of your hair. Therefore, you should consider these before determining when you should next bleach your hair after treating it once. Additionally, some individuals find that after they bleach their hair, it is dry and brittle, but that this damage reverses through using deep conditioning treatments.
Treatments like this may also help impact the quality of your hair and its overall health. Therefore, it’s hard to give a black and white answer when it is safe to lighten your hair again.
Ultimately, it varies from person to person, based on the products you use in your hair and how it reacts to being bleached.
How Do I Know It’s Safe to Bleach My Hair Again?
Now that you understand that there is no easy answer to the question, you’ll likely want a general guideline. Let’s discuss how to tell when you can safely bleach your hair again, based upon your hair’s condition and how it reacts to products.
Keep in mind this is meant to serve as a guide, though. Everyone’s hair responds differently, and if you have concerns about your hair and how it’s reacting to bleach, you should consult a professional.
- When washing the bleach out of your hair, applying conditioner and allowing it to sit for some time will help prevent excessive dryness and restore some of your hair’s natural moisture. Many professionals suggest using a deep conditioning treatment after bleaching hair, as it reverses some harmful side effects caused by bleach.
- If once you’ve conditioned your hair, you find it still feels dry, brittle and rough to the touch, you should not consider bleaching your hair again. In this case, you’ll likely want to wait at least two weeks before further hair treatments take place. Your hair will have time to recover from the chemicals, allowing it to regain its moisture and rebuild its strength.
- As we mentioned, after washing the bleach out of your hair, you may find a deep conditioning treatment keeps your hair from being overly damaged. If this is the case, you can treat your hair much sooner. However, you will want to consider the state your hair originally was in before you applied bleach. Hair that was excessively dried and became much more brittle after being bleached may not withstand concurrent treatments. Being mindful of how your hair reacts is vital in determining how often you can safely lighten your hair.
Even if you determine your hair did not suffer any severe damage throughout the bleaching process, it’s often best to wait at least one day between bleach treatments.
Applying bleach more than once in a day to the same sections of hair increases your chances of breakage and may reduce your hair’s ability to hold color properly moving forward.
Ultimately, determining when it is safe to bleach your hair again will depend upon your hair’s condition.
However, if you can wait to bleach your hair a second time or treat it, it’s often best to do so. It reduces the overall risk of long-term hair damage.
Bleaching Already Lightened Hair
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and bleach your hair again, you should be careful.
For instance, do not purchase volume 40 bleach or other harsh chemicals that ultimately strip the color out of your hair. Bleached hair, typically speaking, has already been damaged to an extent. Even recovered hair will likely still experience some lasting effects. Therefore, toning or using a lower volume of bleach helps reduce the overall damage.
Though some professionals argue against bleaching hair that has already bleached, it is possible to do without severe harm.
However, it’s essential to ensure your hair is properly hydrated and cared for, as a preventative measure. Properly applied bleach, in this case, will essentially strip the color entirely out of your hair.
The Differences Between Toning, Bleaching, and Color-Stripping
When performing hair treatments at home, you should research and learn the differences between toning bleached hair, bleaching hair and color-stripping techniques. Each of these provides similar outcomes.
However, the way they impact your hair is different, and each may cause varying levels of damage.
When you bleach hair, the goal is to lighten it and remove color. Typically speaking, you won’t achieve a pure white hair color by bleaching your hair. It lightens the hair without removing all of the color. Sometimes, you may find that darker hair turns orange when it is bleached, for instance.
Since bleach doesn’t directly remove the color from your hair, dark hair often turns orange as it’s as “light” as it can go.
Toner is excellent for pre-lightened hair. Toner helps equalize the color of lightened hair. For instance, if you’ve bleached your hair and some spots are darker than others, or your hair has an orange hue, toner helps even the colors.
Additionally, you can use toner to lighten pre-lightened hair further without the harshness of bleach.
Color strippers remove the color from your hair and are the harshest of chemical treatments.
If you use a color stripper on your hair, you should not bleach it or treat your hair in any way for at least two weeks. By doing so, you reduce the risk of causing extensive damage to your hair. When using color strippers on pre-lightened hair, you can cause breakage as the chemicals are much harsher. While you can achieve near-white hair with a color stripper, it’s advised against if at all possible.
Each of these hair treatments helps remove color from your hair and lighten it. However, there are hazards associated with frequently bleaching, toning or color stripping hair that many individuals are unaware of, resulting in hair catastrophes.
How long do I have to wait to bleach my hair again? – Conclusion
At the end of the day, lightening your hair multiple times in a row is not a great idea.
However, if you need to do so to reach your optimal color, you can do so. You should ensure that your hair is in good condition before doing so. Otherwise, you’ll likely cause more damage to your hair, potentially keeping it from holding color properly for the foreseeable future.
At most, you should only lighten your hair once in a day. Additionally, use deep conditioning products to help your hair stay healthy and in good condition. Lastly, avoid using heat on hair that has recently been bleached, toned, or color stripped. Doing so may cause heat damage to already damaged hair, resulting in breakage and split ends.
If possible, you should do a strand test to make sure your hair reacts well to bleach. From there, you’ll know what steps you need to take to achieve the lightness you want from bleaching your hair. You’ll even do so without potentially destroying your hair, making it a win-win situation.
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What are your tips for hair bleaching? What’s your advice on the question: “How long do I have to wait to bleach my hair again”?