I know I’ve mentioned before that having your hair a little greasy and even using coconut oil can really help keep your hair from turning into straw when bleaching. After those posts, I received questions from you guys about conditioner. The most popular question was, “Can I mix conditioner with bleach?”
Conditioner shouldn’t be mixed with bleach because according to research a conditioner seals the cuticles thus blocking the lightening, but bleach needs those cuticles opened up. This way, it penetrates and lightens the hair.
It’s a logical question to ask, though I’m glad you guys asked before you tried anything funky and if you keep reading, I’m going to explain why as well as give you some hot tips for your hair.
Now, it’s a whole different story with shampoo. With shampoo, you can make a bleach bath (which I’ll get into further down) though it won’t mitigate the damage. It works a little faster to get the bleaching done, and it saves you on hair bleaching products.
You can make a bleach bath using 3 parts of the powder and developer bleach mixture together to 1 part of your shampoo. Consistency is the most important part though. You don’t want it too runny and sliding off your hair. What a mess!
Again, this won’t prevent damage to your hair. It won’t cause more damage either. It will be the same kind of damage you’ll incur, just bleaching your hair. I’ve said it time and time again, but it’s worth repeating… if you really want to have fun as a blonde, go see your stylist. He or she is expertly trained in mixing formulas and how long it needs to sit on your particular hair type, which minimizes the damage.
And of course, if you don’t want to damage your hair, just don’t bleach it at all. I know that’s less fun, but scarecrow hair is not a look that will ever be fashionable, trust me.
I guess the bleach bath does minimize things just a tad because you’re diluting the bleach and therefore using less of it. You can remove dye from previously colored hair doing this or to give your bleached hair a refreshed look.
So, what about conditioner? Ah, my dears, you can do that with a color mixture, NOT with bleach. But for bleach, go with shampoo. That’s the short version of the story. Now let’s get into more details. Read on below!
What’s a bleach bath?
Ok, so when you’re bleaching your hair, the normal process is that the powder is mixed with the peroxide and then you put it on your hair. This will lighten any hair color, but it can really damage it, especially when you don’t need to lighten very much, or you have very fragile hair.
That’s why the bleach bath was created. This bleach wash is milder than the previous method of bleaching your hair, but it’s still damaging.
As I mentioned before, shampoo is added in. You also put it on wet hair instead of dry hair, which is the process for normal bleaching. So you’re getting a lower volume of peroxide and a slightly more gentle bleaching. With damp hair, you can apply this so much more quickly, and it has an even appearance because it can cover more ground perfectly.
When you should consider a bleach bath
If it doesn’t stop damage, then what’s the point of a bleach bath anyway? Good question! It won’t stop that damage. Nothing will. I talk about preventing damage to your hair in my other post, so check that out.
Anyway, here’s why you might want to use a bleach bath:
- It strips out hair dye that you might be tired of
- It corrects hair that is over-toned
- You want to lighten it just a bit to one level
- You have super-fragile hair and don’t want to blast it fully with bleach
All those fun and funky colors are amazing. I’m personally thrilled that it’s more acceptable to sport pink hair now than it was even just a decade ago. But if you like doing those colors and want to keep changing them out, a bleach bath is a great idea. It can help remove any lingering color that hasn’t already washed out.
When you use it to remove bright colors, bleach baths aren’t very damaging because you’re using them for a very short time. It’s not on your hair long enough to cause major damage.
Incidentally, you can do this with permanent hair dye. Maybe you colored your hair, and it’s just too dark for your liking. Or maybe there’s buildup from a former color that you want out. However, it might be best in this situation to use a hair dye remover rather than a bleach bath. You CAN follow hair dye remover with a bleach bath if your hair is stubborn to let go of the color though.
When you want to lighten your hair, a bleach bath is very useful too. You get gentler bleaching action, especially if your hair is fragile. You won’t get as much lift though, but it works out in your favor to keep from destroying your hair.
Keep reading and I’m going to walk you through how to do it!
How to do a hair bleach bath
Want to try a bleach bath for any of the reasons above? Here’s exactly what you need to do!
Step 1: Do an allergy test
If you’ve never used bleach on your hair or tend to be sensitive, you should do an allergy test first. I know every box kit recommends this, and some of you might ignore it, but I would feel lousy if I didn’t tell you to please test it first. The last thing you want is to cover your head with it and have a reaction.
To do this:
- Mix a little bit of bleach and developer in equal parts
- Use a cotton swab to dip in the bleach
- Rub that on the inside of your elbow
- Look for any signs of allergic reaction like itchy skin, patches, or a bright red color
- Keep tabs on the area for 48 hours
- If all is clear, you can go for it!
You may see instructions on an allergy test that comes with your bleach and developer that you bought. Make sure you follow those to do the test!
Step 2: Prepare your bleach bath
If you didn’t have an allergic reaction during the bleach test, it’s time to get started. Here’s what to do:
- Mix the bleach powder and peroxide together
- Use the ratio the brand suggests, usually 1:2 bleach powder to developer
- Then add at least one part shampoo to make it 1:2:1
- Increase shampoo to further dilute the bleach if you want lower developer volume
With developer volumes, it’s usually 10 or 20 that is used. But since there is less peroxide being used, you will lighten your less than you would with regular bleaching even with the same volume of peroxide.
Don’t just buy the first bleach you find when you look for hair bleach. There are some superior options that will give you the best lightening, better results, and far less damage. I like Schwarzkopf Blond Me for this reason.
Oh, and there is one more thing here I really want to touch on. You ladies with really dark hair, like black or very dark brown… you, should NEVER try to bleach hair that dark with 50 volume. It takes time to go from ultra-dark to ultra-light. In fact, I strongly recommend a colorist for this feat.
You’ll have to do it in stages, going a little lighter with each time. For now, baby your hair with a nice hair masque and treat it right. Lighten it again in a month but use 30 or 40 volume developer instead. Keep repeating this slow and steady process until you get the light color you want. One more time for you all in the back: USE A PROFESSIONAL COLORIST!
They have experience in dealing with dark hair and keeping it safe while bleaching. The higher the volume you use, the more likely you are to suffer damages. You’ll burn your scalp and you’ll destroy your hair. It’s not worth it. Please trust me on this. You’re beautiful the way you are and you don’t need to be platinum blonde to be a stunner. But if you want a lighter look, go to your salon and have a true pro look over your hair and help you get a look you love.
Step 3: Mix it up
Ok, now that you’ve tested for allergies and measured everything out, it’s time to mix it all together. Go ahead!
Step 4: Put the mixture on your hair
From here, it’s pretty easy. You should apply this mixture to dampened hair. It shouldn’t be dripping wet. Ideally, you will want to do this on “dirty” hair. As I’ve talked about in my recent posts, you want a little sebum on your scalp to help protect it. Wet your hair, then gently pat it dry with a towel. It only needs to be damp, not soaked.
Once your hair is wet, apply the bleach bath. Use a brush or your hands, preferably with gloves to prevent irritation. Massage it in, going from top to tips in sections and try not to press it onto your scalp.
After you do that, keep an eye on your hair. You won’t need to leave it on as long as you would a regular bleaching. When you see your desired result, wash it out. If you want a greater lightening, go for 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 5: Wash it out
When that lift has been reached, you can rinse it away. Make sure you get it all out and then supplement your tresses with a high-quality deep conditioner. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before you rinse it out to allow it to penetrate and replenish your hair with more moisture.
Of course, if you were doing the bleach bath to remove lingering color, you should skip the conditioner. It can inhibit your new color from absorbing into your hair. If you’re done though, use that conditioner right away.
How do you know what to look for with everything? It’s simple. When removing hair dye, you should see orange or yellowish hues when you look at your hair. For removing toner, you’ll want to see yellow. Then you can take it from there.
In a nutshell, you can’t use conditioner with bleach. The conditioner closes the shaft and you need the opposite to happen to make your hair lighter. Those cuticles need to be saying, “Come on in!” You can do this with shampoo though.
All bleaching will cause some damage to your hair. Bleach baths are a way to use a little less bleach and expose hair a little less to these damaging chemicals. They can help you remove bright colors, so you get the most vivid outcome on your next rainbow-colored adventures. They can also help you brighten up hair to a lighter color or prevent completely killing off fragile strands.
The steps above should help guide you to a good outcome using a bleach bath. However, I want you to know that if you have really dark hair, I strongly suggest you don’t lighten your hair this way, not unless you’re ok with it being a slightly lighter color than your current shade.
Dark-haired girls either by nature or by hair dye will take longer to see results. You can’t increase the volume or overdo the bleaching to get the results you want, or you will lose out to the chemicals. Please don’t kill your hair. Go see a stylist to help you lighten it up the right way while minimizing that damage.
Once you do get to a lightened state, you can do the bleach bath to keep hair looking fresh and bright!