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Let’s talk about how to bleach dark hair to a light blonde color!

Have you been thinking about taking your hair lighter, but you’re hesitant to make such a dramatic change? I totally understand the nerves – going blonde is a big transformation!

But let’s be real: bleaching your dark hair to a light blonde color is something you should only jump into with a little knowledge and preparation. It’s a process that involves a lot of care, attention, and, let’s remember, chemicals.

But I’m here to tell you that lightening your dark brown hair is so achievable if you take the right steps.

In this post, I’ll walk you through exactly what you need, the step-by-step process, and some tips and tricks to prevent breakage and keep your hair looking fresh.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll feel confident that you, too, can pull off that sun-kissed look. Are you ready to join the blonde bombshell club? Let’s get lightening!

What You Can Expect:

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Are you ready to be blonde? Learn how to bleach dark hair with this easy-to-follow guide that will have you looking like a bombshell.

The Basics of Hair Bleaching

First things first, it’s important to understand what exactly happens when you use bleach on your hair.

Hair bleach works by breaking down the natural pigment in your hair, called melanin, which gives your hair its color. This is a chemical reaction that involves an oxidizing agent (typically hydrogen peroxide) and a compound known as an alkalizing agent (like ammonia). The alkalizing agent raises the hair cuticle, allowing the bleach to penetrate and dissolve the melanin.

There are several different types of hair bleach products available on the market. These include powder bleach, cream bleach, oil bleach, and bleach baths.

Powder bleach is the most common form used in salons and is generally mixed with a developer to create a paste. Cream bleach, on the other hand, is less harsh on the scalp and hair. Oil bleach is typically used for more sensitive scalps, while a bleach bath is a milder form of bleach combined with shampoo, mainly used to correct color mistakes or to lighten hair slightly.

Remember, bleaching is a serious process and should be treated as such. Using the wrong products or incorrect techniques can cause severe damage your hair.

But don’t worry! With the right information, you can safely transform your dark mane into stunning blonde locks.

Assessing Your Hair Type and Condition

Concerned woman looking at split ends of her hair.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the actual bleaching process, it’s crucial to assess your hair type and condition. This is an essential step you shouldn’t skip, as it will determine how your hair responds to the bleach.

Start by conducting a strand test. This involves applying the bleach to a small, inconspicuous strand of hair and observing the results. It can give you a rough idea of how long it will take for the rest of your hair to reach the desired color and can also reveal any potential adverse reactions your hair might have to the bleach.

Next, evaluate the overall health of your hair. Untreated, healthy hair generally takes to bleach better than damaged or chemically treated hair. If your hair is already dry, brittle, or damaged, you might want to reconsider bleaching, as it could exacerbate these issues. 

Remember, bleaching is a pretty intense process, and it will have an impact on your hair’s health and condition.

Determine your hair type – is it fine, thick, coarse, or somewhere in between? This can influence how quickly and effectively the bleach works. Fine hair tends to lighten quickly, while coarse hair may require a longer processing time.

Finally, consider whether your hair has been dyed in the past. Color-treated hair can be more challenging to bleach, and it may be harder to achieve the desired blonde hues. You may need a color remover or hair stylist help if you’re dealing with old dye jobs.

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a professional if you’re unsure, especially if this is your first time bleaching your hair.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

You’ve determined your hair is ready for bleaching. Great! Now, it’s time to gather all the right products. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  1. Bleaching Powder: This is the key ingredient that will lighten your hair. Look for a reputable brand that is known for its high quality and effectiveness.
  2. Developer or Peroxide: This is mixed with the bleach powder to activate it. It comes in different volumes, usually ranging from 10 to 40. The higher the volume, the more it lightens, but it also causes more damage. For darker hair, a volume of 20 or 30 is typically recommended.
  3. Tint Brush: This will help you apply the bleach evenly to your hair.
  4. Mixing Bowl: Preferably plastic, as metal can react with the bleach.
  5. Gloves: To protect your hands from the bleach.
  6. Plastic Shower Cap or Aluminum Foil: To cover the bleached sections and prevent the bleach from getting on the rest of your hair.
  7. Hair Sectioning Clips: To help you separate your hair into sections for easier application.
  8. Purple Shampoo and Conditioner: After bleaching, purple shampoo and conditioner can help neutralize any yellow or orange tones in your hair.
  9. Deep Conditioning Treatment or Moisturizing Mask: Bleach can be drying, so it’s important to have a moisturizing deep conditioner or hair mask on hand to restore your hair’s moisture after the process.
  10. Towel and Old Shirt: Bleaching can get messy, so it’s advisable to wear an old shirt and have a towel nearby.

Remember to always read the instructions on the bleach and developer packaging thoroughly before starting. Different brands may have different ratios of developer to bleach, so ensure you’re mixing correctly to get the best results.

Step-By-Step Guide To Bleaching Dark Hair

Woman bleaching her own hair at home.

Step 1: Prepare Your Space and Wear Protective Clothing

Start by preparing your space. Lay down old towels or newspaper to catch any spills. Put on your old shirt and gloves to protect your skin and clothing.

Step 2: Mix the Bleach and Developer

Next, mix your bleach and developer in a plastic bowl according to the instructions on the packaging. Be sure to mix thoroughly until you’ve got a smooth, creamy consistency.

Step 3: Section Your Hair

Divide your hair into sections. This will make the bleach easier to apply and ensure you don’t miss any spots. Use your sectioning clips to keep the sections separate.

Step 4: Apply the Bleach

Start applying the bleach mixture from the tips of your hair and work your way up to the roots. This is because the heat from your scalp will cause the roots to lighten faster. Make sure all your hair is evenly coated with the bleach.

Step 5: Wrap Your Hair

Once you’ve applied the bleach, wrap your hair in a plastic cap. This will keep the heat in and help the bleach to work more effectively.

Step 6: Wait

Leave the bleach on your hair for the amount of time specified in the instructions. Be sure to check your hair every 10 minutes to see how it’s progressing.

Step 7: Rinse Out the Bleach

When the time is up, thoroughly rinse the bleach out of your hair with warm water. Be careful not to get any in your eyes.

Step 8: Apply Purple Shampoo

Wash your hair with purple shampoo to help neutralize any yellow or brassy tones. Follow this up with a deep conditioner or hair mask to replenish any lost moisture.

Step 9: Dry and Style

Finally, gently towel dry your hair and style it as desired. You should now have a beautiful blonde hair color.

Remember, everyone’s hair reacts differently to bleach, so your results may vary. You may need to repeat the process if the final outcome isn’t as light as you wanted. However, waiting a couple of weeks between treatments is the safest way to avoid damaging your hair.

Potential Challenges When Bleaching Dark Hair

Bleaching dark hair to a light blonde color can be complex and may present several challenges. Firstly, achieving the desired result might take multiple bleach applications, which can be time-consuming and damaging to hair. Each application strips away color and moisture, which may result in hair becoming dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.

Secondly, managing the post-bleach color can be quite a task. You might have to deal with undesired brassy or yellow tones. Purple shampoo and conditioner can help keep these tones at bay, but it’s an ongoing process.

Lastly, maintaining the health of your hair post-bleaching is another challenge. Regular deep conditioning and hair masks are essential to replenish lost moisture and preserve the strength of your hair. Limiting the use of heat styling tools is also recommended, as they can cause further damage to bleached hair.

Remember, everyone’s hair reacts differently to bleach, so your results may vary. Consult with a professional if you’re experiencing substantial challenges or if the health of your hair is a concern.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources Icon

For more comprehensive understanding and help, here are some additional resources:

  1. Hair Care After Bleaching: This resource focuses more on the care and maintenance of bleached hair. It provides advice on how to keep bleached hair healthy and how to manage the color.
  2. Bleach and Hair Health: This site provides information on how bleaching affects the health of your hair and ways to mitigate the damage.
  3. Managing Brassy Tones: If you’re struggling with brassy or yellow tones after bleaching, this website is a great resource. It offers tips on how to use purple shampoo effectively and other ways to tone down brassy hues.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional if you’re unsure or worried about bleaching your hair at home.


FAQ Icon
What bleach should I use for dark brown hair?

When lightening dark brown hair, it’s crucial to choose a quality hair bleach specifically designed for the purpose. Opt for a reputable brand with conditioning agents to minimize damage. Select a developer strength based on your hair type and desired results (e.g., 20-30 volume for dark brown hair). Always follow the instructions provided with the bleach, conduct a strand test, and use a tinting brush for precise application. Consider using products like Olaplex to minimize damage, and prioritize post-bleaching moisturizing and conditioning. If uncertain, seek advice from a professional stylist for personalized recommendations based on your hair’s unique characteristics.

How do you bleach dark hair without it turning orange?

To bleach dark hair without it turning orange, choose a high-quality bleach product and a developer strength appropriate for your hair type. Avoid using a developer that is too strong, as this can contribute to unwanted brassiness. Perform a strand test to determine the optimal processing time. Consider using a purple shampoo or toner after bleaching to counteract any orange tones. Additionally, follow up with a quality conditioning treatment to minimize damage and maintain hair health. Consulting with a professional stylist can provide personalized advice for achieving the desired result without unwanted orange undertones.

Is blue or purple bleach better for dark hair?

The choice between blue or purple bleach for dark hair depends on the undertones you want to neutralize. Blue bleach is effective for canceling out orange or brassy tones, often found in dark hair during the lightening process. On the other hand, purple bleach is suitable for neutralizing yellow or warm undertones. Consider the specific color issues in your dark hair and choose either blue or purple bleach accordingly to achieve the desired result. Additionally, using a high-quality bleach product and following proper application techniques are essential for successful and even lightening.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts Icon

In conclusion, bleaching dark hair to a light blonde color is unquestionably a major undertaking. It requires a well-thought-out strategy, a list of necessary supplies, and an understanding of the challenges involved. However, the end result can be a stunning transformation that offers a fresh and exciting new look.

Just remember, while it’s rewarding to see the change, it’s equally important to prioritize the health and strength of your hair throughout the process. With patience, diligence, and proper care, you can maintain your lightened hair’s health and enjoy your new color to the fullest!

Until next time,

Hollee Wood Headshot


Hollee is a licensed cosmetologist with over nine years of professional experience in the hair industry. With her unique insight and versatile experience, she’ll help you discover the latest hair trends or even crush your next DIY hair project.

Learn more!

🌟 Your Turn: Have you ever bleached dark hair at home? Do you have any tips for the other DIY queens? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

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