You may have been to a salon and seen someone have their hair bleached and dyed in the same appointment.
But on the other hand, if you Google “how long to wait to dye hair after bleaching” you will get answers that range from a few days to a few weeks to months.
What’s the deal? How long after bleaching hair can I dye it?
There is no one right answer for everyone. The answer for your hair will depend on a few things, including the overall health of your hair after the bleaching process, what bleaching products you are using, and the kind of dye you are using.
In this article, we are going to break down the things you need to consider so you can decide how long you need to wait to dye your hair after bleaching it.
How Long To Wait To Dye Hair After Bleaching
Based on the following considerations, you need to make up your mind as to what’s best for your hair.
Just remember: impatience is NOT one of the considerations!!
1. How damaged is your hair after bleaching?
If your hair is already fine, dry, or brittle before you start bleaching, the bleach will make it much worse. You should wait to even start bleaching until your hair is in better condition. You can help speed up the process by using a conditioning hair mask or otherwise hydrating your hair.
You can also try using a deep conditioner after you shampoo. Shampoo only once or twice a week, as shampoo will strip out your scalp’s natural oils and slow down the healing process.
Even if you start the bleaching process with a head of hydrated and healthy hair, if you’re trying to go from very dark to a very light color, the bleaching process will be extensive and you will likely need more than one application.
Your hair will get weaker and more damaged with each application. Make sure to wait at least a week to 10 days between bleach applications if your hair is not badly damaged.
If your hair is brittle, straw-like, and is visibly unhealthy after bleaching, wait at least a month before bleaching it again.
2. Bleach and developer
Now let’s look at why you might have seen in hair salons someone getting bleached and dyed in the same day.
It’s because salon professionals have a bevy of products that you do not have access to! These pro-grade products will allow a professional hairstylist to bleach and color in one day, while protecting your hair.
That said, much higher-end salon products are now available to the general public. The only problem with this is that most people didn’t graduate from a hair and cosmetology school where they teach you how to actually use these products.
Hair bleach typically comes in powder form and needs to be mixed with a developer and quickly used.
It’s a mixture of ingredients including Persulfates which have an Oxidizing (bleaching) effect. Using bleach without a developer will not lighten your hair. The bleach is unable to penetrate the hair cuticle without it.
A hair developer is a product that’s mixed with color or bleach to activate it and enable it to penetrate the hair cuticle.
It contains hydrogen peroxide, and it either lifts or deposits color. You must mix a developer with a basic ingredient, like hair color or bleach to activate it.
Developer comes in different strengths, the common ones being 10 volume, 20 volume, 30 volume, and 40 volume. Developer strength is sometimes represented as a percentage.
- 10 volume = 3%
- 20 volume = 6%
- 30 volume = 9%
- 40 volume = 12%
Now your first instinct might be to go for the stronger developer (40 volume) if your hair is dark – stronger means lighter, quicker right?
Yes it does and if you want frizzy, damaged, and horrible-looking hair that’s falling out, but lighter, then knock yourself out.
However, if you want healthy, lighter hair, then it’s not recommended to use more than a 20 volume developer.
Don’t believe us?
Google “hair bleaching fails” on YouTube and you’ll find that most of them are as a result of a combination of using a 40 volume developer and bleaching more than once without waiting enough time in between.
3. What Kind Of Dye You Are Using
Are you planning on using a permanent, temporary or semi-permanent dye?
Temporary or semi-permanent dyes are fairly safe to use a few days after bleaching as long as your hair is in good condition.
For any dye that comes with a developer, the wait time after bleaching will be longer – at least 14 days and that’s only if your hair is still in good condition after bleaching.
Why Should You Wait 14 Days To Dye Hair After Bleaching?
Well again, it may not necessarily be 14 days for your hair.
Waiting 14 days is the minimum amount of time you should wait before dyeing your hair with a permanent hair dye that contains a developer.
Not only is that a very bare minimum, but that’s also only if you have strong, healthy hair and the bleach and developer you used were not too strong and your hair was not severely damaged by the bleaching process.
If your hair is damaged after the bleaching process, wait 4-6 weeks before applying permanent hair dye.
The process of coloring your hair to get it to the color you want is a long one if you want to do it right. You don’t want to find yourself crying in the shower as you watch your frizzled hair fall off and get washed down the drain.
Not only do you have to worry about irreparably damaging your hair if you dye it too soon after bleaching, you probably won’t get the color you wanted from the dye you chose.
Bleaching opens the hair cuticles, which makes it easier to get rid of the natural pigment.
Opening the cuticle also allows the new color to absorb faster, which can turn the lilac you were going for, into neon pink, for example.
Bleaching is a chemical process that is not kind to your hair.
It could potentially cause irreparable damage, especially if you apply another chemical product to your hair, like a dye, too soon after bleaching.
Permanent hair dye is also a harsh chemical process.
When you color your hair after bleaching it, before your hair is ready, the damage to the hair can be extreme.
You will end up with dry hair without shine, with split ends, the wrong color and you increase the risk of your hair actually breaking and falling off.
In the day and age of the Internet and apps and immediate everything, we get the overwhelming urge for instant gratification. But if you are changing your hair color by using bleach and dye, patience is a virtue.
How long after bleaching hair can I dye it?
You may have to wait a bit, but the results will be worth it!