Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — Written by Sarah Kester on September 21, 2020

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Lusting after lighter hair yet don’t desire to go the salon route?

You could be tempted to bleach your very own hair, which is as soon as you spilgrimage the hair of your color to make it lighter.

You are watching: How long is hair bleach good for

While this DIY strategy isn’t recommfinished by hair specialists, it can be done.

This short article will provide you advice on just how to bleach your hair at house, including exactly how long you should leave it on your hair, and how to avoid irreversible damage.


Bleaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all procedure.

How long you leave it on the hair counts on a variety of components, such as your hair color and texture.


Hair shade and also textureHow long to leave on
blonde hair15 to 20 minutes
dark hair30 minutes; it’s recommended you separation the procedure into a number of sessions
fine hair10 to 15 minutes; this type of hair will procedure much faster since it has actually a thinner cuticle layer
coarse hair30 minutes; this type of hair is more challenging to work-related with and also may require a minimum of 2 applications

More components that influence how long you leave bleach on, include:

the shade you’re hoping to achievewhether your hair has been formerly colored

Bleach is dubbed an “aggressive” product for a factor.

It dyes the hair by opening the hair cuticle and also disfixing the color (melanin). The much longer you leave it on, the more the protein bonds (keratin) are ruined.

The two the majority of commonly provided bleaches are ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately, tright here aren’t many different products to aid protect against damages.

For instance, Nikki Goddard, a certified hairstylist and also makeup artist, says to not be fooled by commodities through a “peroxide-free” label.

All this suggests is that one more oxidizing agent was used — one that can be also even more harmful to the hair.


What happens if you leave bleach on your hair for as well long? 

There’s a misconception that bleach will occupational much better the much longer you leave it on.

The maximum amount of time you have to leave bleach on your hair is 30 minutes. Any longer than that and also you run the risk of severe damage, including brittle strands.

Other dangers of bleaching

In enhancement to leaving bleach on your hair for also long, tright here are other risks concerned making use of this type of dye.

Your hair might shed all pigment and rotate white

Your hair can revolve white from the oxidation process, de-coloring the pigment.

Your hair can end up being weaker and less able to retain moisture

One examine uncovered that the hair was substantially weaker after bleaching. Even skin that the bleach had touched was influenced.

Bleach has actually additionally been well-known to turn the hair highly porous. This is once the hair cuticles are also extensively spaced, making it hard for the strands to retain moisture.

“Modeprice porosity renders the mane look even more voluminous and simpler to organize curls,” describes Goddard. “However, extreme porosity and also dehydration leads to the devastation of the hair shaft and might cause irreversible damage.”

Your hair could lose keratin

One of the last — and also a lot of major — risks of bleaching is the hair’s loss of keratin, which is a kind of protein that renders up the hair.

Without keratin, the hair framework is jeopardized, making it brittle and also tough to style. Unfortunately, keratin loss is hard to avoid once bleaching.


Before you go the DIY route of bleaching your hair at home, tright here are three essential things to keep in mind:

1. Complete a patch test beforehand

Before dying your hair at residence, complete a patch test. You can have an allergy that you’re not mindful of.

In 2012, a 16-year-old girl was admitted to a burn unit for a 1 percent full-thickness chemical burn on the nape of her neck from bleaching.

Testing the hair beforehand additionally determines whether your hair is too damaged for bleach.

“If the ends kink up, look frizzy or frayed, perform not lighten your hair,” stresses Kerry E. Yates, founder of Colour Collective and trichologist in training.

“Instead, go find a clear gloss to apply to smooth things out till your ends are reduced away and you have even more healthy-looking strands.”

2. Read the directions carefully

Almeans take expert measures, such as wearing gloves and protective eyewear, recommends Vincent De Marco, hairstylist and owner of Vincent Hair Artistry.

And just prefer in a experienced salon, check on the hair for the level of lightness. The initially check have to be after 10 minutes, states Yates, and then aacquire eextremely 5 to 10 minutes till you hit 30 minutes.

Yates adds, “If the results you want aren’t there after 30 minutes, rinse it out and mix a fresh batch. Apply and follow the exact same directions.”

Never before leave the bleach on your head for much longer than 1 hour.

3. Consider your hair type

Some hair types ssuggest can’t withstand the power of bleach. If you have actually peaceful, straightened, or chemically-treated hair, Yates claims to prevent bleaching.

“This product is not for you and your hair will literally turn to dust if you usage lightener,” Yates states.

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While bleach deserve to be provided on curly hair, you’ll want to save your texture safe by being exceptionally gentle. For instance, don’t pull on the hair once using the product.