How To Bleach Your Hair At Home Without Killing It

lighter hair
DIY your way to lighter hair (Pexels)

So, you’re dreaming of multicoloured mermaid hair, but your locks are currently a deep dark shade that’s a world away from blonde. There’s only one thing for it, the dreaded six letter word: bleach.

It’s something we’re taught to be fearful of from a young age, with horror stories of orange streaks, burnt scalps and hair falling out hitting you from every corner of the internet. However, there are ways to lighten your hair safely and evenly without forking out £100+ at the salon.

Of course, the best way to do it would be with professional help, but if you are thinking of braving it alone, make sure you’re equipped with all the information you need before you get started.

Pick the right product

With so many options on the shelves at the moment, it can be tough to work out which bleaching kit is the one for you. However, the trick is finding the right bleach ‘volume’, which ranges from 10 up to 40 and is usually marked on the box. The lower the number, the weaker the bleach, so if your hair is already light, stick to the lower end of the spectrum.

That said, Hannah Pellicci, colourist and co-owner of salon Gary Pellicci Hairdressing, recommends sticking to low numbers whatever your natural colour. “We wouldn’t recommend using anything higher than 20 volume as it can burn and severely damage your hair,” she says. In short, your hair will love you more if you do a few rounds of 20 volume days apart, rather than going straight in at 40.

Prepare your hair

As with make-up, bleach isn’t going to work without the right base. Try a deep conditioning treatment a few days before so your hair is at its best before you hit it with chemicals. You’ll also want to take your time with it on the day too.

“Brush your hair through so it is unknotted and section your hair well. This will allow for even application,” says Hannah. “Also, neat sectioning will ensure you don’t need to bleach your hair twice.” Because there’s nothing worse than finding a patch of brown you’ve missed first time around…

Watch the clock

It may be tempting to leave your bleach on for hours to ensure you’re bright white by the end, but Hannah insists on a 45 minute maximum rule: “This should be enough time to bleach, any longer and you could damage the hair.” Try setting a timer on your phone to make sure you don’t go over.

Use a treatment

If you follow the likes of Guy Tang on Instagram, you’ll often see him singing the praises of Olaplex, a conditioning treatment that repairs the bonds of your hair during the bleaching process. This can mean the difference between dry, brittle strands and healthy, shiny locks, so try and get your hands on it if you can. Hannah also recommends Bond Pro Plus Goldwell, but if all else fails you’ll find low-cost versions like Jplex on the shelves of your local shop.

Let it rest

As tempting as it is to slap a vibrant dye straight onto your newly bleached ‘do, you need to give your hair a rest. “I would recommend waiting a day or so before dying to see how the bleach takes,” says Hannah, also noting that toners or semi-permanent dyes are the way to go, rather than a harsher permanent colour.

If this all sounds a little *too* much, then a salon trip is definitely the way to go to guarantee a good result. But Hannah’s final piece advice for home bleachers? “Follow the guidelines absolutely, don’t guess methods or measurements, and measure ratios exactly. And use a nourishing conditioner afterwards.”

We’re off to stock up on all the conditioner in the world, how about you?