As the old saying goes, “blondes have more fun.” And what girl doesn’t want MORE fun in her life?

Most do, and those that say they don’t are either lying or have never felt the joy of having the most eye-catching blonde hair in the room.

And for those of you who weren’t born with platinum locks, don’t worry! You’re never more than a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and 30 minutes away from damaged hair – I mean, having the beautiful blonde hair you’ve always wanted.

Jokes aside, hair bleaching is a popular topic these days. With social media putting us all under the microscope, putting harsh chemicals in our heads in the name of being beautiful is more common than ever.

In this article, we’re going to give our expert take on everything you need to know about bleaching hair, the bleaching process, and how to safely bleach your hair without frying it.

How often can you bleach your hair: the quick answer

We don't care if she's a natural. She looks amazing
We don’t care if she’s a natural. She looks amazing

Since the beginning of time hair, stylists and hair colorists have been asked this same hair bleaching question. The answer is always the same: “It depends.”

The hair’s porosity, hair color history, and hair type will all play a part in how often you can safely bleach your hair.

When hair is healthy it will have a good balance of protein and moisture. If the hair has been previously dyed or is lacking in moisture, it can be more porous than virgin hair that hasn’t been chemically treated, so it’s important to keep hair healthy before hair bleaching hair.

The hair color you bleach hair to is also an important factor when considering how often you can bleach hair without frying it. If the hair has been previously dyed dark brown or black, hair may tend to fade quickly after the first hair lightening application. You’ll want to go easy on hair to reduce hair color loss.

Avoid hair bleaching hair too often by using gentle hair products, not scrubbing hair when you shampoo hair, and conditioning hair daily. Remember that hair bleach is a harsh chemical process and too much use can damage the hair’s cuticle causing it to become very porous or even break off completely in some cases.

How hair porosity affects bleaching hair

High hair porosity = absorbs moisture easily = good
High hair porosity = absorbs moisture easily = good

So what determines hair porosity? Hair with thick strands and a tight cuticle is considered high hair porosity, meaning hair has a rough or uneven surface as if sandpapered. Fine hair that lies flat on the scalp is said to be low hair porosity.

You can determine your hair’s porosity by placing a strand of hair between your thumb and forefinger and pulling it apart. If hair is very resistant to this, hair has a high hair porosity. If hair pulls apart easily hair has low hair porosity. Although there are treatments that can temporarily change the hair’s cuticle, this is not something that should be done on your own.

Bleaching previously bleached hair – what to know

Bleaching bleached hair... otherwise known as Bleachception
Bleaching bleached hair… otherwise known as Bleachception

If you’ve already bleached your hair recently, then you need to be careful. As a general rule, you don’t want to bleach your hair more than every six to eight weeks. If your hair was previously chemically processed, it will be more porous and won’t be able to handle hair bleach as frequently as hair that has not been bleached before.

Bleached hair gets damaged faster, causing your hair strands to become dry and brittle. Once you bleach the hair multiple times, the damage starts to compound. Processed hair requires more frequent hair treatment sessions, but that’s something we’ll go over in a later session.

Can you bleach your hair twice in one day?

Trust us, we know all about the horror of putting yourself through the bleaching process only to rinse it off and not be pleased with the results.

But you have to understand that hair is hard enough to care for without pouring hydrogen peroxide on it. These hair bleaching agents are extremely caustic to the hair, completely stripping it of its natural hair color.

Bleaching already-bleached hair is going to cause your hair to become brittle, dry, and feel like straw. Worst case scenario, it can also damage the hair follicle and lead to hair loss.

And regardless of how badly you think you botched your bleach treatment, you’d probably prefer your damaged hair to no hair. At least until being bald comes back into fashion…

What happens when you bleach dyed hair?

Bleach affects hair dye like melanin
Bleach affects hair dye like melanin

When you do a bleaching treatment, the bleach is going to destroy the melanin in the hair via a process called oxidation. It has the same effect on hair dye.

Fun fact: the reason why your hair turns yellow after bleaching it is because keratin (the protein that hair is made up of) is yellow naturally. There may be some golden-reddish-brown tints in it as well as a result from the bleach reacting with another type of melanin.

Inexperienced people may think that bleaching your hair a second time is a good way to get rid of these unwanted hues, but that’s actually a great way to end up with damaged hair.

As mentioned before, bleach treatments can be extremely harsh on the hair. And besides, there are better ways to achieve that pale blonde look without another cup of chemicals.

Applying bleach to hair that’s been colored with hair dye is possible, but will work on the dye similarly to how it works on the melanin in your hair. You’ll be left with lighter hair.

So you’re saying if I want silky hair, bleaching it is not an option?

Looks great, but this bleached hair does not look "silky"
Looks great, but this bleached hair does not look “silky”

Not necessarily.

Yes, bleaching your hair is very harsh on the hair fiber. Bleach naturally dries in a way that causes it to suck all the moisture out of the hair.

If you aren’t doing regular hair treatments (which you should be), now is a great time to start. You not only want to protect damaged hair, but you also want to keep the hair’s health as good as possible for the long haul.

Why is my hair so hard to bleach?

Dark hair can be known to resist bleach treatments. For those of you who have nice, thick, strong hair strands, consider yourselves lucky.

Sure, it’s not as easy to get that pale blonde color that Makayla has naturally. But you’ll have a full head of hair well into your 70s (if you want) while she will have developed an addiction to tape-in hair extensions by the time she’s 28.

As with everything else, hair varies from person to person. You’ll have to experiment with your bleach mixture. Always a good idea to ask your stylist or someone at the beauty supply store which mixture you should be bleaching your hair with.

How do repair damage to bleached hair?

Skinny, beautiful, and she has amazing lightened hair. Don't you hate her?
Skinny, beautiful, and she has amazing lightened hair. Don’t you hate her?

Let’s face it: if you’re asking the question, “how often can you bleach your hair?” – it’s probably already too late.

But just in case you haven’t gotten it by now, let us say it again: bleaching your hair will wreak havoc on your hair.

And heaven forbid if you actually begin to identify as a blonde – that just means you’re in for more frequent bleaching sessions (like, for life).

How then are you supposed to care for your hair?

Weekly hot oil treatments (coconut oil)

If you are bleaching your hair regularly, then get ready to add another step to your beauty routine: weekly hot oil treatments.

This goes double for those of you with previously bleached hair – if you’re not using hot oil, then you’re messing up.

Our favorite is coconut oil. Not only does it have a natural SPF of 4, but coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it the perfect natural solution to moisturize the scalp.

These hot oils will form a protective barrier around the hair, sealing in moisture and nourishing the hair shaft.

Plus, it’ll make your hair feel amazing and have a nice shine to it – even if it’s extremely damaged!

Use a weekly hair mask to repair damage to bleached hair

Paul Mitchell's Lavender Mint Deep Conditioner is GREAT for hair damaged by bleach
Paul Mitchell’s Lavender Mint Deep Conditioner is GREAT for hair damaged by bleach

There are a ton of amazing hair masks on the market right now. Our favorite is this one from Paul Mitchell (of course).

While it doesn’t say that it’s specifically for processed hair that’s been damaged from frequent bleaching, we’ve found that it gives the user very healthy hair.

Don’t leave the bleach on too long

Leaving bleach on your hair for too long will wreak havoc on your hair. Hair bleach strips the hair shaft of its natural oils, making it more susceptible to damage.

Also, hair bleaching agents dry the scalp as well, sucking the moisture from the hair follicle. A good rule of thumb? If you don’t want your hair falling out, don’t mess with the hair follicle.

Use a deep conditioning product

This is the goal with blonde hair
This is the goal with blonde hair

If you’re going to bleach your hair, you’re going to want to use a deep conditioning product. Since the bleach naturally dries your hair, stripping it of much of its moisture, this step becomes especially important.

Deep conditioners are a type of hair treatment – they moisturize the hair and you leave them on for longer than your average conditioner. As with hair treatments, we prefer products that are *mostly* natural, if possible.

How can I make the bleaching process safer for my hair?

Honestly, the best thing to do when you bleach your hair is to keep an eye on the clock. Hair bleach strips your hair of so much of what it needs, that the biggest risk you run is leaving it on for too long.

Be sure to rinse the bleach mixture out of your hair as soon as the timer goes off. And remember, no more than 45 minutes (preferably 30).

What kind of bleach mixture should I use?

Bleaching your hair is surprisingly easy
Bleaching your hair is surprisingly easy

When you bleach your hair, you’re going to need 3 hair products:

  1. Bleach powder
  2. Developer
  3. Toner

How bleach powder, developer, and toner work together

Once you’ve decided what color you’re going for, go to your beauty supply shop. Bleach powder can be purchased in bulk, so once you find a color that you like, you can buy a tub of it instead of just a little packet.

Developers are harsh chemicals that help to lighten the hair. Developer for your hair varies in strength from 10-40, with the higher numbers being stronger. The darker your hair is, the higher you need the number to be. Dark brown of black will be 40, and so on. If you don’t know which one to use, go for one with a lower strength score.

Toner is going to help balance out the unwanted hues in the hair (very helpful for that platinum/pale blonde look). If your gets yellow after you bleach it, you’re going to want a purple toner. If it gets more reddish-brown, then you’ll want a blue one. Purple/blue shampoo are good options for these.

Still nervous about bleaching your hair? Try the Strand Test

Do this to minimize risk when lightening your hair!
Do this to minimize risk when lightening your hair!

Despite all of your research, maybe you’re still nervous about beaching your hair. And we understand – after all, it is permament.

If you want to see if lightened hair is for you, but want to bleach your hair safely no matter what, then consider doing the Strand Test.

Before you do the Strand Test

Before we even think about putting any kind of bleaching agents on our hair, let’s do something more simple.

Just touch your hair. Feel it between your fingers. How does it feel?

If it feels dry, brittle, and rough, then maybe you have some work to do before bleaching your hair again.

Hair varies in texture from person to person, so allow for a little bit of variance. But if your hair regularly feels like it won’t be able to withstand 45 minutes of hydrogen peroxide and al its little hair=lightening buddies, put the bleach bottle down and figure out some other way to occupy yourself for 8 weeks.

How to do the Strand Test

The Strand Test is simple: instead of bleaching your hair from front to back, you’re literally just going to bleach a few hairs.

This way, you minimize the risk that you’ll accidentally get your hair bleached into oblivion and be left with a nest of yellow straw on your head.

All we’re going to do here is a mini bleaching session on a few strands of hair. This won’t do anything to protect damaged hair, but it will allow you to see if you can give yourself blonde hair and still maintain some semblance of integrity to your hair.

Final Thoughts

When answering the question, “how often can you bleach your hair,” the answer is simple.

You can bleach your hair as often as you want, provided you don’t damage it.

In general, one every 6-8 weeks should be enough.

Twice in one day? Absolutely not.

Give your hair a break. Let it breathe. Consider using some moisturizing treatments, or maybe a toning shampoo.

The point we’re trying to make is this: coloring hair is like art, and art is never perfect. It can always be improved. But don’t chase perfection when it comes to your hair, because the bleaching process can be extremely damaging to the hair. So better to play it safe, live with your results, and treat your hair like you would want to be treated.

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