Going lighter on your hair colors, such as platinum blonde or pastel comes with great responsibility, as bleaching can be disastrous, especially if you have black hair. Before lightening your darkest tresses, read on our guide first to avoid damaging your strands.
There is no one-size-fits-all rule on how long you should leave bleach in your hair, but for ones with black hair, 30 to 45 minutes should be enough.
After the processing time, the bleach won’t be able to lift up your hair color, and leaving it longer will only cause damage to your strands. However, changing your hair color from black to blonde or even light would take a few more sessions.
Things You Should Know Before Bleaching Your Black Hair
It’s easier to lighten fine strands than coarse strands
The success of the bleaching process will depend on your hair type and porosity. If you have curly, black hair, it will take a longer time to lighten than straight black hair.
The pigments are harder to remove in coarse strands. Unfortunately, curly hair is more fragile than straight hair since the texture of the strands prevents the distribution of natural oils from roots to tips.
It’s impossible to drastically lighten black hair in one bleaching session
Black hair has more pigment that needs to be removed compared to brown or blonde hair. Achieving a lighter hair color whether it’s a pastel or platinum blonde will need a light, bright base, which cannot be achieved in one sitting.
However, you should not bleach your black hair twice in a row, as your strands need time to recover. It will need more patience as the damage will be greater.
How to Bleach Black Hair at Home?
Prep your hair for the bleaching process
Are you sure your strands are in good condition for bleaching? Bleach is too harsh for your hair, especially if you’re already dealing with dry, brittle strands. If you’ve just straightened or permed your hair, it’s best to wait for a month or so before bleaching it.
Make sure your hair is deeply moisturized with conditioning treatments and masks, but don’t wash it prior to bleaching to avoid stripping its natural oils. If your hair is dry, treat it with coconut oil before the bleaching process.
Prepare the right tools that you need
Unless you opted for an at-home bleaching kit, you need to prepare the bleach and developer of your choice, along with a plastic bowl, brush, gloves, hair cap, and hair clips.
Keep in mind that you should skip all metal tools that will only be burned by the bleach mixture. Also, prepare your working space and use old towels and shirts to avoid staining.
Section your hair and start mixing bleach with the developer
To save time and avoid the oxidation of bleach mixture before applying it to your hair, you must already section your hair with plastic clips.
Once you’re ready, mix the bleach and developer in a plastic bowl and apply it to your strands. Remember, full head bleaching requires more mixture, while root touchups require less.
Leave the bleach for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the instructions from the label
Remember, different formulations of bleach and peroxide might have different processing times, so it’s best to follow the recommended time on the box. However, you should not leave the beach in your hair for more than 45 minutes.
If you still didn’t get the shade you’re trying to achieve after the processing time, rinse it, and prep your strands for the next bleaching session, about two weeks or so.
Rinse your hair thoroughly and follow with a hydrating hair mask or oil
Do not attempt to bleach your black hair twice a day since it will only damage your strands. Wash your hair thoroughly and use a hair mask, hair serum, or coconut oil to replenish lost moisture. Make sure you keep your hair in great condition prior to the next bleaching session if you have to.
How Long Should You Leave Bleach in Your Hair if it’s Black?
As a rule of thumb, the bleach should be left in your hair for not more than 45 minutes. If you need subtle lighting, you can leave it for 30 minutes, and a few more minutes depending on how light you want to get.
If you can, do a test strand first to have a realistic idea of how your hair handles the bleach, and how much time you need to lighten it. After all, different brands might have different processing times.
Also Read: How Long Does Hair Bleach Stay Active?
How Many Bleaching Sessions You’ll Need to Lighten Black Hair?
While you can lighten your black hair in one session, the rest will depend on how light you want it to become.
Generally, one bleaching session can turn black hair into a honey blonde or even an orange hue, but if you’re aiming for an icy platinum shade, it might take another two sessions.
If you haven’t achieved the light shade that you need and 45 minutes had passed, it’s best to remove the bleach and prep your hair for the next bleaching session instead.
It might take about two to three weeks when your strands already recovered.
After all, the bleach stops working after a certain period of time, and your hair won’t get lighter even if you leave it for another few minutes. Unfortunately, leaving it longer will only damage your hair, resulting in dry and brittle strands.
Also Read: How to Fix Uneven Bleached Hair?
Best Bleach Products for Black Hair
Different hair types and conditions can affect how strands handle bleach. Also, your hair color goal plays a role in what kind of bleaching product you should use.
Do you want your black hair to achieve the lightest color?
While it might take a few bleaching sessions to get the light base you need, Clairol Professional BW2 Lightener is formulated with hydrating ingredients, which is best for dry hair. It’s designed for black hair whether you want to get some highlights or go brunette.
Are you looking for an affordable yet effective bleach product?
If you’re tight on a budget or a beginner in the bleaching department, opt for Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit that includes everything that you need—from developer to mixing bowl, brush, and gloves. A great thing, this hair bleaching kit won’t break the bank yet lifts your black hair at desired levels.
Do you want to achieve blonde hair sans brassiness?
Black hair tends to get an orange hue when bleached, which is another thing you should deal with. Wella Blondor Multi-Blonde Powder Lightener has bluish-purple powder that helps cancel out yellow tones. It’s best for those who want to go for blonde from black, as the bleaching product can lift the hair up to 7 levels.
Are you looking for a gentler formula that won’t cause irritation?
If you have a sensitive scalp and want to avoid chemical burns, L’Oréal Quick Blue Powder effectively lifts the color up to seven levels yet remains gentle on the scalp. A great thing, it comes in a blue powder form which can minimize the brassy tones as you go lighter.
Do you have black hair yet you want to go for platinum?
Dramatic hair colors will require stronger products like Schwarzkopf Blonde Me Premium Lift 9. This bleaching powder can lift your black hair up to nine levels, but it’s better to choose a developer from the same brand to get maximum results.
Can you leave out your roots when bleaching?
If you want to avoid further damage, it’s best to leave your roots alone—after all, dark visible roots are trendy nowadays. More than that, roots are more susceptible to damage, as well as the scalp and follicles. If you have a sensitive scalp yet want to get an even shade, you may apply the bleach on your roots for the last 15 minutes prior to washing your hair, since they’re easier to bleach.
How often can you bleach black hair?
Since bleaching is a damaging process, the answer will depend on the condition of your hair. If your hair is healthy, you may leave around two to three weeks between bleaching sessions, or even more. It’s best to consult your colorist on the condition of your hair, and how many sessions you’ll need to achieve your desired color.