How To Remove Hair Dye With A Bleach Wash [Answered]

Bleaching hair removes hair color, but it also damages hair. The next best thing might be a bleach wash, a diluted and less effective version of the full-on bleaching process. In this article, we go through how to remove hair dye with a bleach wash.

Does bleach wash Remove Hair Dye

A bleach wash is one of the most effective ways to remove hair dye. It involves mixing bleach powder with peroxide before adding shampoo. Adding shampoo creates a dilute solution that can lighten hair by one or two levels. The process is less aggressive than the regular, full-on bleaching process. 

What Is A Bleach Wash?

As mentioned, a bleach wash is a weaker version of the full-scale bleaching process. 

It should not be associated with household bleach because it contains specially formulated ingredients for lifting color.

Normally, when bleaching hair, a mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide is applied directly to hair. 

However, adding bleach directly is destructive to your hair because it damages the protective outer layer. This is where a bleach wash comes in.

With a bleach wash, the hydrogen peroxide is mixed with shampoo to dilute the mixture. 

This has a less damaging effect on hair than the full-scale bleach process done at the salon. 

A bleach wash can produce different effects on colored hair, depending on how it’s done. 

For instance, you can use it to remove hair dye, lighten hair a few shades, or correct brassy tones.

Is A Bleach Wash Good Or Bad For Hair?

When done cautiously, a bleach bath can achieve the desired results without damaging the integrity of your locks too much.

Since the bleach mixture is diluted with shampoo and water, the process is kinder to your hair. 

However, on the other hand, a bleach wash can still leave your hair fragile, so it’s important to take extra steps to protect your hair.

Colored hair has already sustained damage during the dyeing process.

Bleach washing or heat styling adds more stress to your hair.

The truth is, while a bleach wash may not be as bad as the complete bleaching process, you’re still adding chemicals that potentially damage hair.

This is especially so if you’re adding shampoo that contains sulfates, which are strong cleansers that weaken the hair fiber. 

Therefore, you should deep condition your hair regularly to prevent dryness. 

Similarly, you should apply moisturizing hair oils, masks, and serums to keep your hair in good condition. 

Last but not least, you should apply a bleach wash sparingly, preferably not more than once a month, to minimize damage to your hair.

Does A Bleach Wash Remove Hair Dye?

Does A Bleach Wash Remove Hair Dye

The whole purpose of a bleach wash is to remove hair dye, so it goes without saying that bleach washing is a dye removal process. 

A bleach wash contains ammonia hydrogen peroxide, and this mix mainly removes bleach by lifting the cuticles and oxidizing the dye molecules. 

When the dye molecules are oxidized, they no longer bind to your hair tightly. 

Shampoo adds surfactants to the mix that also help to remove the dye.

Typically, clarifying shampoo is used because it contains powerful surfactants that cleanse the dye from your locks.

A bleach wash is one of the most effective ways to remove hair dye since it offers the best of both worlds. 

If you want to remove hair dye, your options are generally limited to natural methods that only gradually lighten hair or harsh bleaching processes that work well but end up damaging hair.

 A bleach wash is a middle-of-the-road option that removes stubborn color without causing too much damage because the mixture is diluted. 

That being said, a bleach bath won’t remove hair dye by as many levels as full-strength bleach.

How To Use A Bleach Wash To Remove Hair Dye

This is how to prepare and apply a bleach bath when removing hair dye:

  1. Mix developer and bleach powder in a mixing bowl, according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Add clarifying shampoo and mix thoroughly.
  3. Dampen your hair before using gloved hands to apply the mixture, making sure every strand is evenly coated.
  4. Wear a shower cap and leave the mixture in your hair for a few minutes. 
  5. Wash the bleach mix from your hair and rinse thoroughly to avoid damage. 

Tips for Using a Bleach Wash to Remove Hair Dye

Tips for Using a Bleach Wash to Remove Hair Dye

Decide if you want to wash your hair

Keep in mind that before applying a bleach wash, you can either wash your hair or apply the bleach bath directly. 

Washing your hair beforehand can help strip more color since it removes anything that could interfere with the bleaching process. 

On the other hand, you minimize the damage to your strands and scalp by not stripping away the oils from your hair.

Take precaution measures

Generally, bleach can cause skin burns. It’s recommended that you use gloves and apply Vaseline to protect areas of your skin that could potentially come into contact with the bleach mix. 

Also, wrap a towel around your shoulder to keep your clothes protected.

Avoid dry and damaged hair

If you’re worried about getting too dry, you can add conditioner when preparing the bleach wash. Similarly, adding a serum protector prevents hair damage and breakage.

Another way to minimize damage with a bleach wash is by starting with the lowest developer level. The lower the level, the less peroxide your developer will contain. 

The weakest level is 10 volume developer, though most bleach washes use 20 volume developer.

You can expect each bleach wash to lighten your hair by one level. That means you’ll need to repeat the process to make your hair several shades lighter. 

Alternatively, you can use a stronger bleach wash. However, this can lead to overprocessed hair, so stick to a minimum of one bleach wash per month.

Decide how long to leave the bleach wash on

In addition, how long you leave the bleach wash in your hair depends on whether you want subtle lightening or a more noticeable lift. 

To get the results you want while protecting your strands, leave the bleach wash for between 10 and 30 minutes. If you use a higher volume developer, it’s best to wash the bleach out more quickly.

A bleach wash may leave orange, brassy, or yellow tones in your hair. In that case, you may need to recolor or use a toner to correct the color.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Dee Poulsen

Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she's always happy to recommend you her favorites.