Bleaching your hair at home needn’t be a stressful experience, and with our list of the 10 least damaging hair bleach brands, it won’t be.
As well as listing our top choices, we’ve also provided handy tips and useful advice for what to know before you go bleaching your hair at home (you don’t want to be wearing your favorite sweater, for example).
Read on for more information on the least damaging hair bleach brands.
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How Can You Choose The Best Bleach For Your Hair?
1. Choose A Developer That’s Lower In Volume
Developer is the activator for bleach and is, therefore, the substance most likely to cause burns and chemical damage.
The higher the developer volume, the more intense it is, and the more likely to cause that damage.
40 is the highest volume developer and therefore best for darker hair, but is also the most damaging.
Remember, developers also come in different forms – creams are the easiest to apply and the least messy.
2. Consider Going To A Salon
It will always be riskier to bleach your hair at home. Salons are there for a reason and are staffed by professional stylists.
That said, you can educate yourself on the best possible hair bleach available, and our list of the least damaging hair bleach brands will help you do that.
3. Choose Quality Products
Choose hair care brands that are high quality and well-established.
Natural, organic ingredients are best. Harsh chemicals will likely cause inflammation and sensitivities – and you might find unwelcome orange or yellow tones in your hair that make it appear brassy.
Ammonia is one such ingredient – but it’s also worth bearing in mind that ammonia-free bleach might be less effective as it’s less strong.
10 Least Damaging Hair Bleach Brands in 2021
1. Wella Blondor Multi Blonde Powder Lightener
You only need to read the reviews of this product to know you’re in safe hands. It’s easily one of the least damaging hair bleach brands around and will lift hair up to seven levels.
If you’ve got darker hair, you should aim for a developer of around 40 in volume (note that the developer is sold separately).
The powder has anti-yellow pigments to minimize any brassiness in your newly bleached hair and is bluish-purple in color – but don’t worry, this will just keep your color looking more vibrant for longer.
Also, although the product is dust, it won’t leave your hair looking dusty.
Why we like it: Easily one of the best, easiest to use, and least damaging hair bleach brands out there.
2. Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Lightener 9+ Dust Free Powder
If you’re after the least damaging hair bleach brands for platinum blonde hair, then this one’s for you.
It will provide up to nine levels of lift but shouldn’t cause any unsightly brassy tones in your hair, as there are anti-yellow agents to minimize this. The bleach also works to protect the hair in order to minimize breakage and damage.
Bear in mind there’s no developer that comes with this, so you’ll need your own – a cream is best. Equally, as it provides nine levels of lift, it may irritate your scalp, so be aware of this.
Why we like it: Great for people looking to go platinum blonde with minimal brass.
3. Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 30 Volume
Manic Panic also does a bleach with a developer that’s 40-volume intensity, but we opted for this 30-volume so that it appeals to a greater audience.
There’s everything that you need in this one kit, which is wallet-friendly and also vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA-certified. It will lift your hair five levels in tone, so is probably best for lighter tones, and you can follow the clear instructions to get lightening.
Why we like it: Cruelty-free, affordable formula with clear instructions
4. Schwarzkopf Professional Igora Vario Blond Plus
Igora – in case you didn’t know already – is Schwarzkopf’s professional haircare brand and is therefore formulated with high-quality ingredients designed to keep your strands in tip-top shape.
Ingredients like lysine and arginine nourish and condition the hair, and ultramarine blues neutralize yellow tones. You’ll get seven levels of lift and the formula is cream-like, making it easier to apply.
Why we like it: A decent amount of lift in a nourishing formula
5. Wella Professionals Color Charm Powder Lightener
Yep, it’s another Wella Professionals product – we doubt you’re surprised. This dust-free formula provides a reliable lift of up to seven levels.
It has a protecting oil system to lock in moisture and will get you to your desired blonde colorfast.
Remember, as with other Wella Professionals products on this list of the least damaging hair bleach brands, you’ll need to purchase developer separately.
Why we like it: Provides moisture and a speedy bleach
6. Clairol Professional BW2 Powder Lightener
If you’ve got darker hair and are looking for the least damaging hair bleach, this is for you. The brand itself recommends a 10- or 20-volume developer, but if you’ve got super dark strands, you may need to go for a more intense option.
Results are speedy and natural-looking, and this will work for highlights, off-scalp applications, and any other look that you’re going for.
It’s also a weighty tub, so should last for several applications. Just be aware it’s got a fairly strong scent, and you’ll need to buy developer separately.
Why we like it: Good value for money and a reliable bleach for darker hair
7. L’Oreal Paris Quick Blue Powder Bleach
Look, sometimes we’re just short of time and want results fast. Sound like you? You’ll love this bleach. Its no-drip formula makes for super easy applications and will lift up to seven levels.
That said, it’s probably best on hair that’s fairly light, to begin with, so go for another if you’re darker in color originally. It’s also by far one of the least pungent products on our list of the least damaging hair bleach brands, so is great for the headache-prone.
Why we like it: Less fragranced, super speedy bleach
8. Blond Forte Perfect Blond Extra Strength Hair Lightener
Containing coconut oil to lock in moisture – as well as providing a delightful scent for bleach, this formula is creamy and no-drip, making it easy to apply.
It’s also paraben-free and has an anti-yellow agent to neutralize brassy tones. You should get between 6 to 7 levels of lift – just mix one scoop with a developer of your choice and get going.
Why we like it: Coconut adds hydration and a light scent
High-quality ingredients and a formula that’s violet-based in tone in order to maximize blonde hues without promoting brassiness, we are fans of this bleach.
It contains no parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, or sulfates, and contains amino acids in order to help seal the cuticle once the bleach has got to work. You should see up to nine levels of lift – just remember to buy a developer.
Why we like it: Chemical-free but still efficacious bleaching formula
Okay, so this is a drugstore product, but in our opinion, it’s the least damaging hair bleach product that you can grab at your local pharmacy.
There’s minimal odor and a conditioner to neutralize brassy tones whilst reinforcing hair strands.
You should get between 7 to 8 levels of lift with this bleach, and it’ll give your hair a sophisticated icy cool color.
Why we like it: Affordable but still excellent hair bleach
Should you Choose a Generic or Salon Bleaching Product?
We would always recommend using a salon-brand bleaching product, in order to have the least damage possible.
These will be formulated with better ingredients and will lift the color of your hair without overly relying on developer (which is the real damaging substance).
If you do use a cheaper, more generic brand, you may also notice unfortunate side effects like brassy, yellow-orange tones and uneven bleach.
Let’s be honest, no one wants to walk away from an at-home bleach looking like a tiger with supremely dry, frazzled hair.
It really is therefore best to invest in salon-level bleaching products, so that you and your strands come away from the experience healthy and happy.
What You Should Know Before Bleaching Your Hair
There’s quite a bit of science necessary to explain how bleach actually works in your hair, but long story short, the bleach causes hair to swell and the cuticles to open.
This expansion allows for the oxidation process to get to work and penetrate the hair’s cortex.
In turn, these oxidative agents dissolve the melanin in your hair (which is responsible for the color of your hair).
That’s why your hair changes color with bleach – but bleach will also impact its porosity and elasticity.
These are the things to bear in mind before you get bleaching:
- The more porous your hair, the more moisture it absorbs. However, this moisture also dissipates faster, so bleached hair needs serious help with hydration. Follow up your bleach with an intense conditioning mask or conditioner to restore lost moisture.
- If you use bleach incorrectly, you might damage your hair strands, and irritate the skin of your scalp and even neck. That’s why you need a product like Vaseline around your hairline to minimize the burning. And always remember to strand test!
- Bleach will drip and stain your hair and clothes! Only use scruffy clothes and towels you don’t mind getting damaged. Also, always remember to use gloves throughout the bleaching process.
- Don’t wash your hair before bleaching it. Leaving a little protective oil on your strands can provide a layer of lubrication that will help minimize damage from the chemicals. It’s best to wash hair at least two to three days before you plan to bleach it.
- If your hair is particularly prone to damage, or is very fine, porous, and fragile, you can help strengthen and fortify it ready for the bleach. Use an intense hydrator or moisturizer for two weeks prior to the bleaching process.
- You can also help to restore hair to its pre-bleach structure by using a protein treatment post-bleach. These restore hair’s structural integrity and will return its bonds to their pre-bleach health.
- If you’ve already got color in your hair, this might complicate the bleaching process. Remember too, that the darker your hair is, the harder it will be to lighten.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bleaching Your Hair
Does bleaching damage your hair?
There’s no other way to swing this: yes, bleach will damage your hair. It’s an intense chemical, and the stronger the developer, the more likely you’ll experience sensitivities, irritation, or even chemical burns.
If you’re anxious about dyeing your hair, always go to a professional.
How long should you leave bleach on?
Inevitably, this depends on how light you’re attempting to go, and how dark your hair is to start.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and remember that it’s always best to use the bleach for too short a time and have to repeat the process than to overdo it and cause serious damage.
You shouldn’t be leaving it on for longer than 45-50 minutes max.
Does ammonia-free bleach work?
Yes, ammonia-free bleach is likely to be amongst the least damaging for hair. However, it might also be less strong, so you might need to bleach hair a couple of times in order to get to the level of lightness you desire.
That said, you are inflicting less chemical damage on your hair, so there are swings and roundabouts.
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com 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.
Alice is an experienced writer and researcher with a background in the Creative Arts. She is a published poet and is currently completing her Ph.D., having worked in a variety of industries, including as a theatre dramaturg.
Alice is passionate about the environment, so is always on the lookout for the best zero-waste products that are vegan and cruelty-free.