How long should I leave bleach in my hair?

Hair bleaching is a common process/technique to change hair color. Primarily it is associated with making hair blonde from darker shades. There are two ways to bleach hair, either at a salon or at home. While at a salon, the worker knows how much Bleach to apply to your hair to get the expected hair tone.

But at home, two questions arrive in our minds. First, which bleach volume should I use, and second, how long should I leave Bleach in my hair?

Actually, the answer to which bleach volume to use cannot be exact. But how much time to leave Bleach is between 10 to 45 minutes according to which hair tone you want to give your hair. Using Bleach for more than 45 minutes can cause serious damage. 

In case you have little or less knowledge about quantity and time to use Bleach, don't worry! This article is all about common Bleach questions. For example, you will get answers to what Bleach type should I use and how long should I leave Bleach in my hair? So let's start!

Which Bleach volume should I use?

You should know it from the basics if you want to know about the hair developer levels to bleach your hair. So let's know about the developer first.

What is a developer?

The developer is a chemical used to open up the hair cuticles to mix hair color or Bleach. It includes hydrogen peroxide that is indicated with the help of developer packaging numbers 10, 20, 30, and 40 according to their strengths. Let's read about that one by one.

10 Volume Developer

10 volume developer has a low peroxide level that is just 3%. So if you intend to darken your hair by one level, it is the perfect fit for you. It only adds a shade or tint of the lightness level as your base color.

20 Volume Developer

It has a 6% peroxide level that is mainly used with permanent dye. It is best to cover 100% of white or gray hair by leaving a beautiful, long-lasting color. Moreover, it opens up the hair cuticle and lightens your hair from one to two levels, unlike 10 volume developers.

30 Volume Developer

It is the best choice when your hair color is dark, and you want to lighten them in brown to honey blonde curls. If we talk about its peroxide level, it is 9 %. Furthermore, it is similar to 20 volume developer, but it lightens the hair color by two to three levels.

40 Volume Developer

It has the highest peroxide level, 12%, and can lighten your hair up to four shades. Undoubtedly it is the strongest of all developers, capable of changing the hair color drastically. 

Note: Don't use 40 volume developer at home; use it under the guidance of a colorist. Its high-level peroxide can damage your hair up to a significant level.

If you have ultra-soft or damaged hair, then use volume 10 points lower because a high volume tone may lighten hair to a great extent or even make it white. It can even remove Keratin from your hair, leaving them more damaged and dry.

So do not use a high volume tone on damaged hair. 

Also check: I dyed my hair and it turned orange how do I fix it?

How long should I leave Bleach in my hair?

As we answered earlier, hair bleach time is usually between 10-45 minutes. But the exact time to leave Bleach is determined according to some other factors, such as the hair type you have and the bleach volume you are using. 

Have a look at some gathered factors to keep in mind when you are looking for how long I should leave Bleach in my hair.

1. Hair Type

The hair type is the primary factor that decides the time limit of having Bleach in your hair.

  • If you have blonde hair, it is best to leave only for 15-20 minutes. More than that may cause unwanted hair color results. 
  • If you have fine hair, leave the Bleach for 10-15 minutes only. 
  • If you have dark brown or black hair tone, leave the Bleach for about 35 minutes. It is recommended to do the process in different sessions. 
  • If you have coarse hair, use Bleach for 30-45 minutes, depending on the level of coarse hair and the results you want. 

2. Starting Color

Your starting color also contributes to determining the time of bleaching time. For example, if you start with a black and dark brown base, you need to leave Bleach for a longer time on your hair to achieve your desired lightness.

In addition, more than three shades demand a high volume of peroxide to lighten your hair, which is more likely to damage your hair.

According to AAD(American Academy of Dermatology), you should consider natural hair color when deciding on dye. 

3. Dream Color

It is another factor that plays a vital role in deciding how long you should leave hair bleach. If you need a slight change, you can leave your Bleach for less time. However, for a significant difference (dark base to platinum blonde)you need to apply it for a long time.

Note: It can turn your hair color into orange if you leave the Bleach for a long time.

Check our article to fix such an issue: How much does it cost to dye your hair

4. Developer Type

Follow the instructions carefully given on a hair color kit, including how long to leave the Bleach on hair. Whereas, at the salon, the colorist knows the perfect ratio of Bleach and developer. So, choose the best developer for your hair according to your desired color, type of hair, etc.

5. Cuticle Thinness

You should keep in mind to check the hair cuticle thinness first before going for Bleach. Because the thin and light hair is prone to get damaged from Bleach. 

Also, only leave the Bleach for the time recommended and not for extra time, and use the suitable bleach volume type. 

Read Also: How to check which hairstyle suits my face online

How To Tell When It's Time To Remove Bleach

How do you determine the time to wash your Bleach out?

Don't worry; we will tell you two methods for this.

Firstly set a timer and keep checking your hair if it is lightening or needs more time.

Another way is to do a test strand before applying Bleach on the entire head.

If you want to know what suitable bleach volume and bleaching time is for your hair, the best way is to do a strand test. It will be easy, non-problematic, and will not even affect your whole hair. The easy four-step procedure is as follows – 

  • Prepare a small amount of bleach mix of 20 volume bleach developers. 
  • Apply the mixture to a small strand of hair. 
  • Now, check the strand; after every 2-3 minutes, you will see changing color. 
  • When you see the desired result, it is best to remove the Bleach and check how long the Bleach was on. 
  • If Bleach does not work for a long time, it means your hair needs a high bleach volume developer.

What will be the consequences of using the wrong bleach volume type or leaving Bleach for too long?

There is a misconception that using a high volume bleach or leaving Bleach for a long time will give a better hair tone. But it is entirely wrong. While, High bleach volume or leaving it for too long can damage your hair, cause dryness, and even more severe issues.  So, If you don’t know how long should I leave bleach in my hair, It can result in in-

1. Complete Loss of hair pigment 

Firstly, the oxidation and de-coloring of hair can result in hair pigment loss. This will turn your hair completely white. So don't even think about leaving them for a long time. 

2. Hair will become weak.

Leaving Bleach for a long time or using high volume bleach will weaken hair. In addition, during Bleach, hair cannot retain moisture, making them vulnerable. 

3. Loss of Keratin

The prolonged use or hard bleaching can result in hair losing Keratin. Keratin is a component that makes hair and is also responsible for hair being soft and manageable. If Keratin goes off, your hair will become brittle, unmanageable, and difficult to style.

How to take care of hair post-bleaching?

Just bleaching your hair is the complete process; after bleaching, you need to take care of your hair to avoid any damage. So, the below tips will help you restore your hair's health and softness after bleaching.

  1. 3 days before and after bleaching, use pre-shampoo conditioners to nourish hair.
  2. It is recommended to do a post-color treatment, for instance, Olaplex.
  3. Apply a hair mask for nourishing from time to time.
  4. When you are going to style your hair with a blow dryer or iron, don't forget to apply a thermal protector to avoid heat damage.
  5. Apply a lightweight, protective serum or spray regularly.
  6. After shampooing, do not forget to use a hair conditioner.
  7. Comb the hair gently without pulling too hard.
  8. Wash your hair with lukewarm or normal water.
  9. Don't bleach your hair before 6 to 8 weeks again.

Some Best Bleach Recommendations 

When you know exactly how long should I leave bleach in my hair, here we are recommending to you some best bleach brand recommendations. Moreover, You can use these products to have a better result.

Satin Silicone Enhanced Developer #10

Satin Silicone Enhanced Developer #10

  • 10 Volume bleach developer. Form – Cream
Buy Now
Loreal 20-Volume Creme Developer

Loreal 20-Volume Creme Developer

  • 20 Volume Bleach Developer. Form – Cream
Buy Now
MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 30 Vol

MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 30 Vol

  • Whole bleach kit with 30 volume bleach developer.
Buy Now
MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 40 Vol

MANIC PANIC Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 40 Vol

  • #40 Bleach kit with the brush included.
  • Form – Powder
Buy Now

Bottom Line

In conclusion, we hope you found the answers you were looking for regarding the use of Bleach and the bleaching time. Here is a pro tip for first-time bleach users. However, do a strand test to know the right bleach volume to use on your hair, and the time you will have to leave the Bleach. 

Let us know what you think of our article, ”How long should I leave bleach in my hair?”

Thank you for reading!

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