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How do I bleach dyed hair?


Can you bleach dyed or colored hair?

If you have hair that has already been colored and you want to lift it or color it, it's not a question of "can you bleach dyed hair?"

The answer is you have to. There is no other way. Color does not work on color.

Nor does developer on its own, incidentally!

How do you bleach dyed hair?

The good news is if done correctly, it is possible to lift and lighten previously colored hair.

Hairdressers do it all the time.

In this blog we will show you how.

Step One - Assessing The Hair

Orange hair

Previously dyed hair

The first step is to examine your client's hair and check its condition.

Very often hair will look like in the above picture.

This hair has been colored in the past (and bleached) and now it's looking faded and orange.

Check the health of the hair.

In this case, even by looking at it you can see that it is still in good condition.

Porosity is also OK.

Step Two - Choose the Right Bleach

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach - with Bond Protect for safe, effective lifting.

It's always a good idea to work with a quality bleach.

You will get better lifting of the hair and better hair condition afterwards.

We recommend that you use Brilliant Blondexx with Bond Protect.

It contains Plex technology, which helps build bonds in the hair.

The other reason why you should use Brilliant Blondexx is that its lifting power is quite unique - up to 7 levels, in fact.

Step Three - Choose the right developer strength

On previously bleached and colored (lightened) hair, as in the picture above, 20 Vol is generally enough.

You will get sufficient lift.

Especially with Ugly Duckling bleaches, which are quite powerful.

Using 20 Vol developer is also better for the hair.

Step Four - Mix & apply

The best mix for a full head application is 1 part bleach to 2 parts developer.

That way you get a nice wet mix which will really saturate the hair properly and process fast.

The picture below shows the mix you will get using Brilliant Blondexx. It will be white and quite creamy.

Bleach mix

Bleach and Developer mix using Brilliant Blondexx bleach.

Step Five - Applying your bleach mix

Start applying your mix at the back, where the hair is thickest.

Work fast, because bleach continues to process as long as it is still wet and in contact with the hair.

In this case, we used foils.

Foils help you process faster, because you get extra heat wrapped in.

Plus we wanted to achieve a dimensional color look.

Once you have done the back, come round to the sides and the front later.

The hair here is typically finer here and will process faster.

Step Six - Rinse when you see yellow (no orange)

Bleached hair

Once the first application is done, 15 minutes to 20 minutes will have elapsed.

Now is the time to start checking at the back - where you started to bleach.

Are there parts which are lifting less well than others?

If so, you will need to make and apply a second mix on those parts only.

Since in this case, we want to tone the hair ash blonde, we are going to target a level 9 bright yellow color as in the picture above.

If you see any orange or orange-yellow, that means it has not been bleached enough.

Rinse the hair well and towel dry it.

Step Six - Toning After Bleaching

All bleached hair needs to be toned.

If you have been successful at getting the hair to a true level 10 very pale yellow, we would suggest you use on of Ugly Duckling's demi-permanent toners Blondify.

They have been formulated to complement Brilliant Blondex bleach.

Like all Ugly Duckling toner, they are very intensely pigmented with ash and purple pigments.

And they are ammonia-free.

And they contain Bond Protect Plex Technology.

Blondify Toner

Blondify 010V

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V Toner

So in this case we used Blondify Liquid toners - Natural Violet Blonde 010V.

These toners are ammonia free. Because they are liquid, they can be mixed in an applicator bottle.

The mix is 1 part color to 1 part developer - either 10 or 20 Vol developer is good.

These toners don't lift much, but they are very intensely pigmented.

They are excellent at getting rid of yellow after bleaching colored hair.

Here you can see Blondify toner processing on the hair.

Hair toner processing on the hair

Blondify 010V Natural Violet Blonde toner processing on the hair

Step Seven  - Maintaining bleached and toned hair 

There are 2 hair care routines that we would recommend.

Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Hair Care

Brilliant Blondexx Haircare

Brilliant Blondexx Haircare - with Bond Protect

The first is Brilliant Blondexx shampoo and mask.

These products contain Bond Protect and will ensure that your bleached and tone hair stays thick and strong. And protect it from hair breakage.

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo

An application of Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask - and the Results on Blow Dried Hair

The second is Brilliant Blonde purple shampoo and mask.

This will act as a semi-permanent toner for your hair, and keep the blonde reflects white and yellow free.

The Final result

Toned hair

Final Result - Bleached & Toned with Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

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