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Home / Blog/ How to Bleach Hair at Home: Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial
Home Blog How to Bleach Hair at Home: Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial

How to Bleach Hair at Home: Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial


Are you looking to bleach your hair?

Bleaching your hair is often the only way to achieve a dramatic change in hair color.

If you follow the right technique, you can get extremely good results even if you are working at home.

In this seminar we’re going to teach you how to do it and get very very consistent white blonde results.

No matter what color your hair is today.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to Prepare the Hair Before Bleaching
  • What Products You Need to Prepare
  • How to Mix and Apply the Bleach
  • How Long You Need to Process the Mix on the Hair
  • Rinsing with Purple Shampoo and treating with Purple Mask to get rid of yellow
  • How to tone hair
  • How to look after and care for bleached hair.

Is it even possible to go white blonde in one sitting?

Some people say that getting to white blonde is a process.

That it needs to take several months of gradually going blonde. But that simply isn’t true.

At Ugly Duckling we really believe that provided you use the right products and the right results.

Anyone can achieve the whitest of white blonde hair color results.

No matter what your current hair color.

And today we're going to show you how!

Can all types of hair go white blonde?

The short answer is yes.

The technique we are going to teach you works on African hair, Latino hair, Asian hair.

And of course it works particularly easily on European type hair which is lighter anyway

How to Prepare the Hair Before Bleaching

How to prepare the hair

Hair bleached from Dark Brown to White Platinum Blonde.

Hair by Ashley Betancourt

The best preparation for the hair is, believe it or not, to do nothing for at least 2-3 days before.

No shampooing, no mask, if possible no blow drying and no back combing.

The reason is that it is important that the natural oils build up on the scalp.

These oils will protect the scalp during the bleaching process and give the client less discomfort.

As for the hair, the less you torture it and the more you rest it before bleaching, the better.

So go easy on the back combing.

And avoid shampooing for a few days if you can.

Choice of Bleach

It's really important to use a good quality bleach.

Not all bleaches are the same.

At Ugly Duckling, we have 2 choices of bleach.

Brilliant Blondexx - Best On-Scalp Bleach

The first, and what we would recommend as the go-to bleach for most cases, would be Brilliant Blondexx.

Brilliant Blondexx

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach with Bond Protect.

The reason is that it contains maleic acid: Bond Protect.

Which helps protect the hair and strengthen it during the bleaching process when the cuticles are open.

Meaning that the hair is stronger after bleaching, not less strong.

It also has excellent lift: up to 7 levels using just 20 and 30 Vol developer.

It produces a very creamy mix which is very satisfying to apply and comfortable on the scalp.

As a result of which it can be used on-scalp or off-scalp.

Brilliant Blonde - Best Bleach for Dark Bases

Our second bleach is designed for very, very dark bases: Asian, Hispanic, African hair. 

Also on hair that has been colored black or dark with box dye or semis or metallic dyes.

For such hair we would suggest Brilliant Blonde.

Brilliant Blonde

Brilliant Blonde - Designed For Dark Bases

This is a blue bleach which is quite simply one of the strongest bleaches out there on the market.

It has a 8 level lift, and it can get dark brown hair to platinum white blonde.

There is a video featuring this bleach right at the bottom of this blog page.

Choice of Developer

The right choice of developer is as important as the right choice of bleach.

You need to choose the right developer according to the amount of lift you need.

Be aware that it is developer strength that you need to adjust to get the right lift, not the developer quantity.

Refer to the chart below to calculate the lift that you require.

Hair Levels

A chart with the hair coloring levels. Use this chart to work out how many levels you need to lift.

The Rules for Developer Choice 

For 1-2 levels, use 20 Vol developer

For 2-3 levels, use 30 Vol developer.

For more than 3 levels, use 30 Vol the first time round.

Then make a second application as necessary using 20 Vol.

Stick to these rules and you will always get excellent results.

Mixing Your Bleach

The correct bleach mix ratio is 1 part bleach to 2 parts developer.

This will give you a nice fairly wet paste (like gravy) which can saturate the hair really well.

Which is what you need to do.

Mix bleach and your developer in a plastic bowl using a plastic whisk.

Keep stirring until all the powder has been blended in and you are left with a totally smooth mix.

Ugly Duckling bleach mixes are typically very nice and creamy.

Brilliant Blondexx will give you a creamy, white mix.

And Brilliant Blonde will give you a creamy, blue mix.

Bleach mix sitting on the scalp

Bleach mix processing at the root area.

Hair by Elona

Applying the Bleach

Bleach will keep acting as long as it is moist and on the hair.

That is why the whole art of bleach application is all about timing.

Your aim should be to give more processing time to the parts which need to be lifted the most.

That's why you need to start applying on the part of the hair are the darkest or thickest.

When Doing a Full Head Bleach, Start at the Back

If you are doing a full head bleach application on uniformly dark hair, you would typically start at the back.

Then you would work your way around, taking sections as you go, doing the sides and the front last.

Then, do the roots at the end, since hair processes the fastest there due to the heat of the scalp.

When Doing a Regrowth Application, Start on the Regrowth

Bleach Application on the Regrowth

Regrowth Application using Brilliant Blondexx

If, on the other hand, you are looking to bleach a dark regrowth, you would apply bleach there first.

Then look to extend for a few minutes in case the lengths needed some lifting as well.

How long Should I Process My Bleach?

There is no fixed processing time with bleach.

It depends on how much you are lifting the hair, the hair type, and whether it has been previously colored or not.

As you bleach, you will see the hair progressively shift from orange to yellow-orange, then yellow, then pale yellow.

Do not be alarmed at this. All hair reacts this way.

Just make sure that you keep bleaching until you get to the right level.

You will need to check as it lifts and keep re-applying as necessary with fresh mix until you see that all parts are uniformly very pale yellow level 9-10.

Rinse at that point (see image below).

Light Yellow level 9 hair

This is what bleached hair should look like at the backwash

Don't under-bleach, because if you do, you will end up with a brassy result after toning that you (or your client) will be disappointed with.

Check hair integrity at any given time by stretching a single strand of hair.

If it stretches when wet, that means it has retained its elasticity and is still strong and healthy.

Around 30-40 minutes would be the maximum time that bleach should sit on the head.

Rinse off after that and check to see where you are at.

Rinsing with Purple Shampoo & Mask

Purple Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask

After rinsing the bleach off, it is a very good idea to apply Purple Shampoo or Mask.

Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blonde Shampoo and Mask are made for this purpose.

These products are acidic, meaning that they will help close the cuticles after the bleaching.

The purple pigments in the products will also help in kicking any remaining yellow out.

Hair Toning After Bleaching

Neutralizing Colors

Purple Based toners are good at eliminating yellow tones from bleached hair.

Assuming that your hair has now been bleached, what next?

The answer is you now need to tone it. In other words, to color neutralize the remaining yellow.

Which products should you use?

We are going to assume that you have lifted correctly to level 9/10, and the hair is now pale yellow as in the image of the rinsed hair above.

Purple based (or violet based) toners will be your best choice in this case, as you can see in the chart above.

So today, we are going to suggest 3 different purple toners you can use at home or indeed at the salon, in ascending order of lift.

They produce toned blonde effects ranging from quite a natural cold ash blonde to grey-pearl blonde to an ultra-white blonde

Look through the results and choose the toning result that suits you.

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde

Blondify Toner - Ammonia-Free, PPD-free, 10 Minute Gloss Toner

The first toner we would recommend would be Blondify Natural Violet Blonde.

This toner contains no Ammonia, no PPD's and is enriched with Bond Protect.

At the same time its intense purple pigments will tone away any remaining yellow in just 10 minutes.

Mix with 20 Vol developer in a 1+1 mix ratio, pour all over the hair and rub in very well.

Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse.

Hair Toned with Blondify 010V

Hair toned with Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Hair by Elona Taki

Pearl Blonde 10V

Pearl Blonde Toner

Ugly Duckling's Cream Based Toners and Colors

The second toner we would suggest is a cream based toner rather than a liquid.

It's also purple based. It does have ammonia and is a little stronger.

It will give regular lift when combined with 20 Vol developer.

The mix for this toner is 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

This toner will need to be applied in a mixing bowl and applied with a brush.

Process for around 20 minutes.

It's also a very strongly pigmented toner, and you should see a greyish blonde result when using this.

Pearl Blonde 10V

Pearl Blonde Toner 10V

Pearl Blonde 10V

Hair bleached and toned with Pearl Blonde 10V

Hair by Elona Taki

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Our last purple based toner is our most powerful, fastest acting toner.

Use this when you really want to push the hair to the whitest, result possible.

Also to be mixed with 20 Vol developer, in a 1 part toner to 2 parts developer ratio.

Also to be left on for around 20 minutes.

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Hair bleached at the root and toned with Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Hair by Elias

How should I look after and care for bleached hair?

Brilliant Blondexx

Brilliant Blondexx Shampoo & Mask

It is true that bleaching hair does place stress on it

Even when the technique is good and when you have made a good choice of products.

So to minimize the stress, we do place great importance on using the very best hair care products.

Ugly Duckling has a shampoo and mask range enriched in Maleic Acid, or Bond Protect.

It's called Brilliant Blondexx.

We do recommend that you use these products, at least once or twice a week after bleaching and toning.

You should find that your bleached hair is strengthened as a result, and healthier.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bleaching

Do I need to add any additives into my bleach mix to protect the hair as I bleach?

As long as you have used Brilliant Blondexx Bleach with Bond Protect, no further additive is required.

Bear in mind that some additives slow down the processing time, and actually require you to bump up the volume of the developer strength.

Which is not really something that we recommend!

Also, do use the Brilliant Blondexx haircare range for afterwards.

You will be surprised how useful it is, and how immediate its results in terms of hair condition and quality.

How Can I Bleach Dark Hair Without it Turning Orange?

Hair turning orange is just a natural stage before it turns yellow.

When it's orange, it simply means that the hair is not bleached enough.

If you are nearing the end of 15 minutes and the hair is orange, you can be sure you will need to make a fresh mix and re-apply.

Once again, you do need to get to that "happy" bleaching level of pale yellow.

Otherwise, the results will not be good.

Can I Use 40 Vol Developer with My Bleach?

What bleach are you using? And why are you not getting your lift with 20 and 30 Vol developer?

As we said before, the choice of a good bleach is really key.

And using 40 Vol developer to compensate for a mediocre bleach is unbelievably lame.

No colorist should do that to her own hair or to her client's.

Only use 40 Vol if the hair is ultra, ultra resistant to bleaching.

How Long Should I Leave Bleach in My Hair?

Bleach will start working the moment you apply it to your hair, and won’t stop until you wash it off.

However, if after 30-40 minutes hour you haven't got to where you need to go, just rinse off.

Then inspect. And bleach again.

Why Do I Get Yellow Hair After Bleaching?

You can’t get platinum blonde hair just by bleaching. Bleach removes pigments from hair, but to get to a nice blonde, you do need to use a toner.

As we discussed, a purple based toner is generally a good choice once the hair has reaced a consistent light yellow color.

What Is a Toner And What Does It Do?

A toner, also called a gloss, is a product designed to remove unwanted colors in your hair, fill in areas with excess porosity and give your hair a glossy finish.

Think of it as a topcoat for your hair. 

A toner can be a permanent (with ammonia) or demi-permanent color (without ammonia).

Of the 3 choices of toner we showed above, the first is a demi. The second is a permanent. And the third is a high-lift permanent toner.

A toner may not always necessary.

If you have naturally blonde hair, a high-lift permanent hair color in a platinum shade may be all that you need, without the use of bleach. But if you have dark hair, some kind of toner will be necessary to obtain the final result.

You can also use the purple shampoo and mask to tone. This toning will generally wash out from hair after 2 to 8 weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair.

Can You Do At-Home Toning?

Toning (and bleaching, for that matter) are fairly specialized products.

If you use professional bleaches and toners (like Ugly Duckling's products) you wil get better results than supermarket products or box sets.


Hair by Elona Taki


Hair by Elona Taki


Hair by Ashley Betancourt

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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