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How to Bleach Hair Without Damaging it - Are You Getting These 10 Things Right?

What Products do I Need For Bleaching Hair Without Damaging it?

A good quality Lightener which will lift without breaking or damaging:

In addition you will need the following:

  • 20 or 30 Vol developer, depending on the lift required and the area which you are lifting.
  • Use 20 Vol near the root area and either 20 or 30 Vol on the lengths depending on the degree of lift required.
  • You will also need a toner or a color. This is what will re-pigment or tone the hair after bleaching.
  • This tutorial will take you through some of the toners you can use.
  • Purple shampoo and mask to finish is always a good to have. This will help you keep hair a pure white blonde.
  • Coloring tools: a feather brush, a sectioning brush, a mixing bowl, & crocodile clips. 
  • Rubber gloves to avoid physically touching the product as you apply.

Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Lightener

Bond Protect Lightener

2. How Should I Prepare the Hair for Bleaching?

  • Hair bleach is just like hair color, it is best applied on dry, unwashed hair.
  • Unwashed hair contains natural hair oils & this helps protects the hair during the bleaching process.
  • Before bleaching, brush the hair so that you can then section & apply easily.

3. What Developer Should I Use with the Bleach?

  • If you are aiming to lift by 1-2 levels, you need 20 Vol developer
  • If you are aiming  to lift by 3 levels and more, you need 30 Vol developer.
  • For the root area, it is better to use 20 Vol developer. The heat from the scalp will process the bleach faster there.
  • With Brilliant Blondexx you should never need to use 40 Vol.
  • Use the level guide below to assess how much bleaching is necessary in your case & which developer you are going to need.
  • Remember, if you are trying to get to ash or platinum blonde, you need to try and lift all the way up to level 10. 

Hair Color Levels

4. What is the Correct Bleach to Developer Ratio? How do I Mix the Bleach With the Developer?

  • We recommend a mix of 1 part Bleach to 2 parts developer.
  • This will give you a fairly runny mix which will be easy and quick to apply. 
  • Mix the bleach until it forms a smooth consistency (similar to gravy).
  • Do this in a plastic mixing bowl. Add the developer to the powder bleach a little at a time, stirring as you do.
  • Our recommended "fairly runny" mix will make it easier to cover all the hair evenly, thus avoiding patchy results. 
  • It will also allow you to work fast. This also means you have longer to work before the mixture turns dry.
  • The only time you will need a thicker mixture which won't drip is when you are doing a balayage (free painting of highlights) or when you have a small area - for example a dark regrowth which you want to focus on.
  • If a thicker mix is preferred, 1 part lightener to 1 part developer is good.

What a Bleach Mix with Brilliant Blondexx Looks Like - White & Creamy: Not Too Runny, Not Too Thick. 

Brilliant Blondexx Mix

5. How Long Should I Leave the Bleach on the Hair?

  • There is no fixed development time for bleach, you need to keep watching and rinse only when the hair has been sufficiently lifted.
  • If you are trying to go blonde, you need to try & achieve is a very pale yellow - level 9 or 10. See pictures below for what level 9/10 looks like.
  • The development time can vary from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the starting hair color level, texture, and thickness. 
  • You need to check that the hair is lifting every 10 minutes. 
  • If there are parts which are drying out and still not lifted to very pale yellow, make some more fresh mix and add it in.
  • Don't rinse too early - this is the number one mistake that stylists make!
  • After 30 minutes, rinse whatever the level. It will be dry anyway, and will have stopped working. (Bleach stops processing when it turns dry).
  • If you have not attained level 10, and provided the hair is still in good condition (ie it's still elastic and strong) you can do a second application.
  • Asian hair, Hispanic hair, other dark hair may require a second bleach application to take it to level 10.
  • Hair that has been box dyed dark or colored with a vibrant color in the past will also require a second application.
  • When you are doing a second application, it should not be necessary to use 30 Vol. 20 Vol should be sufficient.
  • You need to get rid of all the orange pigments and also most of the yellow pigments before you rinse. 
  • When you get to your target level, rinse using an acidic shampoo. This will close the hair cuticle after the bleaching process. 

Correctly Bleached HairBleaching Levels

6. Only My Client's Regrowth Needs Lifting. What do I do?

  • If your client's ends are perfectly light and only your regrowth is dark, then you only need to apply bleach on the regrowth area.
  • 20 Vol developer is what you need for the regrowth area near the scalp.
  • Once again, Brilliant Blondexx is a great lightener to use for a near root application - it's more comfortable.
  • Note that you don't actually need to deposit the bleach mixture on the scalp: we recommend you stay 1/8 inch away from the root area.
  • The mixture will travel up, and the heat from the scalp will take care of the rest.
  • Section the hair finely when you apply your color, using a "pasting" motion with the brush.
  • Then flick over a new section with your tail-comb and continue in this way.
  • The finer and more consistent your sections, the better a lifting result you will get.
  • If your lengths are very white, you need to be careful not to overlap the bleach onto the white parts.
  • Otherwise you will get breakage. So be careful about this!
  • If you have overlapped by mistake, you can always wipe back the mixture during processing and you should be fine.
  • If on the other hands, you have lengths which also need some lifting, you can of course extend to those areas once you have taken care of the regrowth.
  • As usual, check carefully and rinse when the regrowth and brassy areas have all lifted nicely to a pale yellow.

Near Root Application of Bleach

Near Root application with Brilliant Blondexx Bleach

Bleach Processing on Scalp

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach processing for 35 min near the root.

7. I need to bleach my client's entire head. How do I apply?

  • If your client's entire head is dark, or brassy you will need to do a full head application 
  • Section the hair into 4 large sections with sectioning clips.
  • Then unclip one section and create mini half-inch sections using your tail comb.
  • Start applying bleach in the back of the head where the hair is usually darkest and thickest, working your way round to the front sections, in half-inch sections.
  • Work fast so that that you can give the whole head an equal amount of processing time.
  • Keep the root area to the last: it is going to process faster there, so you need less processing time.
  • If you have been using 30 Vol developer for the lengths, it is a good idea to make a fresh mix, with 20 Vol this time for the root area.
  • Make sure that you saturate the hair properly with the product mixture. You need to literally smother the hair with bleach.
  • Watch carefully and rinse when done, and rinse anyway after 30-35 minutes.
  • If after rinsing you see that the hair is still not a pale yellow level 9/10, so a second application, using 20 Vol developer only this time.

Section the hair, then start applying the bleach from the back.

Bleaching Dark Hair - Full Head

8. How do I bleach hair evenly & consistently?

  • Very often clients have hair which is different colors. 
  • They could have, for example (a) a regrowth area which is dark virgin hair (b) mid-lengths which have been colored one color and are now orange and (c) ends which have been lightened several times and are really pale white blonde.
  • In such cases you as the hairdresser will need to have a clear bleaching strategy.
  • You will need to figure out which areas need the most lifting and apply bleach first on those areas.
  • You may need to divide up your client's hair mentally into 3 different sections and apply bleach at different times to each section.
  • You may also need to keep watching as your customer's hair develops and then add more bleach onto sections which are not lifting fast enough.
  • When you are doing this, you should make separate mixes as necessary, using either 20 or 30 Vol. 
  • You should not attempt to tone until you have brought your client's hair to one consistent color level and the hair has been bleached evenly.

9. How do I Tone the Hair After Bleaching?

  • You will need to tone the hair with a good quality toner. Otherwise there will always be some yellow left.
  • Ugly Duckling toners are very fast acting & they remove any remaining yellowness in the hair. They act in 10- 15 minutes. They can be applied on wet hair which has been towel dried after bleaching.
  • Use Intense Pearl Blonde 100V or Intense Silver Blonde 100B if your are looking for ultra white results and your hair still has a fair amount of yellow. 
  • Use Pearl Blonde Toner 10V or Silver Blonde Toner 10B if you are have already achieved a true level 10 and you are looking to do a refresh toning applications.
  • Ugly Duckling has other colors such as the blue based ash blonde series which also work very well for toning applications.
  • Silver Grey and Smoky Blue Grey also work very well.
Intense Pearl Blonde Intense Pearl Blonde 100V Intense Silver Blonde Intense Silver Blonde 100B Pearl Blonde No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V Silver Blonde No-Lift Silver Blonde Toner 10B
Silver Grey Silver Grey Smoky Blue Grey Smoky Blue Grey Extra Cold Ash Blonde (Blue Based) Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1B Very Light Cold Ash Blonde Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1B

10. What Hair Care Should I Use After Bleaching and Toning?

  • First rinse with water.
  • Then use Ugly Duckling Purple Shampoo or Mask for additional toning.
  • Purple Shampoo and Mask can also be used as a maintenance treatment to keep your color white and ashy.
  • Ugly Duckling's Purple Shampoo and Mask contain very intense pigments which help fight yellow.
  • They are also low pH formula and wil help close the cuticle after bleaching and restore it to a healthy condition.
  • See pictures below.

Purple Shampoo

Purple Mask

Learn More About Purple Shampoo and Mask Here.


Hair by Elona Taki.

  • Our model had previously lightened blonde hair with a dark regrowth. 
  • It was also rather fragile.
  • We used Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Bleach with 20 Vol Developer and lifted her root area all the way up to a level 10.
  • The processing time for the bleach was approximately 35 minutes. This was done with 20 Vol developer.
  • Then we toned with Pearl Blonde toner and 20 Vol Developer once more.
  • Finally, we did one very vigorous and thorough application of Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo. 
  • The result was a perfect white blonde result - no hair damage and no breakage!

Watch the Video Now!


  • Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Lightener
  • 20 Vol Developer
  • Pearl Blonde Toner
  • Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo


11. How long should I leave bleach in hair when I am using 20 Vol, 30 Vol & 40 Vol Developer?

  • First of all, we do not recommend you use 40 Vol developer with bleach.
  • If you are using a good quality bleach, (and this includes Ugly Duckling bleaches of course) it will work and lift very well with 20 or 30 Vol Developer.
  • For 20 and 30 Vol developer, the time taken can vary from 15 minutes up to 30 minutes.
  • There is no fixed development time with bleach - you need to check every few minutes and rinse when the hair is lifted.
  • If you see that certain parts of the hair are drying out during processing time or not lifting fast enough, you need to use your judgement and add in more fresh mix of bleach

12. Which Ugly Duckling Bleach is Right for Me?

  • If you are looking for a very gentle bleach and you are looking to lift 2-7 levels, we would recommend our new Bond Protect Brilliant Blondexx.
  • It's got a special ingredient which contains anti-breakage properties, it's very comfortable on the scalp, and mixes to a color-like consistency.
  • If you have ultra dark Asian hair, or if you have already box colored your hair and you need a super strong bleach to remove the color, then we would suggest Brilliant Blonde 8 Level+ Bleach.
  • It's a blue anti-dust bleach. It can lift up to 8 levels and it has been specially formulated for dark Asian hair which is the hardest of all to lift.

Bond Protect Bleach

Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Bleach.