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Can you color over bleached hair?

Bleaching your hair to achieve a lighter color can damage your hair and affect how it takes to new color. However, with the right hair care and coloring techniques, you can successfully color over bleached hair. Here’s what you need to know about coloring bleached hair and how to do it right.

How Bleaching Affects Hair Color

Bleach contains harsh chemicals that strip the melanin pigment from your hair. This removes your natural hair color and allows for dramatic lightening. However, it also roughs up and opens the cuticle layer of your hair, causing damage.

When the cuticle is damaged, your hair’s ability to hold onto artificial color is reduced. The open cuticle allows dye molecules to escape more quickly, resulting in faster fading. Additionally, bleached hair tends to be more porous and thirsty, which can lead to uneven color results.

Preparing Bleached Hair for Color

Getting great color results on bleached hair requires some prep work. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid further bleaching – Bleaching already bleached hair will worsen damage and dryness.
  • Deep condition – Use a weekly moisturizing hair mask to improve condition, shine, and dye uptake.
  • Fill if needed – Colorfilling adds pigment to even out porosity differences for better color results.
  • Use a bonding treatment – Bonding agents help rebuild damaged bonds before applying color.
  • Shampoo hair – Remove any product buildup so hair is clean for color.
  • Rough up cuticle – Use a clarifying shampoo to swell and open the cuticle before coloring.

Best Hair Color Choices for Bleached Hair

Certain types of hair dye work better on bleached hair than others:

Permanent Hair Color

Permanent color contains ammonia and peroxide which swells the cuticle and opens it up to deposit color inside the hair shaft. This allows for deep, long-lasting color.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

Demi-permanent color coats the outside of hair with dye molecules and lasts 4-6 weeks. It’s gentler than permanent color with less ammonia.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Semi-permanent hair color contains no peroxide or ammonia and simply coats hair strands. It washes out within 4-8 shampoos.

Bleach and Toner

You can use bleach to go lighter and follow with an toner to neutralize brassiness and achieve a pretty, polished shade.

How to Color Bleached Hair

When applying hair color to bleached hair, follow these tips for best results:

  • Strand test – Try the color on a few strands first to see color development.
  • Apply to dry hair – Damp hair dilutes the color resulting in a lighter end result.
  • Use 10 volume developer – Lower volumes help control swelling and prevent damage.
  • Focus on mid-lengths and ends – Avoid the scalp area which is more porous.
  • Process fully – Leave on for the full suggested development time.
  • Rinse thoroughly – Remove all traces of dye until water runs clear.
  • Deep condition – Hydrate and strengthen hair after processing.

Best Color Choices for Bleached Hair

Here are some flattering hair colors for bleached blond and platinum hair:

Baby Blond

A pale peach or beige blond keeps hair light while counteracting yellow tones.

Smoky Silver

Ashy toners create a cool-toned silver that brightens bleached hair.

Rose Gold

Peachy rose gold hair color is feminine and flattering on pale blonds.


Vivid violet adds a fun pop of color and tones down yellowness.

Pastel Pink

Candy-colored pink is pretty on platinum blond hair.

Color Best For Upkeep
Baby Blond Removing brassiness Toning every 4-6 weeks
Smoky Silver Cool, brightening effect Occasional toning
Rose Gold Warm, fun look Frequent toning to reduce fading
Violet Bold, bright look Redyeing roots every 4 weeks
Pastel Pink Soft, feminine color Redyeing roots and refreshing color monthly

Maintaining Color on Bleached Hair

Preserving your new hair color on bleached hair requires diligent hair care. Here are some tips:

  • Wash in cool water – Hot water fades color faster.
  • Use sulfate-free shampoo – Sulfates strip color.
  • Alternate with dry shampoo – Washing less preserves color.
  • Use a nourishing conditioner – Hydration helps seal in color.
  • Rinse with cold water – Cool water helps lock in hair color.
  • Avoid chlorine and sun – These oxidize and fade hair dye.
  • Get a gloss treatmeant – Clear glosses boost shine and refresh color.
  • Use color-protecting products – Hairsprays and serums shield against fading.

Correcting Color on Bleached Hair

If your color on bleached hair turned out too dark, brassy or uneven, here are some fixes:

Too Dark

  • Use clarifying shampoo to fade the color faster.
  • Try a color remover to strip the color.
  • Bleach again and recolor lighter.

Too Brassy

  • Use a toning or purple shampoo.
  • Apply an ash toner to neutralize brassiness.
  • Redye with an ash or platinum shade.

Uneven Color

  • Use a weekly deep conditioner.
  • Try a colorfiller to even out porosity.
  • Add lowlights to camouflage.
  • Redye with a darker shade.

Seeking Professional Help

While you can color over bleached hair at home, seeking professional help can be worth it to achieve your ideal shade. A colorist can:

  • Assess your hair’s condition and porosity.
  • Correctly fill and prep hair before coloring.
  • Custom blend the perfect hue for you.
  • Carefully process, time, and tone your color.
  • Recommend personalized home care.

Seeing an experienced hair colorist ensures your bleached hair gets the specialized care and technique it requires for stunning, healthy, long-lasting color.


Coloring over bleached hair can be tricky, but very possible with the proper preparation, techniques, and maintenance. Prepping hair with conditioning treatments and bonders, choosing the right dye formula, carefully applying it, and using color-protecting aftercare helps achieve beautiful, vibrant color that lasts.

With the right approach, you can successfully color bleached hair in gorgeous shades – from soft pastels to vivid brights. Just be sure to nourish hair with moisture and care for happy, healthy hair color that pops.