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How long does it take to get your natural hair back after bleaching?

Bleaching your hair is a common way to lighten your natural hair color or prepare it for dyeing in a lighter shade. However, the bleaching process can be very damaging to hair and it often takes time for your natural color to return after bleaching. In this article, we’ll look at how long it takes for your natural hair color to grow back after bleaching and what you can do to help restore the health of your bleached hair in the meantime.

How Bleaching Affects Hair

Bleach works by penetrating the hair cuticle and removing underlying pigment molecules that create your natural hair color. This leaves the hair strand porous and damaged. When over-bleached, the internal structure of the hair can become extremely compromised. This makes bleached hair prone to fragility, breakage, and an inability to retain moisture.

Bleach also removes melanin, which is the naturally occurring pigment that gives hair its color. Melanin also acts as a protective barrier against UV light damage. The removal of melanin leaves bleached hair more vulnerable to sun exposure and fading.

How Long It Takes for Natural Hair Color to Grow Back

So how long until your natural hair color returns after bleaching? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Your natural hair color can only return as your new, unbleached hair grows out from the scalp. Hair typically grows about 1⁄2 inch per month. So if you have shoulder length hair, it would take approximately 6 months to see your roots fully return to their natural color.

Here is a general timeline of what to expect as your natural color grows back in:

  • 1-2 months: Natural roots will start to become visible at the crown of your head where hair growth is most rapid.
  • 3-4 months: Roots expand further down length of hair, reaching the top of ears.
  • 5-6 months: Natural color starts to take over most of the top sections of hair.
  • 9-12 months: Majority of hair displays natural color with only ends still showing effects of bleach.

So in most cases, you are looking at 9 months to a year before your hair is back to its original shade. Have patience and take good care of those bleached locks in the meantime!

Factors That Affect How Quickly Natural Color Returns

While 9-12 months is the average time frame, there are a few factors that can influence how quickly your natural shade makes a comeback:

  • Your natural hair growth rate – Faster growing hair will show roots sooner.
  • How light the bleach made your hair – The lighter the hair, the longer it takes for enough natural pigment to show through.
  • Whether bleach touched your scalp – Scalp irritation can temporarily slow new growth.
  • Damage level of bleached hair – More over-processed hair may breakage and won’t retain length as quickly.

Caring for Bleached Hair During the Grow Out Phase

It’s important to baby your bleached strands while you wait for your natural color to return. Bleached hair is far more prone to dryness, damage, and breakage. Here are some tips for keeping your hair healthy after bleaching:

  • Use a gentle, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair.
  • Only wash hair 2-3 times per week to prevent drying it out.
  • Use a deep conditioning hair mask once a week.
  • Avoid excessive heat from blowdrying, straightening, or curling tools.
  • Apply an intensive bonded hair repair treatment.
  • Use a heat protectant before heat styling.
  • Get regular trims to help minimize split ends.
  • Avoid damaging chemical processes like re-bleaching or coloring.
  • Protect hair from sun exposure with hats or gentle leave-in conditioners.

Can I Speed Up the Return of My Natural Hair Color?

While you can’t make your natural hair color magically reappear overnight, there are a few things you can try to help slightly accelerate its return:

  • Root touch up powders or sprays – These temporarily disguise visible roots between salon appointments.
  • Color depositing shampoos or conditioners – Enhance subtle natural tone until it builds up.
  • Semi-permanent toning gloss – Counteracts brassiness as natural pigment comes in.
  • Caffeine shampoos – May help stimulate follicle growth.
  • Biotin supplements – Can strengthen hair and increase growth rate.
  • Scalp massages – Improve circulation to boost new hair growth.

However, keep in mind that these can only provide minor cosmetic camouflage and hair health benefits. Your natural timeline remains largely genetics-based.

Should I Re-Bleach My Roots During the Grow Out?

It may be tempting to touch up bleach on your regrowth. However, repeatedly bleaching your roots as they grow in will cause compounding damage over time. This leaves hair increasingly fragile and prone to breakage.

If you want to return to your original bleached shade, it’s best to wait the full grow out period of 9-12 months. This allows your natural pigment to become firmly anchored before safely attempting to re-bleach hair. Always consult a professional hair colorist before applying more bleach.

Transitioning Hair Color from Bleached to Natural

If you decide you don’t want to maintain bleached hair anymore, you have a few options for seamlessly transitioning to your natural color:

  • Lowlights or balayage – Strategically add back color in a way that blends with grow out.
  • Ombre or sombre – Gradually darken mid-lengths and ends over time.
  • Root stretch relaxer treatments – Loosen tight regrowth to blend with bleached lengths.
  • Cut hair shorter – Take length off bit by bit as your natural shade returns.

Consulting a colorist to create a personalized grow out game plan is wise for the most natural looking results. They can assess your hair health, damage level, and desired timeline for your transition.

How Hair Texture May Change After Bleach Grow Out

It’s common for your hair’s natural texture to change during and after the bleaching process. This is due to both damage and your roots having new, unprocessed hair growth.

You may notice differences like:

  • Coarser, drier texture from bleach damage.
  • Wavier or curlier pattern as virgin hair comes in.
  • Looser roots with a tighter bleached lengths.
  • More volume at the top from new growth.

Some manage these texture shifts by adding layered cuts or embracing their hair’s newfound wave or curl pattern. Discuss styling options with your stylist if your hair behaves significantly different post-bleaching.

Maintaining A Consistent Look During Grow Out

Growing out bleached hair can be an awkward in-between phase until your natural color establishes itself again. Here are some tips for maintaining a consistent look from roots to ends:

  • Schedule frequent root touch ups every 4-6 weeks.
  • Use clip in hair extensions that match your bleached color.
  • Add strategically placed lowlights and highlights.
  • Try root concealing hairstyles like braids, ponytails, and buns.
  • Use dry shampoo to absorb oil and volume at the roots.
  • Consider a shorter, choppier cut to remove some damaged ends.

Chat with your stylist about flattering interim hairstyles and colors that complement the grow out process. They can create solutions to keep your look cohesive.

When to Expect Results Based on Bleach Shade

The level of lightening you reached when initially bleaching your hair impacts how quickly you’ll see your natural color peek through. Review this general timeline based on original bleach shade:

Bleached Shade When Roots Visible When Majority Returns
Pale Yellow 1-2 months 6-9 months
Light Yellow 2-3 months 8-10 months
Yellow Blonde 3-4 months 10-12 months
Pale Platinum 4-5 months 12+ months

As you can see, the lighter the finished bleached shade, the longer the grow out period typically is. Stay patient with the process and take good care of your hair in the meantime.


Growing out bleached hair and returning to your natural color is a lengthy process that requires diligence and TLC. While it can take 9 months to a year for your virgin hair to fully grow in, you can minimize damage and keep locks healthy in the interim. With proper care and maintenance, your natural shade will peek through before you know it!